Michoacan Beach Camping

I’ve been doing some housekeeping on this blog and discovered the post below from David Eidell buried in a remote corner of the site.  It was originally posted in 2009 but will probably still appeal to those of you lucky enough to be beachcombing this winter.



IF you can beat this I’ll eat my sombrero!

Free tent camping beneath swaying palms on Las Peñas beach, next to a palm frond restaurant that has 24/7 flush toilet and hot shower for guests.

The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Lobster is featured as are fresh oysters. You can get STEAMED lobster which is hard to find. Fresh ground CHIAPAS french roast coffee.

Two village tiendas are a 5-minute stroll, the ocean is fifty yards away, and the site is quite private and it is safe day and night.

It is customary is Mexico to solicit the hosting restaurant (in this case it is a palm frond enramada.

The village of Las Peñas is located 300 km south of Manzanillo and 25 km north of Playa Azul. The village is located at km 20 on Mex 200 and has several large highway signs.

To get to the restaurant and camping, debark the bus, cross the highway, descend down to the beach on a concrete paved access street. Walk down the ramp to the beach, make a left and go to the very furthest palm frond restaurant. You do not have to ask permission to camp there is you arrive early or late. Pitch your tent. Brenda will make breakfast according to customer wishes.

The business and service is 100% Mexican owned and operated. PS: Brenda is a superb cook. Her 9 year old and 5 year old daughters have captivated countless guests. Be prepared to arrive for a day and stay a week or two.


Reneé Watson on February 4, 2010

This sounds incredibly wonderful. I go this way every year on my way to Chiapas. I drive and have a bad habit of having to stop at every place with a swinging hammock. The only place I do not like and never feel comfortable in is Playa Azul but every place before and after is killer. I will have to check out your place if nothing more than the food.


el codo on February 4, 2010

We are experiencing an “el niño” event (Feb 2010). Much of central and southern Mexico has seen biblical amounts of rainfall, snow, hail, and other phenomenon the last week or so. For instance reports of 14? of rain in Manzanillo, 11? in Zihuatanejo, flood in Tuxpan, Michoacan, and snow in elevations above 3,000 ft. Above figure totals are for the last 48-hour period.

Smart travelers should pack rain gear just in case.

Mañana, the fifth of February (Dia de Bandera or Flag Day) is a Mexican federal holiday. It is supposed to be the first truly sunny day we have seen in a week. Temps here on the coast (Michoacan) today: high 74, low 67. About nine, and seven degrees lower than normal for this time of year.

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10 Responses to “Michoacan Beach Camping”

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  1. mike lin says:

    Yep. Half a dozen similar places within walking distance. The coast of Michoacan is a continuous 250 Km. campground. Check out my maps at:


  2. mike lin says:

    What ever happened to David Eidel?

    His RV park in Las Peñas is long gone…

    I don’t see any recent posts from him on the net

    Hope all is well…

  3. mike lin says:

    and, not to put too fine a point on it, but:

    How’s that sombrero? Nice and chewy?


    Heehee… just kiddin’, man…

  4. -El Codo- says:

    Mike with all the spin and disinformation, plus media feeding frenzy on the violence in Mexico I have pretty much given up on trying to explain real versus spin.

    The Canadian owner of the property in which I worked so hard to develop decided that it was so lucrative that she took it upon herself to evict me, raise rates, pocket half the proceeds, and do everything (she) possibly could to destroy the business. Her efforts were a resounding success.

    Today my efforts concern a small garden plot, and a beautiful free campsite alongside an enramada restaurant. Mi sombrero es seguro. This is a beautiful camping spot that has few if any peers in Mexico. Beauty, nearby shower and flush toilet, coffee, food, a 5 minute walk to a couple of well stocked tiendas and superb bus service.

    BTW, this rural area is under the firm control of LA FAMILIA, and they post banners on the highways regularly saying that they will not allow gang violence in our neck of the woods. Things are so peaceful that even the military and federal police have given up and gone elsewhere.

  5. mike lin says:

    OK, cool

    Glad to hear you’re all good. Looks like Las Peñas has gotten a little more upmarket these days. I used to stay at the Pirata($5) occasionally.
    Gambusino looks pretty nice but-Wow!- $200 per night? 37 inch plasma TVs. Woohoo!

    Can you tell me the name of the other hotel?
    Is that the vile canadian usurper?

    I’ll slam them on my website if you give me some more details…

    Are you at the end of Playa Dorada?
    Is Enramada Guille(n) still there?


    Is the Venado restaurant still there?

    Thanks for any info you can give me.
    Cheers, Mike Lin

  6. -El Codo- says:

    Hi Mike, I live near the top of a hill about 200 yds from the highway. From the top of the hill I can clearly see “The Middle Of Nowhere”.

    The two new hotels are El Gambusino, and the Hotel Las Peñas. Wasn’t aware they were charging 2,400 pesos a night. I heard through the grapevine 800 pesos. Maybe you were looking at an ad for a suite.

    Business is way off this year. About a third to a quarter of normal for all classes of tourists in the beach enramadas and the hotels are suffering as well.

    The fickle ocean is yielding zero lobster and oysters, and even huauchinango the famous red snapper is absent and fishing is a disaster. The El Niño is responsible for the lousy sea harvest.

    Playa Dorado is deserted much of the time but I think they have their own paltry numbers of clientele on the weekends. No power there, nor domestic water so service is very limited. Do not know the name of the enramada.

    But you ought to see the spectacular setting of the free camping on the main beach ;-)

    Also there is a formal sea turtle hatchery a mile down the beach and summertime brings the green ridley turtles. I lost track of the exact number but I think thirteen thousand were hatched and released in ’09. Summer months only.

  7. mike lin says:

    Hi David
    The $200 figure is the highest I’ve seen, on some third party website. Crystal actually quoted me $40 0r 50 for a simple room at the Gambusino.
    I always wondered how the enramadas could survive on playa dorada.
    I’m wondering which hatchery you mean?
    There’s one at Barra el Tigre/Las Calabazas.
    Is there a hatchery at Chucutitan now? OR are you talking about the other direction- west toward Bejuco? I’d like to create a definitive list of hatcheries…
    Also- Pacific Ridleys(golfinas) are a different species from the Green(negra) sea turtles. Ridleys arrive first, in late summer, followed by the greens, and then, if you’re lucky, the Leatherback(Laud)turtles. There’s some overlap occasionally. Playa Azul(Calabazas) saw their first nesting Leatherbacks in decades, this year.
    I wrote about the current Leatherback situation on my Mexiquillo page:
    Yeah Las Peñas has lots of good camping.
    My favorite is La Manzanillita- at the west end of the beach, just before you cross the rocks to Playa Rangél. I found most of the locals there to be incredibly friendly. Even the lowliest customers were treated like rockstars. Looks like a lot of new construction there, too.
    Is the Venado gone? Maybe the “new” store is located where the Venado was…
    Guess I need to visit the coast to update my material…
    Well, thanks for writing back.
    Do you ever go to the hotsprings at Cuilala?
    I’m getting a lot of traffic on my Cuilala page:
    The hotsprings could be made into a very cool destination, with a little work…
    Which reminds me… gotta go
    Cheers, Mike

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  9. el codo says:

    Hi, the turtle hatchery I was referring to is on the “flats” to the south (actually east) of the village.

    The Venado Restaurant is the one in the main highway in the village? It’s still there but hours of operation are erratic. So is the “new” open air restaurant across the highway. Open during navidad and semana santa for sure.

    Remember Mex 200? Well, the “2010” project rolled around and at the moment the highway from Caleta de Campos all the way to the T intersection at Acalpican (spur road to Playa Azul) is being widened, flattened, and repaved. There are sections where the original highway remains, but for 50 km travel times have really speeded up.

    All year long in the small town of LA MIRA, halfway between Las Peñas and Lazaro Cardenas the SUNDAY TIANGUIS takes place. Impossible to miss so I won’t bother giving directions to it.

    Whoops, part of the family of la señora Hermalinda owner of the house that I am staying in have moved back to Las Peñas and sadly enough I am probably going to have to move. The winding road beckons with new adventures awaiting so probably sooner or later life in Las Peñas will be but a fond memory.

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