La Manzanilla means different things to different people. Top people in Spain, it is a small town with a population of 2,300. To sherry drinkers, it is a variety of fino. To tea drinkers, it is the Spanish word for chamomile. To North American vacationers, it is a fishing village on the Pacific coast of Mexico with a population of 2,000 inhabitants.

 

Three hours south of Puerto Vallarta and one hour north of Manzanillo, the village is situated in the southeast corner of Tenacatita Bay on the Pacific coast. Among the nearby towns are Isla Navidad, Tamarindo and Carayes. This area is known as Costalegre (or Costa Alegre), the Happy Coast.

 

the town has everything that visitors from around North America could want, apart from hordes of tourists. Grocery stores, restaurants, hotels and a thriving fishing industry all provide employment for local citizens. There is a nature sanctuary nearby that provides a home for a colony of 300 American Crocodiles.

 

La Galeria is the premier art gallery in the area. Displayed here are the works of local, regional and nationally known artists who employ a variety of different media and styles. The gallery has been working with expat and Mexican artists since 2003. Regular receptions are held in honor of different artists on approximately a monthly basis.

 

One local artist whose work is frequently on display is Angela Lopez. Multitasking as an interior decorator, Ms Lopez will paint on structural components of clients' homes (borders, walls, etc.) and can add a personalized and decorative touch to clothing and furnishings. Some of her favorite subjects from the natural world like flowers, sea creatures, birds and butterflies.

 

Brian Kieling is an extremely versatile artist who displays his work at the Galeria. His work includes vibrantly colored beachscapes, such as "Zen Wave", or "Playa Nagrita", and single-colored paintings of palm trees, for example, "Blue Palm" and "Paradigm". Some of his most fascinating paintings are intricately colored scenes like "Eve" and "Peyote Palms". At the simple end of the complexity spectrum, he makes interesting use of primary colors, as in "Summer Solstice" or "The Artist and His Model".

 

Manzanilla is also the Spanish word for "little apples", or chamomile, a plant that is used to make an infusion drunk as a tea for its calming effects. It is often served with lemon and/or honey. Although the packaged tea is sold on supermarket shelves, it should be used with caution by people with rag weed allergies, in whom it may cross react to cause an allergic reaction, and in pregnant women, in whom it may induce premature labor and possibly miscarriage.

 

In addition to being a variety of fino sherry, a village in Spain and a calming beverage, La Manzanilla is a small fishing town on the Pacific coast of Mexico. It is popular with tourists who are looking for a quiet getaway. There is enough tourist infrastructure and amenities to be comfortable without attracting massive crowds. It also has a talented community of artists.