North of Ixtapa, Hwy-200 follows the coast for 100km or so before crossing the Guerrero border into Michoacán state and the industrial city of Lázaro Cárdenas. From here the highway continues for another 260km through a wilder, virtually uninhabited area: there are fabulous beaches, but for the most part the mountains of the Sierra de Coalcomán drop straight into the ocean – it’s the most spectacular, best preserved and least developed section of the Pacific coast. You’ll make the most of this region if you have your own transport, though experienced hikers often camp and walk large sections of the coast. If you do travel by bus, sit at the front and prepare for some severe hairpin bends. In all cases, avoid travel at night.
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Accommodation and eating in The Michoacan Coast
You’ll find plenty of budget accommodation in Caleta, much of it close to the beach, and numerous places to grab a meal; there is a string of bars and restaurants down at the beach and a plethora of taco stands and mini-markets along the main street.
PLAYA MARUATA is by far the most enticing beach on the coast, and the best one for camping. Once an isolated Nahua fishing village, it has developed into a laidback backpacker and surfer resort, with locals providing cheap eats and accommodation, as well as leading the effort to protect the turtles that frequent their beaches.
The main beach is a 3km stretch of sand perfect for swimming and snorkelling, while the more intriguing middle section is riddled with boulders and caves, including an enigmatic finger of rock known as the Dedo de Dios (“God’s finger”). The third section is known as Playa de los Muertos, dogged by dangerous currents and waves. From Maruata it’s another 80km to the Colima border at Boca de Apiza – there are numerous surfer hangouts along the way (Playa La Ticla and San Juan de Alima among them).
A further 8km up the Michoacan coast from Plata Maruata is Colola, another long stretch of sand much favoured by wildlife spotters, as it’s far less known and tends to attracts more turtles than Maruata. During October and November both leatherback and green turtles make their way up the sandbar to lay their eggs, and hotel owners organize beach walks to see them.