Colima is Beautiful even away from the Ocean

Concierto Resorts is centrally located in the state. This allows us to greatly reduce the travel time to all places and attractions throughout Colima. In our last blog we headed up the Pacific coast and today we travel inland. We believe this shows that Colima is beautiful, even away from the ocean.

The majority of tourists arrive by air and enjoy the ocean and beach life of Manzanillo. Sadly, a high percentage do not travel inland to enjoy the rest of the State. There are many day tours and amazing 2-3 day adventure tours available with prices from economy to extravagant.

Melanie loves relaxing in the main town square across from the Hotel Ceballos and Brian loves going over for the best shoe shine experience ever.

During our first vacation we were so fortunate to meet locals who proudly showed us around Colima. They were so generous and we’ve become great friends. After a few tours our confidence grew and we began to travel by car ourselves. Now we love playing it forward and showing friends the ways Colima is beautiful away from the beautiful Pacific.

Colima, Colima: Kinda like Ray Peterson’s 50’s hit Song

The capital city of the State of Colima, is also named Colima and this does cause confusion at times. There’s lots of information about Colima but words alone don’t adequately describe this stunning city. Photos best describe this gem so there’s more included than usual.

Colima lies in northeastern Colima but was originally founded close to the coast in 1523. It was an early base for the Spanish conquest of the Pacific coastal plain and later moved to its present location. The Capital is situated in the Sierra Madre foothills some 1,700 feet (520 metres) above sea level.

In the 19th century it was connected by rail to Guadalajara and the port of Manzanillo. It’s now efficiently linked by superb highways. The population is in excess of 175,000 and over 225,000 with adjoining municipalities included.

Learning with our Eyes and Ears

Privileged to meet with Governor Ignacio Peralta Sanchez (r) at Governor’s Palace January 2019

Travel around the city of Colima isn’t easy no matter how many times you’ve done it. The traffic is usually reasonable and the street signs clear but there are other challenges.

First, because the architecture looks so similar everywhere, you have to focus on distinctive landmarks for directions. Also keep your ears alert for the sounds of distinctive church bells. They’ve proved very effective for us.

There are many one way streets like anywhere but many of these unexpectantly branch off. It’s quite possible to pass a location you passed just minutes before with no idea how it happened.

But don’t let us scare you off. Like us, you too will conquer the routes! We soon memorized the routes to our favourite spots. Finding first time locations we’re always armed with a great city map. Oh, and Google Maps that didn’t exist when we started coming to Colima is amazing!

The Governor’s palace, Colima, Colima, Mexico 2019

Recently, the restoration of the Palace has been undertaken. The restoration of the Government Palace returns to Colima the history that is enclosed within its walls. Thanks to the Federal Secretary of Culture @alefrausto who has promised to promote the project.

Federal Secretary of Culture (l) and Governor Peralta (r)
The Governor’s Palace of Colima circa 1927
The restoration tour of the Governor’s Palace

“Pristine” aptly describes Colima

Our first impressions when driving into Colima years ago hasn’t changed one bit today. We’re astonished with how clean the streets appear and how every parked car looks brand new. It seems somewhat surreal, but it isn’t. It’s Colima and Colima is beautiful!!

The architecture, museums and frequent cultural and religious celebrations provides us with a great understanding of Colima. Beautifully town squares, rich with flowers and fountains, dot corners throughout the city. The public make good use of these areas, day and night. We absolutely love spending relaxing times here every visit to Colima.

Steve and Shirley enjoying one of the serene, relaxing and beautifully manicured town squares in Colima, Colima

Street traffic guards can direct you, help you park or get you laughing. Their constant blowing of whistles and wildly animated arm gestures are clearly intended to entertain while they work.

The rich history of Mexico exudes from every part of this amazing city. The warm friendliness of people in shops, restaurants or just walking by you are wonderful experiences.

We’ve purposely left out paragraphs about our passion for the restaurants here in Colima. These and others around the State will be featured in a blog in the near future.

Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe on the central plaza of Colima, Mexico
Western theme Parade Day through the main square in Colima

Villa de Alvarez

Ciudad de Villa de Álvarez is the municipal seat of Villa de Álvarez municipality. The city is adjacent to the northwest side of the state capital city of Colima and the two can be considered as “twin cities.”

The city and municipality of Villa de Álvarez ranks third in the state in population, behind only Colima itself and Manzanillo. Villa de Álvarez municipality has an area of 428.4 km² (165.4 sq mi).

Villa de Alvarez is one place we’ve spent very little time in. Our friends speak so highly about it and therefore it’s on our to-do list for the next trip!!

Beautiful town square in Villa de Alvarez

Comala – An Art Lovers’ Haven

If you like art, Comala will delight you! There are many hands-on classes or you can watch experts weaving, glass blowing, instrument making, painting, sculpting and more.

Of course, vendors’ livelihoods are based on selling their high-quality hand-made products. The prices are so incredible that you, like us, will wonder, “now what will I do with a saddle?” What an experience to describe the item you want and then watch it created right in front of you!!

Drawn free hand and dyed and sewn as well.

It’s very hard to leave Comala empty handed once you see the great quality products available. A museum here features many of the varied works of famed Colima atisan, Alejandro Hildalgo and is highly recommended.

Hidalgo Museum houses many original works of art, furniture and sculptures of internationally renowed artist Alejandro Hidalgo

Hidalgo may be best known internationally for illustrating Christmas cards for UNICEF in the 1960s. Among many other works he designed exquisite furniture in a style now called Rangeliano.

Traditional, classic furniture of Comala

Comala will delight your Palate

This quaint town of Comala is located just 10 minutes north of the capital city. Mariachi bands, unique restaurants and inviting town squares are numerous. You won’t find chain brand hotels or restaurants here. Comala is a very auhentic, traditional and truly charming town.

Places to stay have expanded greatly over the past ten years and there is a massive range of choice. B&B’s and hostels provide wonderful stays with breakfast starting from $50/room. Close by is the ultra-exclusive enclave, Hacienda De San Antonio, so much so that we can’t take photos. Contact San Antonio on-line to inquire about seasonal rates.

One of the great Bed & Breakfasts found throughout Colima

Little shops lining Comala’s streets provide wonderful food and drink products, crafted locally. One of our favourites is a liqueur called Ponche de Comala available in 15+ flavours. It’s best served iced cold. We feel like we’re visiting an adult ice-cream shop. A 750 ml bottle is priced about 100 pesos ($7). And they also provide testers of any and all flavours you want!!

Melanie read this week’s draft and asked excitedly why we hadn’t mentioned bread. And right she was!! The aroma of baked goods will flow over you as soon as you step out of the car. Comala is famous for its many delicious options. Rarely do we make it back to the city, 10 minutes away, without diving into them. Budget your time wisely because you’ll spend more time in these shops that you ever bargained for!

“I take one of those, two of those, that one, a dozen of those…”

Surprise Dining Experiences

Mariachi bands entertain folks at restaurants in Comala

What a surprise visiting several Comala restaurants that serve you platters of delicious food, free of charge. This happens during “Tres Horas Felices.” (3 Happy Hours) each day. As long as you drinking, you’re eating! The drinks are 30 pesos/$2 for a cerveza, 45/$3 for a margarita.

Our first visit was with 9 people and after the amazing meal the total bill was around $55 including a generous tip. Another $20 and the bands never stopped. Yup, we visit Comala pretty regularly!!

Wonderful to meet with great friends, Pablo Carvajal and son, Pablo Jr in their hometown, Comala.

Some Follow-up Open-Air Fitness

Throughout this entire part of the state you have many amazing options. Architecture, cultural centres, superb restaurants, rich historical venues, concerts and community festivals. Challenging golf at Altozano GC, a major recreational complex, hiking trails and horseback riding are plentiful.

Altozano Resort Golf Community with the Volcan de Colima framing the first hole
Outdoor pool that compliments Olympic indoor pool and full fitness complex

This area of the state has many fantastic sites to experience. Near Comala is the amazing Magic Zone where you feel like you’re defying gravity. You sit in your car on the declining roadway with the car in neutral. Make sure someone is taking a video as your car magically moves backwards, uphill, unaided.

Expect to spend a good deal of time taking many photos of the Volcano of Colima’s face de jour. Both are major attractions of tourists and locals alike. We are going to take a closer look and learn more about this iconic landmark in the weeks to come.

September morning Surprise
Blowing off a little steam in April

In this very trying time around the world with everyone dealing with the COVID19 virus, we wish you and your family, friends and colleagues the very best!

Stay safe yourselves and keep others safe! Hugging will hopefully be possible in the not-too-distant future. Until then, please accept one BIG HUG from us via this note!!

Sincerely, Melanie, Shirley, Steve, Brian

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