The State of Colima, Mexico has an active volcano and a docile twin. The active one is known as the Volcan de Colima. The silent one, Nevado de Colima. The iconic, active volcano is the subject of more professional photographers and weekend iPhone shooters than any other of Colima’s natural surroundings. And remember that includes the Pacific Ocean! On the first trip to Colima in 2007, we became aware the state has an active volcano. It was intriguing and our fascination with this volcano continues as strongly today.
A few Facts about this iconic Natural Treasure
A majority of the Volcan is located in the neighbouring State of Jalisco. Once a part of that State it became an official Colima landmark at some point in time. The active volcano is the younger of the two. The volcano is located about a 35-kilometres from the State capital, Colima City and 125 kilometres from Guadalajara. There are a number of small villages located within 15 km. Recent reports indicate that over 300,000 people live within 40 kilometres.
Volcan has an approximate elevation of 12,500 ft and Nevado at 14,000 ft. The active volcano is historically reported to have first erupted in the late 1500s. The volcanic activity is a leading contributor to the fine black, volcanic sand found on most of the 60 miles of beaches in Colima.
The history of eruptions and the proximity to a relatively large population has resulted in Volcan being designated a Decade Volcano. It is so named by (IAVCEI) International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior. This designation includes other well-known volcanoes including Vesuvius, Etna and the northwest USA’s Mt. Ranier. The Volcan is a significant scientific entity!
Volcano: a new Love for a Rocky Mountain Kid
As we drive towards the capital, Colima City, we usually take a shot like this one. It’s become part of the travel routine. I say “we” because I would never make the drive alone and use my camera while operating the car. (legal dept. inquiry covered) Some days the volcano is seen crystal clear and on others, obscured in a haze. Part of the great fun is waiting, camera ready, for the highway’s last turn and the face-on view of this fantastic landmark.
Living my entire life in Calgary, Alberta with a magnificent view of the Rocky Mountains, it’s no surprise I’m captivated by the Volcano. Spending a few days near the mountains in Canmore usually results in a couple hundred photos of mountain peaks.
Sadly, I admit it’s only the active volcano that draws my attention. I forget the Nevado is right there at Volcan’s shoulder. With hundreds of personal photos of Volcan on file, I am searching, without success, for a single clear shot of Nevado! (the tiny bump on left) (tear emoji)
Everyone loves sharing favourite ‘Volcan de Colima’ Moments
There are two volcanoes but when locals or visitors speak about “the volcano,” it’s Volcan to which they’re referring. Of course, we expect visitors’ comments when they see it first hand. It’s surprising how many folks who have visited Colima start conversations about the volcano once we’ve returned home.
Visually located at the end of the first fairway at the Altozano Resort golf course, it provides a pretty decent target to aim at. When I get together for lunch with pals who have played here, the golf course and the volcano always comes up. If we’re joined by friends who haven’t been to Colima to see it, the description gets pretty detailed. These stories are generally based on two aspects. 1) The activity taking place with the volcano on a specific day. 2) Some veiled reference to the volcano only to switch over to a great shot or score during the game at Altozano.
Exciting comments are not only confined to State visitors. We have received early morning and late night phone calls from local Mexican friends with news about action with Volcan. We also enjoy all text messages, emails and social media posts about this iconic place. Of course, most of these notices occur when the volcano gets feisty!
One Very Photogenic and Emotive Volcano
Volcan de Colima is presented in some of the most beautiful landscapes photos. Unlike its silent partner, it also offers an endless series of faces. These constant changes are why its a constant object of photographers and social media attention.
We take photos of the volcano from every location we can. Strangely we’ve never done so while travelling back from Guadalajara. We would get a totally different perspective coming from the back side. That’s on the to-do list. One favourite is from a friend’s property line (left) where the tiny whiff of steam indicates it’s doing business as usual. Most of our photos are pale in comparison to the majestic shots taken by talented photographers. I’m pretty sure they aren’t charging their cameras while en-route.
Hernando Rivera, braves the weather and 12 kilometres away from to the Volcán de Colima two years ago to capture the moment lightning strikes during an eruption. (shown right) Mr Rivera said: “I waited for eight hours, knowing something was going to happen. When the lightning arrived it was magical. An unforgettable experience.'” www.volcanodisovery.com;
Sergio Tapiro Velasco (below) born in Colima and honoured National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year in 2017 with his image of a lightning strike. “This picture (click on me) is a gift that nature has given to me,” Tapiro says. “When I saw the camera display I was shocked—I didn’t believe it.”
You may see images such as these on social media. Hopefully, you may now take an extra moment to check if it’s the Volcan de Colima. Amateur and professional photographers are constantly looking for creative angles, volcano activity and times of day and night to capture the next iconic images.
Tapiro’s image is the winner of the 2017 Travel Photographer of the Year Contest. “A powerful moment, captured in a beautiful way. Sergio’s image surged to the top of the Nature Photography category by unanimous consent,” says Molly Roberts, senior photo editor at National Geographic and one of the year’s contest judges. “Sergio has focused his lens on the volcano for 15 years, and his masterful concentration is apparent in the beautiful image of the erupting volcano.”
Locals have great Pride in their iconic Volcano
Flashback: It’s 6:45 am and I answer a call to our hotel room at Mision Colima placed by our distinguished friend, Mario De La Madrid (Notaria-9-Lic-Mario-De-La-Madrid). He excitedly urges us to rise, get into the car and drive up to the Volcano. “Today is a very special day,” Mario explains.
“Get going quickly, you will see and will appreciate it,” he says. “You’ll feel right at home!” he shares. As we drive we are quickly aware traffic in this area is far busier than normal. Lots of people are also driving to the volcano. Fifteen minutes after we leave, the sun starts rising and we reach a vantage point with a long-range view of the volcano. He’s correct on all counts! The sight of the sun gleaming off the snow is a wonderful sight indeed!
We didn’t take this photo (right) but it’s very close to the fond image of that early morning in 2009 when Volcan and Nevado were covered in snow. Locals who have never been to a country with snow love to travel to the volcano and feel it between their fingers for the first time. That’s until we start telling our stories!!
First time for this Vantage Point
When flying into Colima from Canada you arrive at Playa de Oro International north of Manzanillo. This is 150 kms+ from the Volcano with no possible view. However, when leaving this same airport and flying to certain destinations in the USA, the route for departure is much different. Recently Shirley and Steve did so and sent this interesting photo of the crater to add to the file of this most interesting feature in Colima, Mexico.
Put the Volcano on your Must-Do List
As you prepare for your trip to Colima, due to this scintillating blog, make sure you save a day for a tour of the volcano.
There are several excellent tour companies that will guide you to the Volcano and several other points of interest for a full day experience. There’s also the exhilaration of renting a car, creating a list of places to see, pulling up Google maps and heading off on your own.
When the pre-development campaign for homes at Concierto Resorts begins we will be proudly sharing the sites of Colima, including the Volcan, with our interested guests. https://www.conciertoresorts.com
Hope you’ve enjoyed learning a bit about the Volcan de Colima and that you get an opportunity to see it first hand!!
SInceramente Gracias. ¡Esperamos verte muy pronto!
www.viator.com (Colima Volcano Cultural Tour)
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