Colima Tourist Attractions
How to get thereFrom Mexico City by rail via Guadalajara in about 17 hours (4 hours from Guadalajara); by bus via Guadalajara in about 13 hours (3.5 hours from Guadalajara); by car on the MEX 54 from Guadalajara (265km/165mi) via Ciudad Guzmán.Colima, capital of Colima State, extends across the slopes of a fertile valley watered by two rivers.
With views of two magnificent mountain peaks, its simple colonial architecture, luxuriant gardens and air of tranquillity, the city is a most delightful place.HistoryThe area around Colima almost certainly has a long pre-Columbian history, although next to nothing is known about the early inhabitants. Arriving in 1522 the Spanish under Gonzalo de Sandoval found an Indian settlement already in place, and established a town called San Sebastián de Caballeros next to it. Over the years, mainly in the 18th c. but again in recent decades, it has grown into a flourishing centre where the livestock, timber and agricultural produce of the ranches and haciendas in the countryside around is processed and marketed.
Museum of Western Cultures
The city of Colima is well worth visiting just to see the Museum of Western Cultures (Museo de las Culturas de Occidente; Calz. Galván y Ejército Nacional). It is principally devoted to archaeological finds from the Colima culture burial sites.
Museo de Arte y Cultura Popular
The Museo de Arte y Cultura Popular (or Museo Maria Teresa Pomar; corner of Calle 27 Septiembre/Manuel Gallardo Zamora) has a collection of regional costumes and musical instruments from all over Mexico, also a complete bakehouse for making the very typical "pan dulce".
Museo de Historia de Colima
Pre-Hispanic ceramicware, baskets, furniture and dancers' masks can be seen at the Museo de Historia de Colima (Portal Morelos 1).
Buildings In addition to the Government Palace (Palacio de Gobierno) and the cathedral, the churches of San José, Fátima and El Sagrado Corazón all deserve mention.
The hotel at Tampuchamay (turn off for Los Azmoles 12km/7.5mi south of Colima; after 5km/3mi take the Los Ortices road) has an open-air museum with numerous sculptures; at the burial sites themselves, bones and fragments of pottery can sometimes still be seen. Various species of bat and other coelenterates inhabit the Gruta de Tampuchamay.
Situated about 10km/6mi north of Colima, the attractive small town of Comalá is the centre of the local crafts industry (furniture, paintings and wrought ironwork). About 6km/4mi outside the town is the site of an unusual magnetic phenomenon. Take a taxi from the main square; the driver will turn off his engine and the vehicle will be drawn uphill as if by magic.
Volcanos Some 40km/25mi north of Colima, across the state boundary in Jalisco, tower the peaks of Nevado de Colima (4339 m (14,240 ft)) and Volcán de Colima (3838 m (12,596 ft)). The former, also called Zapotépetl ("mountain of the zapote tree"), is the seventh highest mountain in Mexico. The Volcán de Colima, known as the "Volcano of Fire" (Volcán de Fuego; crater 1800 m (5607 ft) in diameter and 250 m (820 ft) deep) erupted several times between 1957 and 1975 causing considerable damage. A very poor track off to the left a short distance before the little town of Atenquique (timber factory), leads to the volcano and also the Parque Nacional de Volcán de Fuego 27km/17mi further on. In its present condition the track is only negotiable, when at all, using a 4-wheel drive vehicle. A little way beyond Atenquique a poorish country road/field track likewise branches off left for 37km/23mi to the Parque Nacional de Nevado de Colima, to which another track beginning 2km/1.3mi before Ciudad Guzmán (leading to Albergue La Joya and the Canal 13 radio station) also gives access. Once again neither route should be attempted without a cross-country vehicle. These tracks are heavily used by timber transporters.