Mexican StateThe state of Jalisco is bounded on the north by Zacatecas and Aguascalientes, on the west by Nayarit and the Pacific, on the south by Colima and Michoacán and on the east by Guanajuato.
It is a region of varied scenery, with an extensive high plateau, ranges of hills in the Sierra Madre Occidental, deep gorges, numerous lakes and a coastal region of luxuriant vegetation. The mountains, many of them volcanic, rise to their highest points in the south, with the Nevado de Colima (4339 m (14,240 ft)) and the Volcán de Colima (3838 m (12,596 ft)). The population is made up of whites, mestizos and a considerable proportion of Indians, mainly Nahua, Huicholes and Purépacha (Tarascans).HistoryA number of pre-Columbian sites have been identified, many of them merely cemeteries. They include those at Ixtepete, Teuchtitlán, Etzatlán, Tuxacuesco and Ameca.The pre-Columbian history of Jalisco (Náhuatl: "place in front of the sand") began in the Pre-Classic period and continued in the Classic. Since very little is known of the peoples who created these cultures they are referred to simply as the "cultures of the West" (Occidente). Their most notable products are the life-like terracotta figures, named Jalisco, Colima and Nayarit, after the states. During the Post-Classic period there grew up in this region a number of Indian states, including Coliman, Zapotlán, Xalisco and Tollan, which were conquered in the second half of the 15th c. by the Purépecha (Tarascans) under their king, Tzitic Pandácuaro.The first of the Spanish conquistadors to arrive in this area, in 1525, was Francisco Cortés de San Buenaventura, who encountered the Chimalhuacanes, then dominant over the other local tribes. It was left to the notorious Nuño Beltrán de Guzmán, however, to conquer the greater part of the region between 1530 and 1535. After the dismissal and arrest of Guzmán, Pérez de la Torre was made governor of the province of Nueva Galicia, to which Aguascalientes and Zacatecas also belonged until 1789. In subsequent years there was bitter fighting between the Spaniards and rebellious Indians, who entrenched themselves in the old strongholds (peñoles) originally built by the Tarascans. After the pacification of the area and the discovery of minerals the state, with its capital at Guadalajara, became independent and prosperous. In 1889 Jalisco gave up part of its coastal territory, including the town of Tepic, and this developed into the state of Nayarit. The bloody Cristero War (1926-29) started in the region of Los Altos in north-eastern Jalisco. During this struggle Catholic peasants rebelled against the the oppression of the church by Presidents Plutarco Elías Calles and Emilio Portes Gil.EconomyThe state has a richly productive agriculture, including maize, beans, wheat, sugar-cane, cotton, agaves, rice, indigo and tobacco. The coastal regions grow rubber and copra, and there is also much livestock-farming. Minerals worked include gold, silver, cinnabar, copper and semi-precious stones. Industry, mainly in Guadalajara, produces textiles, leather goods, chemicals, tobacco, glass, ceramics, cement and drinks. The growing tourist trade is centred on Guadalajara, the area around the Laguna de Chapala and the beach resorts on the Pacific.SightsIn addition to Guadalajara, the region around the Laguna de Chapala and the seaside resorts of Puerto Valllarta, Barra de Navidad and Playa de Tenacatita (both in the Surroundings of Manzanillo) are also of interest.
Tequila (the Náhuatl name for a drink made from mezcal: alt. 1218 m (3996 ft); pop. 50,000; fiestas: May 2nd, Día de la Santa Cruz; December 12th, Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe), with the beautiful church of San Francisco.
Ciudad Guzman, Mexico
Ciudad Guzmán (formerly Zapotlán: 1507 m (4944 ft); population 215,000; fiesta: October 22nd-25th, Día del Señor San José). The town boasts a small archaeological museum which also contains pictures by José Clemente Orozco. It is a good base for climbing the Nevado de Colima and the Volcán de Colima.
San Juan de los Lagos, Mexico
San Juan de los Lagos (1864 m (6116 ft); population 80,000; fiestas February 2nd Día de la Candelaria, or Candlemas, and December 8th, Día de la Inmaculada Concepción).The miracle-working statue of the Virgen de la Candelaria in the parish church draws thousands of pilgrims from all over Mexico, especially at the beginning of February, and the pilgrimages are the occasion of great fiestas, with mariachis, dancing, bullfights, cockfights, etc. The town is also noted for its embroidery and its horse market, held between November 20th to December 13th.
Barra de Navidad
The popular seaside resort of Barra de Navidad in Jalisco state (population 30,000) lies 65km/40mi along the MEX 200 past the airport. It was from this former fishing-port that Captain Miguel López de Legazpi set out in 1564 to cross the Pacific to the Philippines, where he established the first Spanish settlement and thus started the Spanish colonisation of Asia.MEX 200 continues towards Puerto Vallarta past resorts with beautiful beaches, and islands such as the tourist centre of Isla Navidad (marina, golf course). Further on comes Melaque/San Patricio and the attractive Bay of Tenacatita, followed by Bahia Careyes and, after 120km/75mi, Playa von Chamela (inside the Chamela-Cuixmala Biosphere Reserve.