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Mexico        Rêve Mexicain en français
 
 
 
Northern Pacific coast Mex.
 Page updated on 03.10.2015
 
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The access to Manzanillo (Colima state) or Puerto Vallarta (Jalisco state) can be done either directly by plane or by road, the northern road from Guadalajara via the Nayarit or the southern road via the state of Colima.

Puerto Vallarta

Church Our Lady of Guadalupe

 

 

Left picture: Church Our Lady of Guadalupe


 

 

 

 

 



See the special chapter about Puerto Vallarta and Costalegre



      Right picture: The Malecón The Malecón

 

Maps of the beach resort : (downtown)


Playa Mismaloya

 

 

 


Left picture : Playa Mismaloya

 



 

 

 

Yelapa fall
    Right picture : Yelapa fall

 

 






Because of the special interest of a village, we will take a detour inland.

San Sebastián del Oeste

village of San SebastiánAfter driving for 2 ½ hours through the Sierra de Mascota and the forests of conifers, we reached San Sebastián del Oeste, old mining village with 800 inhabitants, which kept its charm. Avoid going there during the rainy season because the road could be rough and you would need a 4 wheel drive car. From Puerto Vallarta, follow the direction : Las Juntas-Universidad, then Las Palmas then Mosceta-Estancia. Nine km (5 miles) before arriving in San Sebastián del Oeste, you could stop at “La Estancia” where you could visit a Raicilla distillery and/or have a look at the valley from the Mirador. You will also see some rows of Blue Agave, the plant from which tequila is made. A new road is in construction and should be open in 2009.

     Right picture : village of San Sebastián

The village itself is the goal of the visit. Take the time to stroll in the paved streets finding a tortillas workshop or a coffee factory. Under the arches of the Zócalo, step into the grocery store of Pachita, full of little treasures from another time.

The Church of San Sebastian Mártir, located on the main place, unaffected, with beautiful painted ceilings, is worth the trip. We have been very well welcomed in this village.
Visit the organic Coffee factory “La Quinta Mary” where you’ll be welcomed by Mary’s grand-daughter. She will show you the complete process from coffee beans to coffee packages.

village of San Sebastián
There are no open hours. Just knock at the door if it is closed !

We stayed there before going back on the road, the following day, towards Guadalajara via the coastal road Mex200. There are several possibilities of lodging in the center of the village. If you have time, the villages of Talpa de Allende or Mascota are also interesting stops on the mountain road with a 4 wheel drive car.


Left picture : village of San Sebastián



What means the World Heritage List of Unesco ? Log on to the site :

Tentative List of the "Historic Town of San Sebastián del Oeste" :





Costalegre

Other possible visits :

When driving from Puerto Vallarta towards the southern Pacific coast, you take a nice 220km (130 miles) long road along the Costalegre (from Puerto Vallarta to Barra de Navidad). The road is nice ; it often runs close to the ocean and also crosses little inland villages and alternates landscapes of fruit trees, coconut trees and desert parts with cactus. Many gas stations allow refueling all along the road.

See the map :

playa de Tomatlan
     

 

 

 

     Right picture : playa de Tomatlan

 




Tenacatita Beach

 

 

 


Left picture : Tenacatita Beach

 




Boca de Iguanas

 

 

 

     

    Right picture : Playa de Manzanilla


 





     

Barra de Navidad

 

 

      Left picture : Barra de Navidad

 

 

 

 

 


    

Beautiful video of a circuit from Barra de Navidad to Tenacatita
 




MANZANILLO and Colima state



Manzanillo

harbour of Manzanillo

See the special chapter about Manzanillo

 


     Right picture : harbour of Manzanillo

 

 

 

 



view of Manzanillo bays


     

 

Left picture : view of Manzanillo bays

 

 

 

 


  Map of the city : view of Manzanillo


     


      Right picture : view of Manzanillo

 

 




 


playa de Cuyutlan

 


COLIMA
The capital, Colima is one of the oldest cities in Mexico. It is a beautiful city with 2 zócalos, 2 main plazas with portals (arches). The main one is the Jardin de Libertad, the other one is Jardin Torres Quinter. The town is working very hard to restore their buildings. It is not located along the pacific Coast but is the gateway between the coast and Guadalajara, the capital of Jalisco.

Left picture : playa de Cuyutlan (south of Manzanillo)

 

 


COMALA (magic village)
Comala Only 8km (5 miles) separate Comala (whose name means, in Náhuatl language, “place of the comales”, the clay griddles used to cook the corn tortillas) from the city of Colima. Comala is a “magic village”. It is located at 600m of elevation, so dress properly (light in summer, warm in winter). This peaceful village is guarded by an imposing giant behind him : the Volcano of Fire. In 1988, the village of Comala was declared Zone of Historic Monuments.
The climate of the region is tropical. Enjoy walking on the streets in the shade of the palm and almond trees, feeling the fresh breeze and admiring the main plaza. Facing the plaza stands the elegant neo-classic building dating from the nineteenth century, the church Saint Michel Archange, harmonious colonial construction by the city hall. Once there, you can’t help but sit by the kiosk and listen to the murmur of the fountains and the nature that surrounds this beautiful magic and mystic village. It remained, like in the novels of Juan Rulfo, suspended in the time. It is a nice village with a lively Zócalo, narrow streets, and whitewashed houses with red roofs. The Zócalo is the best spot to admire the volcanoes, preferably in the morning.

     Right picture : Comala

Another interesting place is the Ex-Hacienda de Nogueras, construction dating from the seventeenth century, where sugar cane was cultivated.

Zócalo of ComalaNowadays, it is a museum, a cultural center and an ecological park. The museum was set by Alejandro Rangel Hidalgo. It displays art works and pictures of this artist from Colima.
The people of the village are clever craft men who work and carve wood, especially mahogany and the parota to make furniture and ornamental objects. They also make masks for the Indian dances, straw hats of Colima style, clay griddles used to cook corn tortillas (comales), chiquihuites and above all huaraches (sandals) called "cactli".

You can also find craft made of reed in Suchitlan, a small close by village, worldwide famous for the masks made there. The majestic silhouettes of the Volcanoes of Fire and Nevado de Colima are present everywhere you go hiking. The first volcano is 4000 m (13,123 feet) high and the other one, 4300m (14,108 feet).

Left picture : Zócalo of Comala

 

NAYARIT

All along the isolated beaches of the Mexican Pacific Coast, lined with jungle, everything seems to tend to perfection. There are perfect sunsets with an explosion of orange and purple on the bays; perfect and regular waves make the local surfers happy. Here, you can find the perfect shrimps, picked and prepared by people who have been perfecting their methods of cooking for centuries. If this coast of Nayarit State was once isolated, it is not the case anymore: in 2007, the Mexican government renamed it «Riviera Nayarit», with the hope of attracting more tourists. Thousands of Americans and Canadians looking for a holiday home also discovered this perfect place presenting itself as an affordable paradise. The ” Riviera Nayarit” covers 161km (100 miles), from Puerto Vallarta at the south, to the fishing village of San Blas at the north. Between these two places, there are hundred isolated beaches and picturesque fishing villages - all oases for tourists that will soon be discovered.
On “Riviera Nayarit’, there are very expensive suites, especially at Four Seasons, and spas to pamper oneself while doing yoga in the jungle. There are also basic training surf camps and modest Bed and Breakfast. In order to enjoy the whole coast, it is better to rent a car and take Highway 200, a new but narrow road that opened most of the area to the tourist business. The highway winds between mountain passes, parallel to the coast. Every visit of the region starts in Puerto Vallarta. Unlike Cancun and Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta was a city before it became a holiday destination. Its paved streets and old manors evoke a past glamour era. Puerto Vallarta is also known as one of the culinary capitals in Mexico. Even if the city offers several luxurious restaurants critically acclaimed, we found exquisite dishes in the modest «taquerias» of the narrow streets. At Taco Loco de Felipe, two blocks from the Malecon, we enjoyed one of the most memorable dishes of the trip : shrimp burritos filled with creamy vinaigrette, pieces of mango and crab meat.
If you drive forty minutes north from Puerto Vallarta, you end up in the very select Punta Mita which marks the start of the “Riviera Nayarit”. It was once an isolated peninsula, but it became the favorite of famous people such as Bill Gates. There are some luxurious hotels and holiday condos, away from civilization. Beaches may be shared with a sunning iguana, or a noisy chachalaca. During the summer months, watch the release of baby sea turtles as they make their first voyage out of sea. Whales and dolphins can be spotted swimming in the offshore waters during winter months. Punta Mita is bordered by a coral reef that projects many small marine species, while the Pacific Ocean hosts an abundance of fish including swordfish, sailfish, grouper, snapper, and catfish. As the Punta Mita resort was developed, special care was taken to respect and blend into this environment, preserving and protecting the flora and fauna here.

Sayulita, about 48km (30 miles) north of Puerto Vallarta, is located along a bay with waves regulated like a metronome. It was discovered ten or twenty years ago by adventurers seeking pleasure. Until now, there are still not all included huge resorts and the dirt roads are in bad condition but the city welcomes many surfers and tourists. Playa de los Muertos (Beach of the Dead), an unbelievable small beach located 1,5 km (1 mile) from downtown, is named so because the trail that leads to it crosses a spectacular cemetery made of tombs and altars scattered in the middle of the jungle. If you go early in the morning, you can share the beach only with hermit crabs. During the summer, you can have some good deals in hotels. At the wonderful Boutique-Hotel Los Amores, we found a huge ocean front suite for 1700 mxn$.

Chacala, a minuscule fishing village with 500 inhabitants, is considered as being the jewel of the new Riviera. It is located about 56 km (35 miles) north from the winding highway 200. This part of the road is dotted with many colorful fruit stands where you can find exotic fruits such as jackfruits. On summer time, Chacala is one of the holiday destinations for the Mexicans of the region. The beach becomes the festive meeting place for travelling musicians, surfers and oceanfront restaurants serving fresh shrimps.
Chacala means «Place where the shrimps are», and the local cuisine brought honor to the name of the village.
There are many kinds of lodging in Chacala, from the very luxurious hotel offering spa + yoga and meditation for 2450 mxn$ a night to an innovative local program that allows tourists to stay at people’s places. This program is named «Techos de México» (Mexican Roofs). It allows locals to obtain low interest loans in order to extend their house by adding a floor. It is a way to distribute the money of tourists among the community.

Where to stay ?

À Sayulita
Villa Amor (www.villaamor.com), a complex of 33 ocean side luxurious villas, offers breathtaking views of Sayulita Bay. It is located close to the Beach of the Dead. A luxurious one bedroom costs 1700 mxn$ in August and September and 2210 mxn$ during the other months.
In Chacala
The holistic resort Mar de Jade (www.mardejade.com) offers yoga, meditation and spa treatments in a jungle environment close to the beach. A bedroom is 1780 mxn$ per person per night and 615 mxn$ less during the summer.
Techos de México (www.techosdemexico.com), or Mexican Roofs, offers the opportunity of staying at people’s places in an extension of their house built on purpose. Prices range from 245$ to 490mxn$ per night.

 

 

Where to eat ?

El Tacos Loco de Felipe
They serve unbelievable shrimp burritos in this humble restaurant opposite park Hidalgo. Let you tempt by the duo shrimp-crabs for about 86 mxn$.

Las Brisas
In Chacala, Las Brisas is the best of the many restaurants lined with palm trees along the beach. It offers some of the best shrimp dishes that we have ever tasted.

 

 

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