Colima – Volcanos, Culture, History and Art

The State of Colima is the fourth smallest state in Mexico but has no lack of variety for sites to visit. Located in Central Mexico on the Pacific coast, the state has a small population with a high standard of living and low unemployment.

Colima Attractions

There are many inland attractions to lure tourists away from coastal resorts for at least one day. The area is considered safe. As an informed traveler, however, ask someone local for advice before you begin your adventure.

Founded in 1527, the capital city of Colima was the first Spanish city on the west coast. Travel 28 miles east from the coast to “The City of Palms”. It is cooler, less humid and is sprinkled with many parks and squares. Open air concerts are frequently held on Thursday evenings.

In central Colima there are three plazas. Plaza Principal is an inviting space near the 18th Century Catedral Santa Iglesia (Cathedral of Saint Iglesia.) Decorative murals depicting key events in Mexican history are on the walls of the inner courtyard at the Palacio de Gobierno (Palace of the Governor.) Jardin Quintero and the Parque Nunez flower garden are a short stroll from hotels, restaurants and shops.

Museums and Culture of Colima

There are many museums and art galleries in town. A sampling includes Museo Universitario de Artes Populares (Museum of the University of Popular Art.)  Exhibits feature pre-Hispanic artifacts, masks, textiles and popular art. Museo de Historia de Colima (Museum of the History of Colima) is a smaller facility displaying similar cultural items. A permanent collection of fine art is housed at Pinacoteca Universidad. In addition, at the same site, three mansions connected by courtyards, house works by local artists.

 

The Cathedral in Comala, Colima - From IstockPhoto.com

The Cathedral in Comala, Colima – From IstockPhoto.com

 

Concerts, operas and plays are performed at Teatro Hidalgo (Theater Hidalgo.) Miguel Hidalgo, a revolutionary hero, donated the site to the city. The theater was built over a period of years from 1871-83.

If you have been charmed by the beauty of the area, make a stop a Parque Piedra Lisa (Lisa Stone Park or Smooth Stone Park.) It’s located one block south of Casa. This black volcanic rock is a natural formation projecting up from the ground. Sloped and resembling a sliding board, local lore says if a visitor slides down the rock, you will have a special relationship with Colima.

Known for burnished red pre-Hispanic earthenware, a fine display of ancient ceramic pottery is on view at a museum ½ mile northeast of the city center. Visit the Museo de las Culturas del Occidente (Museum of the Cultures of the West) and see pieces crafted hundreds of years ago by indigenous people. Human and animal figures are common. Look for the popular perros cebados, or round dogs. These stout little dogs with short legs and full bellies were kept by early residents of the area. Numerous examples of these ceramic dogs have been found in local ruins.

Colima Archeology

To truly get a feel for what makes Colima unique, consider a stop at El Chanal. In the Zona Arquelogica (Archeological area) to the north, the sites can be seen in about an hour. This is probably the biggest pre-Columbian site in Colima. Walk the plazas and view ball courts and altars constructed by ancient inhabitants.

La Campana (The Campaign) is an archeological pre-Columbian settlement located outside town. Modern construction in the 1990s revealed buildings, plazas and ceramic pieces dating back to 700-900 AD. You are free to roam the excavated area. Shaft tombs are nearby.

Towns near Colima

Depending on your interests, consider touring other towns. Situated six miles north of Colima is Comala. Named a Magic Town in 2002 by the Tourism Ministry, Comala is known as The White Village because of the white buildings with red tile roofs. Eat a meal at one of the restaurants situated under a colonnade around the square. Later, walk the plazas and enjoy the view of the volcanoes.

Suchitlan is six miles north of Comala. The region is known for coffee plantations and carved ritual masks. In the Zona Magica, a road outside town has an incline. For reasons that can’t be explained, water has been known to run uphill.

Laguna la Maria is a green lake located 14 miles north of Colima. It offers rowing on waterways surrounded by coffee groves. For an extended stay, there are lodging and dining establishments.

Volcanos of Colima

Volcano in Colima (From Istockphoto.com)

Volcano in Colima (From Istockphoto.com)

Two local volcanoes hold a commanding position in the landscape. Travel north for the best viewing and photos. Standing 12,989 feet, the Volcan de Fuego de Colima (Volcano of Fire of Colima) is the most active volcano in North America. Its last eruption was in June, 2005. The higher Volcan de Nevado (Volcano of Snow-capped Mountain) is the dormant twin. Measuring 14,600 feet, it gets its name from the snow covered cap. There are no tours, but Parque Nacional Volcan de Colima (Volcano National Park of Colima) is located five miles beyond Laguna la Maria (Lake Mary.) There is hiking on the foothills of the volcano.

Treat yourself and experience the sites of Colima beyond the ocean. Drink in the culture and history of this rich land and leave with memories that last a lifetime.  For additional beautiful pictures of Colima go to :

 

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This post was written by who has written 4 posts on themexicanexperience.com.

Susan J. Anderson is a writer who enjoys travel. Her challenge is to discover what is unique to each location than delve deeper and learn more. A Midwesterner, Susan is a former Navy dependent who has lived on the East and West coasts in the United States. From the ages of 10 - 13 she lived in Naples, Italy and traveled extensively throughout Europe on family vacations. She did a course of study in Oxford for junior year abroad and considers England a second home. Interests include history, archaeology, reading, anything botanical and a desire to visit more Caribbean islands. Susan earned her B.A. at Barat College in Lake Forest, Illinois. Her degree is in Management & Business with a minor in European History. Follow her boards on Pinterest at susan651.

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