Basic Beach Bliss- Barra de Navidad, Jalisco, Mexico

We spent a few wonderful days in the incredibly mellow beach town of Barra de Navidad at a house that belongs to our friend Iliana’s parents who generously offered it to us so we could all hang out over a long weekend which gave us time to play on the beach and enjoy some really wonderful fish and shrimp tacos from the cart on Michoacan Street. Don’t miss the fish tacos at Mexico Lindo either–cheap and delicious!

The  Barra de Navidad, San Patricio-Melaque beach.

The Barra de Navidad,/San Patricio-Melaque beach.

A Mariachi band, in front of a metal bar.

A mariachi band in front of a heavy metal bar in Barra de Navidad. Of course.

The neigboring town of San Patricio-Melaque had a big fiesta for its patron saint on March 17th...San Patricio=St Patrick. No green though.

The neighboring town of San Patricio-Melaque had a big fiesta for its patron saint on March 17th (San Patricio=St. Patrick). Weirdly, the color green was not a big deal but fireworks certainly were.

A large scorpion we had to sweep out of the house.

A large scorpion (about three inches long) that we carefully swept out of shower drain and out of the house.

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Magic Towns – Mazamitla, Jalisco, Mexico

Sprinkled throughout Mexico are charming old towns that have met official government standards that qualify them as Pueblos Magicos or magical towns. We’ve visited quite a few of them and they’re always a pleasure with quiet streets, traditional architecture, welcoming town squares and a pristine small town feel.

We decided to visit the Pueblo Magico of Mazamitla to check out its charms and to check out what our Lonely Planet guide to Mexico assured us were the best tacos in the world. Unfortunately, the market area where the taco stand in question was located had been torn down right before we arrived so we wasted a whole day trying to find where the taco stand had re-located and by the time we found it the stand was closing for the day!

Mazamitla has an unusual and fanciful church.

Mazamitla has an unusual and fanciful church.

The quite streets of Mazamitla.

Cobblestone streets are charming to look at but sort of a pain to walk or drive on if you want to know the truth.

Meat anyone?

Putting the "meat' in Mazamitla...

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The Last of the Tequila – Ruta del Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico

Yes, we did finally leave the town of Santiago de Tequila, though it was hard to turn our backs on the charms of this town at the heart of the Ruta del Tequila which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Before we left we paid a visit to the cheese lady and explored the wierdly-round remains at the Guachimontones archaeological site.

This lady makes wonderful cheese, in a tiny hamlet outside of a small town outside of Tequila.  And I don’t even like cheese.

This lady makes wonderful cheese (and Eric doesn’t even like cheese) in a tiny hamlet near the town of Tequila.

We stumbled upon this fiesta in Etzatlan, not a hard thing to do in Mexico,

We stumbled upon this fiesta in the town of Etzatlan, not a hard thing to do in Mexico.

Beautiful Hacienda El Carmen.

Beautiful Hacienda el Carmen.

Karen and Mike (our host in Tequila) at the great ruins of Guachimontones.  An amazing (and free) archaeological site of great importance that is almost unknown even among Mexicans.

Karen and Mike (our host in Tequila) exploring the ruins of Guachimontones, an amazing (and free) archaeological site of great importance that is almost unknown even among Mexicans.

  Karen con caballo, riding through the Agave fields outside Tequila.  Photo courtesry of Mike (@mickou)

Karen paseo de caballo through the blue agave fields outside Tequila. Photo courtesy of Mike (@mickou)

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Still Soaking Up Tequila – Ruta del Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico

We just can’t seem to tear ourselves away from Santiago de Tequila, the Pueblo Magico that anchors the Ruta del Tequila in Jalisco, Mexico- itself a UNESCO World Hertiage Site. So, here are some more pictures from Tequila including our visit to the massive Jose Cuervo distillery which is so big that they simply refer to it as Mundo Cuervo (Cuervo World). We learned to NEVER drink the yellow label junk and tasted a super-aged tequila that we will never, ever forget (or be able to afford). Then we visited the tiny Columpio distillery for a look at the other extreme of tequila making.

The Jose Cuervo Crow.  In case you hadn’t figured it out, cuervo means crow in Spanish.

The Jose Cuervo crow. In case you hadn’t figured it out, cuervo means crow in Spanish.

La Cava de la Reserva de la Familia holds the cream of the crop at Cuerco.  This is where the Family de la Reserva lable is aged in oak barrels.  Additionally, the Cava holds some REALLY old Tequila, part of the families private stash.

La Cava de la Reserva de la Familia holds the cream of the crop at the Jose Cuervo distillery. This is where the delicious Reserva de la Familia tequila is aged in oak barrels. This stuff tastes more like cognac than tequila (you even drink it out of snifters) and costs as much too.

A Jimador makes the not so easy job od harvesting the agave look easy.

A jimador makes the not-so-easy job of harvesting the blue agave look easy.

Fields of agave surround the town of Tequila.

Fields of blue agave surround the town of Tequila.

Things are on a different scale at the small, basic Columpio distillery.  They even cook there agave with fire in the oven shown here, as opposed to steam at the larger distilleries.  This leads to a completely different smell and flavor to the tequila.

Things are done on a different scale at the family run Columpio distillery where they cook their agave with fire in the oven shown here, as opposed to steaming it as the larger distilleries do. This gives Columpio tequila a distinctive smoky, firey smell and flavor.

The stills at the Columpio distillery are just a tad more rustic than those at Herradura or Cuervo.

The stills at the Columpio distillery are just a tad more rustic than those at Herradura or Jose Cuervo…

Our host in Tequila, Mike, sampling the goods at the Columpio distillery, straight out of the plastic 5 liter bottle.  Hurts so good.

Mike, our host in Tequila, sampling the goods at the Columpio distillery straight out of a plastic five liter bottle. Hurts so good!

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