After El Tamarindo our next stop was El Careyes Beach Resort, another member of the Mexico Boutique Hotels group. A bit more conventional and much more affordable than the extremely exclusive El Tamarindo.
All of the guests in the hotel, except for us, were there as part of a wedding party celebrating the marriage of a girl from Guadalajara and a boy from Switzerland. Worried that we would be troubled by the music they planned to play around the pool until 4am, they simply (and graciously) invited us to the wedding – our first Mexican wedding! The funniest part was the first few songs after the 1st dance – Beatles, Stones… then Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” with everyone singing along with the lyrics perfectly. Are we still in Mexico?
WOW is an apt reaction when you first lay eyes on the exclusive El Tamarindo Resort both in regard to the beauty of the property and its price tag. If you really want to splurge there are stunning four bedroom residences where French President Sarkozy stayed last month and subsequently created a bit of an stir back home for the reported $63,000 price tag for a weekend.
We stayed in a still-very-over-the-top casita with stunning open-air architecture and a private plunge pool.
The wonderful village of Comala, Mexico, about 10 miles (16 km) outside of Colima, the capital city of Colima state, lies in the shadow of the smoking Colima Volcano and is home to two very unique drinking traditions: cold beers and hot snacks in the bars under the portales around the town’s central square and leche caliente, a morning tradition involving spiked hot milk fresh out of the cow. Of course we tried both.
Cold beers in Comala
Comala, named a Pueblo Magico in 2002, is noted for its beauty and peacefulness but also for the unique bars around its central square which offer endless plates of tasty tapas that come free as long as you keep ordering their (slightly pricier) drinks. It’s an irresistible combination so we settled into a couple of chairs and prepared to spend the afternoon appreciating the charms of Comala.
That’s when we met Raphael and his siblings who were visiting their hometown from the US where they now live.
Our new friends insisted that we had to experience leche caliente with them early the following morning and it all sounded too good to pass up so we crashed on their mother’s floor that night.
Early the next morning our new friends took us for leche caliente as promised. At dawn we drove to a small nearby dairy farm armed with the necessary ingredients: plastic cups, alcohol (clearly only the most generic kind will do), and a mix of ground up chocolate and sugar.
Only one thing was missing…
Making leche caliente in Comala
First you put a few spoonfuls of the ground chocolate and sugar mixture in the bottom of your cup then you fill it up with fresh milk straight from the cow. This was the first time we’d ever had unpasturized milk straight from the cow (though it’s common in Mexico). Then you add a splash (or more) of the alcohol and you’ve got leche caliente, breakfast of champions!
Hiking in Nevado de Colima National Park
The next day we drove to Nevado de Colima National Park where you can go birdwatching and even climb 12,595 foot (3,920 meter) Colima Volcano (aka Fuego de Colima) if it’s not being too active. We skipped the volcano but still managed to hike as high as 12,200 feet (3,650 meters) and had fantastic views of the volcano puffing away in the distance.