Cold Beer, Hot Milk, and Smoking Volcanoes – Comala, Mexico

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 beer in the bars that ring the town’s main plaza and leche caliente (hot milk) the morning after. Of course we tried both.

The wonderful village of Comala just 10 miles outside of Colima lies in the shadow of theactive Volcán de Colima.

The wonderful village of Comala, Mexico lies in the shadow of the active Colima Volcano.

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.

In the afternoon we sat around one of the bars around the town square in Comala noted for their endless tasty tapas with (pricey) drinks. There we met Raphael and his huge family who were from Washington, but were in town visiting family. They were also quite fond of Mariachi music. They adopted us and wouldn’t let us return to Colima and our hotel room because we HAD to experience Leche Caliente with them in the morning. it all sounded too good to pass up so we crashed on Mom’s floor.

We met Raphael and his siblings in Comala, Mexico as mariachis serenaded us at one of the many bars around the main square.

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 the floor in their mother’s house that night.

 

The next morning they took us for Leche Cliente as promised. At dawn we drove to a nearby farm with the necessary ingredients - alcohol (clearly only the most generic kind will o), and a mix of ground up chocolate & sugar. Only one thing was missing…

The ingredients for leche caliente include alcohol, a mix of ground up chocolate and sugar and one extra special ingredient…

Hot milk in Comala

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…

… and the final ingedient, udderly fresh milk. Fist time we ever had (unpasturized) milk straight from the cow and it was great. Breakfast of champions.

…udderly fresh milk. Here, Eric fills his leche caliente cup the traditional way.

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, 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!

We drove to Nevado de Colima National Park and climbed to over 12,200 feet to the top which afforded this view of the nearby, very active Volcan de Colima. From here we drove 3+ hours down to the coast. First time I’d ever ever descended over 12,000 feet (except by airplane) in a few hours. Out of the ice chest and into the frying pan.

A hike up to 12,000 feet (3,650 meters) in Nevado de Colima National Park got us this view of the nearby, very active Colima Volcano.

Hiking in Nevado de Colima National Park

The next day we drove to Nevado de Colima National Park where you can go bird watching 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) for fantastic views of the volcano puffing away in the distance.

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Iguanas, Crocodiles & Eco Ambitions – Costalegre, Mexico

Boca de Iguanas, just north of the village of Melaque on Mexico’s gorgeous Costalegre, may have some work to do to really qualify as an eco resort, as they boast. However, there are a lot of other reasons to visit including one of our favorite pools in Mexico. 

The pool at Boca de Iguanas.

The gorgeous blue-tiled pool at Boca de Iguanas seems to wander right down the beach to the water’s edge.

An eco-resort on the Costalegre in Mexico

Boca de Iguanas is an interesting melding of homes, condos, and charmingly designed hotel rooms, some with outdoor bathrooms, enormous upstairs terraces and delightful sunken bathtubs.

Located down a meandering dirt road, Boca de Iguanas is right on a fine white sand beach that arcs elegantly and has surf that’s gentle and safe to swim in. For even gentler surf the resort has one of the most beautiful pools we’ve seen.

The place isn't called Boca de Iguanas for nothing.

The resort isn’t called Boca de Iguanas for nothing.

The beach at Boca de Iguanas.

The beach at Boca de Iguanas.

Warning signs!

Warning signs!

This is why they have warning signs, one of the crocodiles that lives in the area.

Those warning signs aren’t up simply because they’re cute. This is just one of the crocodiles that live in the area.

 

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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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A Taco Tragedy in a Magic Town – Mazamitla, Mexico

Sprinkled throughout Mexico are charming old towns that have met official government standards that qualify them as Pueblos Magicos or magic 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.  The Pueblo Magico of Mazamitla did not disappoint. Well, maybe just a little.

Mazamitla has an unusual and fanciful church.

Mazamitla has an unusual and fanciful church.

A touch of taco disappointment in Mazamitla

Our Lonely Planet guide to Mexico assured us that the best tacos in the world were to be found in Mazamitla.

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.

Unfortunately, the market area where the taco stand in question was located, was torn down right before we arrived so we wasted a whole day trying to find where the taco stand had re-located to, but by the time we found it the stand was closing for the day.

Meat anyone?

Putting the “meat’ in Mazamitla…

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