Sunday, December 28, 2008

Los Guachimontones

Los Guachimontones

One of the most spectacular archeological sites in the state of Jalisco is located close to the small town Teuchitlán and is named Los Guachimontones. The region is part of the World Heritage Site, listed by the Unesco, mainly around the municipality of Tequila due to its agave landscape and ancient industrial facilities related to the Tequila production. Los Guachimontones is an archeological site which was populated in pre-Columbian times. Featuring several shaft tombs , two ball courts and about 10 circular complexes together with 5 plazas. Most interesting are the circular stepped pyramids, which are unique among all known Mesoamerican pyramids. Archeologists have several theories about the origin and the usage of these pyramids, but most is still unknown. The culture, who build the Los Guachimontones actually is named Teuchitlan tradition.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Puerto Vallarta's History

During the first part of the 1800s, at the mouth of the Cuale River—then inhabited primarily by crocodiles—there were practically no human dwellers. Between the rugged sierra, the ocean and the powerful Ameca river, this beautiful piece of Mexican geography remained isolated from the rest of the world. The hubs of economic activity were up in the mountains, in the towns of Cuale, San Sebastián and Mascota, where silver mines abounded but where salt, an essential element for processing the metal, was not to be found.

In 1851 Guadalupe Sánchez, a boatman from Cihuatlán who used to bring salt from San Blas or the Marías islands to Los Muertos beach, became weary of waiting for the muleteers to come and pick up the load. Sometimes it would take them days to reach this solitary spot. As he was still a young man of 19 and had just married, Guadalupe saw it fit to establish himself in this beautiful place he would call Las Peñas. This, in a few words, could very well be the story of the founding of what we now know as Puerto Vallarta.

At the bottom of the page is a link to more Vallarta history than you may want to know

Beach Plaza on Playa los Muertos 1950's

Areal view of Vallarta in the 1950's

Vallarta Malecon in the 1950's

Virtual Vallarta Article

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Tlaquepaque, once a town of it's own and bedroom community of the rich in Guadalajara, has been incorporated into the city. Lately it has attracted artisans of many talents and has become an expensive artsy-crafty shopping center. The pedestrian only streets that branch off the plaza do make for relaxing window shopping. Take your time and you'll also see much of Mexican history on display. Tlaquepaque underwent major commercial renovation in the 1970's to improve tourism.

In the middle of the plaza is El Parian, which was built in 1878, a block square cantina ringed by botanero restaurants and inside has a huge courtyard with central bandstand for entertainment. Some restaurants are only botaneros and some have full menus ... but you can just have a beer or Margarita and listen to Mariachis in the early evening.

I stayed at the Hotel Posada de la Media Luna which is right on the corner of the plaza and very convenient. They do have a parking garage agreement nearby but I was using buses at the time. A taxi ride to central Guadalajara should be less than 100 pesos but the taxis on the plaza are famous for overcharging

El Parian outer botana bars

El Parian inner restaurants and central bandstand

Pedestrian only shopping street

Pedestrian only shopping street

Hotel Posada de la Media Luna

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Tuxpan River Valley

The most important River in southern Jalisco is the Tuxpan River wich originates in Mazamitla and fertilizes the municipalites of Tamazula, Zapotiltic and Tuxpan. The Tuxpan valley is a beautiful drive from near the Colima border up to Mazamitla. It starts in rich farmland of mostly sugar cane, thru small towns with sugar mills, higher into more varied farmland and finally the pine forests of the mountains. Highway #110 is the road through this area and signs will say Jiquilpan/Mazamitla (Jiquilpan is on the other side of Lake Chapala almost in Michoacan)

Small town across the valley

Sugar cane valley

Young sugar care

Monday, July 7, 2008


Jocotepec is located in the state of Jalisco, approximately 40 kilometers south of Guadalajara and at the western end of Lake Chapala. Even at the elevation of 5130 feet, the presence of the lake provides for a year-round mild and pleasant micro-climate.

The village of Jocotepec (place of the plum trees) was founded in 1529. It is the county seat (municipio) for a number of smaller surrounding towns. It's a very typical Mexican town, and has traditionally been known for the quality serapes woven there. It features a large street market on Thursday mornings and an active mercado and plaza any day of the week.

Jocotepec is my favorite place to stay when I'm in the Lake Chapala area with a few inexpensive motels just east of town on the road to Chapala. We also have friends that live downtown.

Aerial view of Jocotepec

Jocotepec Plaza

Jocotepec Church on Plaza

Jocotepec Malecon on Lake Chapala

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Mascota and Highway 70

Highway 70 construction and Mascota
from Vallarta, Jalisco - Mexico

Highway 70 leaves Vallarta just south of the Nayarit border, north of the airport and next to the new Vallarta Home Depot. It's about 40 kilometers of small towns and farmland before you start into the mountains. The road is actually very good except they have cut thru some impossible hillsides making yearly roadwork a necessity. Right now (November 2007) they are working on about five major sections both east and west of Mascota. Most of the work is on the west side.

After crossing the bridge below it mostly flat land until you drop back down into Mascota. Mascota is very Colonial in a non-fancy way with one church in ruins looking as if it was a religious center for the area many years ago. Lots of classic construction and cobble stone streets.

The last few fotos are from one of the very few scenic lookouts along the road after leaving Mascota and heading toward Talpa and Ameca.

Looking down on Mascota from the east

Mascota church

Mascota house

Mascota church and ex-convent

Mascota trip fotos

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Autlan de Navarro

The city of Autlán de Navarro (or simply Autlán) is located in a valley at the foothills of the Sierra Madre Occidental, in the south coast region of the state of Jalisco. Autlán is referred to as “La Puerta de la Costa” (Door to the Coast) because of its warm, humid climate and its geographical location, as an important stop in the highway from the Pacific coast to Guadalajara, the capital of Jalisco. Because of it's location, Autlán is a very important regional commercial and agricultural centre for the state, as well as the location of the University of Guadalajara’s south coast campus.

Another town that has some feel of the Colonial Era but has not been preserved as such so new is mixed with the old. It's a good sized town with lots of downtown activity - market, plaza and a number of chruches. The bull ring (Plaza del Toros) is close to downtown and one of the fanciest ones I've seen. I really should have tried to get a few fotos of it - even if only the outside.

After coming out of Ayutla onto highway 80 there is a large drop in elevation into the valley where Autlan is (those famous hair-pin turns). I cruzed downtown and then stayed at Hotel Autlan near the bus station - nice place for about $40us. The next morning I walked around town, had breakfast and headed downhill again towards Purificacion and La Huerta (more hair-pin turns).

Entrance to Autlan and bus station from in front of my motel

Colorful intersection near the mercado

Lots of parks

Autlan Church

More Autlan pictures

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Mezcala Island - Lake Chapala

Mezcala Island
Lake Chapala, Jalisco - Mexico

Mezcala Island is a few kilometers southeast of Mezcala on the northern shore of Lake Chapala. It is also known as El Presidio. From 1812-1816, a small band of rebels held off the Spanish army and navy against overwhelming odds. Tired of the humiliation the Spanish finally negotiated a peaceful surrender with the insurgents. The island then became a Spanish prison for many years.

It's rumored that there existed indigenous structures and hieroglyphics on the island before the fortifications were built but all traces disappeared with the construction. There are tours to the island from both Mezcala and Chapala-

Aerial view of Mezcala

Ruins of the fort

More ruins

Mezcala island from Mezcala town

A few more Mezcala fotos

Thursday, April 24, 2008

sur de jalisco mexico turismo tourism

este es un video que muestra la belleza del sur del estado de jalisco, los lugares que puedes visitar, conocer y disfrutar de un buen dia, donde puedes gozar de su rica gastronomia y belleza natural, ademas de los servicios que ofreceen los municipios de ciudad guzman. tuxpan y tapalpa.

Jalisco Mexico Sur Tourismo

Mazamitla - an Alpine town

Mazamitla has a population of something above 15,000 people, and with an elevation of about 7200 feet is located some 2200 feet higher than Lake Chapala. Less than a two hour drive from Chapala and a little over 2 hours from Colima. Both times I've been to this pretty little town was from Colima taking the Tuxpan exit just after entering Jalisco.

Mazamitla is very small, narrow one way streets and built on the hillside. It's not a place to go for action - but rather just to relax. There are many country casitas and places to camp in the area. Eco Tourism is growing with road signs that map the area. I really wish I had some of my old pictures of the country side because the pine forests are really beautiful and a relief from the tropical coast.

Vive Manzamitla

Monteverde Resort

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ciudad Guzman

Ciudad Guzmán has a second traditional name of Zapotlan El Grande. Ciudad Guzman's elevation is about 5000 feet and it is nestled at the foot of a dormant volcano. In the distance, there are volcanic mountains, some of which are slightly active from time to time.

The population of the Ciudad Guzman area is about 175,000. However, the city is the central shopping area for many smaller towns and agriculture communities in the area and is a bustling commercial center.

Glen and I stopped here for a few hours to get a feel for the city and because a number of people say it's quite uninteresting. It's definitely Colonial and the city center is attractive. The rest of the town is plain but with very wide streets. Not sure of activities or attractions but it's definitely in the middle of an interesting area.

Ciudad Guzman Jalisco Mexico
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Jalisco Tourism

Jalisco is in west-central Mexico and its capital is Guadalajara. The Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range traverses the state, separating the Pacific coast from a high plateau region. The Sierra Madre region is largely volcanic, and earthquakes are frequent. The state's many lakes include Chapala, Mexico's largest.

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