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MEXICO -- JALISCO & COLIMA:
Updates and Tips
by Bob Cecil
As stated in a recent post, my wife and I were in Colima and Jalisco in
late Nov to early Dec 2000 on a non-birding trip, but I did make some observations
of possible interest to birders planning to visit.
- La Manzanilla, Jalisco. This is a small,
quiet beach village about 10 miles north of Barra de Navidad/Melaque.
We stayed for two nights in a beautiful and modern chalet nestled in the
hillside woodland and offering a breathtaking view of Tenacatita Bay.
More interesting birds seen from the porch included: Red-billed Pigeon, Orange-fronted
Parakeet, Lilac-crowned Parrot, Cinnamon Hummingbird, Citreoline Trogon, Golden-cheeked
Woodpecker, large woodpecker sp. (Lineated or Pale-billed), Masked
Titrya, San Blas Jay, Orange-breasted Bunting, and Yellow-winged Cacique.
Late afternoons were good for raptors: Osprey, Sharp-shinned Hawk, White-tailed
Hawk, Zone-tailed Hawk, Crested Caracara, and a few that I wasn't able to
identify. I left a hummingbird feeder here for use by guests, but the
hummers seemed more interested in the abundant flowers. Impressive
were the giant caimans (15 ft.?) in a lagoon a block north of the main downtown
street. La Manzanilla is about 15 miles from Barranca El Choncho, site
7-4 in Howell's Bird Finding Guide to Mexico. For information on the
chalet, contact Mexicodan@hotmail.com . For more information on the
area, check www.eden.com/~tomzap/manza.html.
- City of Colima. The small pond on the south
edge of town (in Howell, "pulloff and lake," on site map 7-10) is still filled
with birds but is not accessible due to changes in the bypass around Colima
to Guadalajara. I didn't have time to look for an alternative vantage
point, but you can't stop on the highway anymore. The good news about
the bypass is that it can get you around Colima quickly, and that there is
a new connection to Villa de Alvarez and La Maria (or Las Marias, depending
upon the sign), site 7-9 in Howell. I think this will work...
From the south edge of Colima (coming from the coast), take the bypass around
the east side of the city, following the signs to Guadalajara. When
the bypass rejoins the old highway/autopista, turn back, going a short distance
to the new road to Villa de Alvarez/Comala, following the signs. After
2-3 miles, this road ends on the Comala road. Go right to Comala/La
- La Maria, site 7-9. There has been an effort
to clean this place up and improve it overall, although I have always been
impressed with it as a birding area. Entrance fee is now 8 Pesos, but
improvements include tree identification signs, and trail maps. I don't
know if they were here before (I never found them if they were), but there
are short tunnels thorough the ridges, making it easier to walk the higher
elevation trails and see the birds below. I also checked out the cabanas
- austere but adequate, and cheap. If you're planning to stay, bring
along an air mattress - as far as I could tell, their mattresses involved
boards with a blanket over them. I forgot to ask about hot water but
presume they don't have any. Note: the management at La Maria will
change in December, whatever that means.
- Comala. The free food wars appear to be
escalating. Buy a drink in one of the town's restaurants and they begin
hauling out the free tacos, tostadas, ceviche, guacamole, etc. - plate
after plate. According to my friends from Colima, this is the only
place in Mexico they know of that do it. Evidently, the beer companies
provide the food as a promotion.
- Volcan de Nieve. Check the post by Steve
Dinsmore from April 2000 for directions on the easy route up the inactive
volcano. The rainy season and traffic has made the road a little rougher,
but four of us had no trouble going up in my Saturn sedan.
- Laguna Sayula, Site 7-7. This vast lagoon
between Cd. Guzman and Guadalajara is virtually dry - only small wet
spots near k markers 51-52.
- Laguna San Marcos. This is another vast
lagoon like Sayula but closer to Guadalajara. Completely dry.
Please feel free to contact me if you have questons, need additional info,
Des Moines, IA