PUEBLOS MÁGICOS OF JALISCO & COLIMA
12-23 MAR, 2023
(11 DAYS/11 NIGHTS)
with Jeremy Woodhouse
The cultural, historical, architectural and gastronomic value of Mexico's destinations is as great as its country.
The Pueblo Mágico designation is awarded to those communities that over time have maintained their original architecture, traditions, history and culture, and that have been of great relevance to the history of the country.
The Magic Towns are defined as places with great symbolism and legend, they are towns whose historical importance has been fundamental for the development of history and that enhance national identity. These places have a special magic that connects the visitor with the roots and customs of Mexico.
Currently, throughout Mexico, there are 132 Magic Towns whose attractions delight travellers from around the world.
These destinations will enchant you with the beauty of their natural settings, the incredible precision of their construction (many of them in the Baroque style), the perfect combination between their pre-Hispanic past and the mixture of ethnic and cultural groups throughout Mexican history.
Discover Mexico and fall in love with its Magic Towns.
Day 1: 12 Mar, 2023 – Arrive Guadalajara
O/N Hotel Fenix, Guadalajara
In a great location just 2 blocks from the Guadalajara Cathedral
Day 2&3: 13 & 14 Mar, 2023 – Guadalajara/Tlaquepaque
San Pedro Tlaquepaque, which means “Sobre las Lomas de Barro” (“On the Muddy Hills”), is a Pueblo Mágico (Magic Town) located 15 minutes away from the city of Guadalajara. Its pottery tradition with clay and bronze sculptures has been the seedbed of great artisan masters. That is not all, it is also considered the mecca of the mariachi and a town of calm streets that invite you to spend more than one night in its boutique hotels and picturesque colonial houses.
It is easy to answer the question: what to do in Tlaquepaque? No one can resist the temptation to explore its cobblestone walkway Independencia: el color de las fachadas (the color of the facades), the smell of the orange trees and the rustic atmosphere, confirm that this is indeed a Pueblo Mágico.
More than 200 artisan workshops and art galleries are concentrated here. It is enough to enter a place to marvel at the techniques that the artists dominate; you can see them moulding clay, painting ceramics with a brush, carving wood or creating jars in wax.
To make intelligent purchases of crafts there are guided tours like those of GDL Tours, where you visit the gallery of Sergio Bustamante, who has distinguished himself by his sculptures with smiling and circular faces.
Tlaquepaque is distinguished for being an inclusive destination, since el Centro Cultural El Refugio (El Refugio Cultural Center) organises walks for blind or visually impaired people, so no one misses the opportunity to get to know this Pueblo Mágico.
On the same Independencia walkway you can reach el Museo Regional de la Cerámica de Tlaquepaque (Regional Museum of Ceramics of Tlaquepaque), inside a 17th century house with courtyards decorated with ash trees. A few steps away you can reach the Hidalgo Garden, the heart of Tlaquepaque and a good place to rest after a long walk.
After recovering your strength with a snow cone, you can continue to the Museo del Premio Nacional de la Cerámica Pantaléon Panduro (Panduro Pottery National Prize Museum) on Calle Prisciliano Sánchez. The name already says what its collection is about, since it exhibits seven categories of ceramics that have been awarded for more than 39 years: contemporary ceramics, lead-free glazed pottery, traditional ceramics, ceramic sculpture, miniature ceramics, Christmas ceramics and clay figures.
Whoever goes to Tlaquepaque and doesn't visit El Parián, on Calle Juárez, means they have lost one of the most emblematic sites of the place. It is an old construction with 19 restaurants-canteens for eating a good pozole, birria, mole or chiles en nogada, no matter if it is in season or not.
Finally, it is necessary to visit el santuario de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad (Our Lady de la Soledad Sanctuary) and la Parroquia de San Pedro (San Pedro Parish Church). Its facades are an amalgam of styles, from the Neoclassical, through the Byzantine and Roman, to the Baroque. With authorisation, you can walk on its roofs.
O/N La Villa del Ensueno Boutique Hotel, Tlaquepaque (2 nights)
La Villa del Ensueño is a boutique hotel located in San Pedro Tlaquepaque that has offered leisure and business lodging services since 1996 in two Spanish neocolonial-style buildings with eclectic architectural elements that make it a unique and incomparable hotel.
Day 4&5: 15 & 16 March, 2023 – Tlaquepaque/Tequila
The Magic Town of Tequila is located in the state of Jalisco, one hour from Guadalajara. If you want to enjoy a good shot of tequila, one of the country's iconic drinks, this is the perfect place to do it. Mexico is worldwide recognised for this iconic drink and here in Tequila is where the best samples are made.
Visiting the main square is a must, it’s a peaceful place where you can relax while enjoying an ice-cream or a classic glass of tequila. It is surrounded by restaurants, canteens and shops that offer typical sweets. On weekends you can find a musical group brightening up the day. Don't forget to visit the Church of Santiago Apostol, a Baroque-style construction adorned with beautiful stained glass windows.
To get to know Mexico's Magic Towns in depth, you have to walk through them and get lost in their streets. Tequila in Jalisco is no exception. Take a walk through the Historical Center and enter its tequila-themed premises. Take advantage of your visit and check the Temple of La Purísima and the Capilla del Calvario.
Take a walk at the Municipal Palace, there you will find paintings by local artists that describe the birth and traditions around the tequila. We recommend visiting the National Museum of Tequila, to fully immerse yourself in the production of this drink.
O/N Hotel Casa Dulce Maria (2 nights)
Day 6: 17 March, 2023 – Tequila/Tapalpa
The Pueblo Mágico (Magic Town) of Tapalpa in Jalisco, is located in the southern part of the state, only two hours away from Guadalajara, in a region known as Lagoon Region. It is rapidly becoming popular, in large part because of the various ecotourism activities available, its peaceful streets, its wooded areas, and the mysteries that the Valle de los Enigmas (Enigma Valley) conceals.
It doesn't really matter if you're a passionate adventurer or not. This destination's charm will no doubt captivate you. You'll find a number of food stall in the town square after sundown. Vendors sell fare that ranges from cottage-cheese desserts to the traditional chard tamales, topped with cheese and sour cream.
We can assure you that its streets are remarkable, which you will no doubt be able to confirm with every step you take. White houses with red gable roofs give the town a sense of harmony rarely found elsewhere. It's small, “highland” town ambiance, as suggested by its Náhuatl name, will wrap you up in clouds and fog, creating the illusion that the sun has set, only to have it appear in the sky once more.
Tapalpa has quite a few hotels that welcome all budgets. There are boutique hotels that charge affordable rates. Take a stroll through its town square in order to explore the variety of lodging options. Many of these hotels offer the comforts of home, with first-rate service. Remember that you'll need a good night's sleep in order to explore everything that the Pueblo Mágico of Tapalpa has to offer.
Day 7&8: 18 & 19 March, 2023 – Tapalpa/Comala & Colima
The Pueblo Mágico de Comala is just 30 minutes away from Colima, the capital of the state. Comala stands out for its warm weather, lush vegetation, tranquility and peaceful atmosphere. This is the third oldest city in Mexico and it experiences lovely warm weather all year long.
Comala has been a source of inspiration for artists of all currents, highlighting among them Juan Rulfo’s Pedro Páramo, one of the masterpieces of Mexican literary magic realism. In the Plaza de Armas, next to a bandstand brought from Germany, stands the Parroquía de San Miguel Arcángel. A few meters away, the figure of Rulfo who popularised the destination among his readers lies on a bench under the shade of some palm trees.
The smell of bread fills this Pueblo Mágico's afternoons. That’s how visitors are summoned to one of Comala musts: taste their Picones, delicious and sweet large breads similar to conchas, which you can enjoy with café de olla (clay-pot coffee), either for breakfast or dinner.
Another delicacy, perhaps a little treacherous, is ponche, which you can drink with pomegranate, tamarind or cranberry, or in its creamy version with walnut, coffee, almond or pistachio. All, accompanied by tusca, a derivative of alcohol produced in the fertile lands of the state for giving ponche a bit of a kick.
Even though it’s not a coastal city, Colima's weather is warm and it suggests that you're close to the beach. With Manzanillo only 90 minutes away by car, you'll have the chance to try delicious seafood like “Ceviche Colimense” with ground sailfish meat, the irresistible “Pescado Zarandeado” or the traditional Sopa de Mariscos (seafood soup), which is prepared with a mix of shrimp, fish, crab and octopus.
O/N Los Suspiros Hotel Boutique by Rotamundos (2 Nights)
A few steps from the main square of this so-called white town, this hotel offers comfortable lodging in its extensive facilities. A natural paradise to rest on the river bank and at the same time listen to the song of the birds; provides comfort and cleanliness with affordable rates. The outdoor pool promises hours of fun with your family or partner.
Day 9: 20 March, 2023 – Colima/Mazamitla
Have you ever heard of the “Mexican Switzerland”? It's nothing less than the Pueblo Mágico of Mazamitla, Jalisco, nestled between the cold forests and majestic waterfalls of the Sierra del Tigre.
A walk through downtown Mazamitla means discovering small cobblestone streets surrounded by whitewashed adobe houses, tiled gable roofs, and balconies filled with flowers. They surround the San Cristóbal Parish, which boasts an eclectic style and Chinese influence. There are also portales (stone arches), where you can sit down for a taste of the typical Mazamitlan dish, el barco, which is a broth prepared with beef, chicken, and pork that you can accompany with fruit preserves for dessert.
A block and a half away from the church is a local cuisine and crafts market. Take advantage of the opportunity to buy burnt milk sweets, textiles, and souvenirs woven out of dried pine branches. There is an archaeological museum within this market that exhibits pottery and carved stone made by the first settlers of this mountain region.
If you’re wondering what else to do in Mazamitla, in addition to walking around downtown, this Pueblo Mágico is characterized by its natural wonders, open to the public, such as the El Salto Waterfall or El Jardín Encantado (The Enchanted Garden).
Day 10: 21 March, 2023 – Mazamitla/Chapala/Ajijic
Chapala is located 40 minutes away from the city of Guadalajara, in the state of Jalisco. It is famous for having the largest lake in the country and an enviable semi-tropical climate most of the year, which has been appointed “one of the best climates in the world”. If you wonder what to do in Chapala, we can tell you that it is the ideal place to forget about routine, with options for all tastes. Walk along the boardwalk, admire the colonial style of its streets and historic center, while savouring a traditional “nieve de garrafa” (sherbert/ice cream made in a wooden bucket). Practice fishing and water sports, relax in hot springs and of course enjoy delicious meals. An unforgettable trip awaits you in this natural paradise.
Surrounded by nature and neighbouring picturesque towns full of culture, Chapala has always been a very popular tourist destination. For example, at the end of the 19th century, ancestral families built their summer farms to enjoy the climate and the beauty of the riverbank. It is said that even “Porfirio Díaz” (former Mexican President from those times) spent her weekends here. During your trip, we invite you to visit the current Municipal Building, whose building was an old hotel built in 1898. We also recommend you visit the surrounding municipalities such as Jocotepec, Ocotlán, Jamay, La Barca, Tuxcueca, Tizapán el Alto, Poncitlán, Zapotlán del Rey and Ixtlahuacán de los Membrillos.
Ajijic is one of the oldest villages in Mexico. Founded in 1531, this Pueblo Mágico is one of the oldest towns in the country. Its name comes from the Nahuatl word Axixic which means "where the water spills" or "where the water gushes." Before the Spanish conquest, a Nahuatl community lived here on the shores of the lake, and they named the place as one of the four cardinal points, in reference to the climate and powerful energy of the region.
Day 11: 22 March, 2023 – Chapala/Guadalajara
“Guadalajara on a flat, Mexico in a lagoon” says a popular song from the Mexican singer Jorge Negrete. That is because this rocky city, located in the center of Mexico in the State of Jalisco, was part of the Mesa del Central, a high plateau from the Sierra Madre Occidental that crosses the States of Jalisco, Durango and Zacatecas.
This city which name means “Stone Valley” is picturesque wherever you see it. The streets reflect a Mexico full of mariachi, tequila and traditions. Its downtown hosts beautiful temples, monuments and plazas where you can comfortably go for a walk.
The Perla de Occidente (West Pearl) possess exceptional beauty. Just visit Plaza de Armas and you will see. This space has a beautiful kiosk representing the four seasons of the year and its architecture will remind you of the Art Noveau style. If you are lucky, you will find traditional mariachi playing Mexican music there.
The City Hall is a Colonial style building built with quarry and which opened in 1952. When entering this place, you will be able to admire a mural painted by Gabriel Flores that represents the establishment of Guadalajara.
Another emblematic place you should visit is the Degollado Theater, a sumptuous Neoclassical-style forum where concerts, performing arts and exhibitions takes place. This building dates from the nineteenth century and it echoes the Italian theaters as it has a marvelous vault showing paintings made by Gerardo Suárez and Jacobo Galvez.
O/N Hotel Fenix, Guadalajara
In a great location just 2 blocks from the Guadalajara Cathedral
Day 12: 23 March, 2023 – Guadalajara Airport
END OF TOUR
The weather in Jalisco in March is warm. The average temperatures are between 73°F and 86°F. Expect a few hot and rainy days in Jalisco during March.
Daily high temperatures increase by 4°F, from 81°F to 85°F, rarely falling below 75°F or exceeding 89°F.
Daily low temperatures increase by 4°F, from 44°F to 48°F, rarely falling below 38°F or exceeding 54°F.
1 SPOT OPEN
11 DAYS/11 NIGHTS
GROUND TRANSPORT INCLUDED
GROUP SIZE: ONLY 6
Tour Price Includes
- Ground Transportation during the trip
- Transfer to the airport at Guadalajara at the end of the tour on 23 March, 2023
- In-Field Photography Instruction
Tour Price Excludes
- Flights to and from Guadalajara, Mexico
- Meals and snacks (where not mentioned)
All lodging has been booked and a room will be assigned to you on registration.
Paying by check
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Dress for the Weather
Personal Gear List
- Sunscreen, sunglasses, sun hat
- Layers for cooler mornings
- Waterproof Shell in case of rain
- Sturdy hiking shoes
Photo Equipment Checklist
- Sturdy tripod and ballhead
- Digital SLR or Mirrorless Camera Body
- Wide angle lens in the 16-35mm range. A mid-range zoom lens in the range of 24-100mm and a longer zoom lens like a 70-200mm or a 100-400mm
- Circular polarizer filters and ND filters for your lenses. If you like shooting with grads, bring them along. A 6 or 10-stop ND filter will be useful for creating very long exposures.
- Backpack to carry your gear
- Extra batteries, memory cards, and cleaning supplies
- Laptop if you wish to backup your photos or follow along during the post-processing instruction.
- Instructors will wear masks while teaching at close range
- Clients are encouraged to wear masks whenever they are at close range
- Where possible, we will practice social distancing. Tripods 6ft apart.
- You are encouraged to wash hands frequently and use hand sanitiser.