DAY TRIPS & SIDE TRIPS  (Explore while you're here)


There are numerous places to visit for a day, an afternoon or overnight in and around the Costa Alegre.  Some are good for exploring, some for shopping, others for swimming, snorkeling, or beach-combing.  San Patricio Melaque or Barra de Navidad are great places for visitors to use as bases for exploring Costalegre.  Here are a few day trips you may want to consider.


CIHUATLÁN: For a day of sightseeing, shopping and banking, take a bus or taxi to Cihuatlán, a large agricultural pueblo of 32,000 people.  Located 18 kilometers south of Melaque, it borders alongside the Rio Cihuatlán (Rio de Chacala).  The "Piedra Pintada" (painted rock) is near the pueblo of Cihuatlán.  Along the Marabasco river in the middle of a field of jalapeno peppers lies a large bolder with circular petroglyphs engraved on it.  The history of this stone is unknown.  It is located about 6km up the Cihuatlán side of the river.  Procure one of the local taxis or tour companies to direct you there.  To cool off on the way back, bring your bathing suit and stop off at one of the occasional pools where the river widens.

CUASTECOMATES: For a pleasant side trip to a picturesque cove, Cuastecomates can't be beat.  Just a short taxi ride northwest of Melaque, it is a quiet spot for swimming, snorkeling or sunbathing.  The beach here is dark sand, and the cove is protected from offshore winds.  Active people may decide to hike the 4km from the junction west of Melaque.  For the price of a beer you can sit in the shade of a palapa and while away the day, or one could snorkel on the reef on the south side of the bay or sunbathe on the beach, or just hide under an umbrella.

COLIMA:  To have an interesting cultural experience visit Colima, the capital city of the state bearing the same name.  Colima is a colonial city, its cathedral originally built in 1527.  Start your visit from the central plaza "Jardín de Libertad".  Pre-Columbian pottery and artifacts are displayed at the "Museo de las Culturas del Occidente" (3).312.8431/3155 and "Museo de Historia" (Colima city and state museum) (3).312.9228.  Mexican history murals can be viewed at the Palacio de Gobierno.  The Nuñez Garden in el centro is worth the visit.  For regional crafts display, check out "Museo de Cultureas Populares" (3).312.6869.  The volcano "Volcán de Fuego" (elev. 3,960m - 12,989ft, N19.51° W103.62°) 24 km to the north has been very active since 1999.  The "El Chanal" and "La Campana" archeological sites (pyramids of the Nahuatl) have recently been opened to the public.  The best ways to get there is to take a "Colima City" tour with a local tour company, hire a taxi for the day or rent a car.  Catch a regional bus (2 hours each way) only if your planning to stay overnight.

COLIMILLA: The little village of Colimilla has a thatched-roof church and about 300 residents.  It is popular for it's half dozen bay-side restaurants.  Located on the opposite side of the Lagoon from Barra de Navidad east of the Grand Bay hotel in the state of Colima.  (Barra is in the state of Jalisco).  Take a 5 minute "Panga" taxi across for a suburb evening dinning experience.  If you go early, you can walk the path across the Isla de Navidad peninsula to Playa de los Cocos to go beachcombing.  This beach is normally to rough for swimming.

MANZANILLO:  Ride a regional bus or take a taxi the 60 km to Cuidad Manzanillo for a day of shopping, banking or to rent a car.  Visit the superb "Supermercado" for a unique shopping experience.  Check out a few beaches like playa "Audiencia" on Peninsula de Santiago and the Las Hadas resort hotel which is world renown for it's architecture and ambience.  Visit the botanical gardens Ola Brisa Gardens, A.C. at Armulfo Flores No.7, Colinas de Santiago. (314).334.0856.

TLAQUEPAQUE & TONALÁ:  These colonial villages, located southeast of Guadalajara are world renowned for their handicrafts.  Tlaquepaque is famous for blown glass and fine stoneware pottery.  Artisans in Tonalá, 8km from Tlaquepaque specialize in crafting paper mâché animal figurines, ceramics and brass metalwork.  Visit Tlaquepaque's "Museo Regional de Cerámica y Arte Popular" on Calle Independencia #237 and "Museo Tonllan" in Tonalá on Calle Ramón Corona #75.  Visit during crowded market days for an exciting shopping experience - Sundays in both villages and also Thursday in Tonalá.  Guided tours to these pueblos are available from Melaque or Barra.


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