Colima Volcano Tour.

Before leaving for Mexico we talked about not going on any tours. In part it was the Tour From Hell we experienced last year in Huatulco and partly because tours were starting to all look the same. Similarities included a stop in a small town to see a cathedral and town square, view poverty, see how bananas grow etc... This tour intrigued us a bit because neither of us had seen an active volcano. We were prepared for some of the aforementioned and willing to accept it.

The Volcán de Colima, also known as the Volcán de Fuego, is near Colima and Colmala. It's considered Mexico's most dangerous active volcano and is poised for eruption. Several explosive events took place in 1999 and there were two small eruptions in November 2000. Periodic explosions and lava flows continue.

The Tour was an all day event that cost $70US per person including lunch, pop, cervaza etc. Our route took us through Manzanillo on to the Pan American Hiway then onto a new Toll road and finally into countryside. We passed through some lagoon areas that were filled with birds including cranes, herons and storks.

As we headed toward the mountains we passed through the Magnetic Hill. The hill was a cool phenomenon. As we drove our guide More brought everyone's attention to the cars ahead of us as they disappeared when they went down the hill. A minute later they reappeared coming up the otherside. He then drove forward to begin our descent. As we descended he placed the van into neutral. We alll thought we'd continue down the hill but... au contraire... the van came to a stop and then began moving backward.

Our next stop was a small town to grab some snack food for our hike. First stop was an unmarked door on a narrow street. More jumped out and in under a minute reappeared with some cheese. A quarter mile down the road he pulled into a drive through store. For the most part it reminded me of a 7-11 with a road through it. Shelves ran on either side of the van. More simple had to call out his order (tortillas) and the clerk quickly gathered up two packages that were still warm and we were off.

Our next stop was a coffee plantation. It was here that we caught our first real view of the Colima Volcano.
Colima Volcano Tour

Coffee beans. These were a couple of weeks from harvesting. The coffee was quite good!
Colima Volcano Tour

The road crossed several old lava flows. More stopped to gather a few lava rocks to line an adobe oven he was making.
Colima Volcano Tour

No matter how close we got the volcano always seemed so far away.
Colima Volcano Tour

Lava in all shapes, sizes and even color was evident everywhere.
Colima Volcano Tour

We passed through many extinct volcano craters.
Colima Volcano Tour

More explained that wherever you were in these parts no matter how remote you could always find evidence that man had been there before you. There were times I had areal hard time seeing what he was showing us but I did trust that he was right.
Colima Volcano Tour

Some of the wild flowers/weeds in the area.
Colima Volcano Tour

The clouds were actually being formed by the heat of the volcano. Air currents varied from the temperature changes in the crater causing them to change direction as they circled the mountain.
Colima Volcano Tour

At this point we were beyond the safe limits. People that lived in these parts were asked to leave after a 1997 eruption. Only a few Shaman remained in the area. These people have great respect for the volcano and it's power. I had the impression that it was part of their religion.

Time for a snack. The tortillas were still sort of warm and the cheese was fantastic though Olwyn might not agree.
Colima Volcano Tour

The restroom facility. This tree was much larger than it appears to be in the photo.
Colima Volcano Tour

Prior to the relocation of the local farmers there were peach and apricot orchards. a few trees still remain.
Colima Volcano Tour

Colima Volcano Tour

Colima Volcano Tour

As we started our walk I stopped to take a photo of more wild flowers and a butterfly. It took a while to set up so the group got a fair bit ahead of us. When More noticed he walked back to see if we were ok. I explained that we were but from that point he stayed near Olwyn and I and asked often if we needed to rest. I'm sure he thought we weren't going to be able to make it through the walk. The funny part of it was the next day I was out for a run at about 07:30 and passed More as he drove toward the resort. I waved and he waved back with a surprised look on his face.
Colima Volcano Tour

The trail took us through pasture with some mighty fine looking livestock. Some of the livestock we've seen in our travels were so skinny they could barely stand. By comparison these were very healthy.
Colima Volcano Tour

Like I said... no matter how close we got the volcano seemed so far away.
Colima Volcano Tour

A rare shot of me.
Colima Volcano Tour

Olwyn enjoying the view.
Colima Volcano Tour

Ranch land.
Colima Volcano Tour

Homestead fencing. This is the spot we think Olwyn received numerous insect bites. We rested here for a bit and Olwyn sat in a shady spot. Later that night her legs looked as though she had measles and boy were they itchy. The only thing we could think of was that when she sat ants or spiders had a good meal.
Colima Volcano Tour

More wild flowers but they were on the other side of the fence so no close ups.
Colima Volcano Tour

Pear cactus with a few lava rock thrown in for good measure. The trail was getting steeper.
Colima Volcano Tour

This was about as close as we got to the volcano. It still looks far away. Most of these shots were taken with a wide angle lens and in retrospect I likely shouldn't have done that but c'est lavie. If you look near the edge of where the volcano and sky meet about a third of the way down on the right hand side you can see some steam from a flow that happened while I was taking the previous photo and one that didn't turn out. The group actually saw the lava but Olwyn and I only saw steam/smoke. More prayed to the volcano, thanked the powers that be for allowing us to be there and we started back.
Colima Volcano Tour

More flowers but no butterfly this time.
Colima Volcano Tour

From wence we came... If you look at the tree you can see another plant growing in the bark.
Colima Volcano Tour


Time for lunch. By now the time was getting close to 14:30 well passed our normal grazing time. For lunch we headed to the town of Comala.

Don Comalón is a botanero in the Main Plaza in Comala. What's a botanero you say? The botanero is a type of restaurant that is found in the Colima area, especially in Comala. Bottles of local alcoholic beverages may be ordered that come with an assortment of botanas at no additional charge. The drinks include ponche de granada (pomegranate punch) and drinks made from tamarind, dried plums and other fruit, as well as tuba, an alcoholic drink made from palm sap. Botanas are appetisers that may include fried tacos, enchiladas, ceviche tostadas, cheeses, and salads. However, the botanas have become quite popular and are more appealing than the alcohol to many of us so you can purchase an assortment of botanas and make a meal of it without the alcohol (cervaza excluded, you have to have cerveza). The dishes come to your table a few at a time more being added as you work your way through them.

Don Comalón.
Colima Volcano Tour

These are a couple of samplings of the food we had. As the serving dishes were emptied more replaced them. A great opportunity to try some real Mexican food.
Colima Volcano Tour

Colima Volcano Tour

While we ate Mariachi bands played both in and out side of the restaurant.
Colima Volcano Tour

Time to let the food settle with a walk around the town square/main plaza.
Colima Volcano Tour

The cathedral.
Colima Volcano Tour

Our van parked just off the main drag. Note that the streets were all cobble stone.
Colima Volcano Tour

Back on the highway to Manzanillo.
Colima Volcano Tour

Click to continue with Manzanillo Saturday Market photos