Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Colima y Comala

We did a quick day trip to Manzanillo from Santiago before heading north for a bit, back to Barra de Navidad. Manzanillo is largest shipping port on Mexicos west coast. and also serves as a port of call for international cruise ships. It is also home to the beach where Bo Derek ran in her bikini, hair braided in the famous scene in the movie 'Ten'.  We visited an iguanario (iguana farm) and toured a bit of the town before heading back to Santiago. Here are the pics!

A view of the anchorage in Manzanillo from the malecon

The large 'sailfish' sculpture in downtown

The main square in downtown Manzanillo

At the iguanario, check out this guys tail!


Iguana on a hot tin roof,
he was so close and began walking to me, super curious

Sunning him or her self...

Iguana love, I think they were fighting actually

Didn't know that iguanas love to climb trees, but they do!
Check out this guys feet

Tons of iguanas in this tree

A giant iguana, looking like something out of prehistoric times!

We've never seen this guy before, he's a coati, and strangely was
on a leash at the inguanario. Cute!

Before heading north to Barra, we took a dinghy tour with Mike & Holly (s/v Wanskewin) to the lagoon in  Santiago - here is what we saw:

A view of the lagoon, on the back side of the anchorage in Santiago

Birds and an alligator!

Those same birds flying away with a few flamingos

A cute pelican that we seemingly tormented to check out if indeed it only
had one wind. Poor thing did only have one wing, but definitely
looked like it was well fed!

As we were dingy'ing by, we saw this giant puffer fish on a sand bar,
breathing for dear life, and we decided to save it. This is Mike,
picking it up with an oar and putting it back into the water.
Unfortunately, if floated, I think we were too late. Sniff.

We headed back to Barra because, well, we really liked Barra and heck, we have time! We do, at some point, given the date/time have to make a decision to continue to go south or head north. The hot weather will be here as will be the heavy rains here this far south in Mexico and we are at a decision point. We've loved loved loved spending so much time in Mexico and we've met so many wonderful people!   From Santiago we went back to the marina at the Grand Bay Hotel in Barra. Our partners in crime, Mike & Holly, were with us and we decided to rent a car and go onto the mainland for an adventure. We visited the state of Colima, and the city of Colima, the state capital. Many of the state capitals here are named after the state! Easy enough! There are 31 states in Mexico, who knew? We are currently in the state of Nayarit, where Banderas Bay is, but we visited the state of Colima for our trip.

We stayed at a cute B&B called Casa Alvarado in Comala, about 20 mins from Colima. Comala is a seriously a darling little town, and won an honorable award. Mexico named over 80 towns to a list of 'magical towns' across the entire country. Comala came in first place on the list, according to our tour guide. Comala is a blend of old and new charm - the downtown boasts a beautiful town square outlined with cute restaurants serving botaneros. Botaneros are Mexican tapas, however, you don't really pay for them the way we do in the US. Here, you buy your drink, and they bring out the tapas at no charge! Granted your drink may be marked up - but it's like $6.50 USD for your drink and then you get bunch of yummy tapas with it, pretty cool! You can get the local alcohol which is like a fruit flavored alcoholic punch or beer with your tapas...The town square in Comala is filled with musicians looking to serenade you, donning in classic Mexican dress. The people are super friendly in Comala as well and the town is very clean and well kept.

About 15-20 minutes from Comala is Colima, the capital of the state of Colima. Colima is home to two volcanos that sit over the city. One is an active "fire" volcano, yes active, that erupted earlier this year actually, in January. We saw it smoking each day that we were there even! Both volcanos are above 14k feet and the other, opposite the fire volcano, gets snow on it during the winter. The city of Colima is a progressive college town with wifi in every main square. We were told by our guide that the University of Colima was the first university in the world to put data on a CD. Colima is also home to the fabulous Hacienda San Antonio Resort - visited by the likes of Bill Gates, Madonna, William & Kate, etc.  Anyway, we drove 2 hours to Colima to B&B from Barra and then the adventure began....

If you look closely you can see the twin volcanos, pretty cool eh?
They almost look fake! More on those in a sec...

We're in Comala at this point. This is a view of the volcano smoking.
And yes, that is a horse, tied to a window too!
New and old charm in Comala!

The darling main square in Comala

My ponche de grenada (pomegranate punch), pre-botaneros

My reaction after drinking it - LOL!
T took this picture!
T & Mike at the botanero restaurant
Tons of musicians in the town square, awaiting work..
A closer view of the volcanos
Picture perfect!

Insert K & T

The beautiful countryside outside of Colima

With our guide, we drove into and hiked in the biosphere (nature preserve). He took us into a dark creepy cave, something out of a movie. All the pictures you see below were with the flash of my camera, otherwise, it was black in that cave! We visited a ghost town while trying to get good pics of the volcano - Yerbabuena - the town at the base of the volcano. Because of the volacano's eruptions and future eruptions, the government relocated the entire town elsewhere!  We also visited El Salto waterfall and a coffee bean factory - you coffee drinkers better love your coffee! According to our guide, it takes 1lb of beans to make 1 cup!

This is a pile of shells from coffee beans

These are coffee beans, de-shelled, drying in the sun
The 'ghost town' of Yerbabuena, untouched teeter-totters

Nearby cows, cute ears!

The main square of YerbaBuena, overgrown and not a person there but us

Some boys catching a lift on the back of a truck
 on our way to Yerbabuena

More landscape from our hike

A view of the valley from the biosphere where we hiked, spectacular!

More volcano views from the cobblestone street

El Salto waterfall
You can see our guide and Mike, taking a dip!

Us @ El Salto
The canyon leading to the waterfall
T, entering the cave of doom

Holly, Mike, K & T in the cave, it was pitch black and this
picture was taken with flash. The orb on my hat is
the reflector on the rim!

The ceiling of the cave, crawling with
daddy long legs - eeek!

T, with our guide in the back
The ceiling of the cave. We were told there was ancient pottery
found in this cave a few years ago...interesting
And...back to Barra for an ocean front dinner and view
And Carnival Costalegre 2013!
More Carnival, girls dancing with pineapples,
good for toning your arms 
Last night in Barra for us
(K & T only, Holly and Mike stayed a few more days!)

We left Barra and headed north back to Banderas Bay to La Cruz. On our way, we ran into a lightening storm, so we had to pull into the Chamela anchorage and wait it out; scary! Finally at 11pm, the lightening stopped and we left the anchorage in a pitch black night, no moon, and headed north, only to be greeted by red tide in the bay the next morning...bummer..! But, we were also greeted with humpback whales breaching and tons of turtles floating around after the red tide cleared.

Red tide, the bay looking like merlot? or iced tea?

As we got closer to La Cruz, the water cleared and this was our view

So here we are back in La Cruz, we made it safe and sound. We've been very busy surfing, running errands, eating tacos and spending time with our new friends...ahh the good life :)

Next up - making our decision on what to do next has unfolded and we're pretty happy with the outcome. We've been living in Mexico for coming up on 5 months already, and we've been gone coming up on 8 months, how time flies! Will explain more on our decision in the next post, that's it for now!

~K y T