Via our longest, windiest bus journey yet we made it to Colima; with no travel sickness. Although an 11.5 hour bus trip sounds tedious it actually went by relatively quickly and we passed though some gorgeous mountainous scenery. There were many armed checkpoints on the way but we were only stopped at one. An armed officer boarded the bus and asked to see a few peoples id’s, ours included, and then the bus was allowed to continue. All in all we were stopped for less than five minutes and once the officer saw our New Zealand passports he wasn’t very interested in us.
Arriving at about 7pm without a reservation at a hotel or hostel was one of our less than successful ideas. We had an address of a hostel with great reviews which we headed for. On arrival the place had no lights on an no one seemed to be home. Quite strange for a hostel with an apparent 24 hour desk. So with nothing else to do we hefted out packs back towards centro and found a cheap hotel for a few nights.
Dumping our packs we headed across the road the the plaza where some market stalls were set up. Starving after our long day we ordered possibly the most overpriced street food ever. Unfortunately we didn’t realise that until after eating because that’s when you pay and we hadn’t thought to ask the price at the start because it was “Just a quesadilla” each. Still unsure if we were given the “tourist price” or if they were just overpriced. Too tired to argue we forked over the money and went to back to the hotel to sleep.
After a sleep in we set off to explore Colima, arriving in darkness we didn’t get to see anything of the place the night before. We sat at a small quesadilla restaurant for an early lunch, brunch or late breakfast, these quesadillas being a much more reasonable price. A great thing about Colima is that there is free WiFi in all the plazas. So we connected up and did some research on where to visit in our three days here.
After eating we started noticing that there was people flocking into the plaza with horses, trucks, banners and musical instruments. It seemed like we had discovered yet another random local festival. We stuck around for the parade which was a celebration of the start of a bullfighting tournament happening in the city (we think, could be wrong). Hundreds of people on horseback filed around the plaza and down the streets with the sound of many live bands accompanying them from the backs of trucks.
Stopping off back at the hotel we put on some sunscreen as we were feeling the Colima sunshine after being inland for a while. We walked to a park, not knowing what to expect we discovered a cross between a zoo and a park. Lots of birds, a cool reptile house and even some lions were all exhibited here.
That afternoon we bussed to Comala, a Pueblo Magico nearby where we hoped to get a sight of the volcano. The Colima Volcano has been all over world news lately due to it’s eruption, but unfortunately on this day the heat haze (and smog) was too dense and we couldn’t see it. Tom was disappointed and already making plans to find a closer place to see the volcano from.
Comala is a pretty little town which is an alternative place for people to stay outside of Colima but close enough to drive or bus in. The little plaza was humming with people and the restaurant bars were doing a good trade for the afternoon. Along the main street we kept seeing signs outside shops saying ‘Ponche’ so we popped in to investigate. Turns out it’s a liquor traditionally made in the town from cane spirit alcohol mixed with flavoured creams or fruits. Cheekily we then worked our way back up the whole street taste testing at each store selling it. It’s quite tasty and at about 13-15% alcohol a few samples on a near empty stomach was making me feel quite good. Our favourite flavours were the pomegranate, and all of the creamy ones: coconut, caramel, nut, vanilla. Yum. After our taste testing we decided to stop and relax with a beer but the bars in the plaza were over our beer budget. At most we will only pay $35 Peso a beer and these were $40. So we found a lovely little restaurant bar a street back overlooking a river, their beers were $25, much better.
That night we packed up our bags ready for the next morning. It was our last night at the hotel and before our check out time we had planned to mission to another nearby town closer to the volcano to try get a look.
In a mad rush for time we took a bus to the station and anther bus towards the volcano. This took longer than expected so we only had about 30 minutes to find a vantage point where we could see the volcano. Walking up the streets took us to a point where we could see it perfectly, the hope was that it would do some huffing and puffing while we were watching as due to the eruption it was doing this regularly. Unfortunately we didn’t see anything except a small whisp of steam from the top. Unluckily it did release a fair amount of smoke/steam/ash while we were on the return bus to Colima.
So five minutes after our check out time we speed walked back into the hotel to grab our packs and head back to the bus station for the second time that day. We were off to the beach, finally after two months of not being near the coast we were ready to see the ocean again.