WE DON’T travel much. If you live in Paris, what’s the point in going to Topeka?
And we do live in Paris, so to speak.
But we did head to Colima this week. I’d never been there. It’s almost due west, down the mountain and near the Pacific coast. Colima is famous because there’s an active volcano nearby. We never saw the volcano because of cloud cover.
We broke the drive to Colima into two parts. We went most of the way, and spent the night in Mazamitla, a great mountain town with the tone of Twin Peaks. It was almost four hours to Mazamitla if you don’t count the time lost due to wrong turns because Mexico is lame on highway signs.
Two hours farther down the road took us to Colima the city, which is the capital of Colima the state, where we checked in for three nights at the Wyndham Garden Hotel.
That was the intended destination of the short vacation. However, my child bride began to whine and stomp her feet. I wanna go to Manzanillo! I wanna go to Manzanillo! That’s a beach city an hour even farther down the highway.
So the next morning we drove to Manzanillo, first getting lost in ugly port construction but finally finding our way to a better part of town where we spent a few hours under an umbrella on a beach named La Audiencia.
We returned to Colima in the afternoon where we swam in the pool and enjoyed the hotel’s steam room. The Wyndham Garden is a very nice hotel for a good price.
We breakfasted every morning at La Buena Vida, a superlative place that is wildly popular. If you find yourself overnight in Colima, have breakfast at La Buena Vida. It’s only open for breakfast and brunch, closing at 1 p.m.
On the second full day, we headed just north of Colima to the touristy town of Comala, a nice place but nothing to write home about. We decided to follow the advice of Clete, an occasional commenter here, and drove toward the volcano on winding back roads up toward Yerbabuena.
That was where we encountered the coffee shop in the photo, just three kilometers shy of Yerbabuena. We were the only customers for miles around, and we were served great coffee by the owner who also had grown the beans.
Those are beans drying on the white area of the photo, but they aren’t coffee beans. They are cacao. Mexicans have been in love with chocolate since before the Spaniards came calling.
We still couldn’t see the volcano even though we were close. The volcano exploded just last year, leaving ashes, the coffee shop owner told us, a foot thick on the ground.
Thinking of Pompeii, we decided to run, so we never quite made it to Yerbabuena. We had lunch on the square of Comala, returned to our hotel in Colima, swam in the pool, sat in the steam room and later ate supper at La Valentina restaurant-bar, another great spot that we happened upon by sheer luck.
The following morning we packed. We had intended to spend another night in the Mexican Twin Peaks of Mazamitla, but once we got on the road, we just kept going.