Some say Colima is haunted. According to locals, Colima has a haunted hospital and a cafe perpetually plagued by phantoms; they say that even the red light district is haunted. (Now how would they know?!) The specters inhabit new constructions as well as old. Colima’s disproportionately large ghost population is said to be quite boisterous, and even occasionally destructive.
Sandwiched between Jalisco and Michoacan states, the capital of tiny Colima state is also known for its large number of witches. Hidden far from prying eyes is an inscribed stone where shamans are said to transform themselves into animals. Many shamans believe there’s a spot here that serves as a portal to other planes of existence.
Let’s Get Ready to Rumble
Colima is an area of intense volcanic and seismic activity. Looming over the landscape just north of the capital, Volcán de Colima (also known as Volcán de Fuego, or Fire Volcano) is the most active in North America.
Tremors and earthquakes are common, and many of the city's last remaining adobes cracked or crumbled in the 2003 quake. Because of the con¬stant shakeups, Colima has few colonial structures, despite being Mexico's third oldest city---predated only by Veracruz and Mexico City. When a devastating earthquake in 1941 destroyed entire city blocks, several were turned into picturesque parks shaded by legions of tropical trees and bushes, showy flowers, and colorful, fast-growing vines.
Get Up and Go
At about 460 meters (1510 feet) above sea level, Colima enjoys a wonderful climate where almost anything grows. According to one local legend, fairies and trolls hang out in higuera trees, while the massive parrota, a type of ceiba, is thought to be imbued with magical qualities. Elevation and latitude conspire to create a warm, sunny climate that is less oppressive than the nearby coast. This is a great city for walking.
Several museums vie for visitors’ attention, including the Museo Universitario de Culturas Populares, which offers up pre-Hispanic artifacts as well as textiles and items from popular culture. The best place to learn about West Coast culture (the term used to describe the region’s pre-Hispanic civilizations), however, is the Museo de las Culturas del Occidente.
One of the most entertaining things to do while visiting Colima is to experience the zona mágica. About seven miles outside the city is a spot in the road that appears to defy Newton's Law. When the driver gets to the bottom of a significant dip in the road, he kills the engine or puts the car in neutral. The vehicle then proceeds at a brisk pace, and entirely on its own volition---uphill! If you don't have a car, it's worth taking a taxi to experience the amazing phenomenon.
A favorite weekend hangout for locals and visitors is EI Jacal de San Antonio. Built on a series of large platforms, the open-sided restaurant offers a bird's eye view of Colima's sultry volcano, which often obliges by belching plumes and rings of white and gray smoke.
COLIMA LOCAL LISTINGS