You can get to Colima by plane from Mexico City by AeroMar or from Tijuana by Volaris. The Airport is located 15km north, outside the city. To get to the downtown your only option is a taxi, which will cost $20.00 USD.
Most international visitors to Colima generally fly to Guadalara. Guadalajara, Mexico's second largest city, offers a variety of options to chose from. Once arriving at the airport, at the terminal entrance/exit doors, one can find a couple of stands that sell taxi tickets. One can buy a ticket to any location in Guadalajara for about 20-30 dollars. Persons chosing to travel to Colima should buy a ticket at the taxi stand. The cost is generally about 20 dollars to the bus station. The bus terminal has several modules so be careful to know the bus company on which you will travel. The taxi driver will then know at which of the terminals to drop you off. The most common bus lines are "Línea Plus," which by far has the most departures, leaving almost every hour. Another important bus line is "Primera Plus," which also offers many departures or "Omnibus de México." If you want to splurg, the ETN bus company also offers luxury class, which has extra large seating, similar to first class airline seats, but it cost about 30% more. Please note that the "Omnibus de México" bus line stops at an intermediate city (Ciudad Guzmán) and takes about 40 minutes longer to arrive. The traveling time from Guadalajara to Colima is about 3 hours and the buses are first class, meaning that they serve a softdrink and sandwich, have airconditioning, comfortable seating, clean bathroom(s) and television or music, depending on the specific bus.
Once arriving at the Colima bus terminal, the local cabs will charge no more than 2.50 dollars to take you to any location in Colima or the adjoining city of Villa de Álvarez. There is a taxi booth at the entrance/exit of the Colima bus station where you can buy your ticket.
Taxis are the easiest way to get around the city and they an affordable and convenient option. You can always ask the front lobby of your hotel for assistance getting a taxi or use a "sitio", which are taxi-bases found all around town. Hailing a taxi from the street is also very common and reasonably safe in this city.
Additionally, the city of Colima has a bus system that is mainly used by locals due to its intricate routing system around town. The cheap price of taxis, however, should outweigh the need to use public buses.
If you are staying in the down-town district of Colima, you should be able to get around mostly by foot, as there are many attractions available at short walking distance. Consult with the concierge or front-desk person of your hotel for general advise and recommendations on the area where you are staying.
If you plan to visit some of the many attractions on the outskirts of the city, you may want to consider renting a vehicle, altough hiring a taxi is very cheap for trips within the city, the cost can rise considerably once you hit the road.
Basílica Menor Catedral de Colima
It's hard to miss the cathedral of Colima as it is perhaps the tallest structure of all of the city. The building was first conceptualized in 1668, but due to the frequency of earthquakes in the region, it had to be re-built several times in different locations. In 1862 the building of the current structure of the cathedral was initialized and it was then proclaimed a cathedral in 1894.
This is perhaps Colima's most iconic building and it has some of the most intricate architectural elements in all of the city. The main material of this building is pink quarry and the interiors are filed with marble, wood and other finishing elements.
If you are around the region between December 3rd to December 12th, you must visit the cathedral since the locals dress in traditional "Guadalupana" outfits and flock the streets with vendors and other attractions to honour the Lady of Guadalupe.
Jardín Libertad and Jardin Torres Quintero
Located on either side of the Government Palace and the Cathedral, these two parks are perhaps the core of the social life of the most traditional locals of the city of Colima.
Jardin Libertad, is surrounded by three complexes of portals that host some hotels, shops restaurants and outdoor cafes, making it the perfect meeting spot for locals and visitors. The Gardens and landscaping of this park are extremely well kept, and the trees in this plaza are filled with flowers, fruits and some tropical plants.
In the middle of this square (Jardin Libertad), you will find a kiosk that was brought from Germany and in which you can see local bands playing on the weekends and some older couples dancing Danzon on Sunday nights.
Jardin Libertad is also near some of the olders shops in town and you can get delicious desserts and ice-cream from the stores around the square.
Jardin Torres Quintero is behind the cathedral, and it is usually less busy than Jardin libertad, offering a scape from the hectic ambience of the other square. This park is known for hosting a craft market in the evenings where friendly local artists come and sell their hand-made goods and products.
Museo Regional de Historia (Regional Museum of History)
Portal Morelos No. 1
This Museum is located right in front of one of the main parks in the city (Jardin Libertad), the government palace and the cathedral of the city; so it is hard to miss. This is a small, but well maintained museum that will offer a refreshing stop while strolling through the down-town area of the city. This is an excellent first-stop to get an idea of the history and culture of the region. The Museum offers guides from Tuesday through Fridays and it closes on Mondays.
Palacio de Gobierno
The Government Palace of the capital city of Colima is a building of neoclassic style that hosts a small museum and some impressive murals by the artist Jorge Chavez Carrillo. This building still hosts the offices of the state-governor and several government offices are located here. Don't let this defer you from entering the complex and walking around. Generally, guards will be welcoming and accommodating of tourists and visitors.
Pinacoteca Universitaria Alfonso Michel
Calle Vicente Guerrero No. 35
This picture gallery is conveniently located just a few blocks away from the main square of the city in front of a church called "El Beaterio" and a small square called "Hidalgo". This hidden gem was built on what used to be a cluster of old colonial houses turned into an interesting museum. Although the outside of the building may appear modern, the inside is a welcoming and refreshing surprise giving you an outlook of what a traditional Colima-style home looks like. One of the nicest things about this museum is the abundance of fruit trees in their internal courtyards and halls.
This gallery has been named after Alfonso Michel, one of Colima's most iconic and celebrated painter and a lot of his work is permanently shown in this gallery. This Museum also hosts the work of many other talented Mexican painters as well as prints, sculptures, photographs and other forms of modern art that will offer a unique outlook of the cultural life of this small, but culturally rich Mexican state.
Museo de las Culturas de Occidente María Ahumada de Gómez (Museum of Archeology)
Corner of Calzada Pedro A. Galván and Ejército Nacional.
This iconic museum is located at a short Taxi drive from the down-town district of Colima, right in between a cluster of buildings that compose the House of Arts and Culture of the city. The main avenue in front of this museum is one of the most beautiful streets in the city, and it is flanked by ancestral trees, some of which are almost 500 years old. The Parque de la Piedra Lisa, is also found at a short walking-distance from this museum.
This museum was built in 1980 and it shows its age, but it still the best museum focused on western pre-Hispanic culture in the region and contains an interesting and complete selection of works of pre-Hispanic art and artefacts.
This is also a great spot to see locals as this is a popular spot for school-children doing research and homework on the pre-Hispanic peoples of the region. closed on Mondays.
Parque de la Piedra Lisa
Located on Calzada Galvan, this park offers a science museum, a playground and several recreational areas, the main attraction is a volcanic stone called la piedra lisa that has the form of a slide and the legend says that once you slide on it you will always come back.
It is believed that this rock comes from the volcano 32 kilometers away from the city, the park was built around this monolithic slide rock.
The park was recently revamped, and an area with food stand offering the traditional "tostadas" was added as well as other shops offering crafts and children's toys.
This park is a popular spot for local children of Colima and during the evenings in the weekends, it tends to be packed with families.
Parque Regional Metropolitano Griselda Álvarez
This park was originally created as a protected area from what used to be fertile orchard fields. After its most recent series of renovations, this park is now a fantastic option for an afternoon of fun activities for the whole family.
The park offers a zoo, a man-made lake with service of boats, a modern art and a playground among other amenities. The park is filled with an abundance of tropical trees and plants as well as birds.
The park is closed on Mondays and it is quite large, so get here early.
One of Colima's meeting points for old and young, Jardin Nuñez is one of Colima's most historical places and it is conveniently located at a short (and enjoyable) walking distance from the main square and the cathedral via Calle Madero.
The former "Alameda" of the city, was also used as the grounds for Colima's famous state-fair and used to have a gate surrounding the grounds that were removed in the early 20th century to make it look more inviting and less of a cemetery.
Today, Jardin Nuñez is a popular spot for festivals and expositions around day of the dead and Christmas, and it is used year-round in other festivals.
Jardin Nuñez is a large park with extensive grounds filled with trees, flowers, tropical plants and it is surrounded by some other popular buildings such as the postal palace and many shops and businesses.
Colima has a wide variety of culinary options and price ranges.
The typical cuisine of Colima can be divided in two major categories: Inland food and seafood.
Inland food are the staple of the capital city, while seafood can be commonly found on the coastal regions; however, the city also offers a very decent set of options of seafood restaurants.
Additionally, Colima also has a well established set of International restaurants available at affordable prices.
The base of the Colima's gastronomy is a combination of corn and pork and the city has these traditional, very affordable restaurants called "Cenadurias" (literally it means, places to have dinner), that usually open at around 6 pm, and serve the most traditional meals described in the list below.
The most popular Regional foods of the city of Colima include:
- Pozole Blanco A white hominy corn-based soup with pork, garnished with fresh vegetables, lime, onion and an optional spicy salsa roja (trust me, it's spicy).
- Pozole Seco A unique variation of Pozole only found in Colima, that serves the dish in a paste-like option instead of the soup. The rest is very similar.
- Sopitos A dish only found in Colima consisting of pan fried mini tortillas topped with ground beef, and a very mild liquid sauce. Garnished with cheese, vegetables and tomato. Absolutely a must try!
- Tostadas A large deep-fried tortilla with a coating of bean paste and with a variety of pork toppings (depending on the style), garnished with vegetables and a medium salsa valentina.
- Sopes Gordos Hand made, thick tortilla with a coating of bean paste and a variety of pork-based toppings (similar to the tostada described above).
- Tamales & Atole Colima has its own version of Tamales, which are cooked in a corn leave and have different varieties of fillings including picadillo (ground beed), pork in green or red sauce, cheese and rajas. Atole is a corn-based drink and in Colima, it is traditionally only one flavour and it is vanilla with a touch of cinnamon.
- Tacos dorados Deep Fried tortilla filled with chicken or Panela cheese and garnished with vegetables and bathed in a savoury mild sauce
Other very traditional means found outside of cenadurias are:
- Street tacos An evening traditional meal found in most street corners.
- Chilayo Chunks of pork cooked in a thick, savoury, mild sauce, typically accompanied by white rice and onions.
- Carne en su jugo Clear Beef stew garnished with an abundance of vegetables
- Chamorro Traditional Mountain food consisting of a leg of pork, slow cooked in a spicy sauce that is very unique to family recipes in the region.
- Birria Dish from the neighbouring state of Jalisco served exclusively in the mornings consisting of a goat stew in a mild broth. Usually fresh, homemade tortillas are served with this popular dish.
- Menudo Dish typically served between 2 am and 8 am for the most daring visitors consisting on Beef stomach in a soup.
- Tejuino A very refreshing and unusual drink made out of corn, molasses, cinnamon, lime, salt and crushed ice.
- Aguas Frescas These are quite simply, drinks made with traditional, seasonal fruits and products, the most popular are: Lima, Limon, Horchata (rice), Tamarindo, Jamaica (a must have!)
- Ponche Traditional alcoholic drink from the Comala region prepared with mezcal in a variety of flavors such as Coffee, Pomegranate, plums, peanut, tamarind, etc.
- Bate The most peculiar of all of these drinks, made with chia seeds.
- Pan Dulce Sweet bread usually available for breakfast or for the merienda at 5 pm.
- Jericallas Custard dessert usually found in cenadurias. Absolutely delicious
- Flan Napolitano A mixture between a flan and a cheesecake.
You can also sleep downtown in the Hotel Ceballos (Best Western) or Hotel America.
Just out of the downtown you find the hotel Maria Isabel and at the edge of town is a Fiesta Inn.
Comala is a small, pictoresque town, named a Pueblo Mágico that lies less than 10 km away. You can get there easily from the old bus terminal in the SW part of town. From Comala, it is a short ride to other interesting villages, like Suchitlán or Zacualpan.
Suchitlán is particularly famous for its mask makers. From the main plaza, you can inquire with locals to find the workshops and sellers. (For example: Feliciano Carrillo, Azucena #10)