Colima is a quiet, leafy town set high in the shadow of an active volcano an hour from the Pacific coast and 136 mi/220 km southeast of Guadalajara. Its three irregular-shaped plazas with their arched porticos and excellent cafes make great spots for idling.

The excellent Museum of Western Culture features a wealth of detailed clay artifacts and ornaments of pre-Hispanic cultures of the region, some of Mexico's most ancient. The city is especially useful as a starting point for trips to villages near the base of the Volcan de Fuego, which at times can be seen spewing red lava into the sky.

Easily reached by bus is the town of Comala, a delightful congregation of whitewashed houses nestled in the jungle and intersected by a river running through a deep canyon. Farther up the mountain is the village of Suchitlan, famous for its mask makers. From Colima itself, you can arrange guided treks of the nearby national park.

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