One of the most popular day trips around Lake Chapala is the drive to visit Mazamitla, Jalisco. Frankly, I’ve never quite understood the fascination. It’s so atypical of other villages and towns in Jalisco. Well, now that I think about it, maybe that IS the reason for the fascination.
The primary difference from the rest of the areas around Lake Chapala is that the buildings in Mazamitla have so much wood. In my neck of Mexico [I was gonna say neck of the woods, but that would just confuse the issue more], we don’t have a lot of wood. So most houses are built of adobe, and the bomberas [firemen] sit around a lot. Mostly running out in the fire truck to take care of crop burnings gone wild and car crashes.
People often refer to Mazamitla as “the Switzerland of Mexico.” Okay, whatever. That’s obviously based on the inordinate amount of wood in the architecture and the abundance of pine forests nearby. It’s at about 7,200 feet in altitude so it’s pretty cool, weatherwise. And they have buildings that look like this:
The town was founded by the Aztecs in the mid 1100s, but in our times, it has become a popular weekend destination for Tapatios, that is, middle class folks from Guadalajara. So, in effect, it has become a tourist destination, and the stores around the plaza reflect that. There are numerous upscale clothing stores, souvenir shops, tourist information kiosks, hotels and resturants, and bus tours are offered frequently.
Mazamitla is known for, among other things, its rompope, basically Mexican eggnog, and its cheeses. Its coat of arms, in fact, includes the pine trees, the local fauna, and rompope and other dairy products:
It reminds me somewhat of places like Ruidoso, New Mexico, and the area around Flagstaff, Arizona, where you can rent places that look like this:
These places, coupled with the massive amount of wildflowers that bloom after the rainy season, make Mazamitla a popular destination site for those of us who live around Lake Chapala.
There’s a lovely plaza and a great looking church right on the square, and one of the best restaurants in this part of Mexico, La Troje: