When heading out of Comala towards the ever-impressive volcanoes, your first stop should be Suchitlan, where one of Mexico’s most famous mask-makers carries on the tradition of his family, creating brightly painted visages of man-animals and fanciful creatures. A great lunch stop is at Los Portales, an unassuming entrance just off the town square that opens into a spacious restaurant with tables among the trees. The restaurant also features a collection of masks, a display of volcano photos, and an array of decadent desserts. For some natural beauty and exercise, continue past the square to the end of the road, the departure point to Barranca de Suchitlan, a steep, mostly paved trail winding down through jungle foliage to a swinging bridge and a gurgling stream below.
Continuing on up the highway from Suchitlan will take you past scattered homes and businesses before coming to Confradia de Suchitlan, where, in addition to being a pleasant small town, two businesses raise calla lilies in marshy plots. For 35 pesos a dozen, you can afford an armful. Head into town from the highway and after the bridge, go right at the first or second street.
The local bus continues on to Becerrera but first passes the gated entrance to the super exclusive Hacienda de San Antonio, an elegantly restored hacienda catering to the rich and famous who fly into the nearby airstrip. Rooms go for thousands of pesos per night, or with advance reservations and a hefty bank account, you can enjoy an elegant meal while overlooking the fountains and English gardens and being pampered by the staff.
For a more rustic experience continue on a short ways past the hacienda to Becerrera and go left into town. After a few blocks, watch on the right for the very photogenic wall of stones carved into starkly painted heads, Day of the Dead images, or religious inscriptions. Across the street, is Cocina Rural Doña Ester, a restaurant where food is prepared as it was two hundred years ago - grates over a large, open wood stove with pots of soups, meat in sauce, or whatever they happen to be serving the day you are there. The only nod to modern convenience is a cooler with soft drinks and beer.
An easy and popular way to see the area is to take La Ruta del Café’s open bus equipped with tables and seats and enjoy coffee from area producers, Tours leave from Comala on Saturdays and Sundays. Ask Rosa about tickets and check their website at www.cafebus.localizanet.com/. The bus winds through Rancho de Agosto, Cofradia de Suchitlan, El Remate, La Caja, and others.
You may also want to consider one of the temezcals near Comala for a steam sauna in the traditional prehispanic style, a visit to one of two of Colima’s beautifully restored archeological sites, or a trip to downtown Colima to visit its museums, art galleries, shops, and sidewalk restaurants. Comala’s excellent local bus system also opens up access to the vibrant city of Colima. Rosa and Miguel can give you lots of other ideas for things to do during your stay at Hostal Casa Blanca.