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Documentary places origin of Mexican firewater in Colima, makes case for pre-hispanic distilling

A new DVD with excellent sound tracks in English, Spanish and French brings to life fascinating discoveries on the origin of tequila, as well as a surprising new take on who was the first to distill this potent brew in the Americas.

Presa de la Vega’s biodiversity celebrated: The lagoon inches toward cleaner waters and happier otters

University students, teachers and townspeople recently gathered at the Casa de Cultura in Teuchitlán, Jalisco to celebrate World Wetlands Day (February 2) and to learn about the flora and fauna of nearby Laguna La Vega. In addition, they launched a stunning photo exhibit on the lake’s biodiversity by biologist Manfred Meiners.

Return to the Blue Falls: Climbing Tequila’s ‘Machu Picchu’ is worth the torture, say ecstatic painters

After publishing several articles on Tequila’s extraordinary 170-meter-high Los Azules Waterfalls, I was soon receiving requests from people interested in seeing this wonder for themselves. The only problem was, I had less than perfect information on how to get there, so I decided it was time to revisit the falls with a few hardy friends in order to familiarize myself with the access trail.

The best places for volcano watching

Colima’s Volcán de Fuego (Volcano of Fire) has been relatively dormant for several years, but a few weeks ago local residents were reminded of the fact that they are living next to a time bomb.

A brief guide to the Primavera Forest

Guadalajara, Mexico’s second-largest city, happens to be situated right next to a beautiful pine and oak forest covering more than 36,000 hectares. For as long as anyone can remember, el Bosque de la Primavera has been referred to as “Guadalajara’s lung” and in 1980, when big-time development plans threatened the woods, the entire forest, whether publicly or privately owned, was declared a Protected Area and Wildlife Refuge.

Great Balls of Stone! What to expect if you visit Las Piedras Bola in 2013

Naturally formed giant balls of stone are a rare phenomenon in most parts of the world, but not on a mountain top near Ahulaluco, 75 kilometers west of Guadalajara, where hundreds of them lie nestled in a bed of soft volcanic ash. It’s even said that these are the largest megaspherulites (their scientific name) in the world, for which reason I decided to go measure a few of the biggest I could find.

The long hard trail to Jalisco’s most beautiful cave

It’s 7 a.m. at Rancho El Zapote. The air is full of early morning sounds. Loudest of all are the roosters who live only meters from my tent and have been trying to wake me up since 4 a.m. Then come the chickens, a very large pig and dozens of loudly mooing cows, one of which wears a clanking bell, indicating that she is the leader of the herd. Suddenly I hear the distant and repeated gurgle of a car engine which doesn’t want to start, accompanied by incomprehensible shouts of men who, I’m sure, are crowded around an uncooperative truck. Finally, varoom, varoom, va-ROOOOOM! The deafening attempts to start the car go on forever and I decide it’s time to get out of my sleeping bag and into my caving pants. Today we are going to visit La Cueva de los Monos (Cave of the Figurines), which can only be reached after a long, hard climb up a steep mountainside above the little town of Toxin, which is located 37 kilometers northwest of Colima City. The cave is so named, I understand, because local people claim they found artifacts inside.

Journey to Thuwal: A Saudi university looks at Arabia’s Caves

In 2009 I heard rumors that a new university had opened its doors in Saudi Arabia. It was said that King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) was vibrant, dynamic, staffed by the world’s greatest scientists teaching the world’s most brilliant students, a truly international university which its founder, King Abdullah, Arabia’s reigning monarch, envisioned as “a bridge between people and cultures … and a beacon for peace, hope and reconciliation.”

A crackling fireplace, mystic art & gourmet food in Sierra Tecuane

A month ago we briefly stopped to peek at Amor Corazón, a most unusual Restaurant not far from Tapalpa. Inside we found decorative two-headed snakes wound around columns, “thrones” straight out of Lord of the Rings and a fascinating mural with figures made of wine bottles and shiny glass balls. “Shades of Gaudí,” we said; “Who created all this?”

Local hikes provide perfect training for mad dash through Frankfurt Airport

Dear Readers,

Lest we forget the blessings of living in a nearly perfect climate and having an International Airport so small you can cross the whole thing in two minutes, I offer you the following.

US Peace Corps Volunteers reflect on Guadalajara tour: ‘We don’t want to leave Mexico’

Californians Barbara and John Dye have spent the last two years working in Guadalajara as members of the U.S. Peace Corps. Barbara, who holds a degree in geology, assisted the team which cares for the Bosque de la Primavera, while John, a graduate in mechanical engineering, carried out special projects for CIATEJ (Jalisco Research Center for Technology and Design).

A stroll up El Col: A ‘quick-n-easy’ hike for the ultra fit

“Where shall we go hiking this Sunday?” asked my friend Mario.

Hissing, sputtering & fuming: the source of city’s ‘hot river’

Without a doubt, the best-known feature of the Primavera Forest, situated on the fringes of Guadalajara, is its celebrated hot river.  In fact, Río Caliente has become the symbol of the entire Bosque, even though the caldera in which it lies has plenty of other geologically interesting phenomena.

How to stay hale & healthy no matter your age

It seems regrettable that so many of the world’s medical doctors spend most of their time dealing with sickness and disease and not a whole lot contemplating the benefits of the celebrated “apple a day.”

Apologizes due for wrong date

We would like to extend a sincere apology to those residents of Lakeside who last weekend turned up to participate in a hike through the Primavera Forest to be led by the Reporter’s John Pint.

Tapalpa’s Pueblo Viejo ruins: A major archaeological discovery

Steve Stanton was born in Mexico, studied in the US and is perfectly bilingual. He has lived in Tapalpa for some 20 years and because he was actively involved in tourism for many of them, I felt he was the perfect person to ask about interesting sites in the area, off the beaten track.

Pine-needle creativity

A scream of terror rings out in the deep woods. A hiker races about in circles, leaping into the air and shaking her limbs wildly. “Something’s crawling up my pant leg!” she shrieks to her companions. Modesty cast aside, she rips off her pants to discover inside, not the scorpion, centipede or spider she expected, but a humble, utterly harmless, pine needle.

Where to turn when there’s no place to go

The first town you drive through heading west from Guadalajara on Highway 15 is La Venta del Astillero, centuries ago a major source of lumber for construction projects in the City of Roses and today apparently no more than a set of speed bumps along the road to Nogales … apparently.

Prolific painters enchanted by Austrian landscapes

The Guadalajara Chamber of Commerce is exhibiting the results of a two-week “plein-air” painting trip to Austria taken recently by two of Guadalajara’s best-known artists: Jorge Monroy and Ilse Taylor Hable.

Schoolchildren discover Guachimontones; How to get the most out of a visit to Teuchitlan

A few days ago I had the pleasure of accompanying students and teachers of the Waldorf-de-Guadalajara school on a visit to the archaeological site of Teuchitlán. By the end of the day, all of us felt that the experience had been both educational and enjoyable, so I will outline our program for readers who have never seen the ruins or who aren’t aware of the latest developments at the site.

The Rocks of Quila El Grande: Searching for monoliths, landing in wildflower heaven

Thanks to a turtle, I stumbled upon yet another part of Jalisco which can only be described as “stunning” for its natural beauty.

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