Last updateFri, 29 Apr 2016 3pm

John Pint goes hotel hopping on the beach in Manzanillo

I have a certain prejudice against Mexican beaches in August. It goes back to two horrible nights of unsuccessfully trying to sleep in a little tent on the seashore. The inside of the tent had literally been transformed into a sauna by the high heat and humidity, while outside, hordes of bloodthirsty mosquitoes hovered, just waiting for me to pull a zipper ... and to make matters worse, I couldn’t remove the rain fly because it was drizzling all night long. “Never again!” I swore.

The wonders of El Carrizal: Birds, berries, beautiful mushrooms along a lush, pretty, jungle-like trail

Arroyo el Carrizal offers a shady footpath through dense forest growth located 54 kilometers west of Guadalajara near the town of Ahualulco de Mercado. This is the perfect place to go if you’re in the mood for a short, easy walk in which you’ll find yourself distracted by something delightful nearly every step of the way.

A hike up Mazatepec Volcano from President Porfirio Diaz’s train station

Not long ago I discovered that Mexico’s most famous modernizer (and most infamous dictator), Porfirio Díaz, used to enjoy soaking in his own personal hot-spring pool at the foot of Mazatepec Volcano, located 25 kilometers southwest of Guadalajara. “Yes,” a local old timer told me, “he actually deviated the Guadalajara-Manzanillo railroad track (which he inaugurated in 1908) so it would pass by here. He even had a train station built here just so he could go for a swim in this pool”

An easy walk to Balanced Rock: The high point of gorgeous Sierra de Tapalpa

“I’m organizing a hike to La Piedra Balanceada de Juanacatlán,” announced Mario Guerrero. “It is so short and easy that even my wife is going to go.”

I passed this news around to lots of friends, most of whom decided to pass, commenting that too many of Mario’s “short-n-easy” hikes had proved just a wee bit too long-n-hard for their taste.

I, of course, took the bait, along with a few friends I could describe as “hardy hikers.”