Pack snacks and lunch, just in case. Bring money for dinner on the way back home. Arrange for a tour guide 2-7 days in advance. This is an optional multi-day experience; for more adventurous families, stay overnight in a hostel and hike Nevado de Colima (a neighboring extinct volcano) the next day.
Good to know
Check for volcano activity; you may luck out with heavier plumes of smoke and even lava flow. Feed your guides during your trip; they will appreciate it.
Weekdays will be less crowded, but fewer restaurants will be open on a Monday or Tuesday. If going on a weekend, make reservations for a guide and hostel well in advance. Go earlier in the day, since there will be less cloud cover over the volcano in the morning. However, if the volcano is more active during your visit, a nighttime excursion will let you see the glow of the lava from a distance.
Recommended time of the year
The ideal time to visit is between mid-November and April, before it gets unbearably hot and humid. Avoid the rainy season (June to November).
Email Edgard (the guide we used) at firstname.lastname@example.org and mention A Family Afloat for a discount. You can also organize a large group with a rental van to split up the cost of the guide. Or, to save on transportation, take the bus or rent a car from your location, stay the night at the El Litchi Hostal in Colima and have the hostel organize a guide.
About This Day
Looking for a unique adventure for your Mexico vacation with kids? How about viewing an active volcano? For a visit to Volcan de Colima, start at 8 a.m. from Barra de Navidad (or a little later if you are in Colima already). This long, guided day trip will take you first through the city of Colima, then through the quaint town of Comala and up the foothills to the coffee plantations just below Volcan de Colima. Be sure to stop in Comala on the way to grab some traditional Mexican pastries. Stop again on the way back down for live music and all-you-can-eat tacos at Don Colamón.
This bakery provides traditional Mexican pastries and bread that is made fresh daily. You can see the work process and smell the aroma of the freshly baked selections from the front door.
DIRECTIONS As you are heading northeast on 175, the bakery will be on the right-hand side. It's about 1.5 blocks after the road splits and becomes a one-way road.
Laguna Verde (Laguna Maria)
Colima 16, Zapotitlán
Laguna Verde (Laguna Maria) is a murky lake with a background in Mexican folklore. You can hike around the lake and learn about the local plants. Bring your lunch to picnic here and admire the beautiful, serene view. Don't expect to swim in this lake, however. Ask your guide to tell you the Mexican myth behind the name Laguna Maria and why nobody swims here.
DIRECTIONS Continue due east on 16, toward the volcano and past Comala. Turn right at the sign for Café La Yerbabuena and Laguna Verde (also known as Laguna Maria). Follow the narrow road until you see the Laguna Verde entrance to your left.
This tiny coffee shop offers made-to-order coffee. The coffee is grown, dried and roasted on the premises in this higher elevation setting. The freshness of the coffee is abundant in its flavor. Also, the owner speaks English and the coffee shop is open every day of the week, making it a perfect stop to see a local coffee plantation during your tour.
DIRECTIONS Have the tour guide take you by car up past Comala and past Laguna Verde (Camp Maria).
TIP The café might appear closed, but it is probably open. Just walk up, and someone will come and greet you.
As long as you order drinks, bottomless plates of the yummiest tacos will keep being brought to you at this restaurant. After a long day of touring the volcano and coffee plantations, how could you go wrong with all-you-can-eat tacos? Or, ask your tour guide to take you to the Cerveceria de Colima for microbrews and burgers instead.
DIRECTIONS On the way back through Comala, head west. Don Comalón will be at the far right-hand corner of the plaza (after Comala's plaza/square).
TIP Buy souvenirs from the store across the street while you are at Don Comalón.