THINGS TO SEE BEYOND COSTALEGRE
103 kilometers (64 miles) south of Puerto Vallarta, and 12 kilometers (7.4 miles) inland from the coast, is this strange place where there are vestiges of indigenous life, but almost every trace has been erased by the sale of relics to foreigners.
At kilometer 132 of highway 200 starts the municipality of Tomatlan. To the north it borders the municipalities of Cabo Corrientes and Talpa de Allende, to the east with Cuautla, Atenguillo and Ayutla, to the south with La Huerta and Purificación. To the west with the Pacific Ocean.
There are two ways to get there from Guadalajara. The first consists of taking federal highway N. 15 to the coastal highway N. 200. The second consists of taking the highway N. 80 that passes through Autlán de Navarro and then take the highway N. 200, in north direction. From Puerto Vallarta just follow Highway N. 200, to the south.
The climate is warm and semi-dry. The rainy season is in summer, although it usually lasts until October. The average annual temperature is 26.9ºC.
The temple of Santo Santiago, located in the municipal seat, is a pleasant surprise for those who visit Tomatlan. It is a beautiful religious building built in the mid-eighteenth century that tells us about the illustrious colonial past of the region.
In the area there are many trees whose woods are valuable as parota, mahogany, rosamorada, barcino, havillo, pine, oak, spring and oak. In addition to the typical vegetation of the tropics such as palm trees, fruit trees (mango, banana, papaya, tamarind, etc.).
Parakeets, macaws, squirrels, rabbits, herons, gulls, deer, rattlesnake, tigrillos and a huge variety of fish.
Salt is produced, the precious woods that abound in the surroundings are cut, bass and carp are fished and watermelons, pineapples, sunflowers, chilies, coconut palms, tobacco, rice, sorghum and corn are grown. Tourism is also exploited thanks to the beauty of the beaches.
Charro parties are from the 1st to May 12th. The Bullring is decorated with dances, bullfights and charro luck. On July 25, Day of Saint Santiago, which is the patron of the town, is the most important celebration. On December 12, the most Mexican Virgin is celebrated, which is none other than the Guadalupana, and in Tomatlán there is a great procession in which the neighboring communities participate. There are allegorical cars, music and rockets.
Saddles, piteado, huaraches of skin and carved precious woods.
Seafood, zarandeado fish, shrimp, ceviche. Chilpate sauce is very characteristic of Tomatlan. It is prepared with a wild chile that is found in the area. You drink the tejuino, the tepache, the raicilla and the coconut milk. The pico de gallo made with fresh fruits grown in Tomatlán is excellent to alleviate the heat. Also the tamarind and coconut sweets.
The Spanish conquistadors arrived in Tomatlan from El Tuito. The town was subdued by Francisco Cortés de San Buenaventura. From 1533 to 1574 he was entrusted to Juan Fernández de Híjar with a seat in Villa Purificación.
From 1825 it belonged to the 6th canton of Autlán until 1878 when it was changed to the 10th canton of Mascota. It was decreed as a municipality on September 23, 1878.
El Tuito was the most important town within what today we know as the municipality of Tomatlán. According to a report written by the captain of urban militias Don Francisco Mariano Gonzalez, in September 1798 he pointed out that San Pedro del Tuito was 25 leagues from Tomatlán, the road was rough and crossed a mighty river, as well as several streams that in time of waters prevented their transit.There were 410 inhabitants in El Tuito and the nearby ranches. The inhabitants asked for a minister at this point because many people died without confession and that a parish was erected according to the provisions of the Council of Trent.
Due to the importance of Tuito on Tomatlán at the time, the main activities were concentrated in this site. In 1800 the church of El Tuito was of a long and narrow canyon, very humid in all the year and therefore it needed envigado. The walls were unbleached, the roof was tile. Adjacent to the church was the house of the minister father who were two small rooms.
On October 28, 1823 there was a strong storm that in some rancherías did not leave houses standing, being one of them the brotherhood of El Tuito where they were collecting the cattle for the awning. In Tomatlan, the river took some cattle according to information from the steward.
Tomatlán is located in a seismic zone and several tremors were recorded by the parish priests and reported to the miter. Thus, on January 30, 1839 at 9:15 p.m. there was a strong tremor with a short duration. The church was quartered in the four arches and five main vaults in the center. Also the vault of the choir to the front door cover. The columns that supported the baptistery and bell tower collapsed at some points. Likewise, the help chapel of San Pedro de El Tuito suffered from the same tremor, the sacristy was left without tiles and the tower was about to fall.
By 1839 the church of El Tuito was in poor condition and needed repairs such as providing the walls with strong wooden struts on both sides as well as re-roofing, which would be done in the dry season.
El Tuito was a parish help from Tomatlán and its brotherhood was dedicated to the Purísima Concepción. The brotherhoods were leased to individuals and indigenous people. The goods of the Fraternity of the Immaculate Conception, between 1840 and 1857, were 443 cattle, 17 old mules, 13 mares, a donkey, 14 horses, 3 axes, 5 machetes, 2 huts and a bullring.
In 1862 the church and sacristy of El Tuito were being built. In 1873 there is mention of a school in Tomatlán. The cemetery in El Tuito was built outside the town and was built without the intervention of the church as a result of the reform laws. Also, years ago, in 1854, the Tomatlan cemetery was built by the municipal authority.
In this region, as in others in Jalisco, armed movements continued during the 19th century. Thus, in 1855 we heard of new armed uprisings in the region that prevented the transit through Tomatlan, "the roads were plagued with bandits" according to Narciso Pinto who said that the revolution had returned to its first force by Autlán.
The most important haciendas of the jurisdiction were Santa Gertrudis and Cacaluta, they were dedicated mainly to the sowing of the sugar cane and in the times of zafra of sugar and panocha the number of workers increased. Therefore, a chapel was built in Santa Gertrudis to provide the necessary spiritual services to the population, since it was 25 leagues from the capital.
In 1811 a letter said that the chapel in the ranch of Cacaluta, belonging to the hacienda of Santa Gertrudis, in the parish of Tomatlán, had two brotherhoods: the one of the Santísimo and that of Ánimas. They asked for an ecclesiastic who resided in the hacienda because, due to the distances, the broken roads of hills, rivers, streams and mountains of the coast, many faithful died without confession. This was said by the lieutenant colonel of faithful realists, subdelegate and commander of arms of the jurisdiction of Tomatlan. In addition, the area was important because the ranchers passed the muleteers from the salt pans of the coast and there they were supplied with the necessary supplies to continue on their way.
The salt mines of Paraman were also an important economic site. They were 9 leagues away from the head, therefore it was necessary the presence of a pastor at the site from the end of January to the end of June for the workers in the salt pans as well as for the muleteers who drove the salt to different points. The mass was celebrated on portable altar and in case of death the corpses were taken to the nearest places for burial.
In Tomatlán there were several health problems during the 19th century. In 1833 and 1849 there was plague of cholera and by 1840 and 1853 it was reported that fever and smallpox reigned throughout the coast.
After a long journey in a good dirt road for trucks, but not for low cars, you will find this beach dedicated to the conservation of turtles, beautiful for its white sand and the rocks that surround it. When arriving at the town Morelos take the announced deviation.
Dam Cajón de Peñas
Located at kilometer 18 of the deviation of Highway 200, 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of Melaque, this impressive dam, built in 1976, is ideal for fishing tilapia, bass, carp and shrimp.
It is a favorite place for mountain biking and for birdwatchers, such as the green macaw, declared endangered, wild parrots, ducks, herons and others. Nearby are still vestiges of cave paintings. It does not have tourism infrastructure, so you have to make day trips.
Gran Playón de Tomatlán (Punta las Peñitas)
In this immense extension of beaches of Jalisco known as the Gran Playón de Tomatlán, the sea is open, so it has not been developed touristically, but at the same time it offers the ideal characteristics for the reproduction of diverse species, mainly that of the sea turtle. Some of its beaches are Majahuas, Peñitas or Punta Las Peñitas.
Highway Tomatlán-Puerto Vallarta
This impressive road is an impeccable farewell to the route, or welcome, if you decided to do it in the opposite direction to the proposed.
The valleys alternate with mysterious landscapes of dense vegetation. The villages are rather scarce, and are very well integrated with the landscape, which as it rises in height, changes in tonalities and forms. The palm trees give rise to pines, the houses are transformed into the typical mountain dwellings with its roofs of tile attached.
At kilometer 189 there is a huge botanical garden that deserves a stopover.
Arriving at El Tuito you can make mescal cup, or if you are brave, rootlet, a beverage considered by some to be hallucinogenic. In the distance, you can see a man on horseback, with his hat, going into the mountains.
Bahía de Banderas
Although the official end of the Costalegre arrives at kilometer 132, the coast of Jalisco extends to the Ameca River, which is located between Puerto Vallarta and Nuevo Vallarta. Thus, the last state bay, and the largest in the country, Bahía de Banderas is a popular and well-known tourist destination that deserves a journey in itself.