Plaza Principal is the site of several interesting attractions. As I walked through this part of town, I was impressed by the cleanliness of the streets and sidewalks . This plaza is surrounded by the Liberty Garden which contains numerous painted white iron benches (great place to sit down and relax). Various shops and commercial businesses are located on the exterior of the plaza but aren’t touristy souvenir type shops, as found in other heavily visited parts of Mexico. Also worth your time to check out are the local handicraft shops. Some of the paintings are remarkable, and for the quality and size, priced very reasonably.
Santa Iglesia is also located in the Plaza Principal. It is found on the east side of the plaza. Originally constructed on its present day site in 1527, but the existing building dates from only 1941 due to the numerous earthquakes over the years.
Palacio de Gobierno , located next to Santa Iglesia was built between 1884 and 1904. Take a look at the murals on the stairway in this building. They show scenes of Mexican history after the Spanish conquest. Miguel Hidalgo (a leader of the Mexican War of Independence) was once a parish priest here.
As you work you way around the plaza, don’t miss the Museo de Historio de Colima . The interior contains an exciting exhibit of ceramic vessels and pots, as well as lots of many hand-carved figurines. All these figurines were discovered in the state of Colima. Note: this museum is open from Tuesday through Sunday from 10am until 2pm and then again from 4pm until 8pm. Also check out the intriguing stamp collection. Admission is FREE. For more information call(331) 2-9228.
As you wander through this museum, don’t forget to visit the rotating art exhibits next door at the University building. Admission is also FREE and the hours of admission are the same as the museum.
Hidalgo Theatre is located a few blocks away from the main plaza (several minutes walking distance) on the corner of Degollado and Independencia. This building was constructed between 1871 and 1883. The land that it currently sits on was originally donated to the city by Miguel Hidalgo. The earthquakes of 1932 and 1941 caused major damage to the building so most of what you see today dates from after the 1941 earthquake. Several small churches are located near this theatre. If you time yiour visit correctly, you may see a Mexican wedding – especially on the weekends. Saturday mornings are when we would sit on a bench outside the various churches and often see weddings.
Casa de Cultura is located at Calzada Glavan at Ejercito Nacional, about a half mile north east of the main plaza. This building contains art displays, offers art classes, and is the home to a theatre. The theatre seats about 800 people. The grounds are nicely landscaped. A small cafe is located on the ground floor of “the workshop building” within a short walk of the theatre.
A tourism office is also located in the main plaza. Staff can provide times and schedule information for the exhibits and theatre performances. This office is open every day from 9am until 9pm.
Museum of Western Cultures displays literally hundreds of figurines and ceramics that date before the arrival of the Spanish in Mexico. These objects are all from the State of Colima. The explanations are all in Spanish. If you do not understand Spanish befriend a translator! This museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9am until 7pm. Admission is FREE.
The primary art exhibit features Colima’s well-known modernistic painter Alfonso Michel. Sometimes other art exhibits are also featured here.
University Museum of Popular Cultures is located in the Instituto Universitario de Bellas Artes, on the corner of 27 de Septiembre and Manuel Gallaro. This location is a little over 1/2 mile north of the main plaza. This museum contains folk art from the state of Colima as well as masks, musical instruments, furniture, and ceramics. They are open Monday through Saturday from 9am until 2pm, and then again from 4pm to 7pm. They are open holidays from 9am until 2pm, and are closed on Sunday. Admission is FREE of charge.
Lastly, be sure to check out the display that explains how to reproduce ancient Colima figurines. A small store is also located within the museum selling modern day crafts from around the state of Colima.
Worth visiting are several parks including:
Parque Regional Metropolitano is located on Degollado, several blocks south west of the main plaza. This park contains a small zoo, a swimming pool, an indoor theatre and a small lake where one can rent a boat and row around to your heart’s content.
Another nice find is Parque PIedra Lisa , just east of the center of town. Famous for housing the “sliding stone” of Colima. Legend has it, that if you slide down this stone you will be destined to return to Colima someday.