Traveler by heart, with thousands of kilometers over my shoulder, and with the conviction that traveling illustrates, I am happy to have the opportunity to collaborate with this magazine for several reasons. First, I am passionate about alternative tourism. I think it is the most rational approach to nature and communities living in rural areas. Through this magazine I can try to let you know the benefits that this type of tourism brings not only to travelers but also to those that play as hosts. Second, we are fortunate to live in a state rich in natural landscapes, not only coastal but also mountainous and with the great advantage that we have everything at hand, no more than one or two hours away. Finally, I have spent the last ten years of my life teaching my students at the School of Tourism and Gastronomy of the University of Colima, the essentials for planning alternative tours. Experiencing those they have organized each semester, I had the opportunity to get to know the beautiful nature surrounding the port of Manzanillo. The intention of this column is to show you these wonders and to offer you an alternative entertainment that will give you an unforgettable experience, and also will help promote tourism in our wonderful state, for the benefit of all.
What motivated me to go into the Alternative Tourism? Since I was a kid I had the opportunity to have direct contact with nature. My grandparents had a house in a forest near Mexico City and we use to spend all weekends there, hiking, picking mushrooms in rainy season, getting wet in the streams. At night we used to go downtown to eat fried taquitos in doorways, to play at the fair, and even get to the cinema to watch whatever it was projected. I think I learned then how to appreciate the little things that came my way. When they offered me to teach Alternative Tourism at the University of Colima, I did not hesitate a second, I accepted. I entered into all the theoretical elements of this activity and began to pass them on to my students. At the end of each semester they had to organize a complete alternative tour, including: transportation, guide, activities, snacks and meals. They also had to be in contact with the residents of the visited communities, and integrate them into their project, so they could obtain a direct benefit. I thoroughly know all the mountainous area surrounding the port of Manzanillo: Canoas, with its incredible coffee plantations; El Salto, with its waterfall and running water swimming pools; San Jose Lumber and La Rosa, where they manufacture “mezcal” with delicious smoky aroma.
I have visited its prehistoric stone with intriguing engravings. I have milked cows, made cheese, hand made tortillas, tasted delicious dishes prepared in clay stoves cooked at firewood and later served by the students themselves in a nice table at the edge of a river, with typical crockery and embroider tablecloths. I, along with my students, have fished fresh water shrimps, rode on a donkey, visited flower nurseries and spent a great time with wonderful people from all over the area. All this and more you will discover in each of our further editions coming soon! I’ll wait for you here in the next ¡VAMOS! Issue.