- 1 Colima City — state capital, and the third oldest city in Mexico
- 2 Manzanillo — world-famous beaches, festivals with lots of local flavor and fabulous outdoor activities
- 3 Tecomán — the "lemon capital of the world" has nearby beaches
- 1 Archipiélago de Revillagigedo — a UNESCO World Heritage listed archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, administratively part of Colima
The least populated state in all of Mexico, Colima is a sight to behold.
Manzanillo and Colima have airports. The airports are outside the inner cities, so plan for an extra leg once you arrive. Most people grab a taxi but sometimes there's a collective. Into downtown from the airport is usually less than half an hour. The Manzanillo airport is the larger of the two. However, since the Manzanillo airport (ZLO IATA) is north of the city, travelers who are heading to Tecoman, Colima often select the Colima airport (CLQ IATA) as the drive from there to Tecoman is usually just over an hour. Then from Tecoman, the famous surfing community of Pascuales is accessible by frequent bus routes or a short drive away. But either airport will do if you're heading to the southern coastline of Colima. The Manzanillo airport is very close to the northern beaches of Colima and the area is well known and well established as one of the most beautiful tourist destinations in Mexico.
Traveling by bus into Colima is very common and an easy day travel, A bus from Guadalajara, Jalisco to Colima, Colima can take slightly beyond a 4- or 5-hour ride depending on where the bus stops along your journey and the traffic, Traffic is usually experienced when moving through the stretches of road leading out of or into Guadalajara. Other than this stretch, most bus travel within the state of Colima and leading into the state is traffic free except in the most densely populated urban areas. Many of the larger cities in Mexico, including Manzanillo and Colima have multiple bus stations depending upon your final destination. On less frequented bus routes it's best to check with locals, local guides or have local knowledge of transportation availability for your region. Buses often do not run during weather events, which occur often during the rainy season, especially in the mountainous regions of Colima and the state of Colima is filled with mountains.
Long distance travelers driving into the state of Colima come by road from Guadalajara to the northeast, from Puerto Vallarta to the northwest or from the coast of Michoacán to the southeast. It's best to take the toll roads typically in Mexico. The toll road coming in from Guadalajara has some particularly beautiful views. Taking this route, you will pass by or go through the town of Cuidad Guzmán which is still in Jalisco but from there you are on your way to the Colima state capitol, Colima, Colima. There are other smaller highways which enter the state but always check local conditions as the extreme weather and mountainous terrain found in Colima can make driving in the state very hazardous. Entering from the southern coastline, you first reach the state of Colima at the ranch town and mouth of the river, Boca de Apiza. The highways often do not have emergency shoulders that are usable and they have strict speed limits not always posted and speed bumps not always marked. Tickets can be extremely expensive; having your car impounded prior to being allowed to pay a very large fine a few days later is not unheard of. Since highway accidents have been a constant issue over the years, Mexico has adopted a no-tolerance driving policy. While the views and roadways in Colima make for some of the most interesting and pleasurable experiences a traveler by road could ask for, do not take the difficulty of driving in the state, or anywhere in Mexico, lightly. Driving accidents, as with many nations throughout the world, is a leading cause of injury and death. On any of the 3 major roads entering Colima there's never usually a problem finding an open gasoline station or rest area. Always pay attention to the weather when driving in Colima, although the dry season is long, the mountain areas which all the major highways cut through at times see a lot of precipitation and wind events throughout the year. The weather is often a concern when driving in Colima and fog in the lower lying locations of the highways can be extremely thick. Driving at night is not recommended and you would not want to miss the views. The weather can be intense with both hail and dust devils reaching dangerous strength. Drivers are recommended to check local conditions and travel with the utmost patience. Driving in along the northern coastline route from the state of Jalisco, you will pass some of the most beautiful beaches and land formations where there's plenty of tourist options all the way to Manzanillo. Driving this stretch can be tricky with some areas of the road appearing easier, but rarely are with steep drops and blind, reversely banked curves. It is highly recommended to avoid driving these areas at night. Highway night lighting is spotty at best throughout Mexico. From the main highway which arrives in from Guadalajara, going toward Comala, Colima, you can see the twin mountains of fire and ice which are some of the largest in North America. Varied scenery exists throughout the very well traveled route. The active volcano is often viewable to above or near the top and it's not uncommon to witness eruptions of both smoke and lava.
Manzanillo has a large port. It's used by vacation liners and travelers more often in the dry season when the ocean is relatively free of the powerful storms which frequent the region. These storms develop in the ocean to the south, just off the coast of the more southern Mexican state of Oaxaca and travel northward turning sometimes into hurricanes which at times have battered the Mexican coastline, including Colima. This is typically only a concern to sea travelers in the rainy season but big storms have been known to develop even as late as the month of December. The rainy season in Colima begins to fade away usually in October but these are tropical areas and conditions can become severe at any time. Semana Santa, which is in the spring, is still the dry season but the ocean to the south warms quickly sometimes creating the first storms of the season by around the time of this very popular and widely celebrated Holiday. By the month of May the ocean is typically producing much bigger and more consistent swells off the coast of Colima, although the coastal regions of the state may not get the first rains of the new wet season until July. Waves come throughout the year along the coastline of Colima, especially in the areas from El Real to El Paraiso which typically see the largest and are the areas most frequented by experienced surfers. The Love Boat has docked in Manzanillo; cruise lines use the International Port of Manzanillo as a port of call..
Colima is not as well known or as well visited as other Pacific destinations such as Puerto Vallarta, despite long sandy beaches and docks for cruise ships. In the 2000s, the city worked to renovate its downtown, with all buildings now showing white facades and many with red tile roofs.
The second most important destination is the small town of Comala, a small traditional town near the capital of Colima. Comala was named a "Pueblo Mágico" because of its natural surroundings and traditional architecture, which its downtown declared a historic monument. Since 1962, all the buildings in the town have been painted white and most have red tile roofs, giving it the nickname of "White Village of America."
It is home to two important archeological sites. El Chanal is 4 km north of the city of Colima. It is a complex of pyramid platforms with stairs, a Mesoamerican ballcourt and a number of plazas. A distinctive feature of the site are stones with glyphs that are found on stairways. La Campana is in the urban area of Villa de Álvarez. It is a ceremonial center with various temples and pyramidal platforms with rounded edges. At least one of the platforms was used as a mausoleum with the tomb inside still visible.
Most of the other attractions of the state are related to its history, and most of these are in and around the capital city of Colima. The former state government palace in the center of the city of Colima dates from the 19th century. The main stairwell contains a mural by Colima painter Jorge Chávez Carrillo. The Palacio Federal is near Jardín Núñez in the city of Colima and dates from the beginning of the 20th century. The upper floor contains murals with scenes depicting Mexico City and portraits of people from Mexico's history. The Archive of the History of the State is located at Jardín Juárez in the city of Colima. It dates from the early 20th century and was home to the Escuela de Artes Aplicadas. San Francisco de Almoloyan in the city of Colima is the ruins of an old Franciscan monastery from the 16th century. The Mesón de Caxitlán on the Colima Tecomán highway is the ruins of an old in on the former royal road from the 18th century.
Other important attractions include a number of former haciendas, many of which have been renovated. The Del Carmen hacienda is in the municipality of Villa de Álvarez. It was a cattle ranch from the 19th century, and has been restored. The San Antonio hacienda is in the municipality of Comala. It was a coffee plantation from the 19th century, with a chapel and aqueduct, which have all been restored. The former Nogueras hacienda in Comala has a main house that dates from the 19th century and a chapel from the 17th. It has been restored and is used primarily as a museum.
Colima's most important tourism destinations are the beaches of Manzanillo, which are popular among those in western Mexico.
Colima has attracted the attention of many sports fishermen. It has called itself the "World Capital of the Sailfish" since 1957 when 336 species were caught off its shores. The abundance of this fish along with marlin has made it a popular destination with sports fishermen and the city holds the annual Dorsey International fishing tournament.
This area of Mexico is considered relatively safe compared to much of the country but traveling at night or alone is not recommended, anywhere in Mexico, and is something which even locals refrain from. Using major bus lines, taking official taxis arranged by reputable agencies and an understanding of how to travel within developing nations is considered a requirement when visiting Mexico.