Our day trip to Mazamitla took us into the mountain range, Sierra del Tigre, about two hours drive on the other side of the lake and heading southeast.
As we came around the west tip of Lake Chapala we saw rows and rows of white tarps covering the hillsides. These tarps are visible from the Ajijic side of the lake but until now we hadn’t first hand what they were. This land is owned by MexiBerries and we saw huge patches of raspberry, blueberry, blackberry and strawberry crops shielded by the tarps to protect the fruit against the blazing sun. In our grocery stores at home right now all the berries you see with the label ‘Driscoll . . . product of Mexico’ are likely grown and shipped from right here.
(not a great shot but hard to take from a moving vehicle)
Also along the way, we noticed first hand how Mexico is investing in infrastructure with many roads here receiving upgrades.
Mazamitla is sometimes referred to as ‘little ‘Switzerland’ not because many of the buildings resemble the architecture you might find in Switzerland but because of the beautiful meadows surrounding the town which are covered in alpine flowers albeit one week a year (in September). All buildings here are made of wood and are painted white with the bottom third painted red. It was told to us that this is to limit the number of times any re-painting would need to be done as the dirt, dust and rain splatter on the lower half of the walls would more easily blend into that colour. Mexican efficiency!
Of course, the ever present Church in the town square . . .
The town site sits at 7,000 feet above sea level and is in close proximity to a pine forest and we certainly noticed the fragrant and clean, crisp air. It is an area favoured by wealthy Guadalajarans for a summer retreat as the weather is pleasant and there are many cabins and holiday homes here. The mean temperature in March is 16C so we were glad of the light jackets we brought along.
We had a short walking tour of the central area of the town before we climbed on the back of a 1950's era truck. It was a stake truck with an awning over the top and hard bench seats for our discomfort.
After a short drive thru the town itself we proceeded up the mountain until we reached 9,000 feet. Cori and Stynie experienced first hand what the guide called your ‘free new makeup’ as they were sitting right at the back of the truck and were covered in road dust when we arrived at the top of the mountain.
We stopped to take pictures of the beautiful view and then hurried back down the mountain as it was cooler and windy at the top. On the way down we passed properties belonging to the latest drug lord to be imprisoned in Mexico, Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman . . . impressive, and now belonging to the state.
After lunch we had some free time to roam which the ladies used for shopping and the men used to enjoy a beverage in the sunshine at the Zocalo (town square).
A pretty nice day.