Wednesday, July 15, 2009

ROAD TRIP - Amacueca - Tapalpa - Fererria de Tula 2008 June 2009


What's not to love about looking through the windshield at this!

With nowhere to go and all day to get there, we set out from Joco to do a long lazy loop along the libre highway to Amacueca for coffee, ponche, and pecans, then climb up to Tapalpa, and on to Fererria de Tula, before heading home. Along the way we stopped at the small but elaborate and well displayed Amacueca museo. Very impressive museum, with a full mastodon skelaton and many little rooms with well thought out and well displayed exhibits. Very informative, and . . .who knew! Free, too!

Before we stopped at the museum, we bought kilos of roasted local coffee at the little tienda on the right, at the bend in the road, as you come into town. After weighing out our orders, la Señora poured the beans in plastic bags, then ran the flame of a lighted candle she had stuck on the counter along the top - thus creating a 'Seal-A-Meal' effect. Mexican style.

After the museo, we wandered around the plaza and the church. And headed down the hills for a hike to the coffee patches, meeting friendly local people all along the way who were pleased to stop and chat with us.

Hugo, friendly and engaging, hiked with us to the coffee patches on the way to his finca. And never once said "Wow, what are YOU guys doing here?"

This church is undergoing a complete interior restoration. We had a long chat with the gentleman who was in charge. He showed us around but asked that we not take pictures due to the flash.

One of the trails down to a coffee patch.

Either we didn't know where to look for shops, or the town of Amacueca has nearly none. Outside of pecans and coffee and abarrotes. On the way into Amacueca we stopped at an old sugar cane refinery and found this cool thread shop.

Thanks to Larry and his botany skills and knowledge, we stopped many times to walk the highway area and cut through fences into interesting rock formations and to explore dry lake beds looking for old bones, coins, and obsidian arrow heads. All of which we found plenty of.


Next stop Tapalpa, an attractive old Colonial pueblo in the mountains that is popular with Tapatios (Guadalajarans) for weekend getaways and vacations. Lots of outdoor activities, outstanding food, friendly people, interesting history, and crisp fresh air.

Mexican beasts of burden trying to catch a few winks while being loaded.

This caballero is called a cohetero. He works with cohetes, which are fireworks and rockets, that are sometimes set off individually, and sometimes there are thousands of them attached to elaborate constructions of many designs. This is what he has going on here. Note the dark color smeared all over him, that's gun powder. The whole thing is very impressive but stinks of gun powder and one has to watch in frozen awe because. . . these guys all smoke! Yes, from time to time, there are grizzly accidents. . . I'll spare you the details. Medic friends can gleefully PM me for the gore.

Colorful Road Rats.

Tapalpa from the outskirts of town.

Descending Tapalpa to the dry lake beds below.

Fererria de Tula

An elaborate and ancient water storage system that doubles as a lake in this village. It's sort of like a giant Doughboy swimming pool made out of rocks, morter, and cement rocks.

The church, needs a bit of work. I've been to this village a few times and found the lack of many working age men quite apparent. When I asked, I was told they were in the states working and sending money home. When there recently, we noticed many had returned home due to the downturn in the global economy. The upside to that is, many people in these villages speak at least some English, and they bring new US skills with them. Two examples of that are Ricky and José, brothers from Chapala, who lived in Palo Alto California and returned to Ajijic with the experiences of their CA workplaces. One built a Greek restaurant and the other a Thai and Japanese restaurant. Lucky us!

On the way back from Fererria de Tula, Larry spied the sizzling roadside grill of a BBQ lamb restaurant. We hit the brakes and piled out to find a friendly man (that would be him waving the grilled leg of lamb) and his family and the absolute best lamb I've ever had. Fresh hand slapped tortillas right off the comal, salsa cruda, beans, grilled lamb, lamb sausages, and grilled baby onions. Ahhhhhhh, killer good.

For dessert, the kids took us for a hike to the family orchard and picked fresh peaches from the trees to take home with us. Don't get no better than that. Great kids!


  1. Where did you run into the lamb BBQ place?? Near Joco? Which side??

  2. The lamb BBQ place was close to Fererria de Tula, returning to Joco, on the left side of the highway, easy to miss due to it just looking kinda like a lumber storage place or something. He is only open for business on weekends.

  3. Hey! I was just surfing the web and I found this site with pics of my town,Amacueca.
    Thanks for bringing wonderful memories to me.
    I have not been there for the past 22 years.


  4. Hi Gally, thanks for writing! Glad you liked it and it gave you a little taste of home. There is another article on Amacueca on this site: You'll have to cut and paste as I cannot put a link here. Love your town!