Exploring Jalisco’s Natural Wonders: 5 Not-to-Be Missed Places
In the heart of Mexico, in the beautiful state of Jalisco, there are 37 federally protected Natural Areas, treasures guarded by the federal government that harbor rich biodiversity, picturesque landscapes, and unforgettable experiences. Among these treasures, some natural parks stand out as tourist marvels, ready to welcome adventurous families, hiking enthusiasts, and nature lovers. If your passion is to explore, admire fauna and flora, and contribute to environmental conservation, the Vallarta Lifestyles editorial team invites you to discover these places that promise unparalleled excitement.
Maple Forest: A Living Canvas of Colors
The Maple Forest, officially known as the Maple State Park, is a destination that seems straight out of a fairy tale. This unique corner in Mexico will seduce you with its landscapes in warm tones, courtesy of the maples that share their territory with pines, oyameles, magnolias, and tree ferns. But the magic here is not limited to flora; feline species like jaguars, pumas, and ocelots, as well as exquisite birds like yellow-headed parrots and green macaws, add to the symphony of nature. Discovered in the year 2000 and declared a Protected Natural Area in 2016, the Maple Forest awaits you 16 kilometers from the municipality of Talpa de Allende. While its expanse exceeds 50,000 hectares, only a part is open to exploration, leaving room for future adventures.
Sierra de Manantlán: A Sanctuary of Life
Imagine a natural paradise that houses such vast biodiversity that it defies imagination. That’s the legacy of the Sierra de Manantlán, a mountainous refuge nestled in the Sierra Madre del Sur. Here, over 3,000 species of plants, 85 reptiles, 110 mammals, and 1,200 insects coexist in harmony. Nature puts on a dazzling show with oaks, pines, oyameles, and a myriad of shrubs and grasslands. Besides being a feast for the senses, this region plays a vital role as a water source for agricultural areas like El Grullo, Casimiro Castillo, Autlán, Minatitlán, and Comala. The Sierra de Manantlán Biosphere Reserve extends to almost 140,000 hectares in Jalisco, sharing 105 hectares with Colima.
Sierra del Águila: A Refuge for the Soul
Majestic and powerful, the Sierra del Águila unfolds across four Jalisco municipalities: Etzatlán, Ameca, Ahualulco de Mercado, and San Juanito de Escobedo. This natural sanctuary, home to diverse species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians, offers a rejuvenating escape from the daily hustle. The birds’ songs become the soundtrack of this refuge, where hiking becomes a revelatory experience. The mountainous region hosts hiking trails that, though demanding, reward with panoramic views of humid landscapes, generated by the presence of pines, oaks, and thorny shrubs. With every step, the Sierra del Águila invites you to disconnect and embrace the pure essence of nature.
Bosque de la Primavera: An Oasis of Diversity
Bosque de la Primavera, a treasure of Guadalajara, presents itself as a sanctuary of flora and fauna with over a thousand plant species and almost 140 bird species. Immerse yourself in its lushness to escape urban routine and embrace the serenity of nature. In this paradise, rocks also play a leading role, with obsidian and pumice stones hidden in its soil. Besides its recreational and touristic value, the forest contributes to scientific and technological research, and vital water supply to the region. With 30,500 hectares, Bosque de la Primavera spreads across Zapopan, Tala, Tlajomulco de Zúñiga, and El Arenal, offering a showcase of biodiversity and natural splendor.
Cerro El Tajo: A Corner of Beauty and Life
Although Cerro El Tajo might be considered modest in size, with just over 1,600 hectares, its grandeur lies in the diversity of life it harbors. Over 100 species of animals, from amphibians to birds, find refuge in its lands. Panoramic views will leave you breathless as you explore the area, enjoying the freshness of the environment and connecting with nature in its purest form. This haven of life extends between the municipalities of Tlajomulco de Zúñiga and Zapopan, near the localities of La Sábila and El Ramireño.