Everyone wants to go swimming in May, when temperatures in western Mexico soar. People either head for the beach or for a balneario (water park), both of which are likely to be overrun by crowds of like-minded people desperate to cool off.
When two friends asked me to suggest a good place for a swim, I assured them I knew just the spot. “But it’s at the end of a very steep and rocky trail,” I warned them.
“How long will we be on that trail?” one asked.
“A half-hour,” I replied. “And then we reach a 45-meter-high waterfall as beautiful as anything you’ve ever seen in the movies ... with a pool of clean, cool, crystal-clear water at its foot.”
So it was we set off for Los Azules, three picturesque waterfalls located in gorgeous La Toma Canyon, situated quite literally at the edge of the town of Tequila.
Naturally, I waited until we were parking our car to mention that finding the right trail to the waterfall was somewhat tricky because “my GPS tends to get a bit woozy in this canyon.”
From our car we walked along a dirt road bordered by wide fields of blue agaves until suddenly we came to the edge of the cliff overlooking 600-meter-deep La Toma Canyon. What a view!
“Welcome to Mexico’s Machu Picchu!” I told my friends, repeating the words of canyoneering guide Luis Medina, who first showed me this easy (so to speak) way to reach Los Azules.
Only minutes after descending the narrow trail hugging the canyon wall, we came to the first of several forks where you need to make the right choice. Following my own notes from previous trips, I managed to lead us astray three times, saved only when the GPS would suddenly kick in, showing us way off track.
“Sorry, amigos, we have to turn back to the last fork and go the other way,” I apologized.
Eventually we could hear the roar of Cascade Number Two. As we approached the pool, we passed a group of hikers going the other way.
“It’s all yours,” they said. “There’s no one else down there.” I found this amazing since it was a Sunday in May.
The place was as gorgeous as I remembered it and the water as delicious as ever, but the peace and solitude lasted only five minutes before new adventurers arrived. These young people had come all the way from Mexico City and had picked their way through the maze of trails by hiring a local guide. In fact, this is what I suggest you do, although I am publishing a new sketch of this route in an update to Chapter 11 of “Outdoors in Western Mexico 2,” which you can find on ranchopint.com.
After our swim, we went for dinner at La Antigua Casona in Tequila, a restaurant with a great reputation for good looks and service, as well as truly delicious food. It was a perfect way to end a hot day in May.
To reach Los Azules, hire a guide in Tequila or follow my new directions and map at ranchopint.com.
As for that great restaurant, just ask Google Maps to take you to “La Casona, Calle Albino Rojas 16A.” Driving time to Tequila or to the parking spot for Los Azules is an hour from Guadalajara and about 90 minutes from Ajijic.