Jala is one of the four Magical Towns that Nayarit can boast of. This was incorporated into the program in 2012. Together with Compostela, Mexcaltitán and Sayulita make this state a very attractive destination to visit. We escaped to Jala Pueblo Mágico! We tell you everything you can enjoy in a weekend in the land of giant corn.
Learn more about Sayulita
Learn more about Nuevo Vallarta
Learn more about Tepic
Learn more about Punta de Mita
Learn more about Bucerias
The name of Jala derives from the Nahuatl word “Xali” which means sand, and from the variant “Tla”, which refers to “place where it abounds”. Jala was the first settlement with settlers of Nahuatl origin. In addition, he was evangelized by the friars of Ahuacatlán.
Jala, Magic Town for rest
You have to arrive early to Jala to fully enjoy this Magical Town. From Mexico City, for example, it is possible to be there before lunch thanks to the new flight to Tepic that Aeroméxico recently launched. It is possible to reach the destination, from there, in less than an hour. This flight is part of the many novelties that will be with the airport. In addition, a remodeling and expansion are contemplated that serve for the different tourist spots around.
As soon as you arrive at Jala, what better than to start enjoying what this destination offers. Too early to eat, but not so early to go to the jalena, a ground chile shop-workshop. Here this ingredient is prepared in an artisanal way, roasted on a griddle and ground on a metate.
Likewise, it is ideal for snacking, you can enjoy some peanuts, fresh or dehydrated fruits right there and, of course, take it for personal consumption and as a gift. From the traditional to the premium and with different degrees of spiciness, La Jaleña is an obligatory stop (and highly recommended) since it is a traditional business in the town and family production.
Flavors that fall in love
To our surprise, although you enjoy your time, you don’t really feel like you’re moving forward here. We were also confused with the time zone, which is different from CDMX by less than an hour. After trying some tamarind and nanche shaved ice, a very Nayarit fruit that is at its peak this season, we walked to the hotel to make our check inleave the luggage there and continue light for lunch.
By the way, everything is very close here, one of the great advantages for forgetting about the car and walking through its streets, which is also a visual delight with the colorful facades of the Magical Town. Of course, boots or sneakers are essential to avoid tripping over the cobblestones.
Hotel Hacienda Ceboruco
Hostal Casa Tia Maria
Jala, Magical Town to relax (and be pampered)
We arrived at the Hotel Quinta Boutique Nukari, an accommodation that is an oasis in the heart of Jala. It is a hotel with four types of rooms, no matter which one you choose, rest and relaxation are guaranteed here. All rooms are equipped to provide the greatest possible comfort: king size beds, television, wi-fi, air conditioning, different types of pillows and, depending on the room, a whirlpool tub and jacuzzi. It also has a spa, game room, pool and temazcal.
After a shower to freshen up from the trip, we walked a few blocks to reach the Fonda Doña Melva, a small restaurant that the locals go to and that every visitor must try. From here the giant toasts are recognized and highly recommended, really big! So that you can try the options they have to eat them, you can ask for the combined version, like the one with mincemeat and marinated pork leg that we tried.
After enjoying the warm and quiet streets of Jala, we get ready at the hotel to go out for our next activity through the streets at nightfall: the alleys of the town. No one from the Magical Town is missing from these tours with historical narratives, music and legends, because it is the ideal time to enjoy the streets and meet people you know. The weather is the best when the afternoon falls, which is why it is understood that more people travel through its streets.
To begin, we all gathered around the Rondalla Joyas de Nayarit that, following the order “no dancing, singing or drinking,” delighted us with music and legends in every corner of Jala. They took us through the most beautiful streets and the most ‘instagrammable’ corners, to which we decided to return the next day to see them in daylight. A cart pulled by a burrito accompanied us, to distribute refreshing drinks to those who followed.
The night ended with dinner at the restaurant of the Quinta Boutique Nukari Hotel, whose menu was designed by the renowned chef Betty Vázquez and Marco Valdivia based on the natural elements of the area. There was no shortage of fish, served along with salads with the freshest ingredients.
Heading to Ceboruco: an unforgettable morning
This time the visit was short, but not memorable. We seek to make the most of our stay, so we could not put aside a visit to the Ceboruco, “The Black Giant” How is the active volcano known? Going up to its crater is not an easy task, because although there is a path for the car to go up and there is very little walking up there, it is a dirt road and curves that seem to have no end. However, the road is full of very pleasant visual surprises, getting higher and higher and with the best views in the region.
After about 40 minutes of travel, we reach the top to find a spectacular setting, with a viewpoint full of volcanic stones and space for hiking to the largest crater, camping, cycling and even climbing. Get ready to see the amazing fumaroles emitted by the volcano, nature never ceases to amaze us! And with a bit of luck, also see the fauna that inhabits the volcano, such as white-tailed deer and armadillos.
There is no better reward for the physical activity that the visit to the volcano demanded of us than a good meal. On its slopes, in the Coapan municipality, 10 minutes from Jala, is Farmer’s Corner, that offer breakfasts prepared with ingredients that the family that owns grows, harvests and shares from the heart.
All you need is a freshly made tortilla (and even inflated on the griddle), beans from the pot, wood-fired beef jerky (which here is similar to arrachera), nopal salad, and quesadillas to restart life. Each one of these bites makes me promise to return Jala soon, very soon to continue enjoying her gifts.
The return to the Magical Town was to say goodbye to its streets and its charm, take the last souvenir photos and visit the Lateran Basilica of Our Lady of the Assumption, built in the 19th century and considered an architectural jewel of pink, green and yellow quarry. Nor do we stop going to the surrounding stores to take a little of what they offer, such as jamaica (endemic to the area), cacahuatitos and cacahuata (also native), pinole, rosquetes, biscuits, cinnamon, garapinados and corn gorditas, of mysterious recipe that the women who prepare them still preserve like the treasure they are.
Visiting the Magical Town of Nayarit allows you to extend your getaway to visit some of the attractions that are very close, none more than two hours away, such as Ixtlán del Río, San Blas, or escape to Guadalajara, Tequila and Puerto Vallarta in Jalisco.
Ready to prepare your getaway to Jala, Magical Town? Discover here all the attractions and activities for your trip
Jose Angel Araujo Runner, dog lover and passionate about food. I write about food, travel and lifestyle. My love affair with food began when I was just a child, watching my mom fly around the kitchen like a hummingbird. I love trips that leave me with a happy heart, and a few extra pounds.