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Cajón de Peñas: A natural paradise to recreate the soul

Cajón de Peñas: A natural paradise to recreate the soul

To speak of Cajón de Peñas is to mention its natural wealth, its abundance of water and its biological diversity. A place that recreates your interior and strengthens your spirit.

Cajón de Peñas is a picturesque town in Tomatlán, Jalisco, which is part of the Chamela-Cuixmala Biosphere Reserve and the tourist attractions of Costa Alegre. It is located between Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo. It is easy to get there by road, just 18 minutes from Tomatlán and 80 minutes from Puerto Vallarta. 

The beauty of Cajón de Peñas lies in the immensity of its dam, the largest in Jalisco, and the evergreen mountains of the Sierra Madre Occidental. It is a place of extensive tropical jungle vegetation, abundant water and exuberant fauna. 

A paradise that invites you to disconnect

Dream postcards capture your senses allowing you to forget about everything. The low telephone reception in the area makes disconnecting from the world even easier. An atmosphere of calm leads you on a journey of peace, introspection and knowledge. 

For photographers and nature lovers, in Cajón de Peñas there are so many beautiful places to explore that they will want to stay and live forever. In the dam it is possible to explore its waters and its islands to spot birds, among which are ducks, pearl-necked herons, cranes, orange-breasted finches, airones, rooks, hummingbirds and pigeons.

This place is the habitat of more than 150 species of birds, 27 of reptiles and 40 species of mammals, of which five species are considered endemic to Mexico.

There are also waterfalls, rivers and streams (guasimal, sombrío, cacao and cuale). In October and January the conditions are ideal to visit the waterfalls from El Salto and La Quebrada since their waters are more affluent and the views are spectacular.

And what can be said about its historical footprint? Cajón de Peñas also has archaeological areas. Such is the case of the petroglyphs or painted stones, among which the «Peña Pintada», a unique cave painting in Mesoamerica. A must stop for those who like hiking.

The town that gave way to water

Under the impressive dam that is known today, the ruins of a town rest prosperous with beautiful haciendas, church and a large number of inhabitants, now called Old Santiago. The inhabitants of the entire town moved to a new piece of land to found the community of Nuevo Santiago and make way for the construction of the dam, between 1974 and 1976.

Today there are only a handful of small ranches around the lake and it remains in almost impeccable condition. Today, many people seeking a greener, quieter and more sustainable way of life come to live here. As the case of private development of Los Xeneques, a vernacular hotel paradisiacal, offering residential villas with an exclusive concept of care and preservation of the environment.

Peñas Drawer

Cajón de Peñas, the great ecotourism dam

Cajón de Peñas is one of the last remnants of virgin forest on the Jalisco coast. Its inhabitants are willing to share with visitors their lifestyle, simple, quiet and respectful. 

The locals are happy people, who live in the area with the priority of caring for and respecting the natural wealth of their home. They live from fishing, tourism and are mainly recognized for their exquisite cuisine. 

Among the tourist activities they offer is hiking, camping and bird watching. In addition, the dam offers sports activities such as kayaking, skiing and windsurfing. 

Of course, you cannot miss fishing with a wide variety of species such as tilapia, bass, prawn and catfish. A mollusk called "tegololo" is also produced, highly valued around the world for its exquisite flavor and difficult reproduction, since it is only found here and in Veracruz. The restaurants on the banks of the dam enjoy the catch of the day, with its unique seasoning.

Damaris Arellano

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