RV Guide: Jalisco has such a variety of RV parks that I divided them into two articles. Once you leave Nayarit state heading south, the scenery and your choices of RV parks become more varied. Most everyone knows the beach towns around Vallarta. But for variety, check out some parks in the central part of Jalisco. Even if you are a beach lover, a little variety could spice up your love life.
Proceed south of the Santa Maria del Oro (Koala Bungalows) turnoff from MEX-15D. Stay on the toll road. The tollway is wide, and it’s easy to speed.
RV Guide: Jalisco Parks
Scenery and Obsidian
You’re on a high plateau, ringed by mountains, some volcanic. Among the most interesting scenes are the fields of black obsidian on both sides of the road. Obsidian used to be more valuable than gold and Jalisco state has the fourth-largest deposits of it on earth. Not sure about other planets. Indigenous peoples prized it since they could make it sharper than the Spaniards could their steel. In mano-a-mano battles with the Spaniards, the mano with the obsidian sword usually sliced off the others.
Today it is used to make jewelry and comes in half a dozen colors. Black is the most common and you’ll see it alongside the road. Should you have an interest in it, visit Navajas, thirty kilometers SW of Guadalajara.
RV Guide: Jalisco – Delia’s Trailer Park in Etzatlán.
At 24 MI, you pass the turn at Jala for Vallarta. There is an improved toll road that makes driving easy. It is not complete all the way to Vallarta, but maybe this year.
If you want to see Amatlan de Canas, you can exit here for Amatlan de Canasand Etzatlán.
Directions from the North For Those Comfortable With Curves
This route is the shortest. The road is a good two-lane with an occasional guardrail thrown in for effect. Near to the beginning, it is very twisty-turny with some double downhill curves. It would be a blast in a Ferrari, but not so much in a Bounder.
Go 5 MI west. At the junction, double back (left) to Avakatlan. At the next junction, 2 miles later, turn right (S). Though this road has a number, 4, people rarely know highway numbers. In Mexico roads are more likely known from where they go, in this case, the Carretera Libre El Refugio-San Marcos.
At 18.5 MI go through Amatlan de Canas, a pretty little town with warm (not hot) springs balnearios and hotels.
41.5 MI, come to the burg of Etzatlán. Park on left in town, Pass abandoned GAS station, right. Pass intersection with highway from Magdalena, left. PH: 33 1308 1639, physical address Carretera El Refugio – San Marcos km 39.5. Enormous park with large grassy lots.
Although maps show a nearly straight-line route from Magdalena, I don’t recommend it. Keep going.
12 MI, pass Volcán de Tequila, left. The town of Tequila is over to the east, but the exit was behind you, or it can be the next one ahead.
Directions from the South or North–The Easy Way
Continue 18.52 MI to El Arenal where the Maxilibramiento intersects. There is no exit for Etzatlán from it, so continue to the next big highway junction ½ MI ahead.
From El Arenal go 7 miles to a junction at Jala with MEX-70. Turn left (west). Go 16.8 MI to jct. with JAL-4. Continue a mere 24 MI to Etzatlán RV Park is before you enter town on your right.
San Jose del Tajo, Guadalajara
There is only one trailer park in the city of Guadalajara. In its day, it was one of the grandest parks in Mexico with space for 200 rigs. Sadly, time moves on for all of us. The park still has majestic grounds with stately trees and lush grassy lots. The swimming pool is often empty. The bathrooms are chancy. If you are self-contained; don’t need to dump and want to explore Guadalajara, this could be a suitable place for you. It is certainly one of the lowest-priced RV parks in Mexico.
From the junction of MEX-15D and the road to El Arenal keep going on Libramiento Nogales, as MEX-15 is called here. You will be in moderate city traffic. After 18 MI, exit onto Periferico PTE. (Av. Lopez Mateos Sur). At 6 miles, get into lateral. Get in lateral after passing Hospital Puerta de Hierro at 6 miles. Then Sam’s and Flextronics factory all on left. Just past Natural Adventure Fun Park, at 8 miles turn right. Go up city street to TP there will be signs.
Jocotepec (Lake Chapala)
One of the nicest parks in Mexico. On the shores of the lake, grassy lots, swimming pool. Thermal waters. Steam baths, cabins, volleyball courts, 30 Amps, grills and 65 sites. Big rigs okay. Connect via WhatsApp +523310431768. Web: https://www.clubrocaazul.com/
Chimulco Trailer Park
This combo trailer park (big rigs ok), water park (little kids ok) and cabins is very popular, both with locals who flock to the Balneario on weekends and RVers and tourists who fill it out during the week. The thermal water temperature varies according to whom is measuring it. The trailer park no longer has a website, but this is from the water park page (https://www.chimulco.com.mx/). Water is either 36 ℃ (96.8 ℉) or 38.8 ℃ (102℉) and the pH is 7.5. I’ve seen much higher temps on other sites, but I’m sticking with the official version. It’s a very nice place, regardless. Whatsapp: 3311852962 PH: 01 387 778 0014, 01 387 778 0209 Av. Vicente Ruiz Sagun # 65, Centro, Villa Corona
The easiest way to get here is to take the MacroLibramiento at El Arenal 28.6 MI to the exit for Colima / Cd/ Guzman / Sayula to right. Keep on MEX-80, Continue 4 MI to Acatlan de Juárez. Follow MEX-80 for 5.45 MI to town. Stay on main drag for 3 traffic lights. Turn left at 3rd with GAS station. Continue ahead 4 blocks to Av. Vicente Ruiz. Turn left. You will see the entrance to the park.
“Mexico” Mike Nelson has been writing about Mexico for forty years. He currently offers road logs (guidebooks) for drivers and personalized trip-planning from his website, https://www.mexicomike.com
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