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Cobblestone street to Jala cathedral
Cobblestone street to Jala cathedral
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

The federal government of Mexico designated Jala as a "magical town" in November 2012. What is a pueblo mágico de Mexico?

Because of their culture, history and/or scenery, more than 80 Mexican towns and villages are "magical." They don't have to be big cities. The population of Jala is only 1,000.

How to get to Jala MX

Jala is located in the State of Nayarit. From your hotel in Tepic, the capital, drive 45 minutes southeast on Highway 15D. Turn left onto the Carretera a Jala before you reach Ixtlan del Rio.

We followed a pink cobblestone street toward the Jala cathedral. A cross, bells and a clock adorned its steeple.

Where to eat

Small trees and orange, green, beige and yellow-colored cantera stone casonas (houses), with brown wooden doors and wrought iron-covered windows, lined the street. Jala's restaurants displayed signs for carnitas (shredded roasted meat tacos) and chilaquiles (fried tortillas topped with scrambled eggs, cheese and salsa).

Mariachi musicians
Mariachi musicians
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

Kids played in a schoolyard, as vendors pushed carts of ice cream and toys along the street. Pink bougainvillea climbed the tower of the historical San Francisco church. A father and mother, with their son and baby daughter, slowly drove by on their family motorcycle.

Mariachi music

As we approached the cathedral, we heard singing inside for the funeral of an 84-year-old lady. To our surprise, a mariachi band waited outside next to a pick-up truck loaded with flower bouquets.

Store-owner offers samples of peanuts.
Store-owner offers samples of peanuts.
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

When the mourners left the church, the mariachis led the procession to the cemetery. Most of the population of Jala followed, with the exception of a few store-owners.

Dormant Ceboruco volcano

We entered a shop that displayed local handicrafts, including carved wooden cattle and horses. The owner offered us samples of "mystical" peanuts from her cupped hands.

The miniature roasted peanuts were tasty. She explained that they grew on the nearby hills, in fertile soil enriched by the nearby 2,164-meter (4,936-foot)-high Ceboruco volcano. Its last eruption was in the 1870s.

Jala Corn Festival

On a table next to the bags of peanuts, we saw a large corncob, as long as our forearms. A competition for the world's largest corncobs is held annually during La Feria del Elote in Jala.

The record size of the largest corn (maize) grown in Jala is 50 centimeters (20 inches) long. The Jala Corn Fair is held every year in the first two weeks of August.

Jala, Nayarit, is such a small town that you might miss it, but this pueblo mágico is worth a visit if you want to glimpse village life, view Mexican colonial architecture and talk to the locals about their giant corn and tiny mystical peanuts.


Riviera Nayarit: www.rivieranayarit.com

Visit Mexico: www.visitmexico.com

More things to see & do near Riviera Nayarit:

Mexican Breakfast - Almuerzo in Nuevo Vallarta

Riviera Nayarit Mexico Ecotours

Sayulita - The Best Fish Tacos in Nayarit Mexico

Salsa Huichol - Hot Sauce from Nayarit Mexico

Mexcaltitan, Riviera Nayarit - Seafood Restaurants and Mexican Culture