By Harriet Murray • Cochran Real Estate • June 2012
Do you sometimes wonder why many foreigners choose Jalisco, on the western coast of Mexico, to visit or live? You would think New Yorkers, with the convenience of Cancun and long walking beaches, would be more popular.
For years, Puerto Vallarta has enjoyed a large New York or east coast migration. The charm of the western coastline, with its bays, mountains, beaches and lush jungle, attracts those who must traverse the USA. A great help has been the direct flights on Continental Airlines from New Jersey.
I believe the natural beauty, warm climate, and Pacific Ocean make Jalisco most appealing. Her richness of resources is sometimes taken for granted. Let’s have a reminder:
Jalisco is one of the more important states in Mexico because of its natural resources as well as its history. Many of the well-known characteristics of Mexican culture are originally from Jalisco: mariachi and ranchera music, tequila, and bull riding. Economically, Jalisco is ranked third in the country, with industries centered in the Guadalajara, the second largest city in Mexico.
The state is home to two significant indigenous populations, the Huicholes and the Coras. There is also a significant foreign population, mostly from the United States, Canada, South America, and Europe. Foreigners are throughout the state, particularly in and around Guadalajara and the Bay of Banderas on the western coastline which includes Punta de Mita and Puerto Vallarta.
Jalisco is the seventh largest state in Mexico, accounting for 4.1% of the country’s territory. It has 342km of ocean coastline and borders 7 states. (Nayarit, Zacatecas, Aguascalientes, San Luis Potosí, Guanajuato, Colima and Michoacán.)
Jalisco is diverse terrain which includes forests, beaches, plains and lakes. Altitudes in the state vary from 0 and 4,300 meters above sea level. There are five natural ecosystems: a. arid and semi-arid b. scrublands, c. tropical evergreen forests, d. tropical deciduous and thorn forests, e. grasslands and f. mesquite grasslands and temperate forests with oaks, pines and firs. One reason for the biodiversity is Jalisco lies in the transition area between the temperate north and tropical south of Mexico.
More than 500 species of birds or more than 52% of the bird species in Mexico live in Jalisco, as well as 40% of Mexico’s mammals, and 18% of its reptile species.
Jalisco’s rivers and streams empty into the Pacific Ocean and are divided into three groups: 1. the Lerma/Santiago River and its tributaries empty directly into the Pacific Ocean or at some point into Lake Chapala near Guadalajara. 2. The Santiago River, on the west, crosses the center of Jalisco on its way to the Pacific, carving deep canyons in the land. About three quarters of the state’s population lives near the Santiago River and its tributaries. 3. In the southwest there are a number of small rivers that empty directly into the Pacific Ocean. The most important of these is the Ameca, with its one main tributary, the Mascota River. This river forms Jalisco’s border with Nayarit. Jalisco also has Lake Chapala, which is the largest and most important freshwater lake in Mexico.
The state’s major protected environmental areas are: the Sierra de Manantlán and Chamela-Cuitzmala biospheres, Nevado de Colima National Park; Bosque de la Primavera, Sierra de Quila, and the Marine Turtle Protection Zone.
• Near the Primavera Forest
One major conifer and oak forest is the Primavera Forest which includes Jalisco’s cloud forests: the Bosque de Maples and El Cerro de Manantlán.
Savannas are found between 400 and 800 masl in the area that slopes towards the Pacific Ocean. These grasslands are a transition area between the tropical sub-deciduous forest and oak forest. Grasslands are restricted to the northeastern corner interspersed with low moisture scrub and the best place to raise livestock.
The famous protected mangrove forests are along the western coastline in coves or where the waves are gentler. Mangroves create an entire ecosystem for water and wild life, and are protected by law.
The climate can be divided into 29 different zones: hot to cold and very dry to semi-moist. Most of the state has a temperate climate with humid tropical summers and a distinct rainy season from June to October.
Jalisco’s coastal area receives the most precipitation and has the warmest temperatures: between 72-78F, while inland is on average 66F. The climate difference during a hot and humid summer makes the higher altitudes in San Sebastian, Mascota, and Talpa an appealing respite. These towns now are seeing real estate sold to foreigners who enjoy the climate difference as well as being in less populated areas.
How lucky we are to live in Jalisco!
Harriet C Murray
Facts for this article are from Wikipedia.
This article is based upon legal opinions, current practices and my personal experiences in the Puerto Vallarta-Bahia de Banderas areas. I recommend that each potential buyer or seller of Mexican real estate conduct his own due diligence and review.