Real Estate, Real Estate Agents

Living, Working and Retirement in Comala, Colima

Living and lifestyle in Comala: guide to help you research and assess Comala and environs as a location for living, working or retirement in Mexico

Comala in the state of Colima, Mexico

Research and assess Comala in the state of Colima as a location for living, working or retirement in Mexico

The small and charming colonial town of Comala in the state of Colima rests at the foot of the active ‘Volcán de Fuego’ volcano.  The region has a subtropical climate with a pronounced backdrop of lush vegetation and flora that provide warmth and color all year round.

Living in Comala, near the state capital of Colima

Comala offers semi-rural living in Mexico, off the beaten path, and ideal for foreign residents seeking a place to live that offers an authentic Mexican experience where you can fully immerse yourself in local culture and cultivate a traditional lifestyle integrated within welcoming and friendly communities.

This countryside idyll is situated just 20 minutes by road from the capital city of Colima; about a 2.5-hour drive southwest of Guadalajara —Mexico’s second largest city— and approximately 90-minute drive east of the commercial port and resort town of Manzanillo—on the shores of the Pacific Ocean.

When you’re looking for a place that’s far removed from the usual locations potential foreign residents tend to shortlist, amidst a rural idyll with easy access to urban services and amenities and good transport links, Comala can provide a countryside lifestyle amidst one of the most fertile and colorful regions of Mexico

Comala at-a-Glance:

Location Type: Colonial

Population: Comala- c.9,650; Colima City- c. 295,000 (2020 Census)

Elevation: Comala- 690 meters (2,200 feet) above sea-level; Colima City- 490 meters (1621 feet) above sea-level

Time zone: Comala, and Colima city and state are on Mexico’s Central Time zone

Annual temperatures: 65F / 18.5C (Nocturnal average, year-round); 86F / 30C (Daytime average, year-round).
See temperatures in Comala area by month (Google)

Rainy season: The rainy season in the Comala and Colima region typically runs from mid-late June to late October each year.

Hurricanes: Comala and Colima City are about a 90-minute drive from the coast. The Sierra Madre Occidental (Western Mountain Chains) helps to protect the region from some of the effects of hurricanes. See the section in this guide about climate and environment for more details.

Volcano: The Volcán de Colima, also known as the “Volcán de Fuego” is one of the most active volcanoes in Mexico. The last significant activity of eruptions were recorded between 2013- 2017. See the section in this guide about climate and environment for more details.

Earthquakes: The entire state of Colima is susceptible to potentially large earthquakes, along with most of the western edge of the North American continent.

Local economy: Agriculture, commerce, tourism

Foreign resident prevalence: Low*

Cost of living: Lower* See the cost of living section of this guide for details.

Comala on the map:
Discover Comala and Colima on the map (Google Maps)

*Relative to other foreign expat communities in Mexico

Discovering Comala and environs

The main town of Comala hosts a population of approximately 9,600 residents with a catchment area of approximately 21,600 around the wider municipality. (2020 Census.)

As with many rural towns in Mexico, the main square in Comala is the focal point and primary meeting space for people visiting and living here.  People arrive in town to enjoy food at the traditional botaneros, a collection of restaurants located on the southern side of the main square, tucked under the arches, where patrons choose from a range of traditional regional “tapas.” The tapas are complimentary with the purchase of alcoholic drinks.

Local beverages and refreshment

Comala is well-known for its traditional beverage, called ponche, a water or milk based alcoholic drink, similar to pulque, that blends a variety of fruits and nuts together to create unique and delicious flavors. You can stroll along the streets and walk into a ponche shop to ask for a free tasting; you can take refreshment of a single drink, or bottles to take home with you.

The state of Colima is also one of Mexico’s coffee growing and producing regions.  Coffee plants are cultivated along the slopes of the volcano, where a combination of dark, fertile soils and higher elevation above sea level combine to produce remarkable coffee beans. Cafés and restaurants in town stock a variety of locally harvested and roasted coffees that you can taste and enjoy.

Sweet bread pastries

Another long-standing tradition in Comala is the baking of sweet pastries, known in Spanish as pan dulce.  The town is home to numerous bakeries, which bake and sell an ample selection of sweet breads and pastries seven days a week.

These are typically eaten with coffee as part of breakfast, or as a snack during the day, and the bakeries tend to get busy in the evenings just before sundown, as families attend to buy a selection of breads for their evening supper, perhaps accompanied with locally produced coffee.

Surrounding areas and elevation

While the town of Comala is the primary focal point for meeting, trade and commerce, the wider municipality of Comala offers much more for visitors and residents to explore and enjoy in the surrounding areas.

If you’d prefer to live in a more temperate year-round climate (at higher elevation) you can consider acquiring a countryside home nearer to the volcano, where the elevation rises, and daytime temperatures cool, making it more comfortable for those who don’t enjoy the subtropical heat that is prevalent here at lower elevations.

Some people who live in the city of Colima have a country home situated on the slopes of the volcano and repair to the house at weekends to enjoy nature, a temperately comfortable climate, and delicious regional food and drink.

Comala’s higher elevation also offers a more temperate climate than that offered in the city of Colima. (The higher you climb up towards the volcano, the cooler the climate becomes—it’s also wetter there during the rainy season).

Undiscovered region, ‘off the beaten track’

Comala (and the nearby city of Colima) are host to a small community of foreign residents; however, unlike nearby Lake Chapala, where the conurbation of foreign residents is quite concentrated in one area, the expats that live here are spread out across the region and are usually integrated into the local communities and neighborhoods where they choose to live.

Most of the foreign residents who choose this region of Mexico to live tend to prefer the gentler and more serene lifestyle of Comala, using the city of Colima for essential services and amenities that are not available in the countryside.

Inconspicuous living in Mexico’s mountains

This region of Mexico tends to attract foreign residents who don’t necessarily want to form part of a distilled “expat enclave.”  Most of the foreign residents living in Comala and environs live quiet and unassuming mountain lifestyle lives amidst the traditional neighborhoods of towns and villages in the area.

Notwithstanding this inconspicuous approach, local interest groups do exist and there are always some foreign residents willing to help and provide guidance and support to newcomers in the area.

Spanish language skills needed

It’s worth noting that as this region has not been ‘discovered’ by many foreign residents, you will need to invest in your language skills to negotiate daily life here: speaking Spanish is essential to get by day-to-day.

Unlike popular enclaves including Ajijic and Puerto Vallarta where English is widely used and spoken (and some foreign residents get by speaking only in English), in Comala and environs you will need to speak some Spanish.

Our associate in Comala can help you consider your options

Whether you’re thinking about moving abroad full time or part time and wondering if Mexico, and/or Comala and Colima region is right for you, your partner, and family—experienced lifestyle consultant, Lucie Canuel, can help.

Lucie has been in Mexico for over 20 years and lives and works in the Comala area. Her expertise and experience can help you to consider your options and formulate a lifestyle plan in Mexico.

See Lucie’s profile and connect with her directly.

Cost of Living in Comala and environs

The cost of living in Mexico is typically lower than it is the USA, Canada, and Europe, although precise costs depend upon where you live and your lifestyle choices.

One of the attractions that Comala offers to foreign residents thinking of relocating to this region is the low-cost of everyday living here. As this region has not experienced a large influx of foreign residents (and foreign capital), prices —including rents and house prices— have not inflated as they have in areas that are popular with foreign residents, and the local economy is very much a ‘pesos’ economy not a ‘dollar’ economy.

Prices for everyday goods at local shops, markets, and supermarkets in Comala are in line with, or in some cases a little less expensive than prices in Mexico generally.

The city of Colima and surrounding areas is well served by local stores, including several Wal-Marts, Home Depot, and within easy access to a wide range of modern shopping amenities including big stores that are popular with foreign residents, like Sam’s Club.

Specialist retailers that stock imported goods are not easily found in the region, and for these types of items a trip to Guadalajara or Chapala will be necessary; although some goods might be available for purchase online, with home delivery available.

Further insight about living costs in Mexico

Connect to resources about the cost of living:

Our associate in Comala can help you consider your options

Whether you’re thinking about moving abroad full time or part time and wondering if Mexico, and/or Comala and Colima region is right for you, your partner, and family—experienced lifestyle consultant, Lucie Canuel, can help.

Lucie has been in Mexico for over 20 years and lives and works in the Comala area. Her expertise and experience can help you to consider your options and formulate a lifestyle plan in Mexico.

See Lucie’s profile and connect with her directly.

Real Estate in Comala and environs

Most foreign residents who come to this region choose to buy a home, although it makes sense to rent something for a while if you are unfamiliar with the area.

House rentals in Comala

The rental market in Comala can be complicated, and although it’s not impossible to find something that may suit your needs, rental options are limited, especially for furnished homes.

Because this region doesn’t have a local market that caters to a constant stream of foreign and other transitory residents (seasonal or full-time), you’ll need to exercise some creativity regarding how you search for and find a home rental here.

Real estate agents can be helpful, although word-of-mouth and forging contacts and allies locally is often a better way to find the best rental properties.  Finding a place to rent in Comala may be a challenge that will require you to exercise patience; you might need to rent something short term in the city of Colima while you search locally in Comala for a long-term rental.

House purchase in Comala

Comala has, for a long time, been a popular ‘escape hatch’ for people and families living the city of Colima; thus, some residents in the capital purchase homes in the nearby countryside to repair to at weekends and during school holidays.

As a result, houses for sale in Comala have always traded at a relative premium to those situated in other parts of the state of Colima.  (Similar to how rents and house prices in Tepoztlán trade at a premium to other parts of Morelos state.)

Over the last decade, land and property prices have increased substantially, especially along to road that leads up towards the volcano—although prices remain lower than sized-equivalents in places like Lake Chapala, Puerto Vallarta, and Manzanillo.

The advantage of purchasing a home in Comala is that the range of available properties is far more plentiful than rental properties.  A local real estate agent will be able to provide a list of current inventory and prices—you can also search Mexico’s main property portals online for currently advertised inventory.

Principal neighborhoods around Comala and Colima City

These are the principal areas where foreign residents typically buy or rent homes in the Comala/Colima City area:

Comala: Nogueras- Suchitlan- Cofradia de Suchitlan

Colima City: The newest neighborhoods, and ones where families and retired couples tend to live, are to be found on the north side of the city; the most popular include: Residenciales Esmeralda, Santa Fé, Las Lagunas, Santa Barbara, and Altozano.

See also: The charms and compromises of living in the Mexican countryside.

Learn more about real estate in Mexico

Mexperience offers lots of local insight about property in Mexico:

Our associate in Comala can help you consider your options

Whether you’re thinking about moving abroad full time or part time and wondering if Mexico, and/or Comala and Colima region is right for you, your partner, and family—experienced lifestyle consultant, Lucie Canuel, can help.

Lucie has been in Mexico for over 20 years and lives and works in the Comala area. Her expertise and experience can help you to consider your options and formulate a lifestyle plan in Mexico.

See Lucie’s profile and connect with her directly.

How to access Comala and the city of Colima

Comala and the capital city of Colima are readily accessible by intercity roads as well as two regional airports.

By Air: The state of Colima has two airports. The Playa del Oro International Airport that offers domestic and international flights, located in the municipality of Manzanillo (about a 90-minute drive from Comala and the city of Colima). The second is Miguel de la Madrid Airport, offering domestic connections and a limited number of international flights—it’s situated about a 20-minute drive from Comala and the city of Colima.

By Bus: The region’s principal bus terminal, the Central de Autobuses is situated in the capital city of Colima and offers transportation by bus to/from major and smaller cities in the country. Colima’s bus terminal also offers connections between the capital city and local towns and villages in the region; however, traveling by bus to Comala requires you to make a change-over to a second bus as there is no direct buses from the capital city to Comala.

By Taxi (or private car): Local cabs are plentiful and affordable.  A cab ride from the Colima airport to Comala costs about MX$500; and MX$300 from the central bus station.  The trip takes 20-30 minutes, depending on local traffic conditions

Healthcare services in Comala and environs

In addition to Mexico’s state sponsored healthcare provided via the country’s national health service IMSS, good quality healthcare services are offered through private hospitals in the nearby city of Colima—about a 20-minute drive away.  There are no substantial healthcare services available in Comala, except for local emergency/clinic services that offer limited scope of healthcare assistance.

The city of Guadalajara (about 2-hour drive from the city of Colima) offers the most extensive range of medical services and healthcare specialists in this region of Mexico.

Hospitals and clinics: The area offers two private hospitals, both situated in the city of Colima, which offer “tier 3” facilities (almost all services) with emergencies, lab work and care provided.  You will need to be insured or pay out of pocket to use these.  See this related Mexico insurance options article for details about coverage choices.

Doctors: The city of Colima is well served by doctors. However, there is no guarantee that they all speak English. Finding an interpreter for medical issues is key. These doctors can refer you to local (public and private) clinics, specialists, and hospitals.

Dentists: There are plenty of dentists to choose from in the area; ask locally for a recommendation. You might need to take an interpreter with you.

Opticians: There are several optometrists available offering eye tests, treatments and some also offer laser surgery.  Ask locally for details.

Learn more about healthcare in Mexico

You may find these resources on Mexperience helpful:

Our associate in Comala can help you consider your options

Whether you’re thinking about moving abroad full time or part time and wondering if Mexico, and/or Comala and Colima region is right for you, your partner, and family—experienced lifestyle consultant, Lucie Canuel, can help.

Lucie has been in Mexico for over 20 years and lives and works in the Comala area. Her expertise and experience can help you to consider your options and formulate a lifestyle plan in Mexico.

See Lucie’s profile and connect with her directly.

Local climate and natural environment in Comala

The climate in Comala and Colima is hotter and more humid than places situated inland at higher elevations, for example, Guadalajara and Chapala.  However, areas around the town of Comala near the volcano enjoy a more temperate year-round climate, especially along the slopes of the volcano which are situated at a higher elevation than the town center.

Annual temperatures

65F / 18.5C (Nocturnal average, year-round); 86F / 30C (Daytime average, year-round). See temperatures in Comala area by month (Google)

Rainy season

The rainy season in the Comala and Colima region typically runs from mid-late June to late October each year.

Hurricanes

Comala and Colima City are about a 90-minute drive from the coast; however, the Sierra Madre Occidental (Western Mountain Chains) helps to protect the region from some of the effects of hurricanes that land on the nearby Pacific coast. Due to its close proximity to the coast, the inland areas of Colima state remain susceptible to the effects of hurricanes—most commonly manifests with heavy rainfall and localized flooding in some areas of the region.

Volcanic region

The Volcán de Colima, also known as the “Volcán de Fuego” is one of the most active volcanoes in Mexico. This means that periodically, when the volcano goes into a period of activity, there may be occasional ash or vapor exhalations, including occasional eruptions. Historical records from the Spanish colonies indicate that Comala and Colima City have never been evacuated nor suffered any destruction or damages from past large eruptions. The last significant activity of eruptions were recorded between 2013- 2017.

Earthquakes

The entire state of Colima is susceptible to potentially large earthquakes, along with most of the western edge of the North American continent.

Further insights about weather and climate:

Comala & environs essentials

Connect to practical information and gain insights about living and lifestyle in Comala and environs:

Comala articles and guides

Connect to more articles and guides about Comala on Mexperience

Airports serving Comala

The state of Colima has two airports. The Playa del Oro International Airport that offers domestic and international flights, located in the municipality of Manzanillo (about a 90-minute drive from Comala and the city of Colima). The second is Miguel de la Madrid Airport, offering domestic connections and a limited number of international flights—it’s situated about a 20-minute drive from Comala and the city of Colima.

Comala on the map

Explore Comala and Colima on Google maps

Getting around Mexico

Transportation choices in Mexico

Communications in Mexico

Stay in touch when you’re in Mexico:

Money and banking services in Mexico

Learn about money management and banking in Mexico

Driving in Mexico

Learn about driving and road trips in Mexico

Health and safety in Mexico

Connect to articles and resources about health and safety matters in Mexico

Our associate in Comala can help you consider your options

Whether you’re thinking about moving abroad full time or part time and wondering if Mexico, and/or Comala and Colima region is right for you, your partner, and family—experienced lifestyle consultant, Lucie Canuel, can help.

Lucie has been in Mexico for over 20 years and lives and works in the Comala area. Her expertise and experience can help you to consider your options and formulate a lifestyle plan in Mexico.

See Lucie’s profile and connect with her directly.