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Puerto Vallarta

Tonalá: An Exciting Journey Through History and Artisanship

Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico – If you are living, or vacationing, in Puerto Vallarta, a visit to Tonalá, located around 30 minutes from downtown Guadalajara, is highly recommend. Steeped in history and vibrant culture, Tonalá beckons travelers seeking a unique Mexican experience. This city, aptly named “Place of the Sunrise” in the indigenous Nahuatl language, awakens with the first rays of dawn, igniting a symphony of sights and sounds.

A treasure trove for shoppers, Tonalá boasts a legendary tianguis (flea market) teeming with handcrafted wonders every Thursday and Sunday. Over 4,000 artisans and vendors transform the city into a bustling marketplace. From exquisite pottery adorned with the iconic “Flor de Tonalá” design to intricate ironwork and whimsical cartoneria (painted paper mache figures), the sheer variety guarantees a delightful discovery around every corner. Skilled glassblowers weave molten magic into delicate goblets and chandeliers, while ingenious hands craft paper flowers in a kaleidoscope of colors and shapes. If you are looking for larger items to furnish and decorate your new Puerto Vallarta home, many items can be delivered for a very reasonable price.

Tonalá’s artistic legacy extends beyond the tianguis. The Puebla-Museo houses a captivating collection of both ancient and contemporary ceramics, alongside a mesmerizing array of miniatures. Long before the arrival of the Spanish in 1530, Tonalá thrived under the rule of Cihualpilli, a remarkable woman immortalized in a monument atop Cerro de la Reina (Queen’s Hill). A chapel dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe graces this same location, offering panoramic vistas and a sense of Tonalá’s enduring spirit.

History buffs will find solace in the Capilla de la Cruz (Chapel of the White Cross), where the very first Mass was held by Franciscan monks. Standing tall as a testament to faith, the 1830-built Santiago Apostal Parish is one of Mexico’s oldest churches.

While Tonalá offers charming accommodations, they tend to fill quickly during peak season. Consider nearby Tlaquepaque for a peaceful nighttime retreat, or Guadalajara for a livelier experience. However, the true magic lies in experiencing the sunrise over Tonalá, a spectacle that promises to ignite a sense of wonder and leave a lasting impression.

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