San Sebastián del Oeste is a town that owes its beauty to its splendid mining past, which at the time of the Colony populated it with more than 20,000 inhabitants who sought to exploit the richness of the deposits. The closure of the mines in the late nineteenth century caused its transformation into a ghost town, although efforts to take advantage of the tourist attractions of its haciendas, ranches, and temples have borne fruit and have made it one of the Magical Towns of the state of Jalisco.
Surrounded by a wooded landscape of leafy fruit trees, pines and oaks, as well as portentous coffee plantations, San Sebastián del Oeste sinks every morning in the white mist that shelters its few, though proud, residents. As the day passes, the sun’s rays illuminate the mansions, ex-haciendas and red-roofed houses that remain, superb, standing.
Another protector of the town is Cerro de la Bufa, from where you can admire the small town in all its splendor, and on the horizon, the Bay of Banderas, which is part of the states of Jalisco and Nayarit, but which recalls the incalculable natural wealth of the Mexican shoal. The town’s proximity to Puerto Vallarta, only 60 kilometers away, offers a pleasant climate between fresh and tropical most of the year and the perfect day trip from Puerto Vallarta.
The region of San Sebastián del Oeste seemed to be no different from the surroundings when it was inhabited by the Tecos, before the Spanish conquest in 1524. However, the discovery of mineral wealth twenty years later turned it into one of the main mining centers of New Spain.
The charm of this Magical Town begins from its main square, as it is surrounded by buildings and historical monuments, such as El Mesón, one of the most precious architectural gems of the place that dates from 1729 and has maintained its design and the function it has played for centuries, as well as some pieces of old furniture.
To the north of the square are Los Portales de Morelos; It is a hugely popular site, since there are traditional businesses that have retained their old names, such as “La Primavera”, “El Progreso”, “El Porvenir”, “El Nuevo Mundo”, “La Barandilla” and “El Barandilla”. Reform”.
Near the historic center are several important religious sites for the inhabitants, especially the one of San Sebastián Mártir, built in austere neoclassical style by the Franciscans at the end of the 18th century, surpassed by a remodeling in 1897 that modified its domes and provided them with a modernist aspect.
Every January 20, the town is dressed in colors to celebrate the patron saint festival of San Sebastian, where there is music, dancing, pyrotechnics, horseback riding and cultural activities that attract hundreds of pilgrims and visitors each year, as well as October 7 in honor of the Most Holy Virgin of the Rosary of the Real Alto, which has its home in the Temple of Real del Alto, an ancient construction of the seventeenth century whose altar is made in delicate works of carved wood.
Around the center, there are several interesting places to learn more about the culture and tradition of San Sebastian. The first is the Casa Museo Doña Conchita Encarnación, which belonged to the great-great-grandmother of a Spanish family, in whose family members married each other; Therefore, the moment came when Doña Conchita became the wife, cousin, and aunt of her own husband. This curious story and many others can be heard in this venue in the voice of Lupita, the guardian of this legacy of photographs, dresses, objects, furniture and memories that tell the story of the people from a micro-universe.
Another nice place in this Magic Town is the Quinta Mary, where one of the best organic coffees in the region is produced, as their coffee plantations are fumigated with chili, onion, and garlic to avoid the use of pesticides altogether. In its huge production plants, however, with a very homemade touch, the coffee is roasted, ground and packed and delicious typical Mexican sweets are made.
Also in the Factory of Handcrafted Cigars can be obtained magnificent local products of tobacco, and to finish the triad of the pleasures, there exist several distilleries of mezcal, that take advantage of the sweet fruits of the cultures of agave lechuguilla.
The most emblematic buildings of San Sebastián del Oeste are the estates and haciendas that remain standing, such as El Mesón, Posada del Sol, La Victoria, and Hacienda Jalisco.
Within Hacienda Jalisco are several reminders of what was a mining hacienda, such as the ovens, the chimney and the arches of the entrance. Adapted as a museum, you can admire objects of the economic splendor of San Sebastian, as tools, precious stones, photographs, documents, books, and other memories.
Hints of the ancient splendor of San Sebastian are also the mines and caves, which abound in the vicinity of Cerro de la Bufa. The most popular are La Terronera and Santa Gertrudis, which is open to tourism after more than 150 years of being inaugurated for the extraction of silver. Their tunnels descend 60 meters to the depths in a straight line, and are not suitable for claustrophobic, as they measure only 1.80 meters high by 1.70 wide.
Finally, Cerro de la Bufa is the setting for the magnificent evenings of San Sebastián del Oeste. The sunsets that can be seen from its main square are so beautiful that they take your breath away. It is mainly a very quiet and safe village, where you can spend unforgettable afternoons in their farms, or enjoy nature in places like the Potrero de Mulas Ecotourism Ranch, which has ecological cabins in the middle of pine forests, streams and profuse trails.