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Text and Photos ©2016 by J. Pint

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Click for PRINTABLE version of map
Annotated map of the trail. Click for printable, good-resolution version.

 Inauguration of trail in Pinar de la Venta

 Inauguration of the Andador in Pinar de la Venta.

Not so easy.
The trail is short,  but not always so easy!

Clethra rosei Britton is a commonly seen tree of the Primavera Forest.

Leaf-Cutter Ants

Leaf-cutter ants can be seen hard at work at station 8.

Barba de Chivo

Barba de Chivo by Jesús Moreno.

Alberto Garcia
Alberto Garcia, Manager of Pinar, snaps a photo.

Maidenhair Fern

Polished Maidenhair Fern at station 12.

Ganoderma mushroom

Ganoderma mushroom turns dead wood into new soil.


Gordolobo will make you a tea to get rid of your cold!





Learn names of common plants in Pinar de la Venta

By John Pint

Susan Street on Pinar de la Venta Amistad TrailPinar de la Venta lies eight kilometers west of Guadalajara on the northern edge of the Primavera Forest and has numerous woodsy stretches good for hiking. Nature lovers in the community urged the administrators to clean up some potential trails overgrown with weeds and the suggestion was well received. As a result a 650-meter Andador de la Amistad was recently inaugurated.

This trail is a loop. It's a bit curious because the first half of it consists of a wide, smooth path through oaks and pines while the second half follows a deep, jungly arroyo where walking is not exactly easy.

It was precisely this aspect of the route which made me think it might make a good interpretive trail: quite a variety of plants and trees can be seen over a relatively short distance.

Now several interpretive trails I've see in Mexico quickly “went to the dogs” as the explanatory signs were destroyed either by weather or vandals. “Why not put both the signs and their locations on the internet?” I thought, “along with photos of what you are supposed to be seeing?”

I decided to upload my “virtual signs” to Wikiloc.com, which can be downloaded as an app to smartphones, for a very small fee. If your iPhone battery doesn't die on you (as mine did), my Wikiloc route Andador Amistad Pinar will lead you along the trail and at each station, one click will give you the name of what you are looking at and show photos as well.

Now if none of this makes any sense to you, forget the app and just print out this high resolution  Annotated Map of the trail.

Casuarina treeStation 1 of the Interpretive Trail takes you under a row of eucalyptus and casuarina trees, both from Australia and not Mexican at all. While the eucalyptus is easy to spot, the casuarina, with its long, wispy “needles” could easily be confused with a pine tree, which it is not.

The trail heads north from here and after 40 meters, you'll be walking directly underneath several gallitos (Station 2). This is Tillandsia, a kind of bromelia called Air Plant in English and not a parasite.

Fern-leaf AcaciaThe next important tree along the route is a tepame (3) or Fern-leaf acacia in English. Next you find oak and pine trees (4) followed by a clethra (5), a very commonly seen tree in the Primavera Forest.

At a sharp curve we come to Station 6 and a plant called Barba de Chivo (Goat's Beard). This, nature photographer Jesús Moreno assures me, produces a bright red flower with long “whiskers” which hummingbirds adore (See illustration in sidebar).

The trail now descends steeply, passing an embankment cut where you can see plenty of jal, volcanic rubble including small pieces of pumice (7). In the jal, which gives Jalisco its name, there is a big ant colony (8). These are leaf-cutters, which operate a fungus farm underground. The little red pellets you see all over the ground are the waste product from these farms.

Next you will walk right underneath muérdago or mistletoe (9) which is killing the tree above you. The muérdago produces an extremely sticky seed which birds inadvertently carry off to other trees. Muérdago is a very aggressive parasite which is spreading like wildfire in these parts.

Castor Oil PlantAfter rounding the bend, we head south, back the way we came, but now in an ever ascending arroyo. Here we find higuerilla (10), the castor oil plant, which Guinness says is “the most poisonous plant in the world.” It's also very common, growing on just about every empty lot in Guadalajara. The seeds contain the deadly poison ricin. Six, if chewed, can kill an ox.

Inside the arroyo we find lots of gorgeous white flowers (in January and February) called Heterocentron axillare Naudin (11), possibly agria in Spanish. There are also plenty of delicate Polished Maidenhair Ferns (12).

Heterocentron axillare Naudin

Beneath a grove of bamboo (13), we may spot Ganoderma mushrooms growing on an old log. These mushrooms thrive only on dead wood, which they help turn into earth.


The arroyo rises steeply and we come to the last station where we find Gordolobo (14), a medicinal plant from which a tea is made to fight colds.

How to get there
Take Avenida Vallarta west to the Periferico. Continue west 8 kilometers and make a U-turn to enter Pinar de la Venta. Check Wikiloc.com under “Andador Amistad Pinar Coche” to find your way to the trailhead (N20.72428 W103.52780) and find “Andador Amistad Pinar” on Wikiloc for the Virtual Interpretive Trail. Driving time from Guadalajara is about 15 minutes if traffic is light.


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