Guadalajara is famous for mariachi, tequila and drugs (thanks to the series Narcos). It is the second largest city in Mexico. Common term 'Guadalajara' is actually five cities: Guadalajara, Zapopan, Tlaquepaque, Tonalá and Tlajomulco. Over 8 million people live there in total. I've been here for 2 months. Here is my subjective Guadalajara city guide.
The center of Guadalajara is similar to beautiful European cities. Visit richly decorated churches and the Teatro Degolla
San Juan de Dios
Mercado Libertad - San Juan de Dios is the largest of Latin American trade fairs. You can buy fruit, souvenirs, fake bags, and electronic equipment here. The market is located in the city center.
Watch out for thiefs!
Zapopan Center is my favorite place in the whole 'Guadalajara'. You can feel the atmosphere of a small Mexican town here. Visit the church - Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Zapopan and Museo de Arte De Zapopan (free of charge), eat baked corn or churros.
Bosque los Colomos
Bosque los Colomos is a great, urban forest popular among health-conscious athletes. Visit the Japanese garden (shown in the picture) and meet hundreds of gray squirrels.
Come to El Parian de Tlaquepaque over the weekend and listen to real mariachi.
Mercado de Abastos
Mercado de Abastos is a huge market where you can buy cheap fruit, vegetables, all kinds of spices, nuts and seeds. See giant trucks, check if oranges are falling from the sky ...
Only in an hour you will get from Guadalajara to the towns of Chapala and Ajijic lying next to great Lake Chapala. The towns are charming. Be sure to take a walk around the malecon (promenade by the water) and see the show of traditional sky dancers - voladores de pepitlan - in Chapala.
An hour by car or bus from Guadalajara separates you from the town where tequila comes from. Ride a barrel-shaped bus, visit the tequila factory and see the agave fields (from which this liquor is made). In Gudalajara, you can also buy a trip to Tequila - you will travel by José Cuervo Express train and while you are traveling you will taste tequila and admire the view of the mountains outside the window.
If you are not afraid of challenges you should see a 32 meter waterfall, go to Cascada Los Azules Tequila.
Note: the descent is really steep, you'll have to use your hands and the access road is nothing but potholes!
On the way back from Tequila to Guadalajara, turn to Bosque de la Primavera, where you will find a river with hot thermal water. If you are lucky, maybe you'll also meet a shaman?
Most residents of Guadalajara think that cycling or driving scooter is very dangerous in Mexico. If you don't want to spend too much money, download these 2 apps to your phone:
Everyone will find something for themselves in Guadalajara. You can choose from hundreds of bars, pubs, many theaters, cinemas, concerts. I recommend going to the center of Zapopan in the evening - feel the local atmosphere, eat good street food and, depending on the season, go ice skating or play Mexican stall games. If you like to dance, be sure to check out Salon Veracruz on Sunday between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. there are salsa and cumbii lessons with a constant change of partners. There are lots of very good dancers here. You will feel like at the best dance party in your life. The cost is only 80 pesos per person.
Mexico is a paradise for street food lovers. Even vegans can eat baked corn on the street, baked sweet potatoes or pumpkin in a sweet sauce, buy fresh fruit already cut into cubes. If you are looking for a good and cheap restaurant, I recommend:
Did you know that Guadalajara is a Mexican silicon valley?
Guadalajara is an interesting place. Each of its five cities is different. Despite many fears of my friends and family, I feel completely safe here. Did my Guadalajara city guide convince you to visit this city? Or maybe you have other impressions from this place? Feel free to share them in the comments below :).
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