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Guadalajara Vacations


Package Includes:

  • Choice of accommodations
  • Hotel taxes and service charges



Frequently Asked Questions

Who should go?

History Buffs
Historical buildings and monuments abound in downtown Guadalajara, which features a restored historic district and pedestrian zone perfect for getting a close-up feel for the city's 400-year history. Certified tour guides in Plaza Guadalajara can give you tours of the downtown buildings and tell you all the history that goes with them.

Cultural Enthusiasts
Public art and the thriving music scene captivate culture lovers in this city, who may want to visit during the May Cultural Festival or October Festival to sample all the offerings. Year round, visitors will encounter all sorts of dramatic public sculptures and murals that commemorate historical events, as well as a stellar array of traditional handicrafts and folk art, from embroidered shirts to collectible ceramics and handmade boots. You'll also find that Guadalajara's jazz, salsa, merengue, Cuban Son, and famous mariachi music creates a unique soundtrack you'll hear nowhere else.


What's the climate like?

  Winter Spring Summer Autumn
Average High 76° F 86° F 82° F 80° F
Average Low 45° F 52° F 62° F 55° F
Average Rainfall .46" .56" 8.2" 2.8"

How do I get around town?

Transfers
Transfers to/from the airport are optional with your Guadalajara hotel package.

Taxi
Taxis are the easiest way to get around town, and most have meters. Fares are reasonable: about $6-8 from downtown to the west side, $7-9 from downtown or the west side to Tlaquepaque, and $15-20 to the airport. Traffic can be heavy at times, causing prices to increase.

Rental Car
Since the city is rather spread out and easy to navigate, we recommend a rental car for maximum flexibility in getting around Guadalajara and for convenient access to the shopping suburbs of Tlaquepaque and Tonalá.


What is there to do?

Historic Center
High on any visitor's list of things to do in Guadalajara should be exploring the city's 12-block historic district, where you get a taste of the incredible colonial architecture that has made Guadalajara the envy of other Mexican cities. During business hours, government buildings are open for free to the public, who can view art that includes the striking murals of José Clemente Orozco, one of the great Mexican muralists. The state tourism office is located here and provides free "walking tour" maps of the area's plazas, the cathedral, several historic buildings, museums, and pedestrian-only areas. An enormous market, the Mercado Libertad, rounds out the attractions.

Mariachi Bands
Guadalajara is mariachi's homeland, and is thus the ideal place to immerse yourself in one of Mexico's most well known exports. To see the most talented mariachi performers, try the club Casa Bariachi in Guadalajara. Wonderful mariachis also serenade diners at El Parián restaurant in Tlaquepaque.

Tequila
The town of Tequila, about 40 minutes from Guadalajara, is well worth a day trip. Tequila has many distilleries—from large and modern to small and traditional—all of which offer tours that demonstrate how tequila is made and that end with a tasting.

Rodeos
Guadalajara is home to the charro tradition, a distinctly Mexican-style rodeo. You can watch a rodeo at Lienzo Charro de Jalisco, every Sunday at noon, where charros (cowboys) compete in 10 events. Mariachis perform during breaks, and food and beverages are available.

Museums
Museo de la Ciudad, located in a former convent, chronicles Guadalajara's past with unusual artifacts, including rare Spanish armaments. Museo de las Artes de la Universidad de Guadalajara features murals by José Clemente Orozco, along with a small permanent collection of modern art. Outside of Guadalajara, it's worth it to pay a visit to the free Museo Pantaleón Panduro in Tlaquepaque to view an amazing collection of pottery and ceramics.

Shopping
Many visitors to Guadalajara come specifically for the shopping in Tlaquepaque and Tonalá. These 2 suburbs are traditional handicraft centers that produce and sell a wide variety of beautifully crafted items of every kind, and shoppers come from far and wide to pick among the treasures.


What kinds of dining and nightlife are available?

Gourmets will rejoice—Guadalajara is blessed with some of Mexico's best and most affordable restaurants. You'll find everything from elegant international cuisine to sidewalk taco stands, with the greatest concentration of fine dining on the west side of the city. Eateries serving good local fare are especially plentiful in the Historic Center.

Tamales are a local specialty, along with birria, a spicy stew prepared with lamb, goat, or beef in a light tomato broth, and pozole, a thick pork and hominy soup. Guadalajara is the land of tequila, so of course, tequila itself is quite popular. The most popular mixed drink is the paloma, a concoction of tequila, lime juice, and grapefruit soda.
  • Adobe Fonda
    This open, airy restaurant serves excellent nouvelle Mexican fare that blends intriguing combinations of Mexican, Italian, and Argentine ingredients, including nopal cactus, seafood, and cilantro. Guadalajara and Tlaquepaque.
  • La Fonda de San Miguel Arcangel
    Be sure to eat dinner to this restaurant serving traditional Mexican fare—authentic metal star lanterns cover the ceiling and create great ambiance. During the day, enjoy lunch in the elegant colonial courtyard with its stone arches and gurgling fountain. Downtown Guadalajara.
  • El Sacromonte
    Artful presentation, unexpected pairings, and divine flavors define the Mexican haute cuisine served here on a shaded, open-air patio. West side, Guadalajara.

Guadalajara is a city of music lovers, and there are plenty of places to enjoy many different types of music, including discos, salsa clubs, jazz and piano bars, and extravagant shows, as well as many restaurants that feature live music or other entertainment. Nightlife in Guadalajara is spread out all over the city, even in shopping malls. Casa Bariachi is the place to hear great mariachis. At the club across the street, La Bodeguita del Medio, a rotating cast of Cuban musicians heat up the night. Catch jazz, bebop, and classical guitar at Bar Copenhagen. Entertainers also appear at the larger hotel bars on weekends.

The legal drinking age is 18, and many nightclubs stay open until 3 or 4am.

Where should I go shopping?

Guadalajara
In Guadalajara, you'll find upscale shopping malls plus small stores and shops on shady side streets throughout the city. Definitely check out the mammoth Mercado Libertad in the Historic Center, the largest enclosed market in Latin America. Inside you will find 3 floors of colorful stalls where you can haggle over Mexican handicrafts, clothing (including classic ponchos), shoes, typical Jalisco-style produce, food, and sweets, household items, and even magic potions.

Guadalajara is also known for its shoe industry, so if shoes are your life, head to the Galería del Calzado, a shopping center made up exclusively of shoe stores.

A great place for one-stop shopping is the Instituto de la Artesanía Jalisciense, just south of downtown, which showcases 2 floors of pottery, silver jewelry, dance masks, glassware, leather goods, and regional clothing from around the country.

Tlaquepaque and Tonalá
The main reason most shoppers come to Guadalajara is to plunder the wares of the suburbs of Tlaquepaque and Tonalá, which offer a huge selection of beautifully hand-crafted items.

Tlaquepaque, 20 minutes southeast of the city, has the best shopping for handicrafts and decorative arts in Mexico, and it attracts shoppers and interior designers from all over the world. Every major form of art and craft is for sale here: furniture, pottery, glass, jewelry, woodcarvings, leather goods, sculptures, and paintings. The shops are sophisticated, yet Tlaquepaque retains a small-town feel that makes door-to-door browsing enjoyable. Enjoy a vast selection of cafes and eateries as well as small street stands for snacks while you shop.

Tonalá is about 5 minutes from Tlaquepaque, and it has remained a simple town of artisans. Plenty of stores sell mostly local products from the town's more than 400 workshops, half of which produce pottery. Look for items made from wrought iron, brass, and copper, ceramics, blown glass, marble, textiles, and papier-mâché. Tonalá is also the place to look for craftspeople to do custom work. A busy street market operates each Thursday and Sunday.


When are the local events?

Guadalajara International Film Festival
Third week in March. Watch quality Mexican and Latin American features, shorts, and documentaries at different venues across Guadalajara.

May Cultural Festival
May - June. The annual May Cultural Festival takes over the city, which explodes with events including theater, films, art exhibitions, food and drink tastings, and classical music concerts.

International Mariachi and Charrería Festival
September. Music fans gather to enjoy international mariachi competitions, Catholic masses accompanied by mariachis in the Guadalajara Cathedral, rodeos, and art exhibitions, ending with a parade of thousands of mariachis and charros (Mexican cowboys) through downtown.

October Festival
October. This month-long festival, Guadalajara's biggest party, celebrates Jaliscan culture with concerts, rodeos, sporting events, folk dance displays and art exhibits, an enormous parade, and nightly feasts called verbenas, all culminating in the crowning of the October Festival queen.


Travel tidbits

Bargaining
With street vendors—and the vendors at Mercado Libertad—a good rule of thumb is to bargain for a discount of at least 30%. In most stores, especially in the malls, prices are fixed, just as they are in the U.S.A.

Construction
Guadalajara is gearing up to host the Pan American games in 2011, and as a result, many of the downtown sidewalks are under construction.

Convert to Pesos
The American dollar isn't as widely accepted in Guadalajara as in other Mexico destinations, so be sure to always have pesos on hand, especially when bargaining in the markets.

Taxis
When taking a taxi, keep the address of a restaurant or nightclub handy, because taxi drivers may not know where even popular establishments are.

Telephones
Beware of the "public" phones that have signs reading, "To call long distance to the USA & Canada, simply dial 0." These phones are owned by a private company and calls made from them are prohibitively expensive. You will pay much less for calls by purchasing a pre-paid phone card.

Toilets
Wastepaper bins next to toilets in Guadalajara are where you should always place any used toilet paper, to ease the strain on the local sewage system.

Good to Know

Airport Name:
3-letter Code:
Guadalajara International Airport
GDL
Best Weather: January – May
Best Values: September – November
Currency: Mexican peso (MXP)
Language: Spanish; some English may be spoken, but not widely
Time Zone: Central Standard Time; observes Daylight Savings Time
Proof of Citizenship: Government legislation requires all people traveling via air to and from the United States and Canada to have a valid passport. For details on passports, visas, and health requirements, see Entry Requirements.
Tipping: Waiters should be tipped about 10-15% of the bill, and busboys and porters, about 7 pesos. Hotel maids should receive around 3 pesos per night. You don't need to tip taxi drivers unless they provide help with luggage, in which case you can tip 10% of the fare.
Dress: Dress in Guadalajara is conservative; attention-getting sportswear (shorts, halters, etc.) is out of place. From November through March, you'll need a sweater in the evening.

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