Guadalajara Vacation: 8 Tips for a Pitch-Perfect Journey

Guadalajara is a precious pearl of Mexico. The city of marvelous architecture, passionate mariachi music, charreria competitions, tequila and spicy tacos welcomes tourists with an open heart. Every year thousands of visitors from all over the world come here to get acquainted with the culture, spotlights, and cuisine of the city.

Would you like to find out exactly where is Guadalajara, Mexico? It is located in the western part of the country, in the state called Jalisco. The city is relatively close to the coastline of the Pacific. What else to know when traveling to Guadalajara? Before setting off on the trip learn more about things to avoid, sights to visit, dishes to try, and places to attend. Several tips will help you to prepare properly for the journey.

Tip 1. Do Not Much Rely on Public Transportation

Guadalajara is a big metropolis with more than 1.3 million citizens. Though it has a choice of bus routes and offers 2 underground lines, travelling around the city is a real challenge. Google Maps are useless. The information about public transportation is not connected to them. Not all buses have signs on the windshield. So, sometimes it might be quite troublesome to navigate in the city. Get as much information as possible about Guadalajara public transport before you go to the city.

Tip 2. Try to Find the Best Car Hire in Guadalajara

The problem of transportation is easily solved by car rental in Guadalajara. But beware of car rental scams. Some companies offer superfluously low prices. You may be tempted by a $1 for a car hire per day. But as soon as you try to use the cheap car hire in Guadalajara, the agents will force you to buy overpriced insurance. By online hiring a car in Mexico at a reliable company you will avoid being cheated by scoundrels.

Tip 3: Visit Must-See Attractions

Guadalajara has managed to save its authentic character. Locals are proud of their culture and historical heritage. The city is overwhelmed with unique spots. Here is the list of top tourist attractions in Guadalajara:

1. Hospico Cabañas. This magnificent 19th-century building used to be a hospital and an orphanage. Now it is a wonderful example of Neoclassical architecture and a World Heritage-listed object.

2. Guadalajara Cathedral. A worthwhile spot created in the times of Spanish Colonization. It takes the central place at Plaza de Armas – the oldest public square adored by the locals.

3. Templo Expiatorio. A Neo-Gothic church is considered one of the most beautiful architectural masterpieces in Mexico. Arrow-headed rooftops, gracious carvings, French stained glass, and Italian mosaics will touch your fillings for sure. The splendid melodies of German carillon bells will enhance the breathtaking impression.

4. Haciendas. Hacienda is an integral part of Mexican culture. It is a “vintage” estate in Latin American style with a great amount of adjoining land. Villa Ganz Hotel Boutique is a picturesque hacienda located in the Lafayette neighborhood of Guadalajara. Online booking is possible on the official site of the hacienda.

Tip 4. Listen to Mariachi Band Performance

Mariachi is a folk music genre that appeared in Mexico in the 18th century. The regional tunes are played by the band consisting of 3-12 people. The musicians are dressed in traditional snazzy costumes. They also wear easily recognizable broad-brimmed sombreros. You can come across such Mariachi bands at the city’s restaurants. Go to Plaza de los Mariachis if you want to hire musicians for a special occasion.

Tip 5: Try Local Cuisine

Mexican cuisine is diverse, spicy, and immensely hot-chili-peppered. One of the symbols of Guadalajara is ‘torta ahogada’. In English, it means ‘drowned sandwich’. Crunchy bread is cut in halves and filled with pork, mashed beans, and red onion. The sandwich is ‘drowned’ with hot sauce. Be careful: the dish might be too burning and teary for inexperienced nonlocals. Don’t forget to sip a traditional drink called ‘tejuino’ in one of Guadalajara’s bars. It is a traditional Mexican beverage produced from corn dough, water, and cane sugar.

Tip 6: Go to Charros de Jalisco

Tourists can enjoy one of the eye-popping Guadalajara events called charreria. It is a national sport in Mexico similar to the North-American rodeo. Charreria is deeply connected with Mexican history and traditions. Competitions are held every Sunday in different parts of the city. Horsemen and women wear bright-colored cowboy-like clothes. They show their skills in throwing lasso during the tournament. You’ll also see horse dressage to the Mariachi live band music.

Tip 7. Keep Mexico Travel Restrictions and Recommendations

Guadalajara is a densely populated city. Crimes are not uncommon in the second-largest metropolis of Mexico. To avoid unpleasant accidents, bear in mind the main safety precautions:

  • Be vigilant all the time. Try not to leave tourist areas. Wear simple clothes. Don’t draw attention by dressing up in big branded stuff. Put away valuable belongings such as purses, cameras, phones, and jewelry.
  • Book accommodation in safer neighborhoods. The list of tried and trusted Guadalajara hotels you may find here
  • Avoid moving about the city at night. This rule concerns walking, travelling by public transport, and driving a car at late hours.
  • Always keep an eye on your bag. Pay attention that the locals usually wear their backpacks not on the back but on the front while travelling in overcrowded places. Take cues from them and take care of your possessions.
  • Keep out of travelling by public transport during rush hours. There is a great risk of being pickpocketed in a bus packed with people.

Tip 8. Choose the Best Time to Visit Guadalajara

The period from June to September is considered the best time to visit Guadalajara. But if you are planning to visit the Mexican city in summer, remember that July is not the best choice. This month is too rainy in Guadalajara. It is not an appropriate time for outdoor tours around the city and its surroundings.