Guadalajara wasn’t on your radar before, it certainly should be now after
hosting Tianguis Turistico back in April. The capital of the state of Jalisco,
also known as Mexico’s Second City, is often considered Mexico’s most
quintessential destination. Jalisco is the birthplace of tequila, mariachi and
charreria, the official national sport of Mexico, and Guadalajara is at the
heart of it all.
is likened to the Silicon Valley of Latin America and has usually been
primarily a business destination for North Americans. Often, these travelers experience
the city for business then return with their families as leisure travelers.
first-timer’s visit to Guadalajara will most likely center around tequila. Perhaps
the best way to learn the history of the spirit is by taking a ride on the Jose
Cuervo Express. The train departs from Guadalajara station and includes a
professional tasting guided by a master of tequila, followed by a tour of the Jose
Cuervo La Rojena distillery upon arrival in Tequila. Guests are then given
about two hours of free time to explore the town of Tequila, from its 18th
century church to its cobblestone streets and picturesque central square.
Following a traditional performance, guests board a private bus and are taken
back to Guadalajara train station.
The sport of charreria is a
true representation of Mexican culture and tradition. Similar in some aspects
to an American rodeo, the sport includes equestrian competitions in which horse
riding, roping and cattle handling. But the sport also incorporates another core
Mexican cultural experience: mariachi music. The traditional music at a
charreada is performed by mariachis, who dress themselves in
traditional charro garb — colorful outfits, large sombreros and bowties — that
add to the pageantry of the event.
September Guadalajara plays host to the International Mariachi and Charreria
Festival bringing the best marriachis and charros from around the world.
No visit to Guadalajara is complete without some
serious souvenir shopping, and the best place to do it is in Tlaquepaque. This
colonial neighborhood near the city center is one of the best places in Mexico
to score authentic handicrafts. Several streets are pedestrian-only, making for
an easy and welcoming shopping experience. After a full day of shopping, wander
around El Parian, a main plaza lined with restaurants and bars.
first-time visitor to Guadalajara must go to Tlaquepaque,” said Gustavo
Staufert Buclon, promotion director at the Guadalajara CVB. “It is where all
the handicrafts are made and is one of the three most important places in
Mexico for handicrafts. Visitors can sit with the craftsmen and perform the
crafts with them, so you can make your own craft and bring it home with you.”
to stay: Business
hotels are easy to come by in Guadalajara, from two Fiesta Americanas to
Holiday Inn to Marriott. But Guadalajara is also home to gorgeous boutique
hotels and haciendas, as well.
Grupo Habita opened Casa Fayette (www.casafayette.com) last year in the city’s trendy
Lafayette neighborhood. The 37-room hotel is a former home built in the 20th
century that is now attached to a high-rise and includes a patio, lobby, bar,
restaurant, pool and terrace.
a similar vein, consider Hotel Demetria (www.hoteldemetria.com), a
boutique hotel where modern meets that typical “reclaimed” style that has
become ubiquitous at hipster hangouts. Glass and steel mesh nicely with faded
wood and Mexican handicrafts.
have increased our connectivity from the U.S., so now there are 25 direct
flights,” says Buclon. These direct flights are from major cities in the U.S.
like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Phoenix, Dallas, Houston, Miami, Fort
Lauderdale, Washington, Chicago and New York.