Move over Mexico City. The hottest new destination to visit in Mexico is Guadalajara. The second largest city in the country, Guadalajara is also the land of tequila. This colonial city boasts of a distinctly European atmosphere. Dotted with majestic mansions, you will notice that it is a much less frantic destination than Mexico City. Offering the world traveler the luxury of a laidback vacation, Guadalajara is fast emerging as one of the most popular cities in Mexico to visit. It is also easy to reach as many trains connect it to the rest of the country. Read on to discover the many sights and sounds of the city. There is much on offer.
Explore the culture
The cultural city of Guadalajara is a vanguard of the old. Travelers are greeted with ancient Mexican customs and traditions when they visit Guadalajara. Spend an afternoon watching ‘charreadas’. This is the Mexican version of rodeos, with Spanish roots. Wearing traditional gear, the participants parade on horseback. Keep your camera handy to capture a few shots. The atmosphere is electric and quite unforgettable!
Tourists also flock to Guadalajara to tune into ‘mariachi’ music. This musical tradition dates back to the 18th century and has been recognised by the UNESCO as an ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage’. How about shaking a leg to local tunes? ‘Jarabe Tapatio’ is a popular dance form among the ‘tapatios’ – the locals of Guadalajara. The evolution of this dance form has a chequered past. Frowned upon by the church, this couple-dance was banned by the authorities. It quickly became the expression of rebellion and resistance. This dance form still flourishes in public squares and neighborhood festivals. You can also catch a concert during your visit to Guadalajara.
Appreciate the architecture
The stately architecture of Guadalajara also attracts tourists from all across the world. There are four sprawling squares in the middle of the city, arranged in the shape of a cross. Most of the key sites are located around it. You will not find it difficult to navigate your way around these sites. Tour the Guadalajara Cathedral. It boasts of the intermingling of different styles of architecture – from a baroque facade to a Gothic interior. On Plaza de Armes, stands the Government Building. There is a beautiful staircase inside this baroque structure – visit it to view it. You will also find the murals of the celebrated Mexican artist Jose Clemente Orozco all over the city – from The Rotunda of Illustrious Men to the Hospicio Cabanas.
Sample the food
What is a visit to Guadalajara without sampling some of the local food? Try ‘chilaquiles’ – a local favourite made of bits of tortillas, refried beans and salsa. ‘Pozole’ is a soup made of hominy corns. Try tacos – the dish synonymous with the city. Available in a variety of mouth-watering options, load toppings you like into a corn tortilla and spike them with salsa. When in Guadalajara, you will find ‘elote’ stalls at every street corner. This is the Mexican name for corn-on-the-cob served up with sour cream and cheese mayonnaise. Absolutely yum!
Shop till you drop
Indulge in some local shopping during your visit. From furniture to figures, masks to jewelry – there are many markets to visit. Browse through the products at the Instituto de la Artesania Jalisciense to stock up on local handicrafts. Mercado San Juan de Dios is the largest indoor market in Latin America – also a must-visit. On your train ride back home, carry your loot of textiles, glassware and ceramics.
Plan your vacation at Guadalajara and prepare to treat your senses. Get packing today. Your holiday awaits you!