Guadalajara is the capital city of the central state of Jalisco in Mexico. It is also the second largest city in the country. It is considered a colonial city, though much of it's architecture dates from the independance period. Although it has a far more relaxed feel than Mexico City the centre can still seem a bit stuffy and dusty, especially during rush hour when the sun is out. However, it is still a lovely city and contains many nice areas for walking, not just in the city centre.
- Sector Juárez -- southwest central Guadalajara, with plenty of shops and 2 malls (Centro Magno and Galerias, encompassing the Minerva and Chapultepec commercial zones.
- Sector Hidalgo -- northwest central Guadalajara, a largely residential area encompassing the financial district and the country club.
- Sector Libertad -- northeast central Guadalajara, a largely industrial zone. The southwest part of the sector is pretty close to the historic downtown, there is a traditional market (Mercado San Juan de Dios) and Plaza de los mariachis where you can find the traditional mexican music.
- Sector Reforma -- southeast central Guadalajara, also a mostly industrial zone. Parque Agua Azul, a large park with many trees, an auditorium and a lake inside similar to Central Park, lies there. On Saturday mornings there's a street market, the Tianguis Cultural, where you can buy alternative apparel and articles for youngsters such as spiked belts, black trenchcoats, military uniforms, used books and trading cards for a fair price.
- Centro Historico -- the historic downtown. Most of your time will probably be spent here. It is filled with colonial era buildings. It also boasts several important mural paintings by Jalisco-born José Clemente Orozco, one of Mexico's most important artists.
- Zapopan -- is both a large municipal region comprising much of the western edge of metropolitan Guadalajara and a the small old town center of Zapopan northwest of the Minerva-Chapultepec area. Zapopan the region comrises several shopping malls (Plaza Patria, Plaza Galerias, La Gran Plaza, among others), the Mercado del Mar (Sea Market) where you can eat fish and seafood for a reasonable price, as well as downtown Zapopan where you can find many bars and cantinas. Right south from the downtown there are rich neighborhoods, night clubs such as White Lotus and Bossé, restaurants, three private universities (Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara, Tec de Monterrey and Universidad del Valle de Atemajac - UNIVA) and several shopping malls (Plaza Pabellon, Plaza del Sol). Zapopan actually is the largest municipality in the State and also have several parks (Los Colomos, The Country Club) and a forest (La Primavera)
- Tlaquepaque -- south and southeast Guadalajara, offers an old town Tlaquepaque area with a Mexican village setting. It has an important shopping district as it is a main arts and crafts center within Mexico. The old town offers many interesting restaurants, galleries, a regional ceramics museum and a "Premio Nacional de la Ceramica" (National Ceramics Awards) museum. There is a large variety of shops where you can buy local pottery and handicrafts, including indigenous huichol artesanship. "The Parian" is a square building in the heart of its downtown that houses a collection of 17 restaurant-bars and at the center has a traditional kiosk where mariachi groups and singers play for patrons. It's a great place to enjoy a cool drink on a hot day and listen to good music in a very Mexican setting. Tlaquepaque is about 30 minutes from Guadalajara's downtown and about 20 minutes from the airport. A private university, the ITESO, lies on southern Guadalajara.
- Tonalá -- eastern Guadalajara, where you can also buy handicrafts. Also lies there a huge park, the Parque Solidaridad.
Guadalajara is divided into several districts. The main areas of interest to tourists are the Centro Historico and the Minerva - Chapultepec - Zona Rosa areas. These are located on an East-West axis centered on Av. Vallarta (named Av. Juárez in the Centro Historico) and stretch from the Plaza Tapatía/Plaza Mariachis on the East side to the Fuente Minerva/Arcos Vallarta on the West side. Outside of the downtown area are three areas also of interest to the tourist: Tlaquepaque, Tonalá - located SE of the centro and known for their handicraft shops and markets, and Zapopan - located NW of the centro and famous as a site of pilgrimage and for it's old-town charm. Conveniently the 275-diagonal bus route runs from Tlaquepaque through the centro to Zapopan, providing convenient access to all of these sites.
A rose by any other name: Tapatío
Some local vocabulary: a Tapatío is a resident of Guadalajara. Alonso de Molina, a colonial era Franciscan, argued that in Nahuatl the word meant "the price of something purchased." However nobody would call themselves that, and Nauhatl was never spoken in the region. Latter day etymologies have struggled to come up with any credible account. So one might as well just take it as a fact: natives of Guadalajara call themselves Tapatíos.
Guadalajara's Recent History
Guadalajara and Jalisco in general were the center of the Cristero Wars (1926-1929), a rebellion by catholic guerillas against the secularizing reforms of Plutarco Calles's presidency. One of the first armed conflicts of the rebellion took place in Gudalajara in the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe (August 3, 1926), where a group of several hundred cristeros engaged in a shootout with federal troops. Guadalajara itself was attacked (unsuccessfully) by the Cristero armies in March of 1929.
In the 1950s Av Juárez was widened to create the arterial axis of Juárez-Vallarta which you see today. A famous part of that work was moving the central telephone exchange without disrupting service. Pictures of this feat of engineering can be seen in the City Museum.
In April 1992, the Reforma area was rocked by a huge explosion of gasoline, when a gasoline pipe line leaked into the sewers over a period of days until the fumes finally detonated. Some 200 were killed and several thousand injured. The explosion affected mostly the working class and industrial sector on the South side of the city.
In May 1993, Cardinal Ocampo of Guadalajara was killed at the Guadalajara airport. Though at the time the murder was thought to have been some sort of politically motivated assassination, subsequent investigations favor the theory that the cardinal was caught by mistake in drug related violence, his motorcade having been mistaken for that of a drug lord. Cardinal Ocampo is buried beneath the high altar of the Guadalajara Cathedral, probably because his murder was initially fêted as political martyrdom rather than as an accident.
Guadalajara is Mexico's second largest city, and one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the country. This growth has been driven in part by the booming electronic industry in the cities industrial outskirts. Other important and growing industries are pharmaceuticals, food processing, and fashion.
The University of Guadalajara is Western Mexico's most important institution of higher learning, and is Mexico's second most important after Mexico City's mammoth UNAM. The University also serves as a center of cultural activity enjoyed by residents and tourists alike. The Ballet Folclórico de UDG is an example, performing regularly to sold-out crowds at the Teatro Degollado.
Guadalajara is home to the Chivas, a professional soccer team.
- Libertador Miguel Hidalgo International Airport (GDL) is located south of the city along the Guadalajara-Chapala Highway. Along with Mexico's main domestic carriers - Mexicana, AeroMexico and Aviacsa - major airlines, including Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, ATA, Continental, Copa Airlines, Delta and U.S Airways (previous under the America West name) serve Guadalajara. Discount airlines Aerocalifornia, Alma de Mexico, Avolar, Interjet and Volaris jet between Guadalajara and Mexican destinations. A taxi from the airport from anywhere will cost 220 pesos but many hotels offer airport pickups that can be cheaper. There is also a bus that stops at the bottom of Terminal 1 which goes to the Central Camionera Vieja close to the historic centre and costs 5 pesos.
- The new main bus station is in the suburb of Tonalá, which serves all routes further than 100km or so, generally those which leave the state of Jalisco. The old bus station just south of the centro is served by bus lines motoring to nearby pueblos like Tequila and Chapala. Be warned that bus rides can sometimes be a bit jumpy and jittery because of the state of the roads, but the buses themselves are very comfortable. A taxi from the new bus station to the Centro Historico should cost around 60 pesos, or you can get a city bus which will cost 5 pesos unless you get a TUR bus which costs 10, just ask for 'centro'.
The Centro (downtown) is mostly accessible by walking, assuming you are capable of bearing your own weight. Most attractions lie within an area of about 3/4 of a mile long by 1/4 mile wide. For longer trips or to get in and out of the Centro, use the bus, subway, or a taxi. There are also horse drawn carriages (calandria), which is more expensive and mainly for tours of the center, for those who want to travel in a previous century's style.
Dozens of bus routes provide transportation around the city. As of March 2008, regular busses cost five pesos; there are also luxury buses (Turquesa, Tur and Cardenal) costing 10 pesos. Look on the front window of the bus to see where it will go, and ask the driver if you're uncertain. You can also try to purchase a route map (the Guia Roja Red Vial Ciudad de Guadalajara is one option, or ask at any magazine stand or one of the tourism kiosk downtown for a book with bus routes), although as of early 2008 they are no longer being published and are therefore almost impossible to find. This means planning your route ahead, or asking the locals (provided you know some Spanish). Riding the bus also provides a good chance to see different parts of the city and get your bearings. Note that bus drivers will give you change within limits, though after even a day in GDL you might find more 10 peso pieces in your pocket than you can dispose of.
It can be hard to spot bus stops in Guadalajara, in theory there should be a signpost with a blue sign and a picture of bus as well as triangular markings on the road with the word 'Parada' meaning stop. However these aren't always there or the markings having been removed with time. Look around and see where there's a crowd of people waiting, sometimes there are even seats, if not, the buses might stop at the corner or in front of traffic lights. If they drive past you, keep looking at them and try to see where they stop.
One particularly useful route for getting back and forth between the Centro Historico and the Zona Rosa - Minerva area is the Par Vial Route. Westbound it travels along Av Vallarta and Eastbound along Av Hidalgo. Just look up for the pair of electrical cables that it uses for power. In the Centro Historico you can catch it on Hidalgo up to the East side of the Plaza Liberación, where it makes the turn to head up to Independencia and back West.
There is also an open top double-decked tour bus (TuriBus) that leaves from the Rotunda and will take you past all the main sites in Guadalajara, Tlaquepaque and Zapopan and will also allow you to ride it all day, getting on and off as you will.
Taxis are another option if you don't want to try to figure out the buses. You can either agree to a price with the cab driver or ask him to turn the meter on. Using the latter option, there is a risk that the driver won't the take the shortest possible route if he thinks you don't know it yourself. The meter will normally be a better price than the price the hotel will tell you to pay, if they hail. As always, be sure to ask the fare before you get in. Cabs cost more at night or when they have to cross the outer ring of the city. Day-time fares should never exceed 100 pesos within the city and almost always the price should be even under 50 pesos. At night-time, the prices are doubled. As a rule of thumb, during the daytime the fare is about 3-4 pesos per kilometer and at night about 8-9 pesos, but if the driver is using a meter, there's also a starting price of around 5-10 pesos.
Fares to and from the airport are set at 220 pesos. If arriving at the Guadalajara airport, a taxi monopoly provides the service from the airport. Pre-purchase your taxi ride at the booths outside of the arrival halls. You can take a normal taxi to the airport, though.
A simple subway network can be useful if you happen to want to travel along its currently limited path. There are two lines that join at the Western edge of the Centro Historico. One runs North-South beneath Avenida Federalismo to the edges of the city in both directions. The other runs East through the Centro Historico to the Eastern suburbs. Fares cost 5 pesos. The subway closes at 11pm.
A new bus service named 'Pre Tren' (Pre Train) goes from the main (Juárez) subway station through the Zona Rosa to the west Outer Ring at a 50% discounted fare for subway card users and provide a good service with new, air-conditioned, red colored units. The service is better than the smaller 'camiones' (bus) service.
Centro Historico Sights
- Guadalajara Cathedral Completed in 1618 and dedicated to the Assumption. The current towers were replaced in the mid 1800s after an earthquake destroyed the originals in 1818. The cathedrals architecture is an eclectic mix of gothic, neoclassical and palladian architecture.
- Plaza of the Crosses. Four Plazas shaped like a cross with the Cathedral at the center. Any of these offer a nice spot to walk through or rest in for a few minutes. Most have plenty of food vendors nearby.
- Plaza Guadalajara west of (in front of) the cathedral has a circular fountain and an outdoor restaurant, under the fountain there is an underground comercial centre which offers all kinds of goods for sale including fruit, beverages and even jewellery.
- Plaza de Armas south of the cathedral it offers one of the best views of the cathedral and the Palacio de Gobierno (Governor's Office). It features a French Ironwork bandstand bought by former mexican president Porfirio Diaz during 1885 and four States on the corners of the place symbolizing the Four Seasons. The bandstand serves as the performing arena for marching bands but due to it's recent use for all kinds of political (soap-box) manifestations it's guarded by the police 24/7.
- Plaza de la Liberación east of (behind) the cathedral it features two large cup-shaped fountains and a gigantic sculpture of Miguel Hidalgo, the man who signed the Mexican Declaration of Independence in the current Palacio de Gobierno. It also serves as an atrium for the oldest surviving theatre in the city: "Teatro Degollado", and it's the usual spot for massive free concerts.
- Rotonda de los Jalicienses Ilustres north of the cathedral it serves as a mausoleum for important men and women born in Jalisco, it's bright and busy atmosphere of the park around it contrasts with the serious aspect of the Mausoleum itself. On the southern side (across the street from the cathedral) is the bus stop for the previously mentioned TuriBus.
- Palacio de Gobierno (Governor's Office)(east of the cathedral) This is the historical center of the government of the State of Jalisco. Today it is mostly visited for the murals painted there by José Clemente Orozco. The most famous of these is a huge portrait of Miguel Hidalgo in the vault of the old chambers of the state council.
- Museo Regional de Guadalajara 60 Liceo St. Pleasant museum to spend a few hours in, especially on a hot day when you need some time out of the sun. It features a Mammoth skeleton found on the nearby Chapala Lake
- Mercado Libertad, known by locals as Mercado San Juan de Dios because of the river that used to pass through the area, a very busy multi-storey enclosed market, with hundreds of vendors it is the largest in Latinamerica. The market also houses a very popular and very good food court featuring everything from seafood to local favorites like birria (goat stew) and pozole (hominy and pork stew). Great place to get souveneirs. Unfortunately it isn't the safest place in Mexico so make sure to always keep a look out for the purse snatchers.
- Instituto Cultutal Cabañas, further east from Plaza de la Liberación, it is a cultural and art center where the fresco paintings of Jose Clemente Orozco are exhibited and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997.
- Plaza de los Mariachis in a small triangular plaza in Guadalajara where you will find several mariachis band who will offer their services for a small fee. This is where the famous "Mexican Hat Dance" (Jarabe Tapatío) was born. Mariachis will serenade you while you eat at one of the small cafes or restaurants at a regular charge per song.
Sights on the West side of downtwon - Minerva - Chapultepec
- Templo Expiatorio Madero at Diaz de Leon - A finely detailed neo-gothic cathedral built over decades starting in the late 19th century. There is a mechanical clock in the bell tower that features a procession of the 12 Apostles at 9am, 12 noon and 6 pm. The interior of the church features a fine collection stained glass windows.
- Arcos Vallarta West end of Av Vallarta - A romanesque double arch which once signaled the edge of civilization. There are nice views to be had from the top and interesting murals to view on the way up. Also there is something charmingly modest about the scale and coloring of the arch. It is not the Arc de Triomphe, and that is precisely the point.
- Glorieta Minerva Beside los Arcos, important symbol of Guadalajara, contains the statue of the roman godess "minerva" surrounded by a fountain.
- Niños Héroes Monument to the child heroes of Mexico.
Sights on the edge of downtown
- Barranca de Oblatos, Northern terminus of Calz Independencia Norte. This is the forested gorge of the Río Lerma-Santiago. There are two locations with fine vistas of the gorge. At the Northern end of Calz Independencia is the Parque Mirador which not only offers vistas of the gorge, but hiking opportunities as well. Also the Guadalajara Zoo, East of Calz Independencia just past the Periférico, has wonderful vistas of gorge. You can reach both via buses #62A and #62D which run along Calz Independencia.
- Zoológico - Guadalajara Zoo, . The Guadalajara zoo is a modern zoological park worth visiting both for its collection of animals, its safari ride, and its views of the Barranca de Oblatos. Highlights include a safari ride, reptile house, nocturnal environment exhibit, a tropical forest simulated environment, and more.
- Parque Agua Azul, East of Calz Independencia about 1.5 km South of the Centro, . Open air concerts, a butterfly enclosure, an aviary and plenty of green to enjoy. This is a good place to take a break from the often dry, dusty and crowded environment of the city. The park houses a museum of paleontology and there is a museum of regional archeology just across Calz Independencia. The 1.5 km from the centro to the park is quite walkable, but it is also accessible via the 62A and 62D buses along the Calz Independencia.
- Estadio Jalisco, Located in Colonia Independencia, it can be reached by taking any bus along the Calzada Independencia and asking for the Estadio Jalisco. You will almost definitely see it if you look out, it will be on your left as you come from the center. Here the soccer teams Atlas and Deportivo Guadalajara (universally known as 'Las Chivas') play. During the season there are league games every Saturday, alternating between Atlas and Chivas. There are also other games depending on any competitions that involve those clubs, e.g. the Copa Sudamericana, etc. Big games to watch out for are Atlas vs. Chivas and Chivas vs. América (known as the SúperClásico because of the rivalry between these clubs), which have an incredible atmosphere, though most games will have an atmosphere worth experiencing. If you are of a nervous disposition, perhaps avoid the upper stands when there is a large crowd as it's known to shake when the crowds begin to jump.
- Estadio 3 de Marzo, Another soccer stadium, located in the Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara campus in the north of the city. Here the UAG soccer team (universally known as Tecos) play, also in the Primera Liga along with the other Guadalajara teams, Atlas and Deportivo Guadalajara.
- See a Bullfight, the Plaza de Toros(Bull ring) is located right across the road from the Estadio Jalisco on Calzada Independencia. You might not be able to see it from the bus, as it's hidden behind some trees, so get off when you see the Estadio Jalisco and go in the opposite direction. Bullfights take place every Sunday at 4.30pm.
- Feria Internacional del Libro (International Book Fair, known by it's Spanish initials as 'la FIL') takes place every November in Guadalajara. Companies and delegations come from all over the world to exhibit their books and see books from other places. Every year a country or region is invited to present its books. Web site
- Festival Internacional de Cine (International Cinema Festival) Web site
- Grito de Independencia (Independece Yell) Traditional Independence day 'grito' or 'yell'. Locals go to the main square and collectively shout when the clock strikes midnight. Generally the people shout 'Viva' and then 'México' or the name of an important Mexican person, for example 'Viva Hidalgo', etc.
- Las Posadas (The Inns) Traditional Mexican christmas practice, recreating the passage of Joseph and Mary through Bethlehem, asking for shelter and being refused. Generally nowadays this is a celebration for family and friends, but if you know a Mexican, it's a great way to experience first hand Mexican culture. Regular appearances include Piñatas, Mariachi bands, Mexican beer, Tequila and much merriment.
- Tianguis (Street Markets), Typical Mexican place to buy goods and cheaper than other locations. There are a number of them in Guadalajara.
- Tianguis el Baratillo, Huge tianguis which meets northeast of the centre, contains everything from electronics to old coins to dog toys to animals to DVDs and many more things besids.
- Tianguis Cultural, , Every Saturday from 10:30am to 4:00pm in the Plaza Benito Juarez, immediately SW of the Parque Agua Azul at the corner of 16 de Septiembre and Av Washington. Free concerts, open air chess, artists at work and an open air market draw a young crowd to this weekly celebration of alternative culture.
- Mercado Libertad, known universally as Mercado San Juan de Dios. Another large tianguis, great for collecting souveniers, also has cloth, food, clothes and traditional dresses.
- Plaza Galerías, Guadalajara's biggest mall, located in the crossing of the Vallarta and Rafael Sanzio avenues. It houses Guadalajara's biggest multiplex cinema, with 20 THX projection rooms and 4 VIP rooms. Has multi-storey parking areas as well as more than 1 square kilometer of open parking space shared with a Wal-Mart and a Sam's Club. Served by the bus routes 25, 47 and 629.
- Plaza del Sol, located near the crossing between the López Mateos and Mariano Otero avenues. Guadalajara's second biggest mall, it has a multi-story car park and an open layout, with big, open spaces in the middle, surrounded by hallways. Served by the bus routes 357, 101, 24, 258, 626, 629, 645 and 701, as well as the Santa Anita busses that connect the nearby town of Santa Anita with the metropolitan area. The Torrena Tower, measuring 336.5 m, is under construction next to Plaza del Sol, also next to Plaza Torrena, a smaller, underground mall that can be recognized by its white concrete dome located in the crossing of the López Mateos and Mariano Otero avenues.
- Plaza Patria, enclosed by the Patria, Ávila Camacho and Américas avenues. It's a two-story mall, not as big as Plaza del Sol or other malls, but with a sizeable assortment of stores, including fashion, electronics, convenience stores and a supermarket. Served by the bus routes 24, 25, 604, 622, 632, 634 and 701.
- Centro Magno, located between Vallarta and López Cotilla avenues. It has a big, wide, closed space in the middle, surrounded mostly by restaurants, fashion, electronics and bazaar stores, with a cinema on the top floor. Served directly by the bus routes 629A and 629B, and by the nearby routes 626, 622, 24, 258 and 101.
- Tlaquepaque's Old Town District displays a huge assortment of Mexican arts and crafts as well as decorative traditional and contemporary home furnishings. All product qualities ranging from the finest ceramic, glass, pewter, etc, to traditional pottery created by many of Mexico's Great Masters is on display and for sale. Tlaquepaque is chosen by many homeowners and decorators to furnish and decorate their homes, restaurants or hotels.
Birria, tortas ahogadas, and chilaquiles are some of the most traditional dishes in Guadalajara. The food court in the Mercado Libertad is good place to sample the variety of local specialties.
- Birria Birria is a savory stew made of roast chiles, spices and traditionally goat, though you will usually be given other meat options like mutton or beef depending on the restaurant. For Birria, the restaurants in the Nueve Esquinas area (a few blocks South of Templo San Francisco) are quite popular (and quite good).
- Tortas ahogadas these are sandwiches of carnitas and beans on a french style roll drowned in a savory chile and tomato sauce. Numerous restaurants in the Centro Historico specialize in these.
- Pozole A hearty soup of pork and hominy topped with fresh cabbage, radish, onion and cilantro. There are some very good pozole stands in the food court of the Mercado Libertad.
- Mollete A popular local breakfast food. A french style roll split and covered with refried beans then topped with ham or chorizo and cheese and toasted.
- La Rinconada, 86 Morelos on the Morelos pedestrian mall. Traditional Mexican fare served to the tourist crowd in a restored 19th century mansion. In the evenings you will be serenaded by strolling Mariachis here.
- La Chata, Corona 126 South of Juarez, . Very popular and very crowded. Traditional food the way mom used to make it, or so they say. Needless to say the prices are higher here than in other places serving the same fare, but prices are still pretty reasonable. You can view the menu on their website, but it's a bit annoying. You can have a good meal there for $100 pesos.
- Fonda San Miguel, Donato Guerra No. 25, about 4 blocks W of the Cathedral. The restaurant is housed in an old convent, with most of the seating in the covered courtyard. It is quite picturesque. The fare is traditional Mexican, including standards like chicken in mole poblano, chiles en nogada, etc.
- El Sacromonte, Av Pedro Moreno 1398 (at Colonias). The food here is traditional Mexican served a little more artfully for a more well off clientele. Subdued old-style violin centered mariachis play here in the early afternoon.
- TlaquePasta, Calle Reforma 139 in Tlaquepaque area of Guadalajara. Located within the Quinta Don Jose Boutique Hotel offers a nice combination of 1/2 Mexican menu and 1/2 Italian (only Italian menu in Tlaquepaque). Great tasting food, attractive setting, and reasonably priced.
- El Parián, in the centre of Tlaquepaque, not one restaurant but several surrounding a square with a bandstand. A nice place to sit and have a drink or enjoy a meal. It has numerous mariachis who will play for you for a fee and also public performances from 9.30 at night.
Search out a bar with large collection of Tequilas and taste a greate blanca, reposada and añejo. Real tequila is nothing like the junk you've had in the USA. If you ask for a tequila from Los Altos that is traditional, you will almost certainly get something good. Los Altos is the region NE of GDL where the best tequila is made and it brings up images of tradition, patriotism and individualism.
There are tons of places, in the centre of Zapopan, there are more than twelve bars near each other.
Many inexpensive hotels are available in the city center. If you plan to spend much time downtown, don't get a hotel farther away. It's much more convenient to be able to walk back than to need to find a bus back to a less central location (e.g. the Minerva area).
- Quinta Don Jose Boutique Hotel, Reforma # 139 (Tlaquepaque area) 1 866 629 3753, . Located in Tlaquepaque which along with Tonala, make up the arts and crafts district of Guadalajara. 15 rooms, bar, pool, small restaurant. Pet friendly.
- Hostel de María, Nueva Galicia # 924 (Zona de las nueve esquinas ) (33) 3614 6230, . Cozy hostel walking distance from down town. 125 Pesos.
- Hostel Guadalajara Centro, Maestranza # 147 (on the corner of López Cotilla), (33) 3562 7520, . An excellent youth hostel, about 120 pesos with a HI card 160 without.
- Hotel la Calandria, Estadio # 100. Very clean and overall nice hotel. Located very close to the old bus station (Central Camionera Vieja) and a Wal-Mart, which is always helpful when you need to get this and that. 170 pesos for a two person room...even cheaper for one person. Nice and highly recommended.
Around the old bus station (Central Camionera Vieja) one can find very cheap hotels. Try to look around. The best deals usually are not found on the internet or in a guidebook but by walking around the REAL (not tourist) areas of town.
- Hotel San Francisco Plaza, Two blocks East of the Plaza San Francisco, . The hotel is centered on two covered courtyards. There are some awful rooms, so it's worth talking to the person you reserve with to see what it will cost to get something on one of the courtyards, on an upper floor, and away from the North side of the building where there is quite a bit of traffic. Merced is a good guy to talk with about this or anything else. Although he denies being "el jefe", he seems to be in charge. Rooms run about 500 pesos a night. Breakfasts at the hotel restaurant are very good. Beatriz, the usual morning waitress, is a bundle of sunshine.
- Casa Venezuela, On Venezuela street between La Paz and Guadalupe Zuno, . Like staying in a museum of a tradition mexican home. Everything about the place is beautiful but there are only a few rooms so you have to schedule well in advance (occasionally there are cancellations - we got lucky and snuck in at the last minute). The breakfast is as good or better than any I've had in Mexico and they're included. The location is the Colonia Americana. It's on the outskirts of the actual centro but you can walk there (about 15-20 blocks) but right in the heart of the hip area that has all of the bars, universities, and trendy restaurants. I think the rooms are 70-100 USD a night. By far, our favorite place in GDL.
- Holiday Inn Select, Av. Niños Heroes 3089, 33/3122-2020.
- Fiesta Americana Guadalajara, Aurelio Aceves 225, Tel: 33/3825-3434. Large, modern, full-service hotel on a busy street in a mostly residential area. Has a decent nightclub on site that seems to draw a fair number of locals. Impressive atrium and comfortably open lobby bar.
- Tequila - great for tequila tasting experience. Drive or take a bus. The bus costs about $9-12USD round trip and about 1.5 hrs each way. It is beautiful countryside. For a memorable weekend day trip, take the Tequila Express --- it's a fun atmosphere with tequila shots and roving mariachis crooning you all the way to Tequila. The train leaves Saturday and Sunday mornings at 10am from the Guadalajara train station, returning the same evening.  Jose Cuervo distillery has a packaged tour that will pick you from your hotel, take you to an agave farm, then to the distillery, show you around the distillery, give you samples, take you to their galleria and offer a free margarita and 10% off at a restaurant. The city is quaint and worth exploring.
- Lake Chapala, with its picturesque towns like Ajijic.
- Guachimontones, site of a small pre-hispanic pyramid.
This page was last edited at 02:54, on 26 March 2009 by Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel. Based on work by Colin Jensen, Wikitravel user(s) Dalta, Morph and Texugo, Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel and others.