Guadalajara, Mexico’s second biggest city, is known as “the San Francisco of Mexico.” It’s got a lot of character and seems to maintain a slower, friendlier pace of life, even as a huge metropolis. Guadalajara attracts tons of LGBT Mexicans, artists, performers, and the rest of the creative class.
Jalisco – the state of which Guadalajara is the capital – is one of Mexico’s most important. Birthplace to mariachi music and tequila, the region proudly leads the world in both traditions to this day. It’s also home to a huge number of artisans, who handcraft everything from leather to metalwork to tequila. I’ve even had one artisanal tequila pomegranate punch. It’s so good, I look for the artisan every time I go back so I can replenish my supply!
Guadalajara is also blessed with amazing weather. It’s warm, with highs in the 70’s and low 80’s year-round. You can get a suntan there in November! (or a sunburn, if you’re anything like me) And as a rule, even the rainy season isn’t all that wet. I’d recommend it as a destination at any time of year.
This is one of my favorite places in the world. When I needed Spanish language immersion at a couple points in my career, I kept going back to Guadalajara.
Depending on your interests, you might be interested in:
I’m working on a special trip for tequila lovers. I typically choose which tequila distilleries to visit based on where I have friends. But on this trip, we’ll spend more time on tequila, visiting distilleries that have distinguished themselves and earned the esteem of tequila aficionados.
Guadalajara LGBT Pride:
Early June. Mexico’s second-biggest Pride celebration includes a parade to the city center, outdoor celebration with live performances, and of course special late-night festivities at local bars and clubs. Once a specific date is set, I’ll post that information here.
Festival of the Mariachi:
Late August/early September. Mariachi music originated in this area, and the Festival is one of Guadalajara’s biggest annual events. Among the activities you’ll enjoy are the kickoff parade, free open-air concerts at local plazas, and impromptu performances on street corners. There’s also a big horsemanship and rodeo competition. Guadalajara is amazing any time of the year, but this is a particularly lively and festive time to be there.
- a day trip to Tequila, with visits to small private distilleries
- a visit to a mole maker’s workshop followed by a lesson in cooking with mole
- day trips to Tonala and Tlaquepaque, where artisans make and sell their wares
- a day trip of relaxing at Lake Chapala
- sampling foods unique to the area, such as birria (a stew) and tortas ahogadas (“drowned sandwiches” served on bread so hard, you use a tomato sauce to drown it into submission)
- long walks/short rides to nearby attractions like the fruit market, my favorite bakeries, the three-story San Juan de Dios market, and the unforgettable “Tacos Gay’s” taco stand
- airport pickup, 7 nights of accommodations, 2 breakfasts, and 10 lunches/dinners
- The itinerary may change based on availability, weather, and seasonal holidays or events.
- Mexico gets a bad rap among people who haven’t been there. They expect the whole country is like the nasty news stories they hear. That’s silly. Mexico’s a big place, and plenty of the country is safe. Based on my experience, what I hear from my friends there, and what the U.S. State Department has to say, I consider Guadalajara as safe as any big city in the U.S.