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. The region is also home to a huge number of artisans, who handcraft everything from glassware to metalwork to tequila.

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.

A rotunda alongside the Cathedral of Guadalajara

The “Rotunda of Illustrious Men of Guadalajara” sits beside the city’s main cathedral. It honors leaders of the city whose remains were buried there. Photo courtesy of Galfer.


Prices are listed in U.S. dollars and do not include your flight to Mexico. Two people traveling double will share a hotel room and local, prepaid cell phone. For a private tour, get in touch with me about pricing and scheduling.

December 28, 2013 – January 4, 2014

Pricing: $2275 single/$1955 double

New Year’s in Guadalajara:
Sure, enjoy a white Christmas at home… but then break away for a week of warm, sunny days with average highs in the mid-70′s! We’ll join the New Year’s festivities in the city center, with music and dance events, street performers, and more.

Late May/Early June, 2014

Guadalajara LGBT Pride:
Mexico’s second-biggest Pride celebration should fall in early June. Once the dates are fixed for Pride, I’ll finalize our dates. If you’d like to be notified once the dates are finalized, let me know.

The work of a leather artisan for sale in Tonalá. This purse caught my eye because it looked like something my sister would love. I mean, I love it too, but she’s the one who would actually wear it. –Matt

August 23 – 30, 2014

Pricing: $2185 single/$1875 double

Festival of the Mariachi:
This tour will coincide with the Festival of the Mariachi, 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.

This tour includes:

Matt posed outside the Jose Cuervo factory

Jose Cuervo offers tours of their factory like clockwork, every hour on the hour. But I prefer a private visit to a small, artisanal distillery where we’re the only ones there.

  • a day trip to Tequila, with a visit to a small private distillery
  • 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.