How to visit Guadalajara, Mexico

A visit to the points of interest of Guadalajara, Jalisco, the home of tequila and the Mariachi.

Guadalajara is the second city of Mexico and the capital of the state of Jalisco.  Guadalajara offers the following points of interest for tourists and photographers;

  • Degollado theater
  • Guadalajara cathedral
  • Rotonda de los Jaliscienses Ilustres
  • Tequila express (day tour)
  • Agua azul park
  • Templo Expiatorio del Santísimo Sacramento
  • Guadalajara zoo
  • Plazuela de los mariachis
  • Tlaquepaque
  • Lake Chapala (day tour)
Guadalajara Cathedral, Mexico

Guadalajara Cathedral, Mexico

The best area to stay in Guadalajara is the historic center, this is where you’ll find most of the points of interest.  Because Guadalajara is the second biggest city in Mexico, you’ll find lots of cheap flights here from all over the world.  To get here by bus is easy too, they even do international services to the USA from Guadalajara.  I wouldn’t recommend taking a bus from the USA as flights are often the same price or cheaper.

Guadalajara cathedral, also known as the cathedral of the Assumption of our lady, is the centerpiece of the historic center of Guadalajara.  The cathedral was built in 1541, but was severely damaged in a fire started in true Mexican style.  It was mass of 1587 when people fired bullets into the sky and when these bullets returned, they hit the cathedral and started the fire.  It has been rebuilt and repaired many times since then due to earthquakes, the spires you see today were erected in 1854 and the north spire is slightly tilted due to recent earthquake damage.

Mexican Folkloric dance, Jarabe Tapatio

Mexican Folkloric dance, Jarabe Tapatio

You’ll be sure to come across some folkloric dancing whilst in Guadalajara, the local dance is referred to as Jarabe Tapatio.  I was lucky that there was a marque set up outside the cathedral showing off the various Mexican folkloric dances.  The number one place to see traditional mariachis in Guadalajara is El Parian, Tlaquepaque.  You’ll also find mariachis in the plazuela de los mariachis and often around the cathedral.  They’ll approach you and they’ll want at least 100 pesos per song, if you want a performance you’ll need to know the name of a mariachi song you like!

Historic Center, Guadalajara, Mexico

Historic Center, Guadalajara, Mexico

A walk around the historic center of Guadalajara will reward you with many brilliant photo opportunities.  You can also take organized tours outside of the city, the most famous being the tequila train tour.  On the tequila tour you’ll visit the city of Tequila and the agave fields which are a UNESCO world heritage site.  If you don’t drink too much tequila then you’ll make some great photos of the agave landscape, if you do drink too much then your photos could come out blurry!

Tlaquepaque, Guadalajara, Mexico

Tlaquepaque, Guadalajara, Mexico

The place to go for nightlife in Guadalajara is Tlaquepaque which is a taxi ride away from the historic center.  In Tlaquepaque you’ll find lots of bars and nightclubs as well as the famous El Parian for mariachis.  Legend has it that the most beautiful girls in all of Mexico come from Guadalajara, so all the single guys should venture out here if not anywhere else in Mexico!

Enjoy your time in Guadalajara.

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2018-12-10T18:43:27+00:00January 3rd, 2017|Mexico, North America|17 Comments


  1. Guadalajara sounds like a beautiful place to visit, thanks for the tips 🙂 I didn’t know you could take international buses to get there! Great!

  2. Mike January 12, 2017 at 6:42 am - Reply

    Guadalajara sounds and looks fantastic. Definitely a place for my list. Thanks so much for the tips.

  3. Lena from fouronaworldtrip January 12, 2017 at 6:58 am - Reply

    we are planning to visit Mexico and I saved your article for a later read! Thanks so much for putting it together!

  4. Trippin' Turpins (Kelly) January 12, 2017 at 7:47 am - Reply

    Wow! Great looking place. I hope to visit Guadalajara one day!

  5. Romy January 12, 2017 at 10:50 am - Reply

    Thanks for all the tips on Guidalajara. The historic centre looks beautiful! I might visit Mexico next summer, so I’ll keep it in mind.

  6. Meghan January 12, 2017 at 2:38 pm - Reply

    I’ve been to Mexico three times but never Guadalajara. It looks awesome! Thanks for sharing these tips!

  7. Raymond Carroll February 13, 2017 at 10:21 pm - Reply

    Salsa dancing in Cali, folkloric dancing in Guadalajara… you like your dancing, James! Last time I was in Mexico (Tijuana) all our pictures were blurry. Nice, informative post as usual! Thanks for sharing. Good luck and safe travels!

  8. Bhushavali February 14, 2017 at 1:00 pm - Reply

    I haven’t been to that side of the world yet!!! But actually I’m more interested in Mexico than USA! Esp the Mayan UNESCO sites are a must visit for me. And you here, are expanding my wishlist in Mexico!!!!!

  9. Promise Chika Maxwell February 14, 2017 at 2:03 pm - Reply

    I’m a tequila fan so, wouldn’t be bad finding myself one day in the beautiful city where it all started. Great post!

  10. loudy February 14, 2017 at 5:12 pm - Reply

    I like your posts because they contain so many details. very great post awesome pictures . Thanks for sharing

  11. Janine Good February 14, 2017 at 6:33 pm - Reply

    Mexico is on my list to visit and it is quite reasonable to travel to from Toronto 🙂 Guadalajara sounds really lovely with its UNESCO heritage site and old town. The Tequila day trip sounds totally up my alley as I do enjoy tours that point out the landmarks. I like not having to think too much when on vacation 🙂

  12. Jean February 14, 2017 at 10:03 pm - Reply

    Oh I’d happily pay 100 pesos for a song. Though I have no idea what song to ask for. That Tequila day trip sounds like my kinda gig. I;’d love to see the aguave fields.

  13. Riely February 15, 2017 at 2:08 am - Reply

    Guadalajara sounds like a fun destination. I am not much for the tequila anymore, but it would be a great place to visit.

  14. kathy (from February 15, 2017 at 1:35 pm - Reply

    Oh no Tequila! I have had many a crazy night when drinking Tequila. I love that they have a Tequila tour but I am not sure I can handle the hangover the next day.
    Guadalajara sounds like a great place to visit with its history. Thanks for sharing. It’s somewhere I would consider visiting when I am over that side of the world on my great adventure 🙂

  15. Noemi of Pinay Flying High February 15, 2017 at 6:02 pm - Reply

    I laughed out loud on the blurry photos of the tequila tour. :p Did you join one? Does it show you how tequila is made? And out of curiosity, how many shots of tequila will you get during the tour? :p

  16. Riely February 16, 2017 at 1:03 am - Reply

    I commented, but I don’t see it here.

    I don’t thrive on much of a nightlife at this point, but I do love Mexico. Guadalajara looks beautiful and I wouldn’t mind witnessing some folkloric dancing as well! I probably wouldn’t indulge in the tequila, but I would love to go see the agave fields.

  17. Julie Cao January 10, 2018 at 5:28 pm - Reply

    I cannot wait to visit Guadalajara. I won’t drink too much Tequila as I don’t want my photo to come out blurry but the train tour sounds interesting, and I will definitely put the city of Tequila on my list.

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