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Great Vacation Destinations
Guadalajara: Mexican Culture At Its Best

Ranked among Mexico’s three most important cities and as Mexico’s second-most developed city, Guadalajara is the home of all that represents Mexican culture internationally, such as mariachi music and tequila. Located 365 miles northwest of Mexico City and 226 miles east of Puerto Vallarta, Guadalajara is the proud state capital of Jalisco and the second most populated city in Mexico.

Among its main draws is the magnificent architecture of its historic and religious buildings, in particular that of the Hospicio Cabañas, which houses murals of artist Jose Clemente Orozco and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Guadalajara is also known for its beautiful parks and surrounding natural areas, such as el Bosque la Primavera (the Primavera Forest), which is often referred to as the city’s lungs. In addition, Guadalajara’s Parque Metropolitano is an amazing location to partake in ecotourism outings, sports activities and camping.

Guadalajara is well-known for being full of rich and vibrant cultural traditions. Festivities that cannot be missed are the Encuentro Internacional del Mariachi y la Charraria (International Mariachi and Charro Festival), one of the world’s most important musical events; the Fiestas de Octubre (October Festivals), where travelers can enjoy diverse crafts, industry expositions, food festivals, trade show and live music acts; the Feria Internacional del Libro (International Book Fair), Latin America’s most important book fair due to the large quantity of publishers and visitors it receives; and Muestra Internacional de Cine, one of Mexico’s most important and awaited film festivals of the year.

Guadalajara’s gastronomical delights are another reason for its popularity among travelers. The city’s impressive culinary tradition is the result of a combination of colonial and pre-Hispanic influences. Signature dishes such as beef tamales with red and green hot sauce and the torta ahogada (a roll filled with pork, beans and onions and bathed in a mild tomato-based sauce), can be found at eateries throughout the city. Other must-sees when visiting the “Pearl of the West” are the amazing handicrafts (pottery, ceramics, rugs, hand-blown glass, etc) of nearby towns Tlaquepaque, Tonala Colotlan and Sayula, as well as the city’s world-renowned museums, among them el Museo de la Ciudad (The Museum of the City) and el Museo Regional del Occidente (Regional Museum of the West).

One cannot visit Guadalajara without embarking on one of the city’s famous tequila tours. These tours will take one through the process of making Mexico’s signature spirit, from harvesting the agave plant to fermentation to distillation, and finally, to bottling. Although there are several notable tours such as that of Casa Herradura and Mundo Cuervo, one of the most interesting tours has to be the Tequila Express, a train ride to the nearby town of Amatitan. Only 21 miles (35 km) away from Guadalajara, Amatitan features several top distilleries such as Hacienda San Jose del Refugio. The Tequila Express package includes a tour of Hacienda San Jose, along with snacks, a buffet lunch, Mariachis and lots of tequila samples, of course! For more information about the Tequila Express and other tequila tours, please visit For more information about Guadalajara, please visit