The state of Jalisco is often referred to as Mexico's heartland. This is the region responsible for tequila, Mariachi music, and the Tapatio culture. It also contains the next largest Mexican city after the capital, which is Guadalajara.
Jalisco is a very irregularly shaped state, bordered on one side by the Pacific Ocean. The states which border on Jalisco are: Nayarit, Zacatecas, Aguascalientes, Guanajuato, Colima, and Michoacan. Jalisco contains some worthwhile geographic wonders, including a magnificent coastline south of the city of Puerto Vallarta, the Huentitán Canyon to the north of Guadalajara, and Lake Chapala, the largest freshwater lake in Mexico.
Guadalajara is the largest city in Jalisco and the second largest city in Mexico, with a metropolitan area population of over 4 million people. It is composed of several municipalities which have grown together, the largest of which are Guadalajara itself, Tlaquepaque, Tonalá, Tlajomulco, El Salto, and Zapopan. The city rests at an elevation of about 1,650 metres.
Long a popular vacation destination for Jalisco residents and foreigners alike, Puerto Vallarta is a built-up city with many beach hotels and resorts. The municipality is home to approximately 200,000 people.
Other cities in Jalisco include Ciudad Guzman, Tequila, Ameca, Tala, and Chapala. These are all relatively small municipalities.
There are many beaches worthy of a visit in Jalisco. Puerto Vallarta is very near the Jalisco-Nayarit border. South from here, the coastline is rocky and lined with inlets and points. Tenacatita is a well-known, undeveloped Jalisco beach which has some of the best snorkeling in Jalisco over a nearshore reef. Barra de Navidad is a vibrant Mexican town on the coast at the southern border of Jalisco with Colima. Chamela, La Manzanilla, and Melaque are other popular beach spots.
The Guachimontones in the town of Teuchitlán have been registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site. These are Pre-Colombian structures erected in round, stepped pyramid form.
The Ixtepete archaeological site in Zapopan is one of the only remaining Pre-Hispanic ruins within the Guadalajara metropolitan area.
The Huentitán Canyon to the north of Guadalajara can be viewed from several locations in Guadalajara, either in the colonia (district) of Huentitán or from the Parque Mirador. A path in Huentitán leads down to the bottom of the canyon.
Lake Chapala is the largest freshwater lake in Mexico, and can be viewed from the town of Chapala. Several other small towns line the lake, and some house hotels and resorts. Boats can be rented for excursions on the lake.
The area near the town of Tequila holds several active and extinct volcanos, including the Tequila volcano, some of which can be hiked up.
The downtown areas of Guadalajara, Zapopan, and Tlaquepaque all show examples of colonial architecture. Tlaquepaque and Tonala are centers for artisan work including ceramics, iron-work, and textiles. In addition, a museum at the Basilica of Zapopan shows off indigenous art of the region, called Huichol. Huichol people generally reside in the Jaliscan countryside, many in the northern fingers of the state. The city of Tequila houses several distilleries, many of which can be visited, including that of Jose Cuervo.
Although the Day of the Dead is also celebrated in many Latin American countries (and also in parts of Europe, Asia and Africa), the Day of the Dead (Spanish: Día de los Muertos) is most intensily celebrated in Mexico where it is equal to a National Holiday. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. The celebration takes place on November 1st and 2nd, in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints' Day (November 1) and All Souls' Day (November 2). Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts. Although it is about the Dead, it is also a celebration where eating and partying both are common as well.
Most of the state has a temperate climate with humid summers which are tropical. There is a distinct rainy season from June to October. The climate can be divided into 29 different zones from hot to cold and from very dry to semi moist. In most of the state, most of the rain falls between June and August.
The coastal area receives the most precipitation and has the warmest temperatures, at an average of between 22 °C and 26 °C and an average precipitation of about 2,000 mm annually. In the north and northwest, a dry climate predominates with average temperatures of between 10 °C and 18 °C, and average annual precipitation between 300 and 1,000mm. The center of the state has three different climates, but all are mostly temperate with an average temperature of 19 °C and an average rainfall of between 700 and 1,000mm. The northeastern corner and coastal plains of Tomatlán are the driest areas with less than 500mm annually. The Los Altos region has a number of microclimates due to the rugged terrain. The area is mostly dry with an average temperature of 18 °C except in the north, where it fluctuates between 18 °C and 22 °C. In the highlands, the average temperature is less than 18 °C.
In various parts of the state there are areas with a semi-moist, temperate climate, some with average temperatures of between 10 °C and 18 °C and others of between 18 °C and 22 °C.
In the highlands of the Sierra de Manantlán, Cacola, Cuale and Mascota near the coastal plains there is the most rainfall reaching 1,600mm per year. In the highlands, the average temperature is less than 18 °C.
Guadalajara International Airport (GDL) functions as the main gateway of the city. It has quite a few flights to other Mexican cities and to cities mainly in the rest of North America. These include Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Fresno, Las Vegas, Oakland, Sacramento, San Francisco, New York and Phoenix.
Domestic destinations are Mexico City, Cancun, Tijuana, Monterrey, San José del Cabo, Mexicali, Hermosillo, La Paz, Chihuahua, Ciudad Juarez, Mazatlan, Mérida, Puerto Vallarta, Veracruz, Oaxaca, among a few other places.
To add, there are also flights to and from Panama City.
From Puerto Vallarta, Licenciado Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport (PVR) has numerous flights. Some of the main cities served include Mexico City, New York, Guadalajara, Calgary, Montreal, Edmonton, Vancouver, Toronto, Los Angeles, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Dallas, Chicago, Houston, Atlanta, Detroit, Salt Lake City, Denver and Phoenix.
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