Travel Guide North America Mexico Jalisco Guadalajara



Typical Guadalajara night

Typical Guadalajara night

© tommydavis

Guadalajara is the capital of the state of Jalisco, in the western Pacific area of Mexico. The city itself has over 1.5 million inhabitants, the metropolitan area well over 4 million, in both cases making it the second most populous city in the country. It sits at an elevation of about 1,600 metres above sea level, giving the city some relief of the heat that usually exists in lower areas. It's Mexican's equivalent of silicon valley and also is the high tech capital of the country, given it's electronics industry and software industry respectively.




Guadalajara consists of a number of districts, neighbourhoods and sectors, the main ones are:

  • Sector Hidalgo - located in northwest of the Centro Histórico, Hidalgo is a largely residential sector encompassing the financial district and the Country Club Guadalajara
  • Sector Libertad - located northeast of the Centro Histórico, Sector Libertad is mostly given over to industrial use. However, the southwest part of the sector, close to the Centro Histórico, boasts a traditional market
  • Sector Reforma - located southeast of the Centro Histórico, Reforma is also a mostly industrial sector, but visitors will no doubt be interested in the pleasant, tree-filled Parque Agua Azul, as well as the Tianguis Cultural de Guadalajara, a street market where alternative clothing and articles such as spiked belts, black trenchcoats, military uniforms, used books and trading cards are for sale at good prices.
  • Centro Historico - At the center of everything is the main area of interest to tourists, the Centro Histórico, or the historic downtown. Most of your time will probably be spent here. It is filled with colonial-era buildings and, famously, also boasts several important mural paintings by Jalisco-born José Clemente Orozco, one of Mexico's most important artists.
  • Tlaquepaque - about 30 minutes by car southeast of the Centro Histórico, downtown Tlaquepaque is a charming streetscape redolent of old Mexico. An important arts and crafts center, Tlaquepaque has a vibrant shopping district where you can buy local pottery and handicrafts, as well as many lovely restaurants, art galleries, and a regional ceramics museum.
  • Zapopan - a large, busy suburb located southwest of Guadalajara, is famous for the old-fashioned charm of its downtown, its active nightlife fueled by the three large private universities within the city limits (Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara, Tecnológico de Monterrey and Universidad del Valle de Atemajac), its proliferation of modern shopping malls that will make American suburbanites feel right at home, and, by contrast, also large expanses of pristine nature, such as the Bosque de Colomos and the gargantuan Bosque La Primavera.
  • Tonalá - situated immediately east of Tlaquepaque, Tonalá contains Guadalajara's main bus station, handicraft shops and markets, and the large Parque Solidaridad.



Sights and Activities



Events and Festivals

Day of the Dead

Although the Day of the Dead is also celebrated in many Latin American countries except Mexico (and also in parts of Europe, Asia and Africa), the Day of the Dead (Spanish: Día de los Muertos) is most intensily celebrated in Mexciowhere 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.

  • Grito de la Independencia - September 15th is Mexican Independence Day! A massive celebration involving plenty of singing, dancing and fireworks takes place in the Zócalo. Everyone here awaits an appearance from Mexico's president who rings a bell from a central balcony of the Palacio Nacional overlooking the Zócalo. The president then shouts out the Grito de Dolores, or the Cry of Dolores which was Father Hidalgo's famous call to arms against Spanish rule in 1810.
  • Guadalajara International Film Festival - the most important one in Mexico.
  • Guadalajara International Book Fair - Every year in early December.
  • Guadalajara May festival - Every year in May.
  • ENART Crafts and Decorative Art Products show - Twice a year in February and August.
  • Dia de la Candelaria. Candlemas is held February 2nd and commemorates Jesus being introduced into the temple 40 days after his birth. This nationwide celebration sees many different ways of celebrating and many towns hold processions, bullfights and dances. Of course, plenty of delicious, traditional foods are served during Dia de la Candelaria as well.
  • Carnaval is held in late February or early March throughout all of Mexico. This big party is meant to celebrate the 40 day penance of Lent. Carnaval always takes place during the week or so prior to Ash Wednesday, 46 days before Easter Sunday. Mexicans celebrate this holiday with fireworks, food, dancing, parades, dancing and drinking.
  • Semana Santa, or Holy Week, is a huge celebration which starts on Palm Sunday. This is a very popular time for Mexicans to take a short break; as a result, it seems most of the country is on the move, with buses and hotels often booked out. As for the celebration of Semana Santa, expect colorful processions and many masses at churches everywhere.
  • Día de Nuestra Seňora de Guadalupe, or Day of our Lady of Guadalupe, is held December 12th. There is a week-long build up to this religious celebration in honour of the Virgin who appeared to the indigenous Juan Diego in the year 1531. Since then, the Lady of Guadalupe has been Mexico's religious patron and her veneration is very significant. It is traditional for young boys to be dressed as a Juan Diego and for young girls to be dressed in indigenous garb and brought to a special mass, held at many churches throughout the country.
  • New Year's Eve. Mexicans celebrate New Year's Eve or locally known as Año Nuevo, by downing a grape with each of the twelve chimes of the bell during the midnight countdown, while making a wish with each one. Mexican families decorate homes and parties, during New Year's, with colors such as red, to encourage an overall improvement of lifestyle and love, yellow to encourage blessings of improved employment conditions, green to improve financial circumstances and white to improved health. Mexican sweet bread is baked with a coin or charm hidden in the dough. When the bread is served, the recipient whose slice contains the coin or charm is believed to be blessed with good luck in the new year. One can expect a lot of firecrackers, fireworks and sparklers being fired. At midnight there is a lot of noise and everyone shouts: "Feliz año nuevo!" People embrace, make noise, set off firecrackers, and sing Auld Lang Syne.




Because of its elevation, Guadalajara has a mild climate though the warmest months still see average daytime temperatures above 30 °C (late March - early June). During the rest of the year temperatures during the day are a pleasant 25 °C to 28 °C. Nights average around 8 °C between November and March, while from April onwards nights become warmer and from June to September it's mostly around 16 °C. Actually, this mainly has to do with the fact that June to September is also the wettest time of year with around 10 to 15 days of rain, as opposed to the period of October to April when months can go by without a single drop of rain.

During the rainy season from June to September, most of the rain will fall in the mornings and evenings. Most of the time this will mean an hour of heavily down poor which will flood the streets. During day time it will be dry most of the time though.

Avg Max24.7 °C26.5 °C29.2 °C31 °C32.4 °C30.6 °C27.4 °C27.3 °C27.2 °C27.3 °C26.6 °C25 °C
Avg Min10.2 °C11 °C13 °C15.1 °C17.2 °C17.8 °C16.8 °C16.7 °C16.8 °C15.4 °C12.8 °C11.2 °C
Rainfall19.9 mm4.5 mm3.9 mm6.8 mm18.8 mm184.9 mm273.8 mm219.7 mm166 mm50.6 mm15.3 mm8 mm
Rain Days21.10.51.3314.221.319.414.55.621.8



Getting There

By Plane

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.

By Car

Guadalajara is 535 kilometres northwest of Mexico City and 344 kilometres east of Puerto Vallarta. Highways 15, 15D, 23, 54, 54D, 80, 80D and 90 all converge here, combining temporarily to form the Periférico, a ring road around the city. Puerto Vallarta is about 3.5 hours away along the toll roads, Mexico City about 5.5 hours.
You can rent cars at the international airport or downtown agencies from most of the main international companies like Dollar, Hertz, Alamo, Thrifty and Budget.

By Bus

Regular buses travel to many regional destinations within the state of Jalisco, as well as places further away, including frequent ones to Mexico City.



Getting Around

By Car

You may rent a car from airport, most major car rental companies such Avis, National Car Rental, Hertz and Eropcar have booths at the baggage claim area. There are also some local car rentals such Veico Car Rental located just outside the airport, they also have good cars and often lower prices.

By Taxi

Taxis can be found all over Guadalajara and are safe to take. There are many taxi stands but in general taxi rates are better if you flag them down from the street. It is not common to give a tip to a taxi driver. You can bargain about the price but also can ask for the taxi meter. If you want to have an idea of the price before talking to a taxi driver ask somebody on the street for an indication. This often works very well.

Taxi rates (for up to 5 seats/people):

  • Day rate between 6:00am and 10:00pm - Meter starts at $8.50, Kilometre rate $6.45
  • Night rate between 10:00pm and 6:00am - Meter starts at $9.68, Kilometre rate $7.11

By Public Transport

Public transport is well organized in Guadalajara. There are 3 forms of public transportation which are the bus, the underground and the macro bus.

There are buses that take you anywhere for 6 pesos, children between 5 and 12 the rate is 3 pesos (rate in 2011). To find out which bus you have to take you can have a look on the following website Public transportation routes Guadalajara.

Be aware. For taking any bus you have to hold up your hand. Buses wont stop if nobody who is waiting will not hold up there hand. Almost at any corner there can be a bus stop. When you want to get off, walk to the end of the bus where you have to push a button. The bus will stop on the first corner where it is allowed to stop.

There are 2 types of buses. The standard bus which will cost you 6 pesos and the luxury buses which will cost you 10 pesos. The 10 pesos buses also called TUR have a turquoise color and will have air-conditioning and some times TV. There is only a view of these and they sometimes don’t stop when all seats are taken. Standard buses will some times not stop when a bus with the same bus number is behind them.

Payment is done to the driver and often will not have change for bills bigger then a 100 or 50 pesos.

The Underground (Tren Ligero)
The underground has only two routes from north to south and east to west. The routes can be found on the following website. Public transportation routes Guadalajara. The price is 6 pesos and for children between 5 and 12 the rate is 3 pesos.

The Macro bus
The Macro bus is a fairly new way of transportation. It is a combination of bus and underground. The vehicle is a bus that has it special lane where only he can drive. The bus stops are special bus stations and there are only a view routes. The routes can be found on the following website. Macro bus routes Guadalajara. The price is 6 pesos and for children between 5 and 12 the rate is 3 pesos.




Food vendors in Guadalajara seem to like to rip off foreign tourists. For example, when trying to get some tacos or a burger or something from a street food vendor, the vendor will tell you not to worry about the price, and when it's time to pay you will get an inflated bill. Be sure to ask for the price before you order. If the vendor tells you not to worry about the price, say "necesito saber" (I need to know). Of course, do this with a smile and you will not be ripped off.

Birria, tortas ahogadas, and chilaquiles are some of the most traditional Tapatío dishes. The food court in the Mercado Libertad is a good place to sample the variety of local specialties.

In addition to traditional Mexican specialties, Tapatíos seem to be especially fond of Italian food - a considerable number of restaurants of that type can be found around Guadalajara. If you miss American fast food, worry not: in addition to the restaurants listed here, Guadalajara has 14 McDonald's outlets.




Guadalajara has a vibrant nightlife that's spread out all over the city, from the touristy places in the Centro Histórico (Plaza de la Liberación is a good place to start your search) to the college bars in Zapopan. However, perhaps the most active bar district in Guadalajara is centered along Avenida Chapultepec between Hidalgo and Niños Héroes, about 2km west of the Centro Histórico. This is the place where GDL's hipster crowd makes the scene, with bar after bar lining the sides of the streets. Many of these places double as popular live music venues.

A good suggestion is to search out a bar with a large collection of tequilas and taste a great blanca, reposada and añejo. Real tequila is nothing like the junk you've had elsewhere. If you ask for a traditional tequila from Los Altos, you will almost certainly get something good. Los Altos is the region northeast of Guadalajara where the best tequila in the world is made, bringing up images of tradition, patriotism and individualism.




There are many inexpensive hotels available in the city center, especially around the old bus station (Central Camionera Vieja). If you plan to spend much time downtown, don't get a hotel farther away - it's much more convenient to be within walking distance of your daytime activities than to navigate the bus system back to a less central location (e.g. the Minerva area), and walking long distances through the streets of Guadalajara late at night is not a terribly good idea.


You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)




  • University of Guadalajara,often referred to simply as "U de G", is the most important institution of higher learning in western Mexico, and the second most important in the country after Mexico City's mammoth UNAM. The University also serves as a center of cultural activity enjoyed by residents and visitors alike, such as the Ballet Folclórico and the Cineforo Universidad.

Guadalajara offers many language schools for the fast growing need for learning Spanish:



Keep Connected


Internet cafe's are widely available and you generally can find one in the direct vicinity. Sometimes photocopy stores or photo processing stores will double as an internet cafe with a couple of computers. Look for signs reading "Acceso a Internet" or "Cibernautica" or "Cibercafe". Charges range from approx. US$1 an hour to US$3 an hour, depending on the location.


See also International Telephone Calls

Phone cards can be purchased anywhere and are needed for the majority of public phones. To call any number outside your region you have to dial 01 then followed by the area code. If calling a cellphone from a normal phone start with with 044 if the cell phone is registered in the same state where you are calling from or 045 if the cell phone in registered in another state. If calling cellphone to cellphone just dial the 10-digit number. To make an international call dial 00 followed by the country code then the local number. To call to Mexico, also dial 00 (most of the times) followed by the national code 52. For a landline you would have to dial 0052 + (area code) + (8 digit local landline number) for a cell phone you would have to call 0052 (1) followed by the 10 digit cell phone number.


The Mexican postal service is operated by Correos de México. The post service in Mexico is pretty good although not very cheap. It is reliable regarding the sending of postcards, but it takes at least a week to send it to other countries (US/Canada), more so if you send it to Europe or Australia. For packages it is better to use international services like FedEx or UPS. If you are sending a package internationally with the Mexican postal service, take the package OPEN to the post office, they may want to inspect it. Seal it up at the post office. Post offices typically open from 8:00am to 6:00pm Monday to Friday, and 9:00am to 1:00pm Saturday. You will find post offices (Oficina de Correos) is almost any town or city in Mexico. To buy stamps it is best to go to the post office, although you can also get them at stamp machines, located outside the post offices, at bus stations, airports and some commercial establishments.


Quick Facts


  • Latitude: 20.6766306
  • Longitude: -103.3461596

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This is version 45. Last edited at 9:27 on May 23, 20 by Utrecht. 51 articles link to this page.

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