Located in the heart of Mexico, Guadalajara is full of little gems. Good food and hospitality were plentiful. The purple Jacarandas were blooming, the weather was summery, and the Mariachi music was on point. Grab your sandals and let’s go!
We strolled around the neighborhood of Tlaquepaque, stopping at El Abajeno for a late Saturday lunch. What I thought was going to be a tourist trap (hello, tequila samples) turned into a courtyard buzzing with locals. And people were dressed up, snazzy-like. Laid back SF Bay Area style wasn’t cutting the mustard here. Take Uber everywhere instead of taxis. The service is ubiquitous and safe – jumping into a cab (cabs waiting in cab lines, like at hotels, are ok) may result in a robbing – or so we were told by locals. In spite of Mexico’s sadly increasing drug cartel conflict, Guadalajara is pretty safe. Use common sense like you would in any large city.
More to explore:
Tequila, home of yes, Tequila. On our first night we crashed a local house gathering, and our gracious host was generous with the stuff (he’s dangerous). However, this is a far cry from any bad supermarket liquor you may or may not have met – or forgotten – in the past. This is cold, silver, smooth, delicious. The town of Tequila is about an hour outside of Guadalajara. We heard it makes a great day trip, especially when stopping to take in the blue agave fields, a UNESCO world heritage site. I wish we had been able to make it.
Explore Chapultepec – think bars and restaurants. The side streets are crowded with power lines, trees, fences, consulates, and architecturally nice houses. Eat at the restaurant with blue umbrellas at the corner of Calle Simon Bolivar and Calle Miguel Lerdo de Tejada. I forget the name (La Planga? La Playa?). We had delicious ahi ceviche – the best thing I ate all weekend. I could literally eat this every single day. Or, for something fancier, try Hueso. If you are into architecture, you’ll like this black-lined, white-tiled Art Deco treasure.
Stay – Casa Fayette. This place looks top, if design is up your ally. We actually stayed at the Grand Fiesta Americana Country Club. That’s the name, no joke. Everything Americans love. Grand. Fiesta. Americana. And Country Club. All put into one. It wasn’t a design hotel, but the beds were supreme, the amazing brunch buffet lasted till 12 pm every day (think Mexican dinner meets Swedish breakfast, meets fruit explosion, meets crepe, meets eggsplosion!), and the service was sweet.
Find your inner hipster (it’s hiding in your beard) and check out this recent NY Times article on Guadalajara for more tips.