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Monday, 03 May 2010

Guadalajara: Que Rico! - Page 3

Written by April Nelson
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Why Guadalajara?

It’s cheap!

Guadalajara is a diamond in the rough. This second largest city in Mexico boasts warm weather year round, an abundance of historic architecture, and plenty of attractions, yet is not flooded with tourists. Touted as the most “Mexican” of Mexican cities for its rich culture and abundant mariachis, the nearly 500-year-old downtown has an almost European feel with narrow streets, cathedrals, and large plazas. In addition, numerous nearby side trips from Guadalajara add even more vacationing value to this hidden gem.

 

Side Trips

Tequila, Jalisco is the birthplace of the powerful spirit, and one of the only few places in Mexico that can produce it under the “tequila” name. A roundtrip bus ticket to Tequila from the Old Guadalajara Bus Station (Antigua Central) will cost you 90 pesos ($7.20). The movies on the bus and comfortable reclining seats make the 1:45 hour ride pass quickly.

Guadalajara – Que Rico!, Vivaaerobus, Guadalajara inexpensive, budget travel Guadalajara, San Francisco Plaza Hotel, Plaza de los Laureles, Parque Agua Azul, Teatro Degollado, Instituto Cultural de Cabañas, Tequila, Jalisco, La Alborada Distillery, Lake Chapala, Tlaquepaque, Tonalá, April NelsonOnce in Tequila, if you want to really save, avoid the commercial Jose Cuervo tour or the barrel/bottle bus tours. Walk to the plaza and find the UNESCO map display. Take the self-guided walking tour through town passing tequila factories and reading signs along the route which provide Tequila facts and history in English and Spanish. Next, head to La Alborada Distillery for the free guided tour and tasting. There, see the elaborate process of turning blue agave plants into tequila and sample the sweet, cooked agave and several varieties of tequila. Then splurge and take home a bottle of their 400 peso ($32), award-winning tequila, El Gran Jubileo Extra-Añejo.

Another side trip worth taking is to Lake Chapala, the largest freshwater lake in Mexico. The 50-minute bus ride costs about $3 each way. Spend a playful afternoon walking on the tree-lined boardwalk or out on the pier. Peruse the booths selling wares and food and drinks. Play on the beach, fly a kite, swim, kayak, or just sit on a bench and watch the youthful happiness here. Don’t forget to enjoy a large seafood meal at a restaurant on the water. Spend just $20 for two.

Guadalajara – Que Rico!, Vivaaerobus, Guadalajara inexpensive, budget travel Guadalajara, San Francisco Plaza Hotel, Plaza de los Laureles, Parque Agua Azul, Teatro Degollado, Instituto Cultural de Cabañas, Tequila, Jalisco, La Alborada Distillery, Lake Chapala, Tlaquepaque, Tonalá, April Nelson

 

Souvenirs

Before you fly home, take another 6 peso bus ride to the outskirts of Guadalajara to Tonalá or the more upscale Tlaquepaque. These artsy towns are known for their ceramics, glassware, furniture and artwork. Tlaquepaque is more expensive than Tonalá and caters more to tourists, but it is worth a walk through the plaza and down the charming pedestrian streets. Stop in the free ceramics museum to see the variety of Guadalajara – Que Rico!, Vivaaerobus, Guadalajara inexpensive, budget travel Guadalajara, San Francisco Plaza Hotel, Plaza de los Laureles, Parque Agua Azul, Teatro Degollado, Instituto Cultural de Cabañas, Tequila, Jalisco, La Alborada Distillery, Lake Chapala, Tlaquepaque, Tonalá, April Nelsonwork from the region. In Tonalá, visit the workshops where the artisans make their crafts, and buy your souvenirs straight from the source at rock-bottom prices. These pieces are resold around the world in ritzy shops for much more.

 

Guadalajara – Que Rico!

The next time you’re craving an international trip, but don’t have the cash for a pricey flight, consider Guadalajara. Enjoy this hidden gem now before tourists rush and prices rise. Its rich history, culture, and cuisine will satisfy without breaking the bank.

 

©April Nelson

(Page 3 of 3)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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