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Guadalajara: Sampling Mexico’s Second Largest City

posztos / Shutterstock
posztos / Shutterstock
Written by Suzy Guese
Where tequila and mariachi meet, you’ll find Guadalajara.

The capital of the state of Jalisco and the second largest city in Mexico can leave some visitors a bit overwhelmed. Its daunting size can make it hard to know where to begin, but if you’re headed to Guadalajara, there are a number of formal, and informal tours that make getting to know this Mexican metropolis actually quite easy. From tequila trains, to food tours—here are a few enticing samples of Guadalajara.

Hop Aboard the Tequila Express

Jesus Cervantes / Shutterstock

Jesus Cervantes / Shutterstock

Guadalajara sits right in the heart of where tequila was born. All of the tequila in the world, roughly 60 million gallons a year, is produced in this region. No other bottle can call itself tequila unless it is made here.

Guadalajara offers a number of distillery tours from both big and small companies. However, for a more laid-back experience, you can hop aboard the Tequila Express. This traditional passenger train transports you from the streets of Guadalajara to the town of Anatitán. The tour includes a visit to the world-renowned distillery, Casa Herradura Distillery, where in addition to testing out the locally distilled beverage, guests also get to enjoy food, mariachi music, and the scenic countryside along the way. Ever seen a blue agave (agave tequilana) plant?

Comb Through the Guachimontones Ruins

Joe Ferrer / Shutterstock

Joe Ferrer / Shutterstock

Despite being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Guachimontones Ruins outside of Guadalajara, are relatively undiscovered.

Located near the village of Teuchitlán, the site wasn’t discovered until 1970. Known for its sophisticated concentric architecture, archaeologists know very little else about this ancient settlement, other than it does show evidence of a pre-Hispanic state in the region. In addition to a visitor center and museum, travelers looking to tour the site can hire a guide for a more formal tour, or just roam the grounds independently.

Bring Your Appetite to Guadalajara’s Food Markets

stacyarturogi / Shutterstock

stacyarturogi / Shutterstock

While Guadalajara might be more famously known for its signature liquid beverage, the city is also worth touring for its food scene. For a more casual approach than stuffy restaurants, travelers can begin at the city’s food markets.

Mercado San Juan de Dios takes on the role of Guadalajara’s daily market, and with its large food court, you’re sure to find something to fill your stomach.

In addition, Guadalajara has a farmer’s market in the plaza outside the Templo Expiatorio church on Fridays and Saturdays.
 Some favorite local dishes to sample while feasting in these markets include torta ahogada, a drowned sandwich filled with fried pork and drenched in a spicy tomato and chili sauce, and birria, a slow cooked cut of lamb or goat. Guadalajara also makes it easy to sample its street food scene at night, when more and more options for tacos and empanadas come out of the woodwork!

Have you ever visited Guadalajara? What was your favorite sight, or perhaps you recall a favorite food? Let us know your memories of Guadalajara in the comments section below.

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About the author

Suzy Guese

Suzy Guese is a travel writer from Denver, Colorado. She caught the travel bug after taking her very first flight at just three months old—she was headed for Disney World—and has been a total travel junkie ever since. From family car trips across North America to stints abroad in Europe, Suzy travels the globe with her redheaded temperament in search of sarcasm, stories, and travel tips to share with anyone willing to listen. She blogs about her travels at http://suzyguese.com.

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