Right now, Mexico is one of the most popular destinations for tourists from all over the world. Most of them go to the seaside resorts such as Cancun or Acapulco, or to historic sites like Mexico City and Chichen Itza. The popularity of these places has naturally resulted in vast crowds swarming these sites; crowds can ruin a holiday and can make a place more touristy than authentic. There is, however, one tourist destination in Mexico City that has nonetheless remained untouched and authentic despite the popularity, and that is the city of Guadalajara.
Fondly referred to as “The Pearl of the West,” Guadalajara is considered to be the most Mexican of all the cities of Mexico. This is a city where Mexican traditions and culture are most strongly preserved and are actively kept alive. Stepping into the landscape of Guadalajara is said to be like stepping back into times past. Though it is the second largest city in the country of Mexico, with all the trappings and troubles a highly urbanized city contains, the air in Guadalajara remains peaceful and serene.
What can you possibly do and see on a visit to Guadalajara?
1. Wander about the city’s historic center. A walking tour of the historic center of Guadalajara is a must for any visitor to the city. Here, the visitor will find majestic examples of Spanish colonial architecture that are not to be found elsewhere in Mexico. Premier sites to see in the historic center are the Cathedral of Guadalajara, the Rotonda de los Hombres Ilustres and the Degollado Theater.
2. Visit the zoo and the adjoining amusement park. A visit to the zoo and the amusement park of Guadalajara is a good way to keep the kids happy if one is traveling with family. Though not as big as the one found in Mexico City, the zoo and amusement park can still provide a grand time for the children, with its numerous rides and the beautiful marine park.
3. Stroll about the parks and gardens. The parks and gardens of Guadalajara are great to spend some leisurely and relaxing time, especially in the afternoon. Guadalajara is very much known for its gardens, earning the moniker “City of Roses.” The most popular of these parks and gardens are the forest-like Los Colomos Park and the tranquil Japanese Gardens.
4. Watch a Mexican bullfight. The Mexicans in Guadalajara can be as passionate about the bullfight as the Spaniards. During the bullfight season, lasting from October to March of the following year, there is always one held every Sunday at the Plaza de Toros Nuevo Progreso.
5. Enjoy a Mariachi performance. The best place to listen to mariachi perform their own brand of music is nowhere else but Guadalajara. After all, this is the city where the first mariachi came from.
6. Go shopping at Tlaquepaque. Shopaholics will find Guadalajara more than satisfying. However, for the best shopping experience in the city, the places that a shopaholic must go are none other than Tlaquepaque and Mercado Libertad. Tlaquepaque is known mostly for the furniture and crafts sold here, while the Mercado Libertad holds the distinction of being the largest market in Latin America.
7. Eat authentic Mexican food. Because traditional ways are preserved in Guadalajara, one can expect the food here to be authentic examples of Mexican cuisine, not just the stuff served to the expectations of tourists. Getting a taste of Guadalajara’s tamales is an absolute must.