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Guadalajara

Guadalajara, “The Pearl of the West,” Capital of Jalisco and Mexico’s 2nd largest city and is one of the largest urban centers in North America. The city has deep colonial roots which are evident everywhere around the city. The city center is laid out like a cross, which consists of the Guadalajara cathedral and 4 surrounding plazas.

Guadalajara ranks among Mexico’s three most important cities and is home to some of the nation’s most important cultural symbols (mariachi, tequila, the hat dance and Mexican rodeos). Among its main draws is the magnificent architecture of its historic and religious buildings, in particular that of the Hospicio Cabañas, which houses murals of artist Jose Clemente Orozco and was declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. The city is also known for its beautiful parks and surrounding natural areas, such as el Bosque la Primavera (the Primavera Forest), often referred to as the city’s lungs.

In the downtown historic center you can visit the cathedral, known for its emblematic towers. Behind the cathedral lies the Teatro Degollado (Degollado Theater), a monumental 19th-century building and one of the city’s main cultural arts venues. Near Guadalajara is Zapopan, the most important religious center in Mexico’s western region. Or you can visit nearby Tonala, the pottery capital of Jalisco and the only city in the nation where more than 10 traditional techniques are used to make various crafts. Also relatively close is the magical Lake Chapala, and the picturesque town of Tequila, where Mexico’s most famous drink is produced. And in Guadalajara you’ll always find a vibrant nightlife in the various bars and restaurants, where you can also enjoy a delicious torta ahogada (a roll filled with pork and bathed in hot sauce), pozole and the traditional sounds of mariachi music.

Tlaquepaque is a highly fashionable suburb less than 10 kilometers from Guadalajara, with a hip, up market colonial center with a character and style of its own.  The street of the main shopping area is closed to traffic so that people can stroll and shop at a leisurely pace. The colonial-style streets are lined with shops and restaurants.

The shops specialize in arts and crafts from all over Mexico with particular emphasis on up-market ceramics, bronze sculpture, blown glass and embroidered cloth. You'll find skillful painters that use spatula who sells their work of art in the streets.

Located roughly 60 kilometers northwest Guadalajara is the city of Santiago de Tequila, generally called just Tequila.  Virtually everyone the world over knows tequila, Mexico's famed firewater. Few, however, know of the town the beverage made famous.  Tequila has always attracted day-trippers, but lacking non-alcoholic attractions, little tourism infrastructure developed. Until recently the town only offered distillery tours and several tequila-themed museums. But the Mexican tourism secretariat bestowed a Pueblo Magico (Magic Town) designation on Tequila in 2002 signifying the unique nature of the little city with the famous name.


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