Visitors often overlook Mexico’s second city but it is both cosmopolitan and – as capital of the state where tequila and mariachi originate – quintessentially Mexican
Far from Mexico’s well-trodden tourist trail, the colonial city of Guadalajara is one of this vast nation’s most overlooked destinations. In the western state of Jalisco, Guadalajara is Mexico’s second-largest metropolis, and the birthplace of two of its most emblematic exports: tequila and mariachi music. It is sunnier and less overwhelming than Mexico City, while offering better value for money and a more “Mexican” experience than gringo-orientated resorts of the Yucután peninsula.
Proud Tapatíos, as Guadalajara’s 4.5 million residents are known, take hospitality seriously and love to showcase the very best of their culture. The city’s historic centre houses its most obvious attractions, such as the twin-towered cathedral and the labyrinthine Mercado San Juan de Dios, Latin America’s largest indoor market. The stately Hospicio Cabañas, a former orphanage with fiery murals by José Clemente Orozco, is Unesco-listed and worth a visit, along with the Zapopan district’s imposing stone archway and majestic 17th-century basilica.