The state of Jalisco has many amazing things to see! 5 days will just give you a taste (of Tequila?)
Day 1 - Walking tour of Guadalajara and eat lots of food!
Every region of Mexico has foods that are special to them and not necessarily mainstream in all of Mexico. Tortas Ahogadas (think of sandwiches bathed in sauces) are common in Guadalajara and can be found in many places in the mercado central.
The free walking tour meets in the main plaza in the city center. You'll pass by a few places with Tortas Ahogadas -- just pick the one with the most people at it :).
You'll also see street merchants selling Tejuino. In all my times visiting and living in Mexico, I had never had this drink. It was very unique. It's made from fermented corn and is served cold. Even if you aren't sure you'll love it, you could buy one and share it with friends!
Me personally, I love a good market. So after the walking tour, my friends and I went back to the mercado central and walked around for hours. It's easy to get lost inside! There is a whole area for food, and it's worth it to just eat a taco or two from every vendor! Get some aguas frescas along the way.
If you have time, the Teatro Degollado is a pretty awesome place. Hopefully they have a show to see while you're there!
Day 2 - Side trip to Tonala for the day
There's not a lot to say here, other than that you can spend hours upon hours at Tonala. There are over 500 vendors there on Sundays. You can see art, buy ceramics, clothing, kitchen essentials, and FOOD. Just like the mercado central in Guadalajara's city center, you can eat a little at each stall here. I loved getting fresh fruit to eat with chile, limon, y sal as I walked through the stalls. It was more of an experience than a shopping destination for me, though I did buy a great purse woven out of plastic. It's a great "teacher bag" that fits all my stuff!
In the evening we headed to Tlaquepaque, another area right outside of Tonala. It was a friend's birthday, and we wanted to of course hear some Mariachi music! We went to el Abajeño in Tlaquepaque. It did not disappoint.
Day 3 - Day trip to some hot springs
Before your drive, stop at the local Soriana grocery store for some pan y carne and other snacks for the car. Of course along the way you'll see some stalls on the side of the road where you can buy more snacks and support local residents. There's always the occasional Oxxo to stop and get apple soda and takis fuego.
Stop in the town of San Juan Cosala -- we were lucky to call on the same day and get a spot at some hot springs, but it's important to call ahead and make a reservation. We went right around new years and almost every place was booked. We went to Termales Cosala and had a lovely mud bath followed up with stopping in different pools of different temperatures. The town itself was pretty dead at night, but the hot springs had a little restaurant there.
If you have time, spend it at Lago Chapala -- where lots of Americans retire -- where you can spend your day relaxing in the sun and enjoying the lake views.
Day 4 - Make your way to Tequila - yes, it's a town!
Eat breakfast at your hotel or at a local restaurant. Try some Chilaquiles - they're really tasty :).
Stop along the way at the ruins of Guachimontones.
Learn about the people who used to live there and get a little workout walking up the hill to the ruins.
Still want to walk? Check out La Cascada Azul. We had a pretty low little Peugeot car and I'm suprised we made it down the road to the trailhead. Make sure you figure out where you're going before you get there. There's not actually a trailhead. We were lucky enough to find a local school group going to the waterfalls too -- but soon we lost them and were on our own. Make sure you have solid footwear. We only made it to the first waterfall, but rumor has it there are 3. Maybe if we were more prepared with maps and better information we would have gone further! This was amazing.
Day 5: Tequila!
Check out Tequila's downtown area for, well, tequila. But really you can get everything you need there. We were headed to this area for new years, so we bought some snacks, mixers, and fireworks! There is a small mercado central and we ate so much food for very little money. I still dream of the puerco con arroz that I had that day.
Spend the night in the Matices Hotel de Barricas and stay in a converted Tequila barrel. Ok, it's not a real barrel, but it sure looks like one! Here you can take a tour to learn about how tequila is made -- and you can taste it! What an interesting process, really. They have a restaurant on site as well. Everything we ate was really good!
Hope you enjoyed your trip to Guadalajara and surrounding areas :).
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