5 Things You Must Know Before Visiting Guadalajara
By: Pinki Wed, 25 Mar 2020 09:53 AM
Not as many visitors are as familiar with Guadalajara as they are with other destinations in Mexico, but this city has all the perks of an urban metropolis while still preserving traditional local charm. From knowing which neighborhood to visit or what spices to avoid, find out crucial tips about the so-called Tapatía Pearl.
* Eat a ‘torta ahogada’, but be careful with the hot sauce
A taco might be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Mexico, but if you’re going to Guadalajara, you can’t miss the chance to try a torta ahogada. This local delicacy is a pork sandwich ‘drowned’ in chili pepper sauce. The bread is the star of the dish, since it can’t be found in any other part of Mexico and has a signature salty flavor and crunchy exterior. However, we have to warn you: it’s spicy! Even if locals tell you that the sauce is mild, you may want to ask for the salsa on the side, or you could end up with tears in your eyes.
* Listen to some good mariachi
Guadalajara is the birthplace of mariachi, which is one of the most representative music genres of the country. This musical group consist of 3-12 people dressed in traditional charro outfits and wearing giant sombreros, which means that listening to a live mariachi band is as Mexican as it gets. You can find them at some local restaurants like Santo Coyote or even hire them by the hour in Plaza de los Mariachis and take them with you to a special event.
* Public transportation: know before you go
Unlike Mexico City, moving around Guadalajara without a car can be challenging. Although the city has several bus providers and even two underground lines, information about the routes, times and destinations can be difficult to track down. Some buses have signs on the windshield that indicate their main stops, but most locals rely on general knowledge and word of mouth to navigate in the city. Additionally, Google Maps is not connected to the public transportation system, so the best way to find out how to get to a place is by asking tapatíos (Guadalajara’s residents) or visiting Rutas Guadalajara, a website that has information about some of the main bus routes in the city.
* Avoid staying in the city center
Although Guadalajara’s downtown has a lot of historical charm, it’s not the best place to find accommodation. Most of the buildings are old, and so is their maintenance. Additionally, the area is far away from other popular sites of the city. It’s better and especially safe to find a place to stay in a residential area and take a day trip to the city center to explore its landmarks.
* Visit the towns nearby
If you are already traveling to Guadalajara, then you should have a look at some of the surrounding towns. Tlaquepaque and Tonalá are great options if you like smaller cities with traditional flair. Here, you can find plenty of indigenous artisans and taste some local specialties like cazuelas (tequila cocktail with orange and grapefruit).