The good thing about staying for a month or more in one place is that you have time to look further afield for things to do. Here are a few good little day/weekend trips from Guadalajara, all quite do-able on public transport.
Yes this is a real place.
Tequila is about an hour or so from Guadalajara, depending how you get there. Some of the tours are a little expensive, mainly because they include unlimited Tequila tastings. Good value if you like drinking a lot of strong liquor in the middle of the day, but really quite expensive otherwise. You can get a bus from the New Bus station but it is quite a palaver getting to the station, so in the end I decided to take a ‘tour’.
I paid around £13/18US$ for my tour, which I bought from the booth near the Cathedral. It did save the bother of getting to the New Bus station (some distance from town) and then finding a distillery tour once I got there.
I didn’t find the distillery that interesting, but possibly that was just me. There were four different Tequilas to sample and then (of course) there was a shop.
We had some free time in Tequila, although to be honest there wasn’t so much to see. The town was pleasant enough with a few restaurants (a bit overpriced by Mexican standards) and shops selling tequila-based souvenirs (which you could buy just as easily in Guadalajara or other towns).
Really this is more like a suburb of Guadalajara (it’s near where the new bus station is). There are plans to open a third Metro line (at the moment there are just the two, and they rarely go anywhere you would want to go). The third metro line will connect Tlaquepaque to the city, along with neighbouring Tonala (where there is a Sunday market).
Certainly that line will make the journey a lot easier; meanwhile it is a bit of a chore to get here on public transport, although a taxi costs less than £5. It is well worth the effort though. It is a very pretty place, nice to just stroll around the antique shops, look at the sculptures, visit the market or just get a drink or some lunch.
Get the tramline right to the end and you get to this park overlooking the Sierra Madre. Great spot for a bit of walking or just a sit in the sun.
A pre-hispanic settlement, now it is a popular spot for ex-pat living, due to the mild climate.
You can get here on a bus from the old bus station (much easier to get to the old bus station that the new one). It makes for a great day out; there’s not much to see or do there especially but it is a nice place to just be.
Lake Chapala is the biggest lake in Mexico, although it is quite polluted now and you can’t (or wouldn’t want to) swim in it.
The Coast – Costa Alegre
Not really do-able as a day trip but good for a weekend or a few days. Puerto Vallarta is the most well known beach town. It’s ok (I’ve been before, but not on this trip), but it’s a resort and, as such, a bit expensive.
I wasn’t really in the mood for the crowds of a large resort and so I chose this time to go to a small place called Barra de Navidad. It took almost six hours to get there on the bus (if you have a car you can drive there in 4 hours). The buses go from the ‘new’ bus station.
Barra de Navidad
There wasn’t much to do there, just a few beaches and a street of hotels and restaurants. There are a few little urbanisations in the town, rapidly filling with expats (mainly North Americans). However it’s a nice enough place to kick back and relax, and the prices are considerably lower than Puerto Vallarta.
At weekends it gets a bit more lively with the addition of a few market stalls. There is live music in many of the bars. Hotel Alondra has a rooftop bar where you can watch the sunset.
For the daytime there is the beach. I found a morning yoga class to go to. There is a small market in the central square.
You can take boat trips to nearby locations, although this is relatively expensive unless you have a big group of people to fill the boat.
Really, though, it’s more a place to chill for a few days whilst you plan your next move…