Do these photos make you happy?
If they do, it’s time for a weekend trip to Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. We went in December and there is one word to describe the weekend. Fan. Tas. Tic. Maybe that’s three words, but in any case, it was amazing and I’m so glad we took the plunge and visited an area of Mexico we literally knew nothing about.
This is definitely a couple’s trip. I usually talk about family vacations, but for Guadalajara, it’s all about a little adult time. Guadalajara, the largest city in the state of Jalisco, is a surprisingly large city, known for its tequila and Mariachi music. Not to mention its huge foodie scene.
We arrived in the evening and immediately set out for some amazing food. Look no further than the restaurant in the Hotel Alborata. Authentic Mexican food, prepared by a well-known Mexican chef, awaits. Our meal was awesome. Absolutely gorgeous presentation, service and flavors, making it a perfect first meal for our first night in Guadalajara. The restaurant is in the Alborata Hotel Boutique, a fabulous boutique hotel that we absolutely loved. Only 17 rooms, the hotel is located in an area of town convenient to shops, restaurants, and bars. It has a small pool in a quiet courtyard, and a beautiful, unique design. Modern, yet classic, with cute little touches. (the photographer in me loved the vintage cameras on a shelf on the second floor lobby). Alborata truly is a boutique hotel – every room is decorated slightly differently, the artwork and design is superb and the staff is incredibly friendly and courteous. Rooms start at approximately $90 and go up to $300 for a suite, which is an incredible value.
Our second day dawned with us wanting to see the city and learn all about it. I have always said that there is no point in going to a new city and not taking some time to learn about it with a knowledgeable tour guide. Some cities don’t necessitate a tour guide, but Guadalajara has a fascinating history and we wanted to learn all about it. We hit the jackpot with Lilaiana of Dragonfly. Lady knows her stuff! We visited the Palacio de Gobierno, Plaza de Armas, Catedral Metropolitana, Plaza Tapatía, Instituto Cultural Cabañas, Mercado San Juan de Dios and we weren’t done yet!
After a delisoso lunch at Casa Luna (which was served with a drink that was so delectable I’m not sure how to describe it), we visited Tlaquepaque, an area of the city that is known for its historic center, beautiful architecture and art scene. Incidentally, we’ve decided to name our next dog Tlaquepaque – the kids think it’s great.
The main street of Tlaquepaque is dotted with art galleries, pretty small shops, quaint restaurants and all around amazing people watching. And the main drag is cobblestone streets, a personal favorite of mine. Our favorite art gallery? Sergio Bustamante. Love his art. So pretty and so unique. The gallery was an experience unto itself – filled with unique pieces and an amazing backyard that you can get lost in. We spent hours wandering around the various art galleries and shops, chatting with people and just getting lost. Loved every minute of this day and every person we met.
Our last day was the carefully planned day of visiting Tequila, Jalisco. Yes, the town of Tequila actually exists. And the best part? The Jose Cuervo Express, Mexico’s version of the Napa Valley Wine Train. Trains depart Guadalajara at 9am and travel through the beautiful area between Guadalajara and Tequila and include plenty of tequila and a light lunch. There are plenty of itineraries to choose from that include tours, but we wanted to stay in Tequila and explore on our own. Based on our experience with Hotel Solar de las Animas, I only wish we had stayed another day!
When we arrived in Tequila, we started with a great tour of the Jose Cuervo agave fields, followed by a tour of the distillery. I’m not a huge tequila person but we learned a ton and the tequila tasting they gave us was great. It really is a process, much like wine making and they take their tequila seriously!
After our tour it was lunch at Hotel Solar de las Animas. Solar is a new boutique hotel, and a Relais & Chateaux property. It was gorgeous. Typical Mexican architecture meets modern amenities, with a pool to die for. The restaurant was mouth-watering, the spa perfect and quiet and the roof has a bar and plunge pool reserved for adults only. Perfect for a vacationing couple. I titled this post a weekend trip to Guadalajara, but truly, a couple could vacation in this hotel for a week and be perfectly happy. Our trip to Tequila was topped off with a tour of the Sauza tequila distillery, an interestingly different experience from Jose Cuervo. Sauza has automated almost all of their tequila making. We saw very few people working. The highlight of the tour was margaritas at Quinta Sauza, the on site restaurant and a stroll through the Botanic Gardens, a gorgeous place.
Our time in Tequila eventually came to an end, but we still had one more day in Guadalajara. For our last day, we chose to spend our time learning about the Charros de Jalisco. Charros are traditional horsemen of Mexico and celebrities in this part of the world. Charreada is an official sport in Mexico and a huge influence on the culture. We were fortunate to get a private tour and show on a day they do not usually perform. The warmth displayed by the Charros was fantastic and the talent was unbelievable. Charros train many hours per day to perfect their craft. The show was accompanied by tequila being served…at 10am.
Since it was our last day in the city, and the food is so good, we decided to have one last amazing meal at Hueso Restaurant, a restaurant housed in a former private villa. Hueso means “bone” in Spanish and the entire space is painted white and filled with amazing art installations. The food was delectable and the atmosphere has a really hip vibe (which probably meant that we shouldn’t be there :)). Nevertheless, we settled in for what was a fantastic meal.
Guadalajara was a perfect long weekend experience. While I do think that Mexico is perfect for family travel, and is very family friendly, I think that Guadalajara is perfectly suited for a couples trip or a girls trip. The city, the restaurants, the activities all veer towards adults and adult experiences. All in all, a perfect weekend trip to Guadalajara.
- Hotel Krystal Urban
- Hotel Alborata Boutique
- Hotel Solar de las Animas
- Hotel Alborata Boutique
- Casa Luna
- La Antigua Casona in Tequila
- Quinta Sauza
- Ofelia Bistro
Things to do:
- Call DrangonFly Services
- Campo Charros de San Agustín
- Distillery La Rojeña at Jose Cuervo
- Palacio de Gobierno
- Plaza de Armas • Rotonda
- Catedral Metropolitana
- Plaza Tapatía
- Instituto Cultural Cabañas
- Mercado San Juan de Dios
- Secretaria de Cultura
Interested in Guadalajara for a couples trip or girls weekend? Contact me here and I can help.