Mike and I love traveling to Mexico. It's such a beautiful and diverse country. When people in the United States think of Mexico they often think of long, beautiful beaches and huge margaritas. Those are great things, to be sure, but this year Mike and I wanted to see a new side of the country. We traveled to the historic, and enormous, city of Guadalajara.
Guadalajara is in the state of Jalisco in the western pacific region of Mexico. It's the home of mariachi, tequila, and beautiful handicrafts. But what stopped me in my tracks was Guadalajara's historic buildings. They are stunning.
Many of the historic buildings either did or do house government agencies. Mexican muralists have left their incredible mark on these buildings, including this stunning piece in the Palacio de Gobierno by Jose Clemente Orozco. The mural depicts Hidalgo freeing Mexico from slavery.
Even our hotel had an amazing history, including being abandoned for 30 years in the late 1900's and having sealed tunnels underneath it that run to the main cathedral.
Two artisan towns exist within three miles of Guadalajara proper: Tonala and Tlaquepaque. Tlaquepaque is known for it's established (and exceptionally talented) traditional Mexican artists, while Tonala is more of a free for all market. They are both stunning in their own way - a walk through Tonala on market day is an experience like no other.
The town of Tequila is 45 minutes from Guadalajara. All tequila, the beverage, comes from Tequila, the place. There are strict rules and regulations around the production and manufacture of tequila. Though we didn't make it to the town, we were lucky enough to stop in El Buho tequila shop in Tlaquepaque. The owner is likely to be one of the most knowledgeable people in the world on tequila. He knocked my socks off.
Many people worry about traveling to Mexico these days, and I don't blame them. Though Mike and I have gone many times, we take care to stay more alert and aware than normal when in-country. Guadalajara, while popular with tourists, is a Mexican city. It's rare to find a person who speaks English, and we didn't venture out too much past dark. We still find Mexico as intoxicating as our first visit. The people, the culture, the bright colors, and now - from Guadalajara - the deep sense of history, draw us back time and time again. See more images of our trip to Guadalajara, as well as images from our trips to Sayulita and Isla Mujeres, at housebella.com.