Pamela MacNaughtan

I spent four days in Guadalajara. I stayed in two beautiful boutiques hotels, La Villa del Ensueño & Casa Pedro Loza, and I did a little exploring. Yet, I still have so-so feelings about the city. And I kind of feel guilty about that because I always strive to find the good in every place I go (not saying it was horrible or bad, it wasn’t).

Guadalajara is… Big. It’s the second largest city in Mexico, and in a way I think I allowed it to overwhelm me a little bit, to the extent that I felt like I was wandering around like a lost puppy. Granted that is probably my fault. I didn’t have a solid plan. I thought I could go to Guadalajara and do what I always do. Wander down streets, check out churches and markets, visit a couple cafés, look for good places to eat tacos.

That didn’t really work in Guadalajara.

My first two nights in the city were spent in the Tlaquepaque area. I stayed with La Villa del Ensueño where I had a lovely room just off the pool, with air conditioning and way too many cable channels. I rested. I relaxed. I wandered around Calle Indepencia, a pedestrian road filled with gourmet restaurants, boutique furniture stores, cafés, and impromptu folk dancing performances. On Sunday I took a taxi to the graffiti covered streets of Tonalá to visit the massive street market, snap photos, and make a mental shopping list for the fall when I’m back in Bucerias and in need of things like glassware and dishes. The market was great, but the aisles were small. It was Semana Santa (Easter) and the crowds were getting crazy, which meant I only wandered for two hours instead of three or four.

Graffiti in Tonalá

Graffiti in Tonalá

My last two nights were spent in downtown Guadalajara. Casa Pedro Loza is located in a historical area of the city and I was excited to check it out. I love historical neighbourhoods. I had visions of old colonial buildings, Cathedral of the Assumption of Our Lady (Guadalajara’s Cathedral), and street food.

Staying in Casa Pedro Loza for two nights was amazing, but when it came to finding things to do I was a little lost. The neighbourhood I had planned to explore was nothing up old forgotten colonial buildings covered in graffiti. I opted to walk towards Cathedral of the Assumption of Our Lady instead and explore some of the older churches and squares. I lounged in a park when the heat was too much, and I am almost ashamed to admit that I sought out a Starbucks for the sole purpose of eating chocolate cake and using their free wifi, then going back to me hotel to soak up the atmosphere of my amazing room and do some work. At night when I was hungry, I decided to use Trip Advisor to find a restaurant.

Guadalajara isn’t a bad city, I was just a bad traveller. I should have had a better plan. Fortunately, Guadalajara is only a six-hour bus ride from Bucerias, and I can return to the city this winter. Tlaquepaque is a fabulous area and one that everyone should explore. Tonalá is huge when it comes to markets, and Zapopan (which I saw from the window of a bus because I totally missed my stop in Tlaquepaque) looks absolutely charming. I would recommend all of these areas to anyone visiting Guadalajara. Downtown… I still need to crack that nut and see what is inside.



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