Our Guadalajara travel essentials include the best time to travel, the basics of the region that are good to know, how to find your hotel, how to navigate the city, and other important information. We'll also look at the primary festivals, celebrations, holidays, and annual events in Guadalajara so you know what to expect when you arrive any time of year.

    Next, we'll examine the primary landmarks and points of interest you'll want to visit. A little bit of knowledge can go a long way, and knowing where the main landmarks are can help you navigate. Our information will help you get around Guadalajara like a native.

    1

    When is the best time to travel to Guadalajara?

    • Guadalajara's climate is warm with dry summers averaging around 80 degrees and wet winters with temperatures around 65-70° Fahrenheit.
    • The most rainfall can be seen in July averaging around 10.78 inches.
    • The warmest months of the year are March through June with high temperatures around 85 to 90° Fahrenheit.
    • The best time to visit is between the months of October through December. During these months, the weather is dry, the temperatures mild, and many festivals fill up the calendar.
    2

    Guadalajara basics

    • Plug type: A and B
    • Electricity: 110v
    • Currency: Mexican peso (Mex$)
    • International dialling code: +52 33
    • Emergency telephone number: 911
    3

    How to get to my hotel in Guadalajara?

    Some hotels have shuttles that will bring you from the airline, train station, or other destination to the hotel. Others require you to catch a cab or rent a car. Common travel methods include:

    Airports

    The nearest airport to Guadalajara is the Aeropuerto Internacional Libertador Miguel Hidalgo. It's about 10 miles to the south of the city. You will need a valid passport to enter Mexico. If you have an American passport, you don't need a tourist visa unless you are visiting for longer than 180 days, but you will be asked by the airline before travelling to fill out a tourist card. Autotransportaciones Aeropuerto offers a 24-hour taxi service to any point in the Guadalajara metro region, so you should be able to catch a cab straight to your hotel. If your hotel offers a shuttle, you will probably have to arrange it in advance, so check with them when you book.

    Major train stations

    Guadalajara has no major train stations, but its light rail system will allow you to get around the city easily.

    Ports

    Guadalajara is a landlocked city, so there are no major ports leading into town.

    4

    How to get around Guadalajara?

    Guadalajara is one of Mexico's largest cities. The good news is that much of what you will want to see is in the city centre, which is entirely pedestrian-friendly. You do not need your own transport to get around; the city has a well-developed public transport system. Taxis, rideshares such as Uber, and rental cars are available, though rental cars are not recommended.

    Subway system

    Guadalajara has an extensive light rail system that allows you to easily get around the many areas and regions to see the sights with convenience and relative speed. Most of the city's commuters count on the light rail to get to and from work. It's not as convenient as the bus but it does stop near some popular locations. There is a nominal charge per ride, or you can buy a chargeable card for additional freedom. Whether a card is worth it depends on how often you'll be making trips that require transport.

    Taxi and rideshare apps

    Taxi service is readily available for a fixed price to get you from the airport to the city. After you're in town, you can easily find taxi ranks at many city centre points. Important things to understand here: taxis work a bit differently than they do in the United States. Always agree on a fare with your cab driver before you get in. In addition, understand that fees increase significantly overnight between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am. Uber also offers rideshare services in Guadalajara and functions much as it does in the United States, with the same common-sense precautions of making sure you're getting in the right car, verifying your driver, and the like, recommended. 

    Bus network

    Guadalajara's Macrobús option is another way to get around town. You should, however, be prepared for very cramped conditions as locals use the bus as a primary means of transport across town. Bus trips carry a very nominal cost per ride, with the aqua-colored express buses costing a bit more. Exact change is required for a bus. You can avoid this problem by purchasing a transit card at any Macrobús stop. You will simply swipe the card when you get on board and can avoid a lot of exact-change-tracking headaches.

    Car Hire

    Car hire are available from most major companies either from the airport or at Niños Heroes at Manzano, which is just west of the 16 de Septiembre major thoroughfare. You will just need a valid US driving licence to operate a vehicle here. No international driving permit is required. The US State Department, however, has issued warnings about driving in Jalisco (the state in which Guadalajara is located). When you combine this with the fact that it's easy to walk many places, driving isn't recommended here. 

    Bicycle Rentals

    Guadalajara does have a public bicycle rental system, called MiBici. Painted bicycle lanes exist on many roads and avenues, offering relatively safe transport for those who choose to pedal their way around the city. The 116 stations can be found at various spots around town, are solar-powered, and offer 1,160 bikes for rent in the central city area. You must be 18 years old to use the bikes, or 16 if you are with a guardian. A credit card or debit card is required, and you will need to have your passport handy as well as a working phone. A temporary pass can be obtained at a station's kiosk.

    5

    What are the main annual events in Guadalajara?

    May Cultural Festival

    • Held every May
    • If you're an art lover, this festival is sure to appeal. Since 1998, the festival has focused on the artwork of a different guest country each year. It's among the most popular events in the city and has become internationally renowned. 
    • The event is held in galleries at various locales across the city, including the Former Convent of Carmen, the Paseo Fray Antonio Alcaide, the Expiatory Zone, and Liberation Square.

    Fiestas de Octubre

    • Held every October
    • Fiestas de Octubre is a local arts and cultural festival. It brings almost 2 million visitors to the city every year and offers the best art, culture, and food from all over the region. It's a family-friendly festival that offers live music, local food, visual arts, cultural shows, interactive and educational experiences, and even sports events. 
    • Various events are held at locations across the city

    Tequila Festival

    • Held every March
    • Tequila is the national drink of Mexico and Jalisco is a primary production region for the spirit. This festival celebrates over 200 brands of tequila with tastings, food pairings, live music, and art exhibits over 10 days. 
    • The Tequila Festival is primarily held at the El Refugio Culture Centre in the Tlaquepaque area, but many bars and restaurants across the city offer specials in celebration of the event.
    6

    What are the main landmarks in Guadalajara?

    Instituto Cultural Cabañas

    The Instituto Cultural Cabañas opened in 1810 as a shelter for widows, orphans, and seniors but today is a historic art gallery and exhibition space. English-speaking guides are available to take you through the chapel, which displays 57 massive murals by local artist José Clemente Orozco, including his famed "The Man on Fire" masterpiece. 

    Museo del Premio Nacional de la Cerámica Pantaleon Panduro

    This museum is named for the father of modern ceramics in Jalisco. It showcases prizewinning pieces from the annual ceramics competition the museum hosts every June. Pottery has an important tradition and legacy in Mexican culture, and this museum offers one of the best representations of the art in its modern form.

    Guachimontones Ruins

    Guachimontones is a set of ruins from a long-vanished community that inhabited this region more than 2,000 years ago. It's a UNESCO World Heritage Site that's famed for its highly sophisticated architecture that consists of a circular pyramid surrounded by concentric smaller platforms surrounding it, a unique structure among world architecture. 

    José Cuervo Distillery

    When many people think of tequila, they think of Cuervo. This distillery has operated since 1795 and produces 150 tonnes of agave hearts into 80,000 litres of tequila. Daily tours are given, which include tastings and cocktails. You can also take the Tequila Train for a full return day trip complete with a luxurious ride on an authentic steam train.

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