Visiting Lake Chapala but want to explore a little further afield? There are several great trips that can (and should) be done so that you get a true feel for all that this area of Mexico has to offer. So make sure your visit is long enough to include some or all of these attractions.
Let's start right off with the good stuff. The trip to Tequila is now only 1.5 hours with the opening of the Guadalajara Macro Ring Road. There are an astonishing number of tequila factories in the Tequila area and even if you are not a tequila drinker the area displays incredible beauty and the process of making tequila is one to be admired. This article lists the Top 10 Tequilerias in the area. Looks like I have to go back again soon!
Historic Guadalajara Centro
Another 'must do'! Travel back in time 4 centuries and enjoy the ambiance of what it was like to be surrounded by massive churches and ancient theaters. The most impressive building in the area being the Metropolitan Cathedral. Four huge squares surround the cathedral in the shape of a cross. Enjoy the many museums and art displayed on walls by famous Mexican artists.
Shop in the 3 story Mercado Libertad, also known as San Juan de Dios, the largest market in Latin America with over 2,900 stalls, where you can buy anything from food to clothing to electronics and more. This market was built on the site of a indigenous market already in use for centuries. Then try to find the underground market below one of the plazas for an unforgettable experience in market shopping underground!
Finally be sure to tour the murals in the famed Hospicio de Cabanas museum, which was once a convent turned orphanage. The murals depict the spirit of Mexico and are an optical illusion that completely change perspective as you move.
There is so much to do in Guadalajara Centro that this only scratches the surface.
Go back to country life in this high elevation pine forest. Rent a cabin for a night on one of the lakes or in the forest itself. Enjoy ATV'ing, hiking, horseback riding, the central church and the municipal market. If you like some adventure away from the city life then this experience is for you.
Tonala and Telaquepaque
Back to the city and the artisan districts of Tonala and Telaquepaque. Tonala is known for pottery, blown glass, furniture manufacturing, wrought iron, wool textiles and cloth fabrics. Visit and learn how pottery and glass products are manufactured by touring the factories.
Then be sure to see the female mariachi singers and dancers in El Patio while discovering all the charming pedestrian shops, boutiques and cafes in Telaquepaque.
For something a little closer, enjoy a day in nearby Chapala and enjoy "molcajetes" at a Mexican restaurant right on the Chapala malecon; stroll along the tranquil malecon and visit the Braniff Mansion of Braniff Airline fame; see the mural by local artist, Efren Gonzalez, in the Town Hall depicting the history of the lake; and take in some of the local culture, including a chance to shop at Alicia's and try some homemade ice cream! Then work it off with a stroll across the bridge and visit the statue of the Lady of the Lake.
San Juan Cosala
Also close, and on the other side of Ajijic, is the little village of San Juan Cosala where the thermal waters are located. Take a day and enjoy one of the 3 facilities available to the public. There are two located in the village. The first is the 'family one' complete with water slides. The second is the 'adult only' one with various mud, coffee, chocolate and rose petal, baths (I am told these change). The third is located on the mountain side of the Carratera at the Monte Coxala Hotel and Spa for the ultimate experience in pampering. All places have restaurants available so make a day of it.
Ajijic has several tour companies that conduct their tours with large passenger vans offering the client a relaxed, informative and enjoyable day out. Private drivers can also be hired to take you to any of these places or book a tour through Charter Club Tours or Viajes de Ajijic. We even have a rental car available for your pleasure if you wish to drive yourself.
For questions about anything in this blog or to book your free tour of the area, please contact me. Thanks for reading!