Guadalajara and Vicinity

At the end of July, we traveled to Guadalajara and its environs.  Guadalajara is Mexico’s second largest city and the capital of Jalisco State.  It takes about 4 hours by bus to get there from Querétaro.  Our hotel was in the heart of the downtown area and within easy walking distance of the major tourist sites.  Guadalajara has several large plazas downtown, surrounded by churches, government buildings, and restaurants.  We had the opportunity while there to attend a performance of the Ballet Folclórico.  Although you can see these kinds of presentations of Mexican music, dance, and culture in various locations around the country, the Ballet Folclórico – sponsored by the University of Guadalajara – is one of the best of its kind.  The performance was enhanced by its venue of the Teatro Degollado, an elegant theater that dates back to the early 20th century and decorated with classical themes of muses and renowned European poets.

No visit to Jalisco State would be complete without a trip to Tequila, the nearby town that gives its name to the well known alcoholic beverage.  In fact, the product name Tequila is specific to the drink made in that area from the blue agave plant.  There are several distillers in the town that offer tours of their facilities and we went to the Hacienda Cofradía, which still uses traditional production methods, to see the process.  We learned how they harvest the core (which they call the piña, literally the pineapple) of the blue agave plant and extract the liquid from it that is subsequently distilled to make the final beverage.  Julie felt obliged to appraise the end product and can be seen in the photo sampling a mango margarita for quality testing purposes.

There’s a turn off the road to Tequila that leads to the unusual archeological site of Guachimontones.  Researchers have already unearthed several round tombs layered like wedding cakes and others presumably remain to be excavated from the surrounding hills now covered with vegetation.  The place contains a ball court like many of the Mesoamerican sites and our guide explained that the game was played all day long with players using all parts of their bodies to move the heavy ball.  As in other prehispanic cultures of Mexico, it is believed that the winners of the match were sacrificed to their gods at the end of game.

Several of our Peace Corps colleagues live and work in Guadalajara and we met two of them, Barbara and John, at their house for dinner one night.  We also joined them and three other local Peace Corps volunteers, Elizabeth, Matt and Memo, for an overnight trip to the town of Tapalpa.  It’s one of the so-called Pueblos Mágicos (Magical Towns) of Mexico, a designation given by the Ministry of Tourism to 43 smaller towns around the country that have preserved some aspect of their history, culture, or environment.  Tapalpa is about three hours by bus from Guadalajara.  We found mariachis playing in the main plaza when we arrived.  We were able to observe and enjoy the festivities while having lunch on the second floor balcony of a nearby restaurant.  Our friends went hiking in the hills outside of town while we explored the streets and churches in town.  There are several attractive public fountains scattered around Tapalpa and each has a legend associated with it.  We now have had the opportunity to visit twelve Pueblos Mágicos and have enjoyed seeing another aspect of Mexican life and culture.


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2 Responses to “Guadalajara and Vicinity”

  1. Guadalajara and Vicinity | Bendgold's Blog: ~ Exploration of Tekali, Teqali, Mexican Tequila Says:

    […] Read more here:  Guadalajara and Vicinity | Bendgold's Blog […]

  2. Greato Places to travel in Queretaro Says:

    They had help from translator in the contest, which was held in English.
    This holy place is located on the bank of the river Pazhayar.
    At last, if you are looking for a relaxing, romantic, and adventurous vacation, Mexico is the ideal
    destination to experience these altogether.

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