Jalisco: Everybody’s looking to experience typical Mexico will certainly find it in the western Mexican state of Jalisco. The birthplace of mariachi music, tequila, and many other classic Mexican traditions.
However, at the centre of it all stands the state capital Guadalajara. In short with its exquisite colonial architecture, vibrant crafts and art scene, and diverse gastronomic offering that will have you licking your chops at every turn.
During some glorious beach time, head west to the Pacific coast town of Puerto Vallarta and linger on palm-fringed sands, and plunge into the wildlife-rich water of Bahia de Banderas
Even pandemic-weary travelers can rest easy here. Perhaps on a wilderness escape to the cool Mountains of San Sebastian del Oeste or on a day trip to Tequila.
Diving, dining, and wildlife watching in Puerto Vallarta
You could easily spend weeks visiting the sights in and around Puerto Vallarta’s vast, Crescent-shaped Bahia de Banderas, with its glistening coastline.
Most of the action unfolds along the cobbled streets of Puerto Vallarta’s effervescent historic centre, but you’ll find plenty of outdoor fun beyond the tourist zone.
For a real Puerto Vallarta highlight, board a water taxi from Playa de Los Muertos pier and venture out to its southernmost beaches, then simply hop off at the sparkling cove of your choice.
The villages of Yelapa, Quimixto, and Playa Majahuitas are home to cascading waterfalls, crystalline snorkeling sites, and hillside hotels tucked away in the jungle.
Puerto Vallarta also offers some of the best diving sites on the Pacific coast, and even non-divers rave about the iconic Majahuitas Cove.
“IT FEELS GOOD TO BE LOST IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.”
Detour to San Sebastian del Oeste
Head inland for the cool climate of San Sebastian del Oeste. A former 17th-century mining town sitting pretty at 4,855 ft above sea level. Half the fun is getting there as you make stops along the road at places like Panaderia Carmen.
Hacienda Jalisco and tiny raicilla distillery. San Sebastian’s population of about 5,600 people makes it the ideal spot for social distance, and if you embrace hiking and the art of relaxing, it’s definitely the place for you.
Discover Remote Costalegre – Jalisco
If you’re in search of a coastal setting known for its secluded location in a vibrant jungle. Drive a few hours south of Puerto Vallarta to the intimate region of Costalegre.
It may cost you a pretty penny, but the Ocean Castles of Careyes and private villas of Cuixmala are some of the most luxurious properties in Mexico. Cuixmala’s 30,000-acre nature reserve is home to these wild animals along with 270 different species of birds.
Cultural Capital Guadalajara
Now that you’ve decompressed with some quiet time on the coast. But Mix things up with several nights in the sprawling metropolis of Guadalajara, Jalisco culture capital.
Despite being Mexico’s second-biggest city, Guadalajara feels at times like a collection of small neighborhoods. Nowhere is that more evident than in Tlaquepaque, a nearby crafts hub, and renowned mariachi stomping ground.
You’ll also want to set aside time for exploring Guadalajara’s historic centre. A bustling downtown neighborhood that received a recent makeover.
Many architectural marvels in the historic centre, right in the middle of downtown stands emblematic. Double-spired Catedral de Guadalajara, a 16th-century colonial cathedral that’s almost as old as the city itself.
Then walk across the lively plaza and marvel at the neoclassical Teatro Degollado. A lovely theatre that hosts colorful folkloric ballet. Wherever the streets may lead you, don’t miss the Cabanas Museum. However, a World Heritage Site that’s home to 57 frescoes masterfully painted by master muralist and Jalisco native Jose Clemente Orozco.
For a more contemporary take on Guadalajara, make your way over to Avenida Chapultepec. A broad avenue lined with trendy bars, restaurants, and cafes. Nearby, in the hip Santa Tere barrio is the original location of Karne Garibaldi, a Guadalajara institution famous for its Carne en su Jugo.
A stay at boutique hotel Villa Ganz, which occupies a historic 1930s mansion. Puts you within walking distance of the Chapultepec nightlife scene.
Day Trip to Tequila – Jalisco
The town of Tequila, just an hour outside of Guadalajara. Makes a great day trip to escape the hubbub of Guadalajara. Although Mexican law allows a handful of other states to produce Mexico’s most popular agave spirit.
Moreover, no region can match Tequila in terms of historical significance and sheer production volume. So, tequila has been producing the spirit since the 16th century.
While the process has become increasingly more industrialized in recent decades. You can still find craft distillery. Such as Tequila Fortaleza that is producing the distilled agave beverage in a good old-fashioned way. A tour of the facility is capped off with a tasting of their exquisite line of tequilas.