Some excursions can be organized from Guadalajara.
Our first excursion, a 50km (30 miles) ride, will
lead us to one of the biggest lakes in Mexico,
Chapala Lake. This 85 km (53 miles) long lake has, on its edge,
a few idyllic villages very popular with Americans and Canadians,
long time residents as well as newcomers.
From downtown Guadalajara,
you go south through one of the three avenues - Corona, Independencia
and 16 de Septiembre. They all merge in Avenue Calzada Gonzales
Gallo, which switches its name to Chapala road when reaching the
southerner limits of the city (road 44Mex).
Chapala is the closest city from the lake and the favorite domicile
of Americans and Canadians. This small town has 43,500 inhabitants
of which 500 are from North American. You arrive in own through
Avenida Madero, the main street leading to the shore. The lake is
huge : 85km (53 miles) long and 27km (17 miles) wide with a maximum
depth of 9m (28 feet). Some parts of the lake are covered by "lirios"
(iris with green leaves and mauve flowers). There is not a more
popular lake in the whole of Mexico. It is, in fact, a common beach,
bordered by a promenade with many café terraces. The water
is not clean enough to be attractive. There is sadly a lot of pollution.
Instead of swimming, you better rent a boat to reach the Isla de
los Alacranes (Island of the scorpions), which, luckily, doesn’t
deserve its name, or the Island of Mezcala. On the left looking
at the lake, starts the road leading to the marina, and beyond to
several less busy villages. Chapala is crowded every week-end and
holidays and vacation days with mariachis bands giving a joyful
air to this crush. Map of the village :
One block north to the lake, the avenida Hidalgo is also a national
road. About 4 km (2.5 miles) west is San Antonio Tlayacapán.
If Chapala could be described as a Mexican city with a strong American
colony, Tlayacapán is more an American colony with a few
And 5 km (3 miles) further west, the hideaway of Ajijic (13,000
inhabitants) is traditionally frequented by painters and writers.
There are wonderful Easter celebrations in this village.
Driving towards Jocotepec, we crossed the thermal and mineral water
park of San Juan Cosalá (6,000 inhabitants). Beyond the hot
springs, the curiosity of the place is a geyser of mineral water
spouting at regular intervals.
Jocotepec (36,000 inhabitants) is the biggest and more charming
of these five villages posted on our journey; however, the foreign
people are the less numerous here. During this resting leg, we will
observe, at our convenience, the white sarapes, local craft specialty,
that you can find in abundance on the zocalo. In the restaurants,
you will be able to taste the pescado blanco – the finest
fish caught here- and drink a sangrita, red hot drink that has nothing
to do with the Spanish sangria. Less than 2km (1.3 miles) west from
Jocotepec, a road drives us to Guadalajara in a little less than
of thecity :
Coming from Guadalajara, our
first stop is in Tequila, 30 miles
(50 km) away, place of origin of the powerful drink that everyone
knows even without having stayed in Mexico. If you have time, take
a one or two hour break to visit the distilleries open to the public.
The biggest distilleries organize visits not only inside the distillery
but also in the agave fields. In order to avoid the tourist crowd,
go there early morning. Some of the distilleries are closed in the
afternoon anyway. It is very touristic but it is worth it !
Tequila, founded in 1656, has kept the charm of a farm town despite
the continuing flurry of the tourists. Behind the main place, you
will find the Museum of Tequila,
closed on Mondays, open 10AM-4PM, MXN$20 as well as the Museum of
the dynasty Sauza, second wealthy family after the family of José
Cuervo (open 10AM-2PM, Mon-Fri, MXN$12).
Huge agave fields growing in a volcanic land are forming a nice
azure rug all around the town. The heart of the agave, or maguey,
is used to make the tequila.
Most of the tourist guides mention the Hacienda San José
del Refugio, located 6 miles (10 km) south of Tequila,
in Amatitán. There is a nice plantation and a distillery
producing the Tequila Herradura with 8 millions of agaves grown
yearly (visit between 9AM and noon, admission fee). The Distillery
José Cuervo, the oldest distillery of Tequila
is also mentioned. It uses 150 tons of agaves daily in order to
produce 74 000 liters of tequila
Be careful if you taste tequila
: don’t drink and drive !
You also can take the Tequila Express
from Guadalajara, a little
bit expensive but the Mariachis bring a good atmosphere.
Agaves Landscape and Ancient Industrial Facilities of Tequila
are part of the World Heritage List of UNESCO since 2006
the chapter consecrated to the distilled drink and about the tequila express
About 22 miles (36 km) from Tequila,
the city of Magdalena is famous for its opals, turquoises and fire
stones, brutes, hewn or polished. About 37 miles (60km) further,
lay the strange lava field of Cerobuco. The Cerobuco peak blasted
in 1885 and you can still have an idea of the devastation looking
at the one mile long black lava stream covering the country. The
road crosses the thick blanket, so you feel like you are driving
on the moon.
program of tourist development has the objective of the enhancer
of the Mexican heritage, including the folklore, gastronomy, music,
dances, craft, adventure and extreme sport, the everyday rural life,
the urban architecture and environment. It is a strategy of development
off the traditional tourist circuits. These cities or villages are
located in areas close to the tourist sites, with easy road access
and they present a value of historic and/or religious interest.
Of course, the local government and the inhabitants adhered to this
welcome program. In the state of Jalisco,
3 villages are part of this program :
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