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Jalisco : excursions
 Page updated on 03.10.2015
 
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Some excursions can be organized from Guadalajara.

  CHAPALA

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 Mexicans.

view of Chapala lake from Ajijic 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.

     Right picture : view of Chapala lake from Ajijic


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 one hour.



Map of thecity :


TEQUILA

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 !
One of the many distilleries of Tequila 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 !


     Above picture : One of the many distilleries of Tequila


You also can take the Tequila Express from Guadalajara, a little bit expensive but the Mariachis bring a good atmosphere.

"agavero"The Agaves Landscape and Ancient Industrial Facilities of Tequila are part of the World Heritage List of UNESCO since 2006 :



See the chapter consecrated to the distilled drink and about the tequila express

 Right picture : "agavero"

 


     



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.

Magic villages

view of TapalpaThis 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 :

Mazamitla(Jal)/ Tapalpa(Jal) / Tequila(Jal).


     Right picture : view of Tapalpa



 

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