The state of Jalisco is rich in handicrafts, tequila, mariachi bands, and beautiful scenery. While there is no shortage of things to do in Guadalajara, there are several attractions in the surrounding area that you should be sure not to miss as well. Whether you are interested in a relaxing weekend in the woods or learning about how tequila or handicrafts are made, I’m sure you will have a great adventure in any of these magical towns.
As noted by the name of this town, here you will find a large variety of tequila distilleries or tequileras. If you are interested in learning how tequila is made or trying samples of different types, Tequila is the place for you.
Tequila Express Train
Located about an hour and a half outside of Guadalajara, you can visit this town by car, bus or most recommended, by train. The Tequila Express is a train that brings tourists from Guadalajara to this agave central and this is a sensational cultural endeavor. Not only will you be accompanied by mariachi bands on the train, but when you arrive, you will be guided through a tequila factory, eat typical Tapatio delicacies and enjoy a cultural performance after you eat.
TheTequila Express costs 950 pesos for adults and 550 pesos between 6 and 11 years of age. If you have children who are under 5, they ride the train for free! You can buy your tickets in a variety of places such as the Cámara de Comercio (in Guadalajara, Av. Vallarta 4095 esq. Niño Obrero) and it is recommended to buy your tickets at least a month and a half in advance. The train only runs Friday through Sunday, so make your travel plans accordingly!
The train leaves the station in Guadalajara at 11 a.m. and returns at 8 p.m., which means it is a full day of activities. You should be there at 10 a.m. so you can register, get your name tag and enjoy the mariachi bands. This is an exceptional experience and is a great way to combine music, food, entertainment and tequila drinking in one trip!
Tlaquepaque and Tonala
Both of these towns are close to Guadalajara and are known for their artesanias, or handicrafts. Their markets are full of beautiful blown glass, ceramics, jewelry, paper mache products and much more. Tlaquepaque is a little more tourist oriented, which means higher prices, but still offers a wide range of items. Tonala is cheaper and many of the handicrafts are made right there. Either way, both of these towns are ideal for buying handicrafts and have a wide variety of things to explore!
Chapala is another great day trip you can take from Guadalajara, or you can choose to stay there and explore the area. The town itself is small, but the area is known for Lake Chapala, which is abundant with outdoor adventures. Here you can take a boat ride on the lake, enjoy amazing views from the malecón and explore the arts and crafts market.
This area is ideal for horseback riding, biking, hiking and walking and there are a variety of opportunities to explore nature. I recommend exploring the variety of paths and trails through parks, having lunch and then taking a boat ride. You can either take an island tour of Mezcala Island, which is a national monument, or go to la Isla de los Alacranes (also known as Scorpion Island). When you get off the boat when coming back, tour to the right of the Chapala Pier and you will find plenty of venders selling things of interest.
Mazamitla is another beautiful area to enjoy the outdoors and is about an hour and a half away from Guadalajara. This quaint town has an inexplicable charm and has a plethora of activities to offer. I definitely recommend staying here for a few days if you are interested in adventure because there is plenty to explore. You can stay in cabins, camp, or stay in a hotel, depending on your budget and preference. No matter where you stay, everything is easily accessible from the town.
Cascada el Salto
One activity you can’t miss is going to the waterfalls called Cascada el Salto on horseback. While you can walk to the waterfalls, I definitely recommend going on a guided horseback tour because it is easy to get lost if you don’t know where you’re going and the road is rough at times. You can rent a horse for a decent price (We paid 150 pesos round trip per person) and someone will guide you to the waterfalls, where you will hike about the last 10 minutes to see the sight.
This area is famous for extreme sports, such as repelling, rock climbing, zip lines, paint balling and four-wheeling. There are a variety of areas to do these activities, but be sure to think about your budget when looking for places that offer these sports.
If you are on a tight budget or are looking into camping instead of staying in a hotel or cabin, the Mundo Aventura is a great place to go. It is located about 15 minutes away from Mazamitla on the highway going to Tamazula and is ideal for bringing the family there for a day or for camping. The extreme sports have different costs according to what you want to do, but they are decently priced and there are also bathrooms and hot water there if you are camping. Here are some examples of the prices you will find:
Zip line – $300 pesos
Four Wheeler Tour – $250 pesos per hour
Paintballing – $150 pesos for 100 balls
Rappel/Rock Climbing – $200 pesos per hour
Camping fee – 50 pesos per person
Entrance fee – $10 pesos
Posada Sierra Vista
If you are looking for something a little more classy with similar activities, another great option is the Posada Sierra Vista, which is on the same highway about 7 minutes away from the town. Here you can stay in beautifully furnished cabins designed for 8 to 10 people at a decent price if you divide it among a large group. The current prices for a cabin depend on low or high season but range from 2,000 pesos per night during low season and 3,395 pesos per night during high season.
Here you can explore many of the same extreme sports as above, and it is a great place to go with families or large groups. It is a secure area with friendly clientele and has a restaurant and relaxation center where you can get facials and massages. The current prices for the extreme sports they offer are as follows:
Four Wheeler – 250 pesos per hour
Zip line – 35 pesos per try
Bow and arrow – 35 pesos per try
Mountain bike – 40 pesos per hour
If you are coming here with a large group, you can request to arrange other activities. If you would like more information, please go to the Posada Sierra Vista website. Once again, I highly recommend Posada Sierra Vista because it is affordable and offers a wide range of activities that are safe and in a tranquil setting.
1 by marthax on Flickr, 2 by jaec on Flickr, 3 by jaec on Flickr