Last week I decided it was finally time to do a little couchsurfing. With that weekend being a long one due to Mexican Revolution day, it was time to visit Colima’s neighbouring state Jalisco, whose capital Guadalajara is the second biggest city in Mexico. A young designer approved my request and replied to me within a day giving me directions on how to get to her warehouse-style home in downtown Guadalajara.
After a short three-hour coach journey I arrived in the busy city and made my way to my host’s house to be greeted with a typical Mexican breakfast of chilaquiles waiting for me. Unfortunately, my host was extremely busy the whole weekend so introductions were brief on Saturday morning.
My afternoon was filled with cathedral/temple sight-seeing which was lovely but marred by a huge construction project running through the city’s centre making it even more congested and dusty. This weekend was buen fin, Mexico’s version of Black Friday so the whole city was completely chaotic with tapatíos and tourists searching for good deals in Guadalajara’s huge host of shops.
That evening I finally got to know my host a little better, met some of her friends for a few beers and wandered home with a quick stop over in a very local pulquería, where they sell pulque, a fermented drink made from agave that can be mixed with fruit and herbs. (I would highly recommend pulque but just keep an eye on how much you’re drinking as it’s deceptively alcoholic!)
Guadalajara is famous for its artisans; pottery, glassware, jewellery, art, and clothing, sending many people to Tonalá and Tlaquepaque both within an hour from the capital. The former is a must if you’re looking for a bargain, but with it being buen fin it was far too hot, chaotic and busy for my liking. A bit of social anxiety was kicking in so I knew it was time for me to head out of the, what seemed to be, maze-like stalls of Tonalá. I asked around – everyone was so friendly, they just wanted to help – to see how to get to Tlaquepaque. I’d heard better things about this pueblo mágico with its only downfall being supposedly more expensive prices compared to Tonalá.
The whole environment was so much more relaxed and laid back in Tlaquepaque – I felt more at ease and took some time to just sit and people watch with a coffee in the main plaza. Bordering the plaza is un andador filled with stalls selling artisans, but in a less chaotic and more organised and attractive manner. Tlaquepaque still had its Día de los Muertos colourful bunting up around the streets making the town look even prettier as the sun began to set.
Overall the weekend was a good one: couchsurfing went well as there was a decent balance between being independent and relying on my host, the cathedrals of the capital are architecturally beautiful (more so from the outside), the museums and art (including the graffiti) around the city are intriguing, and Tlaquepaque was exactly what I wanted from a pueblo mágico.