Guadalajara: Mexico First Impressions – Love!

Hit the Love button – this place is outstanding…we’re living in the mellow suburb of Tlaquepaque (pronounced Cluka Paaki) within the city of Guadalajara – (pronounced  Guah-dah-lah-hah-rah) go on try to say it.

San Pedro Church in the background and on the right The Temple of Soledad - beautiful old colonial era churches in TlaquepaqueOnce you get your english tongue around these spanish letters the name and sounds conjure a special sort of place and we are certainly not disappointed.

A city of around four million people Guadalajara is less frequented by travellers, I’d never heard of it until I saw that Air New Zealand flew there as an alternate option to Mexico City.  Although we will go to Mexico City it wasn’t exactly my first choice to begin nomad life. There is very few foreigners here and we like that.

Tlaquepaque Mexico 11Guadalajara’s charms are scattered throughout its four distinct neighborhoods. Centro Histórico is dotted with colonial relics on a grandish mexican scale – dotted being the operative word there’s a bit of walking involved.

Guadalajara  3More modern and also spread out Chapultepec is sprinkled with fashionable restaurants, coffeehouses and nightclubs – not our style at all! Zapopan has some interesting colonial sites, but is better known as Guadalajara’s Beverly Hills  – not our style either.


Is where we live and love is the home of artisans, has a quaint village atmosphere with lots of friendly mexicans.

Tlaquepaque Mexico 9You know things happen for a reason and we chose Tlaquepaque for no other reason than I found a charming apartment for a great rent – there goes that financial sense!  – more on that later.

Tlaquepaque Mexico 10

Our little casita at Olivia’s Apartments Tlaqueplaque, Mexico

Olivia’s apartments are in the perfect location walking distance to the town centre and all the action of Tlaquepaque.

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The artisans work here in Tlaquepaque

A short drive away is Tonala a folk art shoppers dream – we skipped though this shopping thing pretty quickly.

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Bargain Tequila – around $30 a gallon!

Guadalajara’s many contributions to the Mexican culture include tequila, (I’ve had a sampler only and that was enough!)  .. let a alone a gallon!

And of course the mariachi music, ( we can hear it night and day from our casita) the broad sombrero, charreadas (rodeos) and the Mexican Hat Dance, and it’s also known for its outstanding food. Between the streetside taco and torta ahogada (chili-soaked pork sandwich) stands to neighborhood cafes, local mercado ‘food hall’ you’re never far from a great meal here.

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Family is a central theme in Mexico, and a cornerstone of the culture. We see three or sometimes four generations of family  sitting around the tables, park benches, eating, drinking,  talking, and joking with each other.

Every night they take their families down to the local square where there’s a myriad entertainment and food happening.   This is not a special event: this is family life as usual!

There’s very little solicitation  just smiles and gratitude when you do business.  We love being among the locals. Hell, we even became part of the local street entertainment last night! – that was a laugh and a half –  Des and I trying some sexy mexican dance moves!

I’m picking the ‘our awkwardness’ was the best entertainment for the locals.

Tlaquepaque Mexico

Local street entertainment featuring Des! – what a blast

So how are we feeling about Mexico so far…

It’s colourful – you could never have a bad day here

It’s clean – very clean streets, sweepers are always out

It’s safe – police are evident on all streets

It’s warm – 30 plus with blue sky days

It’s romantic and sexy – mexicans lovers everywhere

It’s noisy – buses, music, church bells, dogs and anything else that makes noise.

It’s cheap – it’s a great standard of living for the price.


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Fun in Tlaquepaque – I laughed until I cried – pulled from the crowd to entertain the locals!



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