state of Jalisco in the centre of Mexico’s west coast, is a
treasure trove for everything from mariachi bands and tequila to
jungle trails and snorkelling in the Pacific. The region’s capital,
Guadalajara (known as Mexico’s “second city”) is culturally a
super-saturated alternative to Mexico
City. Spend Saturday combing through the handcrafted beaded
jewellery and local ceramics at the Avenida Chapultepec market,
while the sprawling Mercado Libertad, known for flowers and leather
goods, is open daily. Then there’s Tlaquepaque just outside the
city centre, which is renowned for its decorative pottery.
For an oceanfront experience, Puerto Vallarta is a slightly more
laid-back alternative to Cancun or Playa del Carmen. A beach town
sprawling along Bahia de Banderas on the Pacific, it’s worth the
visit to unwind via
sailing, snorkelling and ceviche.
Water babies mustn’t pass up the opportunity to spend at least a
night or two in Puerto Vallarta. Visit Los Muertos beach for
parasailing and surfing, while Banderas Scuba Republic offers
lessons and certifications for those who are keen to check out
rays, turtles and polychrome schools of fish. Beyond the beach,
there are snaking jungle trails in the nearby Occidental Sierra
Madre mountains for biking and hiking past waterfalls, itsy-bitsy
villages and rivers.
Patrón aficionados can take to the “Tequila Route” – a slight
deviation from the California
Wine Road – to explore agave fields and learn how to
differentiate your blanco from your reposado. For a truly unique
visit, try horseback riding between the rows of agave plants.
Who to take with you
A friend who’s up for tequila and dancing until sunrise.
When to go
Wintertime (November-March) is ideal, but to escape the crowds
as well as the rainy season, visit between April and June.
Most likely to bump into
Art lovers stocking up on local handicrafts.
Essentials to bring with you
Flowy dresses that can take you from sipping cocktails beachside
in Puerto Vallarta to pounding the pavement in Guadalajara –
especially if you’re trying to squeeze everything into just a
How to get there
Guadalajara has a major international airport, but you can also
fly into Puerto Vallarta’s international airport if you want to
begin your exploration of Jalisco seaside.