GUADALAJARA

Towards the end of April, we went to Guadalajara, Mexico for the wedding of one of my closest high school friends.

I was really excited to go to Guadalajara because it is one of the places I've been wanting to visit for a while, and I love Mexico in general. Jalisco, the state in which Guadalajara is located, is the birthplace of mariachi music. It is also where Tequila comes from. More on that later.

On Thursday, we arrived and got settled at our hotel, the Hyatt Andares. It was a beautiful, modern hotel located in an upscale shopping district. 

 Breakfast at the hotel restaurant was great. 

Breakfast at the hotel restaurant was great. 

 We are both big fans of chilaquiles. 

We are both big fans of chilaquiles. 

 Koi pond inside the mall - very bougie! 

Koi pond inside the mall - very bougie! 

Once we got settled and changed, we headed to Tlaquepaque, a small town on the outskirts of the city that is filled with historic and colorful architecture, and known for its beautiful artisan pottery. Our first stop was lunch at El Patio, a lovely restaurant with - you guessed it - a nice patio. We enjoyed refreshing cocktails and large entrees, while being serenaded by an all-female mariachi band. It was literally perfect. After El Patio, we wandered around Tlaquepaque, and visited lots of little shops while taking multiple breaks for additional cocktails because it was so darn hot outside - I think it was in the mid 90's. We stayed there until maybe 8 or 9 o'clock, and then decided to head back to the hotel - an hour's ride. 

 One of the many colorful streets of Tlaquepaque.

One of the many colorful streets of Tlaquepaque.

 This was the central square in Tlaquepaque. It reminded me of the one in Coco, if you've seen the movie (if you haven't, it's a must-see!). 

This was the central square in Tlaquepaque. It reminded me of the one in Coco, if you've seen the movie (if you haven't, it's a must-see!). 

 Lunch at El Patio was exactly what we needed. 

Lunch at El Patio was exactly what we needed. 

 Can't go to Mexico and not have guacamole. 

Can't go to Mexico and not have guacamole. 

 Refreshing beverages. 

Refreshing beverages. 

 Does it get any better?

Does it get any better?

 Tlaquepaque was filled with tons of small restaurants with amazing architecture. 

Tlaquepaque was filled with tons of small restaurants with amazing architecture. 

 There were hardly any tourists in Guadalajara, which made for a pleasant atmosphere. 

There were hardly any tourists in Guadalajara, which made for a pleasant atmosphere. 

That evening, we had a late light dinner at a restaurant near our hotel. I don't remember the name, but it was one of the few restaurants that served Mexican food in the area. I had ceviche and Marquette had tacos. Both were delicious! And more cocktails of course. 

On Friday, we woke up bright and early to head to Tequila. That's right, Tequila is a place. And in that place, Tequila is made. The tour was arranged by the bride and groom and there were a ton of us - maybe 4 or 5 buses full of excited attendees. We visited the Jose Cuervo fields where the agave is grown, and were shown how the jimadores cut the agave plants to prepare them for distillation. We then visited the Jose Cuervo distillery, where we learned a ton about tequila, tasted a lot of Jose Cuervo, and then finished it off with an amazing Mexican buffet. That evening, the bride and groom hosted a welcome party at a restaurant near the hotel, and then we enjoyed post-welcome party drinks at the hotel. Way too much tequila.

 Waiting for the tequila tour to begin. The agave plants behind us eventually become Jose Cuervo tequila.

Waiting for the tequila tour to begin. The agave plants behind us eventually become Jose Cuervo tequila.

 A  jimador  is a type of Mexican farmer who harvests agave plants, which are harvested primarily for the production of mezcal, sotol and tequila. Jimadores take pride in their profession, which is often passed down for many generations within families. 

A jimador is a type of Mexican farmer who harvests agave plants, which are harvested primarily for the production of mezcal, sotol and tequila. Jimadores take pride in their profession, which is often passed down for many generations within families. 

 The agave plants after being harvested. 

The agave plants after being harvested. 

 The grounds of Jose Cuervo were absolutely stunning.

The grounds of Jose Cuervo were absolutely stunning.

 The tour and tasting were super informative! Unfortunately I don't remember what we learned because we were drinking tequila the entire time. 

The tour and tasting were super informative! Unfortunately I don't remember what we learned because we were drinking tequila the entire time. 

 I missed my friends - it felt so good to be back together again!

I missed my friends - it felt so good to be back together again!

 Inside the picturesque Jose Cuervo estate.

Inside the picturesque Jose Cuervo estate.

 I was so grateful to have that fan - a remnant of our wedding three years ago.

I was so grateful to have that fan - a remnant of our wedding three years ago.

 There were many cacti throughout Guadalajara. I am sure they thrive in the hot, dry weather.

There were many cacti throughout Guadalajara. I am sure they thrive in the hot, dry weather.

 A tequila altar at Jose Cuervo. 

A tequila altar at Jose Cuervo. 

The wedding was held on Saturday. It was held at a beautifully historic hacienda outside of Guadalajara that reminded me of our wedding venue in Puerto Rico. Traditional Mexican elements were peppered throughout the event, including an amazing mariachi band, traditional Mexican cowboys, and a parade around the estate with large puppets of a bride and groom. 

 The wedding grounds were beautiful.

The wedding grounds were beautiful.

 Puppets and dancing during the parade around the estate - so much fun!

Puppets and dancing during the parade around the estate - so much fun!

 The mariachi band was seriously amazing. 

The mariachi band was seriously amazing. 

 Have you seen a dreamier wedding reception setup?

Have you seen a dreamier wedding reception setup?

 It was an unforgettable evening!

It was an unforgettable evening!

We had an amazing time. Like always, I came with a long list of things for us to do that we did not get through. I will say that if you travel to Guadalajara, be prepared for the traffic, which was much worse than we anticipated. We spent a lot of time in Uber (which is recommended over taxis). I thoroughly enjoyed Guadalajara - much less touristy than any of the other parts of Mexico we visited - and would love to go back. I could even see us owning a vacation home there one day, as the real estate is much more affordable than other more touristy parts of Mexico. If you are looking for an authentic, tequila-filled Mexican experience, look no further than Guadalajara. 

Hasta la prรณxima!