Who has been to Cancun before, who was in Mexico , but has probably not met the right Mexico. Because that's outside the hotel castles of the Caribbean, for example in Guadalajara.
At least since the new Netflix series "Narcos: Mexico", Guadalajara is also known to those who have never been to Mexico.
Unfortunately, the image of the 5 million inhabitants city was not necessarily improved by another series on drug cartels. The city has so much more to offer than narcos, shootings and what else you hear in the media about them.
Six years ago, I fell in love with the second largest city in Mexico during my semester abroad, and three years later I stopped my tents in Germany and emigrated to Guadalajara.
Guadalajara for beginners
Guadalajara is the capital of the state of Jalisco, located about 500 km west of Mexico City and 300 km east of the Pacific Ocean.
At 1,500 meters altitude, the climate is perfect. It is said that the best climate in the world prevails here. In winter, temperatures rarely drop below 20 degrees and in summer it does not get hotter than 35 degrees. Almost every day the sun shines here, even during the rainy season. But not only the weather makes Guadalajara so worth living. Everything is a bit more comfortable here. People are relaxed and very open and friendly towards you.
As a big, white foreigner, I am particularly attracted to this and are often approached by the locals. When I answer with my very good Spanish, they are astonished and can hardly believe that this "gringo" answers them in their own >
However, the coziness only lasts when people are on foot. As soon as a Tapatío - as the inhabitants of Guadalajara are called - sits behind the wheel, his character suddenly changes. All of a sudden, everything gets incredibly stressful, it is honked and the other drivers are yelled at.
Of course this is not true for all people here, but you can tell that there is a different tone in traffic. Incidentally, I'm much more worried about being run over by a car than getting into a drug cartel shootout. This danger is much more present and you have to be very attentive in traffic.
For locomotion I use here mostly Uber and Mibici, the bike-sharing provider of the city. I only sit behind the wheel when it has to be.
The tastiest food in Guadalajara
If anyone asks me what pleases me most in Guadalajara, my answer is always: "The food."
I have never seen so many delicious and cheap dining options in any city. At the hundreds of street stalls in the city there are tacos with all kinds of fillings, delicious fruits, freshly squeezed juices and much more. And at very reasonable prices. For around 3-5 euros you will be completely satisfied.
However, one should already pay attention to whether the stalls look clean. The best indicator is when the locals eat there as well. With my German stomach, the revenge of Montezuma has visited me so many times. But if you want to get to know the real culinary highlights in Guadalajara, you must not miss the food at the street stalls.
My highlights among the street stalls are Tacos Juan and the gourmet taco stand La Choza , where there are eg tacos with duck or rabbit meat.
But not only on the street stalls you can eat great, but also in the many restaurants with Mexican and international cuisine. Guadalajara feels like 5 new restaurants every day.
I constantly see new restaurants that come straight to my to-do list, which has now grown to 50 places and is getting longer every day.
Very good restaurants with fine Mexican cuisine are Alcalde and Shelter . A special insider tip is the restaurant Xoklo , which brings the ancient traditions of Mexican cuisine back to life. There are, for example, tortillas of red and blue corn and delicious moles, a sauce with more than 30 ingredients, such as chili and cocoa.
In recent years, Guadalajara has also developed a great coffee culture. There are countless nice cafes, where you can sit down with his laptop to work great.
My personal favorite is Fitzroy , a café run by a Swede , an Australian and a Mexican. Also El Terrible Juan and Como si fuera Domingo are great cafes, in which a visit is worthwhile.
In addition to coffee, there is another popular drink in Guadalajara ... the tequila.
The region of tequila
Many people think of Tequila on the bottle with the red hat and countless shots with salt and lemon, the taste is not really great. The fact that this tequila is only an export product that most Mexicans have never heard of before is known by very few.
Approximately one hour from Guadalajara is the small town of Tequila, which is worth a visit not only because of the same name.
Anyone who has ever drank a good tequila from Mexico, will never again want to grab the bottle with the red sombrero.
Of course, in Tequila tours can be made, in which one learns everything about the production of agave distillate and also taste one or the other sip.
But beware! The stuff is damn strong!
Another image we have of Mexico are men with sombrero and mariachi music. And that too can be experienced in Guadalajara.
The earth of Mariachi
The Mariachi is one of the most famous traditions of Mexico and comes from the state of Jalisco. When Mariachi play mostly 7 to 12 musicians, sometimes up to 20 on guitars, guitar, violins, trumpets and other instruments. Frequently, singing is also included.
A special experience is when a mariachi ensemble plays a birthday party in a restaurant. Mariachi can be heard everywhere in Guadalajara.
To see Mariachi live, I recommend the Pari á n in the Tlaquepaque district , where there are regularly great live concerts accompanied by delicious Mexican food.
Experiences in Guadalajara
My passion is outdoor activities and extraordinary experiences. That's why they should not be neglected in this article.
A few years ago, Guadalajara was not experiencing too much, but more and more activities have been added in recent years.
Especially cool are the electric go-karts at VOLTA Racing , where I have already done some laps with my friends.
If you're into extreme sports, you can take the guys from Descender to the nearby canyons and do canyoning there. In doing so, you get away from waterfalls, jump off cliffs and slip on natural rock water slides.
Also the Live Escape Game Community is slowly getting bigger in Guadalajara. We recommend Team Escape Guadalajara and Mr. E.
Other cool experiences in Guadalajara are the indoor surfing facility Punto Surf and ATOMIX , a provider of laser tag and VR games.
But as beautiful and interesting Guadalajara is, of course, security also plays a role.
Is it safe to live in Guadalajara?
Unfortunately, the security warnings for Mexico and Guadalajara are not unfounded. You do not have to be constantly afraid that you will be abducted directly by a drug cartel, because the cartels carry their disputes mostly under themselves.
Unfortunately, the crime rate in Mexico is already very high. Something happened to me first. When I was waiting for my Uber on the street in front of my house, suddenly two guys came in who said they had a gun.
They then took my phone from me, ran away and it was good. Fortunately, no violence was involved.
Unfortunately, a few months ago, my girlfriend was the victim of a robbery. She was threatened with a gun and then had to drive her car outside the city and write down all the credit card information and passwords.
Finally, the thief took her car, her laptop and her cell phone and then emptied her account.
These things can unfortunately happen and you are never 100 percent sure. Although I'm not afraid to be robbed all day, the awareness is always there and I'm especially attentive on the street.
During the day you can move around easily and everything feels very safe. When it gets dark, you should be very careful and when it does not go alone through dark streets.
Unfortunately, Mexico is reduced in the media only to negative stories and the beautiful things that clearly outweigh here are barely communicated.
I still recommend Guadalajara to all my friends and advise everyone to get an idea of the city. Almost every foreigner I met here fell in love with the city and many even stayed here.