Guadalajara, Mexico’s second-largest city, is the birthplace of numerous Mexican icons—mariachi, sombreros, and the Mexican hot dance among them—but it’s also an ideal base for exploring surrounding Jalisco. From tequila tastings to explorations of Mexico’s largest lake, here are some top day trip options.
Tonala and Tlaquepaque — 8 miles (13 km) away
Jalisco is home to Tonala and Tlaquepaque, two ancient hacienda towns famous for their arts and crafts. In Tonala, learn about the area’s history through colorful murals inside City Hall, or shop for furniture, jewelry, wooden carvings, ceramics, or hand-blown glass in its large open-air market. The cobblestone streets of Tlaquepaque are lined with small craft shops filled with even more handcrafted goods. A local factory offers a behind-the-scenes look at artists at work.
Tequila — 32 miles (52 km) away
Tequila, the beloved Mexican spirit found in margaritas and shot glasses around the world, is produced in the state of Jalisco. Many famous distilleries, including Sauza and José Cuervo, are found in and around the town of Tequila. Learn about how agave becomes tequila at a historic hacienda where it’s made, go horseback riding through an agave field, or sample several different tequilas during a guided tasting. Tequila day trips can be by vehicle or express train from Guadalajara.
Lake Chapala — 36 miles (58 km) away
On a day trip to Lake Chapala, Mexico’s largest natural lake, you can enjoy a boat ride to Scorpion Island, spend some time exploring the cobbled streets of colonial Ajijic, and feast on a traditional Jalisco lunch at a lakeside restaurant.
Guachimontones — 40 miles (65 km) away
Unearthed in the 1970s, the peculiar pyramids of Guachimontones are all that remain of a 2,000-year-old Teuchitlan settlement. Today, the UNESCO World Heritage Site features a large visitors center and museum where you can learn all about the archaeological site, with its distinctive concentric architecture.