Guadalajara, Jalisco

Population: 1,700,000 million (over 4 million including surrounding area)
Time Zone: Central Standard Time

Airport: Guadalajara International Airport (GDL)

Elevation: 5,210 feet

Mexico’s second largest city, Guadalajara has a rich cultural history. Known as the “City of the Roses,” it has also become a “high tech” hub of commerce, particularly in the communication and electronic fields. Founded in 1542, this extremely sophisticated and well preserved city is a wonderful mixture of parks, fountains, plazas, rustic churches and tree-lined boulevards.

Although not considered a major tourist destination when compared to Cancun, Acapulco or Mexico City, there is much to do and see. Like many of Mexico’s larger cities, modern infrastructure and services meld smoothly with its historic roots. Guadalajara is horse drawn carriages, color and music. It’s here where indigenous mariachi music can been enjoyed at all hours along with the national drink that also originated here…tequila.

It is a very easy city to like, a fact that has not escaped the tens of thousands of Americans and Canadians who have retired in the town itself, as well as in the surrounding countryside. Lake Chapala, thirty miles to the south, is an especially popular expat haven, where houses and living costs are a fraction of those stateside. With dry, mild winters and summers averaging around 80 degrees with pleasant, afternoon rains,

many consider Guadalajara to have the best weather in Mexico.

In addition to the museums, galleries and other cultural offerings, the shopping here is unsurpassed. From folk-art to fine, custom-made furniture and native works, this is paradise for anyone in search of exquisite Mexico treasures. The municipalities of Tonala and Tlaquepaque specialize in handicrafts that keep the towns buzzing with savvy-shoppers who arrive by the busload to browse, buy and enjoy the atmosphere provided by strolling musicians and fine dining. In short, Guadalajara has it all…except a beach.