Mexico has blossomed into something that we didn’t expect…. After living a year in Merida (1/2 of which was quarantined in our home due to the pandemic) we made a decision to explore more of Mexico. Merida was an oasis of beauty, friendly people and a skyline that was gorgeous to behold. For us it was not home though. The heat and the small town feel did not appeal to our tastes. We set out to find a relatively safe and vibrant city. Neither of us quite remember how Guadalajara made it on our radar but we jumped in head first researching, examining and learning all we could about it. After one trip to the Pearl (La Perla) we knew we had found our next new home!
Guadalajara is a MAJOR city
Some things cannot be understood by reading. On our first trip we learned and experienced several great things about Guadalajara. The biggest one being that it is the second largest city in Mexico – after Mexico City of course. The second being that the people here were welcoming, educated and progressive…all things we value. We were eager to experience a more modern city and that is what Gdl is – a CITY (yes all caps). Skyscrapers, development, high-end restaurants, mega-malls, the arts and more. The faster pace that we sought had been found. We also found that it was the center of the state of Jalisco and……….. it was nestled inside of the Sierra Madre Mountains! Our expectations were on 10 as we flew in and started analyzing the housing stock and their neighborhoods.
The first thing we experienced was a magical neighborhood saddling Zapopan and the city of Guadalajara, Chapalita! When I tell you that our evening there was something special it lacks the umph needed to express how it ticked off all of the things we were searching for. It was walkable in a residential neighborhood that was surrounded by cafes, restaurants, book stores, bars and lots of security. That’s a #homerun by all of our measures.
Neighborhoods & Housing Stock
Housing Stock in GDL is varied and beautiful but……according to expatisan.com, one of our must trusted and reliable means of comparing city costs, Guadalajara’s housing was 14% higher than the city we were leaving. Also, we made the decision as a couple to level-up our housing situation and move into a home that we would both appreciate more. The greater metropolitan area also consists of Zapopan and Tlaquepaque – all of which should be included in your search for a home.
Guadalajara and its greater metropolitan area hosts a number of great, safe neighborhoods that we could easily call home. After scouting out several parts of the city, our personal recommendation and tastes led us to the neighborhoods of Arcos Vallarta, Providencia, Santa Terre, Ciudad del sol, La Calma, Jardines Vallarta, La Tijera, Jardines de Guadalupe, Terranova and Chapalita. We’ve been pleasantly surprised by the walkability, venues, bars, restaurants, bookstores, pedestrian lanes, glorietas, and green spaces of these neighborhoods.
Things To Do In and Around the City
As the capital of Jalisco, Guadalajara is known for Mariachi and Tequila. These were actually some of the first recommendations we received when moving here – ‘Check out the Mariachi in Tlaquepaque…..Don’t forget to partake in tequila….you must also visit the town of Tequila.’ Off the bat, we have some pretty easy ways to delve right into the culture. Once we found out there was a train where you drink Tequila on your way to the town of Tequila (Tequila Express) we were hooked and added it to our mile long list of things to experience in Jalisco. Additionally, Guadalajara is the perfect jump off point to visit nearby, well known spots such as Puerto Vallarta (1hr flight), Tequila (45min by car), and the largest lake in Mexico – Lake Chapala (1hr by car).
Moving Around the City
Another pull for us is that Guadalajara is a modern city with modern transportation options. Gdl can support its large population via an expanding metro system, busing system and bike sharing system (Mibici); not to mention ride sharing apps like Uber, Didi, and Cabify.
After living in a hot and humid climate, we welcomed the change that came with GDL. The weather here is classified as warm and temperate. A few locals shared that it doesn’t get too hot or too cold. It seems we’ve been chasing summer that last few years and we actually might need to buy more appropriate clothes this winter (cue hot cocoa and excitement).
Available cuisine also makes the list! Everywhere we travel, we make a point to explore and try the dishes native to the region. Some of the local cuisine includes birria, tortas ahogadas, pozole, carne en su jugo, and cantarito cocktail among many others. In additional to local flair, Guadalajara boosts a great international cuisine scene as well.
Guadalajara is proving to be the right move for us during this time. We look forward to learning more about the people (wonderful Tapatios) and the culture throughout our stay.