The second largest city in Mexico, Guadalajara is a unique mix of old and new. The city boasts the largest production of technology and software in Mexico while also preserving its love for tequila, mariachi music, and beautiful 16th-century architecture. Guadalajara maintains a pleasant climate year-round, with temperatures rarely rising above 89 degrees Fahrenheit. To enjoy mild, dry weather while exploring the city, book your trip during October – November, when the average high is 78 – 82 degrees Fahrenheit. If you prefer warmer weather, spring is a wonderful time to visit, and March – June also offers plenty of travel deals. December – February is the busiest and driest season in Guadalajara, so expect travel and accommodation prices to be higher. If you want to visit in summer, be prepared for higher temperatures and rainier weather. Summer is the quietest season.
You can fly direct to Guadalajara with Delta, United, American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Aeromexico, Volaris, VivaAerobus, and Interjet from many major U.S. cities. Copa and Aeromar also offer flights to Guadalajara with one or more stops.
Guadalajara airport, named after the “father of Mexican independence” Miguel Hidalgo, is located 16 kilometers south of the city center and offers many modes of transportation into the city.
Taxis are available from the airport to El Centro (city center) for a fixed rate of $200.00 MXN. You can order one at taxi kiosks once you have passed through the baggage claim area. Uber service is also available and it will cost you approximately $190.00 MXN to get downtown.
Bus services offer a city route that will take you downtown for $6.00 MXN. Look for buses with El Centro set as the destination. If you want to get into the city faster, there is an express route to Downtown Guadalajara for $12.00 MXN. Look for Central Vieja as the set destination. Both buses stop kitty-corner from the Terminal 1 exit.
Shuttles are always available to take you into the city, with departures from the airport every 30 minutes. Tickets can be bought after you have exited baggage claim; you don’t need to reserve. To find information on prices, visit this website.
Getting around in Guadalajara is easily done on foot as there are plenty of things to do in the pedestrian-friendly downtown area. If you’re looking for some activities further from the bustle of the city, you have a few choices of how to get there.
Ride the local Macrobús, which stops at many major tourist destinations, for only $6.00 MXN, or if you’re in a hurry, hop on the TUR express for $12.00 MXN. Be warned that the TUR express only covers part of the city and won’t take you to every popular destination. If you’re taking the bus frequently, there is an option to purchase a transit card for $15.00 MXN so that you can easily swipe to ride and cut down on carrying pocket change. The buses, while cheap, are very popular with locals, so be prepared for cramped spaces.
The metro is a cheaper alternative for getting around Guadalajara. One ride will cost you $7.00 MXN, while a transit card is $20.00 MXN. The lines run east-west and north-south and are used frequently by locals travelling to and from work. The metro won’t get you to as many tourist locations as the buses, but it does stop at some popular attractions such as the San Juan de Dios Market.
Many hotels are happy to arrange a taxi for you. Be careful to hail a cab that has its taxi license visible. It is appropriate to decide the fare before you leave for your destination, or tell the driver to turn on the meter, as they are often turned off. If you’re unsure of prices, ask a hotel or store attendant for an approximate amount. Often, prices increase by 25% in the evening hours from 10 pm – 6 am.
If you need a car, there are car rentals available at the airport or at Niños Heroes at Manzano. All that is required is a valid U.S. driver’s license. If you are not a confident driver, be aware that the U.S. State Department has issued warnings about driving in Guadalajara due to a busy downtown. With plenty of public transit options, driving is not required.
U.S. citizens don’t need a visa to enter Guadalajara. However, you must present a valid passport and fill out an immigration form, which is obtainable at travel agencies, airlines or at the point of entry to Mexico. For foreign nationals, please check this website.