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Guadalajara 2019 ISPA Congress - Travel Information
Congress Theme - The Strength Within Us

About Guadalajara & Travel Information


Restaurants | Bars | Museums | Markets | Other Places to Visit | Tours

Language | Climate | Time Zone | Visa | Currency Exchange | Taxes & Refund | Transportation

* Please note that the actual exchange rate may be different from the rates displayed here.

Guadalajara, the soul of Mexico

It is known for being the birthplace of important and distinguished symbols for both, Mexico and the rest of the world: mariachi, tequila, and of course, charreria. Furthermore, it is known as the trading and cultural center of Western Mexico: the Silicon Valley of Latin America. Ever since its founding, when it was known as “Nueva Galicia”, Guadalajara has always been the center point for the area, which is the reason why it is known as the Western Pearl. (Perla del Pacífico). Due to its quality of life as well as its economy, this cosmopolitan city is considered the second most important in Mexico. It is characterized by its authentic colonial architecture, where every historical building has a story inside its walls and they remind us of the social, political and economic changes of our country.

Guadalajara is a cultural center of Mexico, considered by most to be the home of mariachi music and host to a number of large-scale cultural events such as the Guadalajara International Film Festival, the Guadalajara International Book Fair, and globally renowned cultural events which draw international crowds. It is home to the C.D. Guadalajara, one of the most popular football clubs in Mexico. This city was named the American Capital of Culture for 2005. Guadalajara hosted the 2011 Pan American Games.


You won’t find better coffee in Guadalajara than at Pal’real, a leafy, laid-back cafe run by award-winning baristas. Don’t pass up the opportunity to match it with Pal’real’s speciality snack, the lonche de pancita. This heavenly baguette – filled with crispy shredded pork belly, green salsa, refried beans, avocado, red onion and fresh coriander – may be the best money you ever spend.


One of our favorite top-end restaurants in Guadalajara, the 'Mayor' is chef Francisco Ruano's latest local venture, having cut his teeth at El Celler de Can Roca in Girona and Noma in Copenhagen. Try his green aguachile soup with green apples or his tomatoes in three ways to start, followed by his 'black dish' of grilled pork in rich mole, homemade blood sausage/pudding and blackened rice.

La Tequila

Boasting a menu of classic Mexican dishes with contemporary touches, such as divine chiles en nogada (stuffed chiles bathed in a creamy walnut sauce and topped with pomegranate seeds) and Mexico City style noodle soup. They also have an understandably extensive tequila menu with over 200 brands, as well as various mezcal and wine options. The place itself is beautifully decorated; there is a terrace bar seating option, and the wait staff are attentive and welcoming. Furthermore, the ingredients are, where possible, all locally sourced.

Karnes Garibaldi

A veritable Guadalajara institution, and one that the locals love to recommend, is Karne Garibaldi. Famous for having broken the Guinness World Record with their service time of 13.5 seconds, this restaurant is one you have to try while in the capital of Jalisco. Speed is not the only selling point here though, as the carne en su jugo (a form of meat stew) is both a traditional Jalisco dish and absolutely delicious. Make sure to visit in the day and explore Santa Tere (the neighborhood in which it’s located), an up-and-coming area of Guadalajara.

9 Esquinas

Birría (goat stew) is a Jalisco specialty dish and one of the best birrierías in the city is Birriería de Nueve Esquinas, located in the fantastically cultural centro histórico of Guadalajara. For those holidaymakers wishing to take advantage of their stay in Guadalajara and branch out from the usual food that can be found back home, this is well worth a visit. Soak up the atmosphere, the colorful decorations, and enjoy the company of the locals at this restaurant.

Fonda de la noche

Set in a rambling art nouveau house, this restaurant is a stunner in every way. The cuisine is largely from the Durango region and it would be fair to say that absolutely anything is tasty. The menu is simple and largely spoken, but the affable owner, Carlos, does speak basic English. Try the plato combinado – a selection of the chef's four prize dishes. Also excellent is chiles en nogada (mild green chilies stuffed with meat and fruit, fried in batter and served with a sauce of cream, ground walnuts and cheese).

It's a little hard to find: the door is unmarked and it's on a quiet residential area on the northwest corner of Jesús and Reforma.

Lula Bistro

At Lula Bistro, Chef Darren Walsh has implanted in Guadalajara a gourmet and haute cuisine dreamland, with giant-sized plates and bite-sized portions. Mole is squeezed into a sorbet, appetizers are hung on miniature pot plants and coffee is served in mayonnaise jars instead of cups. Distinción Bohemia awarded Walsh the accolade of best chef and best restaurant, with recognition of his risk-taking and contribution to Guadalajara cuisine. Classic Mexican influences are to be found but hardly recognized in the exciting creations at Lula Bistro.


Run by the affable Chef Poncho Cadena, Hueso has a decadent 8-course menu that will blow your mind and fill you to bursting. The menu combines traditional Mexican fruits and flavors like mole, guayaba and mango with high-end proteins like foie gras and blue fin tuna. The ambiance is set with a giant family-style table and, accordance with its name, which means "bone" in Spanish, the decor is startling white with various bones everywhere you look.

Anita Li

A restaurant that is personified by a young lady who emanates an air of cool can only equate to a hot place to be in Guadalajara. Anita-Li is not only a happening watering hole in this young and vibrant western Mexican city but a destination for fine and colorful dining. With light and airy French touches using local ingredients: the huitlacoche fondue (corn smut fondue, served with small white toasted bites) and roasted brie cross over with modern Mexican to distinctly European. Staying firmly rooted in the kitsch this inviting Guadalajaran venue hosts an array of wonderful creations.


A warm place with homemade air in which an imaginative menu of dishes made with vegetables is served, perfect for vegans and non-vegans. Try the cauliflower wings, you won't regret it!

La Occidental

The Mexican equivalent of your local pub, a cantina is a cheap, traditional, and homely place where friends gather to drink and talk for hours. With live bands playing Cuban trova and bolero music on Thursday and Sunday nights, La Occidental has a lively but never intimidating atmosphere and feels like a set from the 1950s golden age of Mexican cinema.

La Fuente

Opening in 1921, this famous Cantina-Museum is located in the Historic Center. It is considered the most popular and iconic, as it was the meeting point of artists and intellectuals. A rusty and dirty bicycle has become the stuff of legends – hear the many myths about how it came to the place more than 60 years ago. The main bar dates from the fifties and although the place has been remodeled, it preserves the essence and architecture of the times in which it opened its doors for the first time. La Fuente will always have in its bar the best tequila, from the Premium to the "garrasperos". So, the one who went to Guadalajara and did not go to La Fuente, does not know Guadalajara.

El Parián

This restaurant could be considered to be the largest canteen in the world. It’s really just a large square flanked by columns and surrounded by restaurants and bars. During the Mexican Revolution it was a downscale and dirty place to eat and drink; now it’s one of the city’s main attractions, and mariachi bands frequently approach the tables to ask visitors if they would like a song. We recommend that you agree a price in advance.

Hospicio Cabañas

This UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the biggest hospital complexes in the Americas. Now, it’s used as a home to some of Mexico’s coolest art, including murals by Orozco. The building itself as a rich history and the art exhibits are some of the best we’ve seen in Mexico. Entry to the galleries is 60 pesos per person.


The Museo Raúl Anguiano (MURA) opened just 14 years ago, but it is considered one of the finest places for modern art in Guadalajara. The constant showings of art have allowed a great number of artists to exhibit their work in the three galleries of this incredible place.

Museo Regional de Guadalajara

The museum is located in one of the buildings that anyone can appreciate, both for its extraordinary beauty and architectural harmony as for its antiquity (it was built between 1742 and 1758) and its many uses throughout the history of the city: seat of the Conciliar Seminary of San José (founded in 1699); jail and barracks (1810); lyceum of males and public library of the state (from February 8, 1818 to December 2, 1860). On November 10, 1918 it was opened to the public as the Museum of Fine Arts and in 1923 it changed its name to the Guadalajara Museum, although it would popularly be known as the state museum. Entry is 55 pesos.


Opened in 1994, this museum shows modern art in a building constructed in French Renaissance style architecture.


Since 2002, the Zapopan Art Museum has been renowned for contemporary art, including displays of work from architects Maria Emilia Orendáin and Enrique Toussaint.

Ex Convento del Carmen

This museum shows works of art, concerts and exhibitions. The five rooms and an auditorium surrounding a large central courtyard are a privileged place for showcases of painting, photography or sculpture by national and international artists.

San Juan de Dios

Laid out over 3 floors and separated into sections of everything from dried herbs, to footwear, to Mexican wrestling masks. Even if you’re not buying, put a few hours aside on your to do list for San Juan de Dios. You simply have to experience this place.


Tlaquepaque is one of Mexico’s pueblos mágicos (magic towns). This sweet town is home to many artisans and has some of the region's best pottery and glassware. Come here to spend the day wandering along the avenue, browsing at boutique shops and artisan stalls. Tlaquepaque is a 20-minute drive from Guadalajara and an Uber there costs 80 pesos.

Arena Coliseo

Watching masked luchadores (wrestlers) with names like El Terrible and Blue Panther gut-punching each other makes for a memorable night out. Expect scantily clad women, insult-hurling crowds and screaming doughnut vendors: it’s all part of the fun of this classic Mexican pastime.

Estadio Jalisco

Guadalajara is home to two football teams: Club Deportivo Guadalajara, aka Chivas, the most popular club in Mexico; and their fierce rivals Atlas, whose sole league title came in 1951. Chivas play at the Estadio Chivas, a sleek, modern bowl on the city’s western outskirts, but for a better atmosphere head across town to Atlas’s Estadio Jalisco, a rustic behemoth surrounded by dive bars and street-food stands in a working-class neighborhood. Don’t miss the local derby, el clásico tapatío, if it coincides with your visit.


A busy road split down the middle by a walkway, this is where the action in the Chapultepec neighborhood is happening. On weekends a busy artisanal market lines the pedestrianized center and there are numerous funky bars up and down the street.

If you are not staying in this neighborhood, head over this way in the late afternoon and hang out for the evening as one of the fun things to do in Guadalajara at night.

Catedral (Guadalajara Cathedral)

Guadalajara Cathedral is a must-see for visitors to the city. The crazy mix of architecture makes this quite the quirky cathedral. The cathedral was built in the 1560s, taking around 50 years to complete. An earthquake destroyed the original towers in 1818. They were replaced in 1854 by architect Manuel Gomez Ibarra, which is why they look so distinctly different in style from the rest of the building. Entry is free.

Centro histórico (Historic Center)

If you’re looking for things to do in Guadalajara, head over to the Centro Historico. Take off early in the morning to see the historic sights, beautiful architecture and the stunning yellow spires of Guadalajara Cathedral.

Plaza de los Mariachis

This place, in the heart of downtown, is a favorite of locals looking for a mariachi band to get them in the party mood, or a classical serenade at midnight. It’s also a popular tourist destination, and although it’s not the most elegant or sophisticated place in the city, it’s one of the most original.

The Guadalajara Convention Bureau has put together these great guided tour options. Download the tour catalog.

To get more information or book your tour, please email: with copy to Mention that you are attending the ISPA Congress and what tour you're interested in. Customer support is offered in both English and Spanish.

  • Mexico is home to the world’s largest population of Spanish speakers.
  • Spanish is the official language with more than 68 indigenous languages also spoken.
  • English is a second language spoken in the Tourism Industry
  • Guadalajara's weather is mostly mild with an average temperature of 22°C / 71°F
  • The warmest months, April and May, are hot and dry, with average temperatures of 33°C/91°F to 13°C/55 °F.
  • Summer attire and light clothing are recommended as the evening may remain warm.
  • Most of Mexico including Mexico City, Monterrey, Guadalajara, and Merida, adheres to Central Standard Time (GMT -6 hours).

Mexico Entry Requirements for Tourists and Short Term Business Visitors

  • The monetary unit is the Mexican Peso (MXN)
  • It is convenient to change currency in a "Casa de Cambio" (exchange bureau) or at the bank.
  • Banks are plentiful in Guadalajara and most have ATMs from which you can withdraw Mexican pesos directly from credit/debit card.
  • If you're going to be traveling in rural areas, be sure to take enough cash with you. (ATMs may be scarce)

If you go shopping during your trip to Mexico, you may be able to apply for a tax refund on your purchases. The tourist tax refund is only available to international tourists who buy at specific stores that participate in the program, and they must leave the country by sea or by air from certain airports.

  • To be eligible for the tax refund, you must have spent at least 1,200 PESOS on Mexican goods.
  • There's no refund for services, hotel and food expenses. If the purchase was paid in cash, the total taken into account will not surpass 3,000 Pesos.
  • MasterCard, Visa, & American Express are accepted.
  • If you're going to be traveling in rural areas, be sure to take enough cash with you. (ATMs may be scarce)
  • Learn more about how to obtain a tax refund.
  • At the Guadalajara International Airport you will be able to find different Taxi and Rental Car companies. In the Metropolitan Area, there are 16,000 taxis, of which 5,000 are exclusively for tourist services. When coming from the airport, visit one of the authorized taxi counters.
  • Uber is also an option but if you prefer public transportation, buses are readily available. Taxi cab fares to/from airport: 20 USD


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