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Mexico's beautiful landscape.
Mexico's beautiful landscape.
Ben takes his seat to people-watch.
Guadalajara's four-storey central market.

Guadalajara

Thursday, August 24, 2000
The home of tequila, mariachi music, the sombrero, the charreadas and the Mexican hat dance... Arriba! Arriba!

Guadalajara has a population of five million, making it Mexico's second-largest city. The state of Jalisco is home to tequila, mariachi music, the sombrero, the charreadas or rodeo and the Mexican hat dance.

Guadalajara was at three locations before being settled on its current site in 1542. Many North Americans have settled in this pretty city with its wide streets, colonial buildings, squares, trees and countless parks.

In the centre of the city you will find museums, the cathedral, the shopping district and restaurants. Construction of the cathedral began soon after settlement in 1542 but was not complete until the early 18th century. Earthquakes destroyed the towers and facade of the cathedral in the 19th century, but it was rebuilt and remains the city's most famous symbol.

Just east of the downtown plazas is Latin America's largest market, the Mercado Libertad or Mercado San Juan de Dios, named after the river which flows below the market. The marketplace covers an area of four city blocks and is three storeys high. You can spend hours browsing and haggling over baskets, pottery, clothing, flowers, guitars, food and, of course, the ubiquitous sombrero.

These days it's pretty much just mariachis who wear sombreros in Mexico — others lean towards the more conservative panama. Mariachis are all over the city, busking and playing their guitars in restaurants. They will play requests in return for pesos.

Less than an hour away, lying in the shadow of a volcano, is the town of Tequila, which is small in size but large in the production of Mexico's national drink. This liquid is from the agave plant and was created by the Aztecs in the 16th century. Tours of tequila distilleries are available and you pass the jimadores harvesting the agave on your drive into Tequila. They work from about 5am until noon. Tequila is a popular drink worldwide, it is exported to more than 100 countries. It is the base for margaritas, tequila sunrises and hundred of other exotic cocktails. The brave drink it straight or with the traditional lick of salt and a suck of fresh lime.

Sixteen kilometres from town is the 3000m-high Tequila volcano. You can drive to the top along a cobblestone road and experience the rapidly changing flora and fauna as you climb — as many as 60 bird species can be seen in a single day.

The volcano has a remarkably well-preserved central spine which is of enormous interest to geologists, but the spectacular views from the top are what lure travellers to take the winding road.

Any time of year is good to visit this part of the world but the Tequila Fair is held from the end of November to mid-December.

Location

Guadalajara is the capital of Jalisco, in Mexico.

Cost

Adventure World has packages, including two nights accommodation at the Fenix Hotel, Guadalajara, and transfers, starting from $326 per person twin-share.
Qantas flies daily to Los Angeles, with American Airlines connections to Guadalajara. Return airfares start at $2645 from the east coast, $2695 from Adelaide and $3445 from Perth.
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission and to the best of our knowledge are inclusive of GST.

More information

Adventure World: 1300 363 055
Email: info@adventureworld.com.au
Qantas: 13 1313
Best Western: 13 1779
Web: www.bestwestern.com.au

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