Take a road trip through the outskirts of Guadalajara

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This amazing road trip contemplates the towns of Chapala, Ajijic, and Mazamitla, which combine adventure, history, folklore, and nature.

In 2021, the Guadalajara Convention and Visitors Bureau invites you to explore some of the most picturesque towns around the capital of Guadalajara, through an adventure road trip through Chapala and the Sierra del Tigre. Before starting, we suggest you arrive one day before your trip and stay in one of the options in Guadalajara, the next day early in the morning, we recommend having some birria for breakfast in the Nueve Esquinas or meat in its juice to leave with energy towards our first stop.

Birria is a Mexican dish from the state of Jalisco. The dish is a meat stew traditionally made from goat meat but occasionally made from beef or lamb. The dish is often served at breakfast in a bowl with fresh tortillas so you can prepare some good old tacos.

Birria Jalisco style (Archive)

Chapala is an amazing jewel that is located approximately 49 km from the state capital Guadalajara, and the estimated time to get there is 40 minutes by the Guadalajara-Chapala highway. One of the favorite activities for visitors is to walk its boardwalk, which stretches for approximately two kilometers in an imposing landscape, on the shores of the largest water mirror in Mexico. It is ideal to spend moments of tranquility either with family, partner or friends. Along the boardwalk you can find craft stalls, bars and restaurants that offer catch of the day.

20 minutes away by boat is Mezcala Island, an enigmatic point that served as a cult center for pre-Hispanic civilizations. Also here the only old military building in the state is preserved, the Mezcala prison, which was founded by José de la Cruz in 1817.

Very close to the town of Chapala is the recently named  Pueblo Mágico de Ajijic. You can go there taking the Jocotepec-Chapala highway for about 20 minutes. This magical town will immerse you in a state of well-being thanks to the tranquility emanating from its cobbled streets and its picturesque adobe houses. It also has a beach on Lake Chapala and a dock, where water sports such as sailing or windsurfing can be practiced. A walk along the boardwalk is always recommended, and of course, watching the sunset over the majestic Lake Chapala sitting on a bench.

In addition, Ajijic has become a benchmark for artistic expression, which is why its streets are full of colorful murals, sculptures, galleries, and handicrafts that fill every corner with life and folklore.

Where to eat: Teocintle Maíz, is a place of modern Mexican gastronomy that offers fresh dishes that pay homage to the quintessential Mexican grain: corn and respects the most traditional flavors. The dishes vary according to the season, to get the best quality food with seasonal products. 

Ajijic Tango is a picturesque restaurant located in the heart of the town. Its main specialty is Argentine food, barbecued meat, and wood-fired pizzas, although there are also dishes for vegetarians and vegans.

Ajijic, Jalisco (Archive)

Where to stay : Donaire is a Boutique Hotel in Ajijic that has been designed to enjoy a pleasant stay thanks to its architecture and design. It is located on the slopes of Cerro El Tepalo, so guests are surrounded by amazing wooded nature; the rooms have private terraces overlooking the lake. Location: Privada de Juárez 21, Ajijic.


The road from Ajijic to Mazamitla runs through some of the municipalities that make up the Ribera Chapala and also encompasses the  Sierra del Tigre route, therefore, the road scenes become a delight to behold, with diverse vegetation framed by beautiful mountain ranges. 

Head towards the Jocotepec-Chapala highway, following the Jocotepec signs until you pass the Guadalajara-Morelia highway. Continue the road through Tuxcueca-Mazamitla, towards the Colima-Mexico highway until you reach the roundabout with the monumental letters of Mazamitla.

Mazamitla is a Magical Town whose name means place of deer; It is known as the “Mexican Switzerland” thanks to its impressive mountainous landscapes. To start your tour in this town, we recommend you walk through the main square and visit the Parroquia de San Cristóbal, a religious site built in the mid-20th century that stands out for its eclectic style and its white facade with brown details.

Very close to the church is the Municipal Market, which is distinguished by offering a great variety of snacks and typical dishes, but also because tourists find crafts, traditional sweets, and textiles of all kinds.

Also, near the parish, there are two houses remodeled by Rafael Urzúa, one of the most renowned Jalisco architects. The first is the House for Luis Díaz Sánchez, on Calle Juárez number 9. The second, House for Prisciliano Sánchez Guadarrama, located on Calle Gómez Farías number 1. After visiting the center and its cultural attractions, you can visit Tabardillo hill, which is close to Mazamitla. It is a natural viewpoint, with an unbeatable view that encompasses the parish of San Cristóbal with the view of El Nevado and the Colima Volcano.

Mercado Mazamitla (Archive)

Where to eat:  the Municipal Market, located on the corner of Allende and Galeana streets, is perfect for tasting authentic flavors. Here you will find all kinds of regional snacks and also the so-called Bote, a stew with chicken, beef and pork meat and vegetables cooked in pulque. Another option is Posada Mazamitla, a picturesque regional food restaurant located on Hidalgo 2, a few steps from the main square.

Where to stay:  the best thing to do in Mazamitla is to try to stay in the middle of the forest, and take advantage of the location of the place. The Monteverde Cabins are ideal if you go as a couple or in a group, either with family or friends. It has a restaurant, sports areas, and they offer you horseback riding through the wooded surroundings and some adventure tours. Location: Jacinto Chavarría S / N, Centro. Hotel Rancho Epenche is another excellent option to rest in the middle of the mountains, in a 19th century house, which was adapted as a hotel preserving the original layout and some of its characteristic details such as wooden beams, adobe walls and the central patio. Location: Paso de los arrieros S / N.

The next day, you can go on excursions around Mazamitla and dedicate your day to adventure activities before returning to Guadalajara. The El Salto Waterfall, which is located in the “Los Cazos” subdivision, is a must for those looking to get in touch with nature. To get to the waterfall, which has a height of 35 meters, it is necessary to do a walk of approximately 40 minutes. After admiring the beauty of the place and taking a dip in its waters, you can take a tour of the subdivision, on horseback or in a safari truck.

Suspension bridge in Tierra Aventura, Mazamitla, Jallisco

For a little more extreme experience, you can visit Tierra Aventura, an ecological park located about 25 minutes from Mazamitla, at km 63 of the road to Colima. This place is ideal for those seeking adrenaline, in a wooded setting and very close to a waterfall. 

There are also activities such as rappelling and climbing, extreme zip lining, suspension bridge, gotcha, hiking, boat rides, and ATVs. If you go with children, there are areas with playgrounds, as well as a camping area.

Source: Tijuanotas

The Guadalajara Post

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