Often called Mexico's “Silicon Valley,” Guadalajara is the country's headquarters for Intel, IBM, HP, and many other tech firms. As such, it has been a destination for business travelers since the early 1990s.
There's much more to be seen and enjoyed in Guadalajara for those who aren't on business trips, however. The city has long attracted arts and culture aficionados with its world-renowned international film festival and international book fair, both held annually. Mexico's second largest city is also known for its mariachi festival, which attracts visitors from all over the world for 10 days every September.
Foodies know Guadalajara has exceptional restaurants—and that they don't just serve traditional or contemporary Mexican cuisine – and few travelers to the city miss a side trip to the town of Tequila to learn how Mexico's iconic spirit is made (and, of course, to try samples).
As if all that wasn't enough, sports fans regularly descend on the city for international competitions; the 2011 Pan American Games were held here and Mexico's premiere soccer team, the Chivas, calls Guadalajara home. Traditional events include bullfighting and charreria, both of which are alive and well in Guadalajara—and not just among fans from older generations.
Anytime is a good time to visit Guadalajara. Temperatures are mild year-round and the constant flow of business travel means that there's not a sharp distinction between high season and low season, keeping hotel prices relatively stable throughout the year.
You might be surprised to learn that this high-culture city isn't inaccessible to budget travelers. In fact, Guadalajara is exceedingly friendly for solo travelers, couples, and families on a shoestring, and the budget traveler's experience will be just as rich as that of the deep-pocketed traveler. Smart planning can help you save money and still see the best that Guadalajara has to offer.
Julie Schwietert Collazo is a freelance writer based in New York City.
Julie Schwietert Collazo is a freelance writer living in Havana.