Situated in western Mexico, the state of Jalisco is famous as the origin of tequila, mariachi, and ranchera music. With its western boundary on the Pacific Ocean, Jalisco also borders the states of Michoacán, Colima, San Luis Potosi, Nayarit, Guanajuato, Zacatecas, and Aguascalientes. The state’s capital is Guadalajara, which is located in the central region of Jalisco. The state remains a favorite tourist destination with popular resort towns like Puerto Vallarta. Its reputation as the home of the Mexican cowboy and sombrero remains well intact and is celebrated along with contributions of the indigenous peoples of the state to create one of the country’s most thriving regions.
Admitted as a Mexican state in 1823, Jalisco boasts an area of 30,347 square miles. With a total population of 7,459,528, the state is one of Mexico’s most populous. The metropolitan region of Guadalajara is second only in terms of population to Mexico City. The capital boasts a vibrant economy that is based on industry like manufacturing and information technology; in fact, my foreign corporations and firms are based in Guadalajara and the city remains a major economic hub of the country.
Jalisco is noted for its diverse landscape. With its beaches, tropical forests, temperate forests, lakes, and plains, Jalisco also lies on the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt. Among the eco-systems of the state are cloud forests and mangroves. There are protected beaches for marine turtles and savannas that slope toward the ocean. Jalisco’s various rivers and streams head primarily to the Pacific. Lake Chapala, the largest lake in the country, is located in Jalisco as well as Michoacán. The lake is a popular Jalisco attraction. From the mountains to the coast, the state celebrates a wide array of flora and fauna. Its plant life includes pine trees, white oak trees, juniper, chaparral, mesquite, and citrus trees to name a few. Wildlife includes such animals as armadillo, ocelot, iguana, rattle snake, coral snake, parrot, and many other species. The waters off the coast boast snapper, wahoo, crab, lobster, octopus, and sea bass.
Archeologists believe that people arrived in the area of Jalisco about 15,000 years ago. The pre-Columbian period in western Mexico witnessed its first settlements in the Jalisco region. The earliest settlement to reach city proportions was at Ixtepete, which continues to impress historians with its tombs. Game lured many groups into the area around the tenth century A.D. Tribes like the Cuyutlan and Coco left considerable evidence behind regarding their culture and civilization. Artifacts also reflect influence of the Toltec and Teotihuacan peoples. The P’urhepecha become the dominate group of the region by the early fourteenth century. Jalisco’s colonial period began not long after the Aztec conquest. Explorers were sent by Cortes into the region by 1522. The Spanish used brutal force to subdue local populations, but there were multiple uprisings throughout the colonial era as elsewhere in Mexico. Guadalajara was founded in 1542 and increased in importance over time as a trade center; the city was noted for importing goods from the coast and making them available for other areas of the country. During the War for Independence, Jalisco was the site of various battles and was a major battleground area during the Mexican Revolution. Today, the state is celebrated for its history, culture, and prosperous economy.
The capital is a sprawling urban area that is considered the tenth largest city in Latin America. Guadalajara enjoys a business-friendly reputation and many companies from across the world have invested in the city’s economy. Not surprisingly, the capital is a favorite destination among visitors to the state. A wealth of cultural attractions and historical landmarks dot the cityscape. Its historic downtown is a picturesque area filled with the city’s oldest structures. The city is also famous for its beautiful parks and squares. Among the Jalisco’s most popular sites are the Guadalajara Cathedral, the Jalisco Regional Museum, Plaza Tapatia, Plaza de Armas, and the Palace of Justice. Monuments of historical and cultural significance are located in various areas of the city and world class hotels and restaurants are also found in this exciting capital city.
The state’s most popular tourist centers include the capital, Puerto Vallarta, Lake Chapala, and the mountain regions. The town of Tequila also attracts many visitors. Puerto Vallarta is regarded as a famous resort town and is situated on Banderas Bay. Its many beaches and resorts provide vacationers with a myriad of activities based on both land and water. Sport fishing, scuba, snorkeling, and sailing are some popular water activities while hiking, beach combing, and experiencing the exciting nightlife are popular recreational activities on land. While the state continues to promote eco-adventures in many regions, it also boasts popular golf courses and spas.
Other Things to See and Do in Jalisco
Ciudad Guzman: Located south of Guadalajara, this city was historically the home of the Zapotlan people. Recently, the city has been nicknamed the “Athens of Jalisco” for its artist population. The old part of the city attracts many visitors with its cathedral and historic structures.
Ajijc: Located on the northern shore of Lake Chapala, this scenic mountain town offers a more serene landscape than the more vibrant and crowded beaches of Puerto Vallarta.
Marietas Islands: A popular day-trip from Puerto Vallarta, these Pacific islands boast great snorkeling, scuba diving, and kayaking adventures.
Museum of Huichol Indian Handicrafts: This Guadalajara museum is a popular tourist destination and important cultural venue showcasing artifacts and handcrafts of the Huichol.
Tequila Express: This train ride is a luxury tour from Guadalajara to the town of Tequila. It features enchanting scenic views until it reaches its destination—an old hacienda that showcases the traditional tequila-making process.
Liberty Market: Touted as the largest covered market in Latin America, this Guadalajara venue is a must-experience attraction for anyone visiting the city. From Jalisco culinary specialties to area handcrafts like authentic sombreros, this market has a fascinating selection of wares.
Barranca de Huentitan: This canyon-filled region is located north of the capital. Boasting both tropical and deciduous forest, the picturesque landscape lures backpackers, hikers, and campers to experience its natural beauty.
International Mariachi Festival: This annual Guadalajara event draws a massive audience to celebrate the arts, culture, and music of the state. Moreover, the event is regarded as the largest mariachi music event in the world.