The Cultural Quintessence of Mexico- 6 days,6 cultural & historic towns #TravelOnAClock

Tripoto
24th Sep 2017
Photo of The Cultural Quintessence of Mexico- 6 days,6 cultural & historic towns #TravelOnAClock by Indigirlious.Travel

Highlights of Plaze De Armas include a Spanish Renaissance style Roman Cathedral with Neo gothic spires, built in 1500's that is been remodeled in later centuries due to the damage caused by a fire and earth quakes. I was stunned by its rich vintage architectural exterior and was curious to step inside. Inside this royal structure, is a peaceful prayer hall with high ceilings, numerous arches and altars in colorful stained glass. It was fascinating to be in a place of significance that dates back centuries and few mins of silence there restored a sense of inner peace in me.

Photo of Guadalajara Cathedral, Avenida Fray Antonio Alcalde, Zona Centro, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico by Indigirlious.Travel

Wrestling and boxing are very popular sports in Mexico like football in USA and Cricket in India. I have seen the locals, both men and women, glued to the televisions at local food stalls and restaurants catching up boxing leagues. For anyone looking to get a closer look at these sports while visiting Mexico, I would recommend this wrestling show at Arena Coliseo in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. It is similar to the WWE shows, orchestrated for entertainment and happens every Tuesday in this location. With a lot of fans cheering for their favorite wrestlers and their teams, it was a fun sport spirit filled night.

Wrestling show at Arena Coliseo
Day 3

The next day, I visited Tlaquepaque, which is around ~30 mins to 1 hour from Guadalajara. And I would say its a must-visit for anyone visiting Mexico as it offers a bit of everything that Mexico has - Rich culture & history, antique to modern arts, heritage music & dance forms, mouth-watering street food.

The main street boasts a colorful display of the name of the town, typical yellow to blue colored streets, and art works depicting their history and struggle for independence.

Photo of Giant Tlaquepaque Letters, Calle Independencia, Centro, Tlaquepaque, Jalisco, Mexico by Indigirlious.Travel
Photo of Giant Tlaquepaque Letters, Calle Independencia, Centro, Tlaquepaque, Jalisco, Mexico by Indigirlious.Travel
Photo of Giant Tlaquepaque Letters, Calle Independencia, Centro, Tlaquepaque, Jalisco, Mexico by Indigirlious.Travel
Photo of Giant Tlaquepaque Letters, Calle Independencia, Centro, Tlaquepaque, Jalisco, Mexico by Indigirlious.Travel

The key area to visit in Tlaquepaque is the Centro/El Parián, a large plaza flanked by columned arcades and surrounded by restaurants, bars and quite a lot of street food stalls. I sampled a variety of food and beverages from refreshing lemonades served in small clay pot to warm Nutella rolls and freshly baked chocolate pudding cakes.

Photo of Centro, Tlaquepaque, Jalisco, Mexico by Indigirlious.Travel
Photo of Centro, Tlaquepaque, Jalisco, Mexico by Indigirlious.Travel
Photo of Centro, Tlaquepaque, Jalisco, Mexico by Indigirlious.Travel
Photo of Centro, Tlaquepaque, Jalisco, Mexico by Indigirlious.Travel

After cherishing all the delicious street food, I roamed the cobblestone alleys strolling through the fancy antique art stores featuring collectible art pieces to typical street stores selling all sorts of home decor.

Photo of Antigua de México, Calle Independencia, Centro, Tlaquepaque, Jalisco, Mexico by Indigirlious.Travel
Photo of Antigua de México, Calle Independencia, Centro, Tlaquepaque, Jalisco, Mexico by Indigirlious.Travel
Photo of Antigua de México, Calle Independencia, Centro, Tlaquepaque, Jalisco, Mexico by Indigirlious.Travel
Photo of Antigua de México, Calle Independencia, Centro, Tlaquepaque, Jalisco, Mexico by Indigirlious.Travel
Photo of Antigua de México, Calle Independencia, Centro, Tlaquepaque, Jalisco, Mexico by Indigirlious.Travel

There are a few ways to explore the Tequila town. One of them is to take a tasting tour of a distillery, another is to board the Tequila express. I choose to tour the world famous Jose Cuervo distillery as I was keen to learn and observe first hand, the production process of Tequila. I reached the Tequila town around 11 in the morning and opted for a tour that's open in the late afternoon the same day.

With yellow-red bright colored walls, antique wrought iron railings and heavy wooden sculpted doorways, the distillery is a visual retreat of the royal vintage architecture of Mexico.

Entrance of Jose Cuervo Distillery

Photo of Fábrica La Rojeña, José Cuervo, Centro, Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico by Indigirlious.Travel

Inside Jose Cuervo distillery

Photo of Fábrica La Rojeña, José Cuervo, Centro, Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico by Indigirlious.Travel

Inside Jose Cuervo distillery

Photo of Fábrica La Rojeña, José Cuervo, Centro, Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico by Indigirlious.Travel
Day 6

And no vacation or travel trip is complete without a shopping haul !! So I visited Leon, a manufacturing hub for a lot of named brands and produces genuine leather jackets, all types of bags from handbags to office bags to luggage bags and amazing footwear (sandals, shoes). It is known for its annual trade expo that attracts business owners from all over the world.

Day 7

From Guadalajara, I took a bus back to Mexico city and then flew back to USA directly from Mexico city.

That's my journey in the interiors and less traveled roads of Mexico that took me a step closer to its roots, heritage arts & cultures and age old businesses of the country.

Hope you enjoyed reading it through and may bits and pieces of this blog help you to plan your journey in this beautiful gem of a country.

-Sowmya Podila

If you liked this article and want to read more travel stories from this author, visit https://indigirlioustravel.wordpress.com

This post is initially published on https://indigirlioustravel.wordpress.com

If you are interested to read about why i fell in love with Mexico and my first week of travel in the pristine white sand beaches of Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico (Cancun, Tulum !!), you can read it here, A Love Story With Travel - Unique experiences in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico !!.

After spending a relaxing week and enjoying the most beautiful beach vacation of my life in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, I flew from Cancun to Mexico city, the capital of Mexico. To me exploring a country means exploring its roots, history & culture and the way of living of people there as well. In my research, I learnt that Mexico is a country thriving on its arts and manufacturing industries as much as it is on tourism. So I planned to spend the second week visiting some of the cultural and industrial towns of Mexico. Below is the break down of my journey.

Week 2 - Glance of the Itinerary

Mexico city - Guadalajara, A Major cultural center - Tlaquepaque(back to Guadalajara) - Tequila town (back to Guadalajara) - Santa Clara del Cobre, Copper town of Mexico(back to Guadalajara) - Leon, Shoe capital of the world (back to Guadalajara) - Mexico city

Photo of Mexico by Indigirlious.Travel
Day 1

I flew to Mexico City, the capital from Cancun with a plan to stay in the city and travel to the neighboring towns from there. Unfortunately Mexico was hit by an earthquake a couple weeks before my trip and there were after shakes the day I landed in Mexico city. So after a chat with my Airbnb host who is a local, I realized that I would not be helpful to volunteer for any of the support activities going on in the city as I can't speak Spanish. And I definitely can't be a tourist roaming around during such sad times. Hence I decided to shift my base from Mexico city to Guadalajara, the second populous city of Mexico. It is a 7-8 hour bus ride from Mexico City and usually a lot of buses are available without pre-booking from the local bus station.

The bus I took was quite comfortable with recliner seating, AC, TV and a gaming console for each individual seat and it was a smooth overnight journey from Mexico City to Guadalajara. You can choose to directly fly to Guadalajara as well if that's your primary destination.

City Center, Mexico City

Photo of Mexico City, CDMX, Mexico by Indigirlious.Travel

Street filled with arts, Mexico City

Photo of Mexico City, CDMX, Mexico by Indigirlious.Travel
Day 2

Guadalajara is the capital of the state of Jalisco and a major Mexican cultural center, as it is considered by most to be the home of the famous mariachi genre of music.

I chose to stay at Hotel Aquiles in Guadalajara as my base and made day trips to a bunch of towns 1.5-3 hour drive away. The hotel was a budget stay ($30 per night) in a central location and was quite clean, well maintained with good reviews on booking.com.

Day 5

I had an interest for copper and using copper utensils on a day to day basis for drinking water because for the health benefits. And when I heard about Santa Clara Del Cobre, the copper town of Mexico, I had the urge to visit it.

Major occupation of people of this town has been working with copper the 1500's and even the town is named after copper (Cobre means copper). And this town is listed under the Pueblo Magicos (magical towns) of mexico. It is such a small town situated in the mountains with hilly terrain-ed streets with copper stores all over.

Photo of Santa Clara del Cobre, Michoacán, Mexico by Indigirlious.Travel
Photo of Santa Clara del Cobre, Michoacán, Mexico by Indigirlious.Travel
Photo of Santa Clara del Cobre, Michoacán, Mexico by Indigirlious.Travel

There are a couple of huge malls really popular for shopping these local made products and a lot of street shops where the products are made at the back of those stores themselves.

Full Itinerary of Week 2 - Guadalajara and the Pueblo Magico towns of Mexico

One of the must visit areas in Guadalajara is its historical center, Plaza de Armas. It starts with a wrought-iron bandstand that's brought from Europe on the eve of centenary celebrations of independence of Mexico.

Photo of Plaza de Armas, Zona Centro, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico by Indigirlious.Travel

I visited the major streets lined up with copper towns and a couple of major stores - Cobre El Porton and Mina De Cobre Martillado. When I was interacting with the store owners, I was fascinated to hear that they export to a lot of copper stores in LA, Miami and San Francisco of USA. I could see the making of copper vessels at the back of these stores and also bought half a dozen copper mugs (mules) for my home from here.

There is also a copper museum in this town to visit if you are interested to learn more.

Photo of Cobre El Porton, Pino Suárez, Centro, Santa Clara del Cobre, Michoacán, Mexico by Indigirlious.Travel
Photo of Cobre El Porton, Pino Suárez, Centro, Santa Clara del Cobre, Michoacán, Mexico by Indigirlious.Travel
Photo of Cobre El Porton, Pino Suárez, Centro, Santa Clara del Cobre, Michoacán, Mexico by Indigirlious.Travel
Photo of Cobre El Porton, Pino Suárez, Centro, Santa Clara del Cobre, Michoacán, Mexico by Indigirlious.Travel

I choose to visit the two malls mentioned above. I was thrilled by the amazing variety and quality of products at those shopping malls and the low prices. I bought the gold floral sneakers and the Nicole Lee wallet in the picture below. And 4-5 pairs of causal sandals, ballerina shoes for myself and a few pairs of shoes and hang bags for my friends and family from here. I had to add a carry-on on my return journey to accommodate them though. Overall, I would say it's a trip worth making if you like to shop.

To the north of the Cathedral, you will find the green park of Plaza de la Rotonda, Rotunda of the Illustrious People of Jalisco, honoring notable people from the state of Jalisco who distinguished themselves in arts, science, education, human rights, law, and politics.

After a tiring day at the distillery and tasting premium tequila, I was super hungry and wanted to eat some comfort. Even though the town boasts many distillery headquarters, It seemed like a small rural remote town in the mountains with very few food options. And I found this pizza place called pizzet's that served delicious hot pizzas in this small town. And those few slices of pizza revived me for the drive back till Guadalajara.

Other notable places to visit in this main square are the government palace/office buildings, Tapatia plaza that has the tourism office and a modern insta-worthy fountain, artworks in the area like the four boys fountain and the liberty market that sells local jewelry and arts.

Government Palace

Photo of The Cultural Quintessence of Mexico- 6 days,6 cultural & historic towns #TravelOnAClock by Indigirlious.Travel

Tapatia Plaza

Photo of The Cultural Quintessence of Mexico- 6 days,6 cultural & historic towns #TravelOnAClock by Indigirlious.Travel

Four boys fountain

Photo of The Cultural Quintessence of Mexico- 6 days,6 cultural & historic towns #TravelOnAClock by Indigirlious.Travel

Liberty Market

Photo of The Cultural Quintessence of Mexico- 6 days,6 cultural & historic towns #TravelOnAClock by Indigirlious.Travel

Overall, the plaza area seemed like a quite popular family hangout area of the locals and was quite entertaining with parades, performances on the street by kids, food stalls and tour buses. I would highly recommend spending a relaxed evening here for anyone visiting Guadalajara.

Photo of The Cultural Quintessence of Mexico- 6 days,6 cultural & historic towns #TravelOnAClock by Indigirlious.Travel
Photo of The Cultural Quintessence of Mexico- 6 days,6 cultural & historic towns #TravelOnAClock by Indigirlious.Travel
Photo of The Cultural Quintessence of Mexico- 6 days,6 cultural & historic towns #TravelOnAClock by Indigirlious.Travel
Photo of The Cultural Quintessence of Mexico- 6 days,6 cultural & historic towns #TravelOnAClock by Indigirlious.Travel
Photo of The Cultural Quintessence of Mexico- 6 days,6 cultural & historic towns #TravelOnAClock by Indigirlious.Travel

And the final stop for the day is the cultural center of El Parian where the traditional Danza de los Voladores and Mariachi bands are performed.

Danza de los Voladores (Flying pole), an ancient Mesoamerican ritual known to be performed to please gods, is named an intangible cultural heritage of UNESCO. It consists of dance and the climbing of a 30-meter pole from which four of the five participants then launch themselves tied with ropes to descend to the ground. The fifth remains on top of the pole, dancing and playing a flute and drum. It is performed in isolated pockets of Mexico as of today and a feast to watch.

Photo of The Cultural Quintessence of Mexico- 6 days,6 cultural & historic towns #TravelOnAClock by Indigirlious.Travel
Photo of The Cultural Quintessence of Mexico- 6 days,6 cultural & historic towns #TravelOnAClock by Indigirlious.Travel
Photo of The Cultural Quintessence of Mexico- 6 days,6 cultural & historic towns #TravelOnAClock by Indigirlious.Travel
Photo of The Cultural Quintessence of Mexico- 6 days,6 cultural & historic towns #TravelOnAClock by Indigirlious.Travel

And the highlight of my visit to Tlaquepaque is watching the Mariachi band performance at El Parian De Tlaquapaque restaurant. It was a traditional Zapateado dance to Mariachi music, with women flaunting colorful skirts and men performing a shoe tapping dance to the tunes. It was quite festive, energetic and mesmerizing to watch.

After passing sometime in this gorgeous property, I toured the facility learning about the production of tequila from the scratch. Here is a glimpse of the process I have toured.

Step 1 of Tequila production: Harvesting these yummy agave fruits and bringing them to the distillery. Surprising fact, It takes 7-8 years for an Agave fruit to fully grow. I got to taste the fruit after first round of distillation and its super juicy and sweet.

Photo of The Cultural Quintessence of Mexico- 6 days,6 cultural & historic towns #TravelOnAClock by Indigirlious.Travel

Next steps of Tequila production: Boiling the Agave fruit up to 48 hours to extract concentrated juice to be used for tequila, fermenting it and then distilling it to get a 40% alcohol tequila. Surprising fact, the pulp of agave left over is used to make paper and small baskets !

Boilers at Jose Cuervo distillery

Photo of The Cultural Quintessence of Mexico- 6 days,6 cultural & historic towns #TravelOnAClock by Indigirlious.Travel

Next step is to age the tequila in these barrels for different time spans ranging from 12-18 months for a rested tequila, 2-3 years for an aged tequila and 7-8 years for an ultra aged tequila. Surprising fact, the flavor of variations of these aged tequilas come from the wooden barrels in which they are stored and charring of these barrels.

Photo of The Cultural Quintessence of Mexico- 6 days,6 cultural & historic towns #TravelOnAClock by Indigirlious.Travel
Photo of The Cultural Quintessence of Mexico- 6 days,6 cultural & historic towns #TravelOnAClock by Indigirlious.Travel

The expensive step: The Reserve de Familia ! Premium ultra aged tequila(7-8 years) that's been released ever year in a limited edition packaging, comes from this precious tiny room. Surprising fact, this is in the basement area of the distillery, that can be reached through a steep tunnel to maintain cold temperatures for the room and its has a 24/7 air conditioning environment as well. Now I get why the premium tequila is that expensive.

Photo of The Cultural Quintessence of Mexico- 6 days,6 cultural & historic towns #TravelOnAClock by Indigirlious.Travel

The tour is followed by a tasting session where the guide arranged various samples of tequila from rested to ultra aged, to taste and some crackers to snack on. Coffee beans are used in between tastings to clear up the nose from scents of the previous sample. Overall, it was a fun and knowledgeable session with the guide walking us through the age of the samples, notes of each sample through their smell and taste as we taste them and me failing to guess any of those notes right, lol.

Photo of The Cultural Quintessence of Mexico- 6 days,6 cultural & historic towns #TravelOnAClock by Indigirlious.Travel
Photo of The Cultural Quintessence of Mexico- 6 days,6 cultural & historic towns #TravelOnAClock by Indigirlious.Travel
Photo of The Cultural Quintessence of Mexico- 6 days,6 cultural & historic towns #TravelOnAClock by Indigirlious.Travel
Day 4

The birth place of the famous spirit, Tequila !! 1.5 hour drive away from Guadalajara, Tequila is an easy day trip and a must visit. With a history of centuries of agave (fruit used for tequila making) farming, Tequila production and the current day head quarters of world famous distilleries of Jose Cuervo, Herradura and many more, Tequila of Jalisco state is one of the iconic towns of Mexico pictured in television series too. It is also a recognized world heritage site and named one of the Pueblo Magicos, magical towns of Mexico.

Statue in the city center illustrating the tequila making process

Photo of Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico by Indigirlious.Travel

Streets of the Tequila town

Photo of Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico by Indigirlious.Travel

Center, Tequila town

Photo of Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico by Indigirlious.Travel

Barrel themed tour bus, Tequila town

Photo of Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico by Indigirlious.Travel