Father Miguel Hidalgo mural on a tour in Guadalajara

16 Best Tours In Guadalajara Mexico For Local Culture 2024

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Ready to experience the best tours in Guadalajara Mexico?

Guadalajara is much smaller than Mexico City but still a massive metropolitan area with important cultural contributions to the Mexican identity. It is the capital of the state of Jalisco and has a lot of hidden gems. Guadalajara is affectionately called the Perla Tapatía and is regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in Latin America. The best tours in Guadalajara are a great way to get to know the local people and experience Mexican culture. The culture of Guadalajara is the culture of Mexico and much of what Mexico is known for internationally is rooted in Jalisco.

These guides have spent years amassing knowledge and they love telling stories about topics they are passionate about. I hear over and over that these tours are like hanging out with an old friend because the guides are so welcoming and want you to have a great time. Many of these tour guides are subject matter experts having been featured in diverse media publications. 

In addition to the knowledge shared by the guides, a lot of these tours handle transportation and ticketing. Driving to the lucha libre events, finding parking, dealing with Ticket Master, and will call is complicated. Sometimes you just want to show up and let someone else handle all the details. A good tour makes everything easy.

Not only are these the best tours in Guadalajara they are also some of the best things to do in all of Jalisco. Taking a guided tour is a good option when visiting a city with so much history.

Top 3 Most Popular Tours In Guadalajara Mexico

These three tours show you the highlights of the region.

Paul’s Pick: Best Guadalajara Tour

If you are only going to take one organized tour in Guadalajara, then it should be this one. It will be one of the most memorable experiences in western Mexico. Tequila is rooted in agave and the original peoples of the region have cultivated and consumed the agave for a thousand years.

MY PICK
Guachimontones pyramid and Tequila Volcano

The Fire Tour – Pyramids, Agaves & Tequila

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Visit the town of Tequila and the Guachimontones archeological site in one day.

Visiting the ruins outside of Teuchitlán, Los Guachimontones gives a historical context to the national drink.

The area is beautiful and the hike up the hill is a workout. That tequila will taste even better after getting some exercise.

Keep in mind that this tour sells out most weekends so it is important to book in advance.

1. The Fire Tour – Pyramids, Volcanoes, Agaves & Tequila

⭐️ RATING: 4.92/5 Stars |  TOUR LENGTH: 8-10 hours |  BOOK NOW

This tour is the best of the Ruta de Tequila in one day. Honestly, I think you could spend an entire week exploring the small towns in this area but most people don’t have enough time for that. This tour visits the main attractions in one day and they do all the driving.

The Guachimontones archeological site is located at the base of the Tequila Volcano which is close to the town of Tequila. If you only have one day to spend in Tequila then combining the pyramids and a tequila tasting is the best way to do it.

In addition to the famous national drink, there is a lot of culture in the Tequila Valley of Jalisco. The volcano plays an important role in the history of the region. The original people built conical-shaped pyramids that vaguely resemble volcanos. They also harvested agaves that had dozens of uses including the nutritional sort. The agave fields are a designated Unesco World Heritage site and this is the best way to see them.

The reason that I recommend this tour so much is that the history lesson gives more depth to the culinary experience. Visiting Guachimontones will make your time in the Tequila Valley more memorable.

Tours are provided in both English and Spanish.

One negative about this tour is that it is hard to book. It sells out on the weekends and needs a minimum number of people to run on weekdays. There are a couple more tours to Guachimontones and Tequila tours but none of them has the number of rave reviews.

Downtown Guadalajara Tours

I have lived here for a long time and I never get tired of exploring Downtown Guadalajara. It is the first place to take my friends who come to visit and what we often do on the weekend.

There is a wide range of activities for both kids and grown-ups. The government of Guadalajara recently installed a carousel that is free of charge and decorated with images of traditional culture.

Grownups will love the food and drinks in the Zona Centro. Three important markets are brimming with delicious food that will push you to try new things. The cantina culture is probably the most important expression of popular culture in Mexico. It is timeless. Many of the cantinas are time capsules that can transport you to another era.

2. History & Muralism: Walking Tours in Guadalajara

⭐️ RATING: 5.0/5 Stars |  TOUR LENGTH: 3-4 hours |  BOOK NOW

The first thing that we do when I have guests visiting Guadalajara for the first time is head downtown. Downtown Guadalajara’s Centro Historico is living history. Many of the buildings date back hundreds of years and have hosted events of major historical significance. This tour will show you some of the best examples of Colonial Architecture in Western Mexico.

Fernando is an exceptional tour guide with a lot of insight into the history of Mexico. The tour is bilingual and he seamlessly moves back and forth between English and Spanish so that all the guests enjoy themselves, and even the kids have a great time. He is an excellent local guide.

This tour visits many of the most important colonial buildings in Downtown Guadalajara including the impressive Cathedral and surrounding plazas, the murals inside the Government Palace, the Degollado Theater’s painted ceiling, Hospicio Cabañas Unesco World Heritage Site, and the Mercado Libertad enormous indoor market. 

Be prepared to walk a kilometer to a kilometer and a half and be on your feet for close to four hours. It can get hot during the spring but all the buildings have nice areas to sit down and rest in the shade. 

Be aware that the tour starts and ends at two different places. It begins in the Plaza de Armas and finishes at Mercado Libertad (San Juan de Dios) where it is easy to find a taxi or an Uber at the end of the tour. 

Tours are provided in both English and Spanish.

3. Camina GDL Free Walking Tour of Downtown Guadalajara

A famous guided tour of the city’s historic center covers architecture, museums, history, and legends. Tours are offered every morning at 10:30 am in the Plaza Liberación near the big Guadalajara Guadalajara sign.

Look for the people with the yellow umbrellas. The tour lasts approximately two hours and makes the short walk to finish at Mercado San Juan de Dios. No need to reserve, just show up. Tours happen seven days a week in both English and Spanish.

The tour is run by Camina Guadalajara. They are a great organization that is super involved in the community. They have some incredible tour guides.

Tours are provided in both English and Spanish.

Tequila Tours

Jalisco is the heart of the tequila industry. The regulatory body is based in Guadalajara and the town of Tequila is less than an hour away. A tequila distillery tour from Guadalajara is a highlight for anyone visiting the area.

Just keep in mind that there are a lot of options. If you like to drink tequila, then a craft tequila tour is the ticket. If you are into history, the José Cuervo Express train ride and museum is a world-class experience. The agave field landscapes are breathtaking.

4. Craft Tequila Tour and Tasting by Mickey Marentes

Small Group ⭐️ RATING: 4.92/5 Stars |  TOUR LENGTH: 8-10 hours |  BOOK NOW
Private Tour ⭐️ RATING: 5.0/5 Stars |  TOUR LENGTH: 8-10 hours |  BOOK NOW

There are a couple of different types of tequila drinkers. This tour is looking at the local, artisanal tequilas, and not the industrial, commodity tequilas that are sold in many foreign markets.

There are a number of smaller distilleries trying to make tequila with the same recipes that were used hundreds of years ago before artificial flavoring and diffusers changed what tequila tastes like because of some financial considerations.

This tour will give the enthusiast a deeper understanding of the choices a tequila maker has to make from the cultivation of the agave plants, cooking choices, sugar extraction, fermentation processes, and distillation. You are going to taste a lot of tequilas that are very different from anything you have tasted before.

  • Hotel pickup transportation
  • Two tequila distillery tours
  • Visit the agave fields
  • Tour Downtown Tequila
  • Artisanal tequila tasting
  • Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks
  • Lunch is included

Mickey Marentes is an absolute legend and his team is made up of some of the best tour guides in the business. Tequila is something that the people around here really love and it comes through on the tour. He has a fleet of very comfortable cars and vans that can accommodate a small group or a large one.

Tours are provided in both English and Spanish.

Travel Tip: Choose the private tour and they will pick you up anywhere in the Tequila Valley (the group tour only picks up in Guadalajara). I would stay at the Hacienda El Carmen boutique hotel for a few nights and have Mickey give you a tour of the cult favorite distilleries in the valley.

Tours are provided in both English and Spanish.

5. Jose Cuervo Express Tequila Train

Tequila landscapes in Amatitan, Jalisco

⭐️ RATING: 4.5/5 Stars |  TOUR LENGTH: 11 hours |  BOOK NOW

I have been in love with the José Cuervo brand since I was in high school. I had a hand-me-down José Cuervo t-shirt that I thought was the coolest piece of clothing I owned. They know how to create experiences. I often compare José Cuervo to Universal Studios or Disneyland because of what has been built in Tequila.

The Tequila Train is a world-class experience that brings people to Jalisco from all over the world. However, the Juan Beckmann Gallardo Cultural Center is one of the finest museums in Mexico. They spent something like US$30 million building it.

The Jose Cuervo Express Tequila Train experience is a train ride in one direction and a bus ride in the other direction. The train goes directly from Guadalajara to Tequila and the bus makes a detour out to the agave fields for a harvesting demonstration.

The all-you-can-drink section of the tour is the train ride so you need to decide if you want to drink early on the way there or late on the way back.

There are several different packages with nicer club cars and a more expensive selection of tequilas available. This is a tour that needs to be booked in advance. During peak vacation time the train may be sold out for weeks in advance.

Book Now: José Cuervo Express Tequila Train & Distillery Tour

Guadalajara Food Tours & Drink Tours

In 2010, traditional Mexican cuisine was designated an “Intangible Cultural Heritage” by UNESCO. The ancestral and ongoing community food culture is a treasure for all of humanity.

Guadalajara is one of the most underrated food destinations in Mexico. However, with the right guide, you can find all the hidden treasures. Mexican markets and historic cantinas are full of stories and delicious experiences.

6. Guadalajara Market Food Tour

⭐️ RATING: 5/5 Stars |  TOUR LENGTH: 3-4 hours |  BOOK NOW

Diego Hannan gives a marvelous tour of Downtown Guadalajara that teaches history with food. Many of the neighborhoods of Guadalajara have culinary specialties that he will share with you.

It is very nice to have a tour guide with such an intimate knowledge of Mercado Libertad (San Juan de Dios) because of the sheer size of the market. There are dozens of excellent food stalls and some just ok ones too. Diego knows all the best places to eat for each type of food whether that is birria, torta ahogada, torta loka, tacos de barbacoa, or carnitas.

The famous Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda once said that Mexico is found in its markets. There is no better way to really appreciate these enormous markets than with an expert. Most people will just wander around and get lost. With Diego, you will get to experience the best of the market and know what everything is used for.

7. Santa Teresita Neighborhood Food Tour

The Santa Teresita neighborhood is one of the best places to eat traditional food in Guadalajara. It wasn’t long ago that it was considered to be a dangerous part of town. Today, it is just an average blue-collar area but having a guide helps you find the best places to eat. There are a lot of options.

Book Now: Santa Teresita Neighborhood Food Tour

8. Traditional Cantina Tours in Guadalajara

Cantina La Fuente Guadalajara

⭐️ RATING: 4.91/5 Stars |  TOUR LENGTH: 2.5 hours |  BOOK NOW

Don’t bother with churches, government buildings or city squares, if you want to know about a culture, spend a night in its bars

-Ernest Hemingway

Mexican cantina culture is one of the most enduring forms of popular culture in Mexico. Guadalajara is a historic city and many of the drinking establishments have been around for ages.

Downtown Guadalajara is full of legends and folklore. What better way to hear those stories than from inside a historic building, in a historic neighborhood while having a drink?

This tour lasts just under three hours and does a great job of making the history lesson come alive.

The tour visits three cantinas in one of the oldest neighborhoods of Guadalajara and includes one drink per establishment.

Tours are provided in both English and Spanish.

Guadalajara Art Tours

One of the defining attributes of Guadalajara is a dedication to esthetic beauty. There is a long history of art in the region but there is also a thriving community of working artists.

Art is culture and not all art is found in museums. There are a lot of stories to be heard in the streets and workshops of living artists.

I highly recommend investing some time to learn about living artists. The dead artists don’t need the exposure like the living artists do.

9. Guadalajara Art Crawl and Studio Visit

Art studio tour with Alexandria Duncan

⭐️ RATING: 5/5 Stars |  TOUR LENGTH: 3 hours |  BOOK NOW

Guadalajara is a cultured town famous for its artistry. That is not just in the historic sense. There are a large number of modern artists with small galleries and studios that will enchant art lovers.

The best way to see the depth of the modern Guadalajara art scene is to take a tour with Alexandra Duncan who is a local art dealer and Ph.D. in art history.

She will walk you through the public art space and invite you into the private studios of local artists. Her love and passion for art are apparent from the moment you meet her, and her knowledge about both the historic side and modern sides of the Guadalajara art scene will leave you impressed.

10. Street Art Tours in Guadalajara with Karen Mora

Street art mural in the Colonia Americana

⭐️ RATING: 4.92/5 Stars |  TOUR LENGTH: 1 hours | On Hold

This urban tour of the street art in Guadalajara’s Colonia Americana neighborhood is an absolute must for anybody interested in the history of art in Mexico. There is so much written about dead artists it is easy to forget that Mexico’s muralist legacy is alive and thriving. Many of the stories being told through murals come from marginalized peoples who contradict or challenge the official truths told by the state.

Karen is a minor celebrity in the art world in Western Mexico hosting all sorts of events from art appreciation to art creation. Her hashtag is #LaCalleTieneAlgoQueDecir or ‘The street has something to say’ and it resonates with people. She has been featured in the local media and international media alike and is obviously passionate about the topic.

It is a short, one-hour tour of some of the coolest parts of the “Coolest Neighborhood in the World to visit” the Colonia Americana. Plus, there are no less than a hundred cool coffee shops and bars just a short walk away from the endpoint. I highly recommend checking out this tour.

Tours are provided in both English and Spanish.

Karen Mora’s street art tours are on hold right now. I will update when they are available again.

Day Trips and Pueblos Mágicos

I think you might be surprised how many pueblos mágicos there are in Jalisco. Tlaquepaque, Tequila, Ajijic, and Tapalpa are some of the best day trips from Guadalajara if you have a good driver.

11. Lake Chapala and Ajijic Tours from Guadalajara

Lake Chapala Jalisco Mexico

⭐️ RATING: 4.5/5 Stars |  TOUR LENGTH: 8-9 hours |  BOOK NOW

Lake Chapala is the largest lake in Mexico and is regarded as having some of the best weather in the world. There are dozens of small towns around the lake but Chapala, Ajijic, and San Juan Cosalá are three of the most beautiful. Ajijic was designated a Pueblo Mágico by the Mexican Secretary of Tourism in 2020. There is a massive English-speaking and artsy community of mostly retirees from cold-weather climates. While the full-time population is growing the snowbirds make up the largest share during the winter high season.

This is an outstanding value for what you see…I’d have a hard time putting the logistics to see Chapala and Ajijic myself. This is a must do if you have the time (it’s a full 8-9 hours but time FLIES by).

Gordon

The tour includes stops catamaran ride on the lake, a tequila tour, and time to explore the towns along the late. This tour meets at 11 am in front of the Fiesta Americana Hotel in the Glorieta Minerva and heads to the Los Tres Potrillos Ranch which was owned by legendary recording artist and movie star Vicente Fernandez. It is a massive complex with an arena, and restaurants, and has the largest country-western store in Mexico.

The Los Magos tequila distillery is right around the corner from the Tres Portrillos Ranch which is on the freeway to Chapala. The tour really maximizes what you can see in one day. This is the best of Lake Chapala in eight hours

The tour drops off at the same place it started, the Fiesta Americana in the Glorieta Minerva around 7 pm.

Tours are provided in both English and Spanish.

12. Tlaquepaque & Tonalá Art Markets Tour

⭐️ RATING: 5.0/5 Stars |  TOUR LENGTH: 5-6 hours |  BOOK NOW

Tlaquepaque and Tonalá are two of the best places in Mexico to go shopping for folk art and traditional foods. Some of the galleries in Downtown Tlaquepaque are world-renowned and the pieces are museum quality. And then one block away there is a secret parking lot that has been converted into a flea market with very affordable pieces. There are so many different mediums that local artists use to manipulate and create beauty that everyone will find something they love.

Ceramics are particularly famous in this area. The name Tlaquepaque comes from the Nahuatl for “Place above clay”. Sergio Bustamonte makes incredible sculptures and jewelry. The blown glass gallery has really cool glassware like wine glasses and tequila glasses. The best tequila shops in Mexico are located here and so much more.

Diego crafts a private tour for the individuals he is working with. There is a lot of inside knowledge to know about all of the different galleries and workshops in the area. Driving and parking are complicated in Tonalá and even though I have been driving in Mexico for years there is no substitute for local knowledge.

This is one of the coolest tours in Guadalajara for anyone interested in learning more about traditional art and artists in Western Mexico.

Tours are provided in both English and Spanish.

Tours of Guadalajara Sporting Events

With the World Cup coming to Guadalajara in 2026 I have been exploring more of the professional sporting events in the area. An organized tour is a great way to gain access to experiences that can be difficult to navigate on your own.

13. Lucha Libre and Cantina Tour

Lucha libre tour in Guadalajara

⭐️ RATING: 5.0/5 Stars |  TOUR LENGTH: 2.5 hours |  BOOK NOW

Lucha libre Mexican wrestling events are some of the best things to do while visiting Mexico. This tour will stop by a traditional cantina for a beer before heading over to the Arena to witness the spectacle.

This is one of the events that I highly recommend doing with a tour guide. The lucha libre arena is in a sketchy part of town that I would not recommend walking home from after the event or wandering the streets looking for an Uber or taxi. Let the professionals take care of all of the details.

This tour is run by one of Guadalajara’s best tour operators. Their tour guides are local experts and super active in the expat groups. They really know what they are talking about.

Tours are provided in both English and Spanish.

14. Entre Charros Cowboy Experience

Lienzo charro

⭐️ RATING: 4.87/5 Stars |  TOUR LENGTH: 4 hours |  BOOK NOW

You could be forgiven for assuming that soccer was the national sport of Mexico. Mexico’s national sport is actually charrería, a type of folkloric rodeo that is native to this part of Western Mexico.

Charros are expert equestrians with a unique style of riding clothing. The men wear suits, the women wear long dresses while riding sidesaddle, and they both wear wide-brimmed hats.

This is an excellent tour to talk about the history of charrería before actually getting on a horse and learning to maneuver the rope or florear la riata. You are going to get a chance to watch professional rodeo cowboys put on a demonstration before trying it out yourself.

The venue is located in an official Lienzo Charro across the street from Agua Azul Park.

This is a great tour that I highly recommend.

Tours are provided in both English and Spanish.

Vehicle Tours of Guadalajara

Just sit back and enjoy the ride.

15. Calandria Tour of Guadalajara

Calandria tour Guadalajara in the rotonda de los Jalisciences ilustres

A Calandria is a horse-drawn carriage that was typical in Mexico before the proliferation of the automobile. Much of the infrastructure of Downtown Guadalajara was built for calandrias and not motor vehicles. It is really enjoyable to cruise the monuments and main plaza at a low rate of speed so you can enjoy the historical center. The horsemen will take you to all the best spots and know where the best pictures are taken.

In the past few years, the Calandrias have changed from horse-drawn to electric. Some of the operators weren’t taking good care of their horses and when a horse drops dead in the street it creates a public relations nightmare. The electric cars are the best choice.

Horse drawn carriage in Downtown Guadalajara

Make sure to get a tour guide that is dressed in a uniform because the professionals will know more about the history of the places you will be visiting. Most of the Calandria Tours are going to be in Spanish only.

There are a bunch of different routes available depending on time/cost but a run through Downtown and the Colonia Americana neighborhoods was perfect for us.

16. Tapatio Tour Doubledecker Tour Bus

Tapatio Tour Things to do in Guadalajara

The Tapatio Tour bus runs ‘hop-on/hop-off’ tours around the Guadalajara Metropolitan Region. There are four tours cruising past the main points of interest in Guadalajara, Zapopan, Tlaquepaque, and Tonalá.

Each route begins and ends at the Rotonda de Los Jalisciences Ilustres and has designated stops where passengers can get off to explore. Buses come by every hour (every half hour at peak vacation times) and passengers can get back on the bus for a ride back to Downtown Guadalajara.

It is a great way to quickly see a lot of the monuments and get the layout of the greater Metropolitan Region. If you happen to be staying in Downtown Guadalajara it could also be an easy form of public transportation to access the Book Festival at the Expo Convention Center or go shopping in Tlaquepaque and Tonalá.

The upper deck of the bus is open. This is really enjoyable when the weather is mild but uncomfortable when it is hot out. I don’t recommend sitting on the upper deck at midday in April, May, or June. It gets really hot up there.

Casa Jacaranda

Unfortunately, Casa Jacaranda has moved back to Mexico City for 2023. The market tour, cooking class, dinners, and agave spirit tastings were some of the coolest experiences in Guadalajara while they lasted. Check out their photo gallery and book a tour with them if you happen to be in Mexico City.

Guadalajara Travel FAQ

Is Guadalajara Safe?

I often compare Guadalajara to Los Angeles when it comes to security because there are both safe and unsafe areas and activities. The high-profile shootouts that make the international news aren’t something you need to worry about. They are rare and don’t injure bystanders like shootouts in the U.S. (i.e. Las Vegas or Uvalde).

However, there are large swaths of the city that are dangerous after dark, or during the day. I have written extensively about safety in Guadalajara. With a little bit of advance planning, it is easy to have a safe and enjoyable vacation.

Do They Speak English in Guadalajara?

Almost every one of these tours is available in English. The only tour that is not 100% in English is the calandria (horse-drawn carriage) ride. Some of the guides speak English but by no means every guide does.

I estimate that about half of the hotels in Guadalajara speak English and they tend to be the more median-priced hotels and up. Some of the more inexpensive hotels will have some English speakers but it is less common.

Being multilingual is a status symbol in Mexico but a group of people will not change the language of conversation to accommodate one newcomer.

Where is Guadalajara?

Guadalajara is in the western state of Jalisco, the westernmost point of the Bajío Region. It is west of Mexico City, east of Puerto Vallarta, and north of Colima.

The Guadalajara International Airport (GDL) is one of the busiest airports in Mexico with direct flights to many locations in Mexico and North America.

Flights to Guadalajara

The Guadalajara International Airport (GDL) is one of the most important airports in Mexico with direct flights to most major cities in Mexico among other destinations in North America.

The airport is located 45 minutes outside of the city center on the highway to Chapala. The official taxis are safe. I don’t recommend using Uber for pickups at the airport.

Where to Stay in Guadalajara

Guadalajara is a large metropolitan region with lots of unique areas. I recommend reading this article on the neighborhoods of Guadalajara and having a look at the list of best hotels and the list of the best cheap hotels in Guadalajara to get an idea of the options available.

If you are looking for a quick answer, I love Casa Habita. I love the area, the architecture, and the amenities. It has some of the best coffee in Mexico on the ground floor, bomb street food all around, and lots of treelined streets to walk.

And while you are here, think about spending at least one night in the Tequila Valley. From the Guachimontones pyramids to the historic haciendas, and tequila distilleries, there is a lot to see and do out that way.

What is Guadalajara Known For?

The cliché answer is that Guadalajara is known for Mariachi, tequila, and rodeo. Today, Guadalajara is known as a tech hub with close ties to both India and the United States.

Luis Barragán, one of the world’s most celebrated modernist architects was from Guadalajara and left an important food print.

Club Deportivo Guadalajara, more commonly known as Chivas, is one of Latin America’s favorite soccer teams. The stadium where Chivas plays is slotted to host some World Cup 2026 games so a lot more people are talking about them these days.

Birria has absolutely taken over social media and most people will admit that birria is from Guadalajara.

There is a lot more to Guadalajara than just tequila, mariachi, and rodeo, but those are pretty cool too.

Final Thoughts On The Best Tours In Guadalajara

Guadalajara is a big city and there are some hidden gems scattered throughout the metropolitan region. You can have a great time walking around solo but if you really want to learn about the culture and history of a place it is worth it to hire a good tour guide.

As I mentioned above, I love talking with people who have dedicated time and effort to learning the history of a place. These are some of the best tour guides you will find in Guadalajara.

I hope you have an amazing time and find some great tours in Guadalajara!

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