A New Autumn Brings Us the Fiestas de Octubre, Once Again

fair roller coasterThe Fiestas de Octubre (October Celebrations) of Jalisco and Guadalajara have begun, as of today, the last day of September. Of what do we speak, you may ask? Every year, Mexican towns, cities, municipalities, what-have-you hosts an annual celebration for itself, its citizens and any would-be visitors. The end result in our city is a massive fair with rides and street food and a whole lot more, such as celebrity performances including the acknowledgement of a beauty queen and enjoyment of famous musical acts. Once again, Guadalajara is prepped for the experience, as best as it can be. If you’re currently in the city and you want to replicate a US state fair and then some, but in a completely different country, culture and manner, then look no further than the Fiestas de Octubre. <--more!-->

According to the official website promoting the festivities this year, the October Celebrations began in 1965 with the first one taking place in Guadalajara’s Parque Agua Azul (Blue Water Park). Thanks to the success of these initial celebrations and the steady visitor increase, the festivities were moved to the Benito Juárez Auditorium in 1984 and this remains their home.

fiestas de octubre auditorio benito juárezIn 1989, the Jalisco State Congress created the governing body that, to this day, has been responsible for the success of the festivities. To this end, the organization has petitioned for new and novel proposals in order to offer the public the best spectacles, fun and cultural experience possible. These days, the October Celebrations accommodate some nearly 2 million attendees. Because of this, it has become one of the most important large-scale events in the entire state of Jalisco.

In 2016, the October Celebrations reached the ripe old age of 51, having provided many a visitor with smiles and memorable experiences and touched thousands of lives, including those of Jaliscan families as well as visitors to the city. Getting to this point has motivated the organization that much more to stay the course and continue engaging the public.

fiestas de octubre view of city northPersonally, we have thoroughly enjoyed our time at the October Celebrations every year we’ve gone. For instance, we attended a Wisin and Prince Royce concert here at the auditorium (you would not believe the noise made by the female tweens – incredible, we thought we were going to lose our hearing); we rode the rides, including a grand ferris wheel overlooking the city to the north, a rare view; we consumed popcorn and other snacks and took in the sights and sounds, both at the fairground and in the surrounding neighborhood (which definitely tries to capitalize on the increase in local traffic); we spent romantic moments here and we experienced a part of true local culture.

You owe it to yourself to go. Even if you’ve been to the grandest state fairs, like the Minnesota State Fair or the Washington State/Puyallup Fair, and you don’t think anything can top them, well, you’re not in Minnesota or Washington anymore, and those aren’t the only fairs around!

A couple of pro tips:
Many shows at the auditorium you can see for free if you arrive early enough.
For the shows where you have to buy tickets, get ahead of the crowds and buy your tickets stat to see a show there. If that’s all you do, you won’t be disappointed. Just make sure to arrive early to the performance, as well, so that you can get situated comfortably.
Use the city’s light rail system to get out there. The crowds can be immense and parking a nightmare, and the auditorium and rides are just a short walk from the final station, Periférico Norte, Line 1.

The festivities will come to a close with the end of the month (October, that is). Que disfruten!

The Best Local Online Resources in English

discussion happeningWhile you’re here in Guadalajara, or on your way over, you may want to follow up on (other) local English-language resources to get a sense of what’s happening around the city and in the general area, maintained by people already in the area. Of course, we’d love for you to spend as much time as possible on our site, but hey, let’s face it, there are other great resources out there in addition to discoverGDL. To that end, we’ve compiled a short list of news and discussion sites to get you started. For event-related online resources, see our related article. For security-related online resources, click here.

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Entertaining & Economical Excursions: Yáñez Street Art Walk

yáñez street art walk graffiti woman and catOur first recommended “Economical & Entertaining Excursion” in 2016 comes in the form of a walking tour of our own creation with the objective of introducing you to one of the longest physical stretches of continuous arte callejero, or street art, in the entire city. If you enjoy this form of artistic expression and you enjoy free activities, then you must make this walking tour an essential part of your stay here in Guadalajara. We’ll fill you in on all the details, including where to start, when to go and how long to go for, among other things.

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Avoiding Another Traveler Tragedy

puebla highway carreteraWe are extremely saddened by the recent news that two Australian surfers, Adam Coleman and Dean Lucas, were killed at the hands of an apparent highway robbery gang in the state of Sinaloa while on their way to Guadalajara. It has reminded us of the preceding tragedy involving Harry Devert, a New Yorker whose body was found months after his reported disappearance early last year as he traveled from the state of Michoacan into the state of Guerrero alone on his motorcycle on his way to the World Cup in Brazil. There is no excusing the violence that occurs in Mexico or anywhere else in the world, but there are steps that travelers, expats, all of us can take to help us avoid another similar horrible occurrence. Below we outline some of the most important and practical ones.

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Tlaquepaque Is the Place to Be for Día De Muertos

Already underway as of yesterday, Tlaquepaque’s festival in honor of Día de Muertos, the 5th Festival de Muertos, promises to be something not to be missed, if you’re in the area. Most of the activities really began today in earnest, and the festival will encompass the entirety of the celebration, through the 2nd of November. You can expect to find related art, processions, performances and more over the next few days at a variety of locations, including Tlaquepaque’s commercial center Forum Tlaquepaque [map], the municipality’s Jardín Hidalgo [map], and right smack in the streets. Below we have a link to the full schedule and some notes on it that you should take into account to get the most enjoyment out of the festival.

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Everything You Need to Know about the MiBici Public Bicycle Rental System

mibici bicycles parked at a stationNot so long ago we reviewed Guadajalara’s ratings as a green city according to a study from 2010 and provided updates on some of the improvements it had made since then. You may recall that we mentioned that at some point in 2008, Guadalajara counted a free, public bicycle-lending system called Pedalea Guadalajara (Pedal Guadalajara) among its local transportation options. It was apparently complete with bike stations at various locations throughout the city (especially around the center) but it had since disappeared, for what reason we know not. Well, as we also mentioned back then, as of last year Guadalajara once again offers a public bicycle-sharing system, although this time it’s not free. Named MiBici (MyBike), much more has gone into it than ever went into Pedalea Guadalajara and it promises to stick around for some time. Indeed, you may have already noticed installations all over the city or people using the red, silver, and black bicycles. If you’re curious as to how the system works, you’re in the right place. Here’s everything you need to know about it to describe it to someone else or use it yourself.

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Entertaining & Economical Excursions: Bosque los Colomos

pepe guizar statue bosque los colomos guadalajara mexico

The Pepe Guizar Statue in the Bosque los Colomos

As we mentioned in our neighborhood guide article, Providencia is home to many nice, safe parks. The Bosque los Colomos (BLC), or Colomos Forest, is no exception. It seems to have something for everyone, be you a sportsperson, a parent, a tourist, or someone’s romantic partner. According to government information, the park is a massive 92 hectares in size with some 32,000 trees (we hesitate to even call it a park). Tree species include pine, eucalyptus, and cedar. Born out of an era of panic over deforestation and pollution of waterways in the area, the Bosque los Colomos began its life as a clean water collection center for distribution to the ever-growing city of Guadalajara. Now, under the care of the decentralized public organization Patronato Bosque Los Colomos as of 1998, the objectives have become the conservation, protection, and betterment of the forest and the development of athleticism, culture, environmental education, and peaceful coexistence. Below, we’ll provide you with some further details on why the Bosque los Colomos makes for a fantastic entertaining and economic excursion.

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Guadalajara, Mexico, Is a Leading Portal for Exporting Goods to Trading Partners via Air

air freightAccording to ProMéxico, the trade and investment arm of the Mexican government, Guadalajara has led Mexico in handling the country’s exports via air 5 out of the 7 years from 2007 through 2013 (complete data for 2014 is still unavailable), as indicated by the value of goods passing through customs (in millions USD). Guadalajara has only fallen second to Mexico City twice, in 2011 and 2013, and then not really by much. This for a city that is by some estimates but a quarter to a third of Mexico City’s size in terms of population. Monterrey, in Nuevo León, is usually a distant third. As for exports by road or by railroad, a massive collective amount of goods travels to trading partners via these means through Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, which has led the pack in both categories year after year. Ciudad del Carmen, Campeche, has been the annual leader where it comes to shipping goods by sea. These are just some stats to keep in mind as you contemplate international business with Mexico. See the following infographic for all the figures.

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Where to Find Travel Alerts & Warnings on Guadalajara, Mexico

warning-838655_640With Acapulco, Guerrero, named Mexico’s most dangerous municipality and third most dangerous city in the entire world; the state of Veracruz becoming known as one of the deadliest areas to be a journalist in; and the recent May 1st violence in Guadalajara and Jalisco in general perpetrated by the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, there is no denying that Mexico has more than its share of safety concerns. While tourists and expats are rarely targeted as part of the political or drug-related violence that takes place in parts of the country, it still pays to stay informed. With that in mind, following are some English-language resources where you can find pertinent travel alerts, warnings, and general safety information.

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Finding Medical Supplies in Guadalajara, Mexico

diabetic suppliesAs we wrote about in our “Finding Furniture” article, things are arranged in Guadalajara in such a way that certain parts of the city consist of store upon store dedicated to the same commercial activity, effectively making these areas unofficial commercial zones of one type or another. This time we’ll be pointing out a commercial zone with stores dedicated to medical supplies, including crutches, wheelchairs, even home fitness equipment.

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Finding a House, Apartment, or Shared Rental in Guadalajara, Mexico

GuadalajaraFinding a place to stay in Guadalajara for an extended period of time can be a bit of a challenge if you are unfamiliar with the city and the resources available to assist you in finding a rental. For shorter stays, you can of course begin with Airbnb or Couchsurfing, but you can’t sleep on someone’s couch forever and Airbnb can run you quite a bit more than simply finding your own pad over the long haul. Hence, we’ve compiled a list to aid you in your task – sublets, shared rooms, or your very own place, we’ve got you covered. Please keep in mind that many rentals in the city are not listed online anywhere, but rather are advertised with signs and posters hung from the properties themselves in the streets. The only way to find these, of course, is to visit Guadalajara and walk/bike/drive around. That being said, below is your research sheet for those that are listed online. If you haven’t already read our neighborhood guide yet, we strongly urge you to do so as that will play a critical part in helping you find the right place in the right area for you.

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The Neighborhood Guide: Where to Stay in Guadalajara, Mexico

NeighborhoodAnyone who is looking to spend an extended amount of time in Guadalajara will obviously be faced with the important decision of where to locate themselves during their time here. Whether it is a temporary or a permanent move, your concerns will most likely include things like safety and proximity to businesses, sights, or public transportation. Suffice to say, this decision can make or break your experience. We’ve therefore compiled a list of neighborhoods with brief descriptions that, for various reasons, you may wish to consider further as your potential future home base here in Guadalajara. Note that we are attempting to remain as impartial as possible in presenting our observations below as your preferences are extremely personal.

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