Guadalajara is the second-largest city in Mexico and its airport serves as a popular hub between South America, the Bahamas, and many US destinations, so there is every possibility that you might find yourself doing a Guadalajara Airport layover.
This is an attractive city and there is much to see here, largely due to the abundance of colonial architecture and those great Mexican culinary delights. If you do find yourself on a Guadalajara layover you should first store your luggage at one of our Guadalajara luggage storage locations and then grab a taxi to town. The journey takes around thirty-five minutes and taxis are available in front of the ground floor of the airport.
Traveling light will make your layover far more pleasant and although there is a regular bus service, taxis here are cheap enough to make them a better travel option. Bear in mind that Guadalajara is the largest city in Mexico in terms of surface area and traffic can disrupt travel times, so you will need to build this into your layover planning.
6 hour Guadalajara layover
Because of the very real risk of being delayed by traffic, on a short layover, you may want to consider a destination not too far from the airport. Six hours between flights never translates to that much time actually being available.
Ajijic will provide a pleasant place to pass your time between flights. This town, situated on the banks of Lake Chapala, and surrounded by mountains, can be reached by taxi in 40 - 60 minutes. There are plenty of restaurants and coffee shops, and when combined with a stroll along the waterfront, should easily occupy you during your short Guadalajara layover.
If you prefer something a little more unusual than sipping coffee at a lakeside café, you might like to consider popping in at the local cemetery. Although this sounds a slightly peculiar way to pass your time, that is because you are used to somber cemeteries. The Ajijic cemetery is brightly decked out and adorned with statues and headstones that make them joyous destinations in comparison with those most of us are accustomed to.
- Don’t assume a six-hour layover means you will actually have six hours to explore with.
- Ajijic is a charming town with plenty to do on a short layover.
- Allow time to clear security comfortably before catching your onward connection.
8 hour Guadalajara layover
A slightly longer layover allows you to take a trip below the waves and encounter some ocean wildlife in the heart of Guadalajara.
The Michin Aquarium is a great place to pass the time, especially if you are traveling with the younger members of the family. Here you will find more than 20 000 specimens ranging from sharks through to otters.
In addition to all of the marine displays that will have appeal to both children and adults, there are always interactive activities that children will appreciate.
- Visit the Michin Aquarium to take a visit below the waves.
- Both kids and adults will enjoy meeting marine animals at this popular attraction.
10 hour Guadalajara layover
On a longer layover, you will have enough time on your hands to dive into the heart of this fascinating city. One of the premier tourist attractions and one you will want to add to your list if you are an art or architecture buff is the Cabanas Cultural Institute. Started in 1791, this building started out as a hospital for the poor and an orphanage. At the time it was the largest hospital in Latin America.
Today the Institute is a World Heritage Site, museum, and art academy. With frescos painted by Jose Clemente Orozco and art works by numerous internationally acclaimed and local artists, there is plenty to see. With its twenty-three courtyards, the building itself is a masterpiece. You will have no trouble passing ten hours in Guadalajara but don’t lose track of time.
- Explore Mexico’s artistic heritage at the Cabanas Cultural Institute.
- The town offers many museums and galleries that you can visit and still have time to catch that connecting flight.
12 hour layover in Guadalajara
Taking a hop-on hop-off bus tour is a good way to get a feel for a new city. They allow you to explore all of the major tourist sites at a speed that suits you, and to take your time over those that you find most interesting.
In Guadalajara, there are double-decker buses plying several different routes and all offering earphone devices in English and several other languages to explain what you are seeing. If you see somewhere that grabs your attention, you can always come back again later.
It would be a shame to visit this Mexican city without sampling some of the local cuisine. Colonial Americana is a great place to do this. Half an hour’s walk away from the Centro area, this part of town is calmer and more authentic, but still attractive. Here you will find all of the regional and national dishes you could hope for, but look out for local signature dishes. Pozole is a delicious soup while Birra is a Guadalajara signature dish using goat meat.
- Even on a long Guadalajara stopover such as this, don’t try to do too much.
- Tours always offer a quick overview and you can cherry-pick your favorite destinations for a more in-depth visit later.
24 hour Guadalajara layover
An overnight layover is going to give you more time in which to both explore this city and to unwind a little in between flights. Even on an overnight excursion, you would still be wise to store your bags at a locker rental service and travel with just the basic necessities.
Eating out generally takes place later in Mexico, so if you are planning on visiting one of the many restaurants or cantinas, don’t expect much to happen before about ten o’clock. There are plenty of clubs and bars and the craft beer scene is surprisingly buoyant.
Because you may never be this way again, you might want to consider an activity that is totally different. Lucha Libre is hugely popular in Mexico. This is kind of like WWE meets Shrek in a wrestling evening that is at once both skilled and hilarious. The Mexicans love it and it will certainly leave you with long-lasting memories. Arena Coliseo is where it all happens, but be prepared to be shocked and don’t wear your best clothes.
- Choose a hotel that is convenient for both the destinations you wish to visit and for the return trip to the airport.
- There is plenty happening in Guadalajara at night but wrestling is an iconic event.