Guadalajara, Mexico – City Guide for Nomads and Expats

Updated in 2022.

Guadalajara, Mexico.

If you like fountains look no further, because Guadalajara has them in spades.

It also has many beautiful women, parks, plazas, and churches for the tourist to sink his/her teeth into. It also offers great tequila tours a short drive away, cool nightspots, elegant museums and art galleries, and wonderful cuisine. The city is becoming increasingly popular with expats from the United States and digital nomads looking for an authentic Mexican experience.

POPULATION: 1,500,000


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There are two area I recommend to stay in Guadalajara. You can stay one of the nicer neighborhoods in the centro (downtown), or in the suburban but-still-very-urban neighborhoods where the upscale malls are.

If you would like to stay downtown, I suggest barrio Americana. Libertad is a beautiful street lined with trees, small plazas, and cafes for getting work done. You should aim to stay somewhere between Chapultepec and Templo Expiatorio. Staying in Americana is the best option for travelers and nomads visiting the city on short visits who want to see all the sights of the city.

Americana, Guadalajara
Americana, Guadalajara

Downtown is cool, but in Guadalajara a lot of the rich people frequent a different area called Providencia. Here you’ll find upscale dining, office towers, and a mall called Punto Sao Paulo. Staying in Providencia is a better option for expats and nomads looking for longer stays. Providencia is also closer to Zapopan (huge city-within-a-city) and Bosque Los Colomos (great place for dogs and long walks).

Providencia, Guadalajara
Providencia, Guadalajara

 

RENT AN APARTMENT IN GUADALAJARA

Put aside about $500 for an apartment in Chapultepec. It’s worth it. Another area worth taking a look at is the ‘Chapalita’ area of Zapopan. Rents are less expensive there but it’s still well located with young professionals and tons of restaurants.

 

BEST BARS AND NIGHTLIFE IN GUADALAJARA

9/10

Nightlife in Guadalajara is concentrated in the Chapultepec, Zapopan, and Andares Mall districts. It’s not hard to find something you’ll like. If you don’t have long in the city, hit Chapultepec. There are many bars and clubs that are busy on the weekend. If you have some time in the city, branch out to Zapopan for a more local vibe. Head to Andares Mall if you want an upscale vibe with rich, good looking (but maybe a bit stuck up) people. 

Bars that My Latin Life recommends:

Bananas: Good place to pop your Guadalajara cherry. Get comfortable here, and then move on to some of the bigger and badder nightclubs along Chapultepec. Be sure to dress like an adult though, it’s important to look dapper here.

La Insurgente: Similar to Bananas, a patio-style bar on avenida Chapultepec. They have really good 2 for 1 drink deals almost every night. Good place to get started.

Kanna Club: Crazy nightclub with a pyramid-shaped roof. It’s not popping every night, but when it does it gets wild.

Génesis Disco: Classic nightclub, very loud.

Lo-La (aka Lola Lolita): Cool, young university crowd. Really good spot.

Jamaica Gogo: Highly recommended. Hipster vibes. You can even roll here solo.

Botanero Veintiuno: It’s a chain for bars and there’s a bunch in different neighborhoods around the city. People go here knowing they are going to dance and drink. Plays mostly reggaeton.

Abolengo: Classic nightclub chain with locations all over Mexico. The GDL one is in Andares Mall.

La Santa: Top tier nightclub in Andares Mall.

 

IS GUADALAJARA SAFE?

Guadalajara is a reasonably safe city. Usually crime against tourists is limited to purse snatching or pickpocketing. Still, don’t make a habit of walking long distances at night, especially in and around Centro. Try not to use your phone in public too much.

 

BEST TIME OF YEAR TO VISIT GUADALAJARA?

Guadalajara is one of those few cities that’s actually pretty good all year round. The weather here is very good. One thing to keep in mind is Guadalajara is ahas many students in the city. Because of all these students, the bars and nightlife scene is busier during the school year (September to April). 

 

COST OF LIVING IN GUADALAJARA

The following data is from Expatistan, a crowdsourced database of prices and cost of living around the world. In our experience, the data tends to underestimate cost of living, so take the following as the minimum you might need to live here.

*Figures are listed in USD

 

You’ll need a minimum of $1020 USD/month to live in Guadalajara, Mexico

cost-of-living-guadalajara

BEST CAFES IN GUADALAJARA FOR DIGITAL NOMADS

Guadalajara has an amazing selection of cafes offering fresh ideas and modern spaces. Mexican coffee is amazing and the cafes will often have artisanal coffee from Veracruz, Chiapas etc. There are many coffee shops in Guadalajara for digital nomads to come get some work done. 

Cafes that My Latin Life recommends:

Chai Cafe Vallarta: Cool cafe on large renovated colonial mansion. Fast wifi and close to Chapultepec.

La Borra del Café Expiatorio: Clean chain cafe with wifi near Templo Expiatorio. 

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Stay long term in Guadalajara if you can, you’ll get more out of it. This might be the best big city in Mexico. For digital nomads, you can easily base up here for a month or more. Wealthy expats can also buy up the comparably cheap property in the high rises, city center, or suburban areas. It’s a very well-designed and more liveable than Mexico City. For me, at first it just felt like any other city. After a while it grows on you. Take some time to build a social circle and explore more of the city –  I bet you won’t want to leave. You’ll see why if you go to Guadalajara.

OVERALL RATING: 8.5/10

 

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