The city of Guadalajara in western Mexico is renowned for its tequila, rich history, fine pottery work, the mariachi genre of music, Yucatecan craft and fine art galleries. Guadalajara’s historic center is dotted with colonial landmarks such as the neoclassical Mexican theatre Teatro Degollado, Palacio del Gobierno, Expiatory Temple, Instituto Cultural Cabanas, and the Guadalajara Cathedral. The bustling metropolitan area inhabits more than four million people and offers several tours ideal for visitors like you. Guadalajara also hosts a multitude of large-scale cultural events such as international film festivals, book fairs and other globally renowned cultural events which are thronged by international crowds every year. Let the magic of Guadalajara linger way after your visit by bringing home a souvenir or two to remind you of the splendor and grandeur of the city. We’ve curated a guide on the best things to buy in Guadalajara, Mexico.
1. Classic Mexican hats
One of the most special and memorable Mexican souvenirs that you can buy in Guadalajara, Mexico, is the classic Mexican hat called Sombrero. What makes this hat unique from other hats is its wide brim that provides a shield to the wearer’s shoulders, face, and neck from the blazing rays of the sun and the high crown design allows better air circulation and keeps the top of the head cool. The hats are made by skilled artisans using a variety of materials for a variety of purposes and come in all price ranges, from the affordable to the super expensive. Grab one for yourself on day one of your holiday, and wear it during your vacation.
2. Dulce de leche/cajeta
This lip-smacking caramel spread is a confection unique to Latin America. Unlike caramel, however, which is made by gradually heating sugar with water, this rich and decadent sauce is prepared by slowly heating milk, sugar and vanilla bean. It tastes great when stirred into coffee or spread over warm buttered toast or drizzled over a scoop of ice cream or puddings and custard. It can also be had with peanut butter on a sandwich, cake or a fruit salad or as a filling in pies, flans, and crepes. If stored correctly in an airtight container in the refrigerator, it can last for up to one month!
3. Talavera and clay items
The origin of Talavera pottery can be traced back to the 16th century, an art that Latin Americans have mastered over the years. This type of pottery is a kind of majolica or tin-glazed earthenware and is very different from the clay creations that are commonly found elsewhere in the world. There are only six permitted colors viz. blue, yellow, green, black, orange and mauve, and these colors are all composed of natural pigments. The technique is highly used to design walls and floor tiles and to spruce up churches and monasteries in the area. Shop for some exquisite utilitarian items made from Talavera such as plates, bowls, jars, flowerpots, religious and decorative figures or some tiles to decorate the facades of your home.
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4. Traditional Yucatecan garb
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
The traditional Yucatan garb is the typical dress of women and men in Mexico. With a strong resemblance to vibrant Arabic clothing, Yucatecan comes in varied animated forms, exciting colors and materials and adds life to those who wear it. While it is difficult to spot the young ones wearing the traditional dress during normal daily life, it is on special occasions or traditional fiestas, these costumes come alive in their true form. Even today the Yucatan garb is the perfect gift to buy on your trip to Guadalajara.
5. Traditional pottery works
Pottery and ceramics in Mexico have a tradition that goes back thousands of years and is the country’s most popular and versatile folk art even today. While traditional Mexican pottery varies slightly depending on the region where it is made, the various styles beautifully reflect the country’s rich historic and cultural diversity. Inspired by Spanish techniques, especially the glazing and firing, most Mexican pottery styles have shifted to decorative pieces and use bold mixtures of a vivid palette of colors that extend back into pre-Hispanic times. The artworks range from decorative religious statues, dolls, jugs, and planters to cooking pans and pots, small plates, salsa dishes, and even cups. Make sure you find a safe space in your suitcase to bring home some Mexican pottery works.
6. Postcards and historical photographs of Guadalajara
If you are still looking for the perfect souvenir item that will remind you of your time in Guadalajara, get your hands on a few of the hand-made postcards and historical photographs of Guadalajara. You can find a number of beautiful colorful artwork as you walk and explore the streets of Guadalajara. Head to Patronato del Centro Histórico, the local government office that is dedicated to promoting the conservation and restoration of the historic center of Guadalajara where you can buy postcards and emblematic photographs of the city.
7. Mexican chocolate
Mexican chocolate is very different from the normal smooth or soft chocolate that we have. In fact, it is made by combining cinnamon, sugar ground and roasted cocoa nibs in appropriate measures. It comes in a variety of other robust flavors too such as chilies, allspice, peppermint, and nutmeg. Mexican chocolate generally tends to be nutty or grainy in texture and often comes in a hard disc, solid bar, tablet shape or even powdered and syrup form. It is loved equally by the locals and is the perfect gift to give your friends back home. It can be easily found in the Mexican food aisle at several well-stocked grocery stores or in Latin markets, and is often labeled as ‘drinking chocolate’.
8. Coral jewellery
Much of Mexican folk art reflects the influence of the country’s natives and one such product is coral jewelry, which was first made over 5,000 years ago. Coral jewelry is very different from those made from other gems and stones like jade and turquoise or metals like silver, copper, and gold. Coral bracelets, rings, earrings, and necklaces also make for some wonderful Mexican handicrafts and souvenirs to carry back. The coral jewelry in Guadalajara is chic and very well made, characterized by intricate designs, patterns, and motifs and ranges from low-end to high-quality forms.
These brightly colored Mexican folk art sculptures of whimsical creatures are rare and unique to this part of Mexico. Alebrijes feature horns, antlers, wings, fins, along with detailed patterns of lines, dots, geometric figures, flowers, and flames. One of the most captivating Mexican crafts, these fantastic creatures have their own originality, color, texture and creativity and are hand painted and finely carved from Copal wood or paper mache. They are perfect to deck up any room or add a bit of joy and color.
Now that you’ve acquired some fancy ceramic glasses, why not have some tequila to go in them! Tequila is the national drink of Mexico and is also the country’s most consumed form of alcohol. The occasional alcoholic drink is made from the distilled blue agave spirits that are exclusive to Mexico and can be found at any liquor store across Guadalajara. Remember to buy yourself a few bottles to take back home and have a gala time with your friends and family. To help you choose on which tequila brand to buy, you can simply ask the locals around or go on one of the unique tequila tours.
Shop for exclusive souvenirs in Mexico
With a deeply rooted culture and a glorious past, Guadalajara offers some unique souvenirs that are related to its heritage. From typical Mexican drinks like tequila to one-of-its-kind and locally made Talavera artwork, there is no dearth of things to buy in this quaint little city. Our list above features just a few of the most popular purchases that are meant for you to remember your trip to Guadalajara for a long time. Besides, most of these products are unlike anything you’ll find outside of Mexico, and the thousands of years of tradition and the craftsmanship of the artisans behind them make them even more special.
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