Central West, Mexico
Jalisco, which means in Aztec word for "sandy place", is Mexico's sixth biggest state.One of the major attractions of Jalisco is the city of Guadalajara, the second largest in the country and the one considered the nation's "most Mexican". Traditions and typical Mexican things such as tequila, mariachi music, the broad-rimmed sombrero hat, the Mexican Hat Dance, charreadas and Jarabe Tapatío were originally created in this region. Other remarkable attractions in the state are Puerto Vallarta, with its lush vegetation and heavenly beaches, Lago de Chapala, 40 km (24.8 mi) south of the city and the largest lake in the country, and the suburbs of Tlaquepaque and Tonalá, known for their crafts and arts.
Instituto Cultural Cabañas
This neoclassical style landmark was constructed between 1805 and 1810 by Spanish architect-sculptor Manuel Tolsá. Originally, this building hosted an orphanage founded by Bishop Juan Cruz Ruíz de Cabañas for over 150 years until 1980. At present, the institute is a cultural center containing a school, museum and theatre, holding concerts, films, dance festivals and theatre performances, while displaying revolving and permanent exhibits. The most important one is the exhibiton of over 100 José Clemente Orozco drawings and paintings, who between 1936 and 1939 painted a series of murals in the main chapel, with its notable The Man of Fire in the dome. Open Tuesday to Saturday from 10:15 am to 6 pm, Sunday from 10:15 am to 3 pm. Closed on Monday. Admission: 1 USD. Free on Sunday.
Considered the most famous landmark of the city, the cathedral was constructed between 1559 and 1616. Surrounded on all four sides by attractive plazas, its exteriors show a medley of Gothic, Baroque, Churrigueresque, and Neoclassical styles. The cathedral's twin towers replaced the originals, which felt in the earthquake of 1818. In the interior, there are eleven impressive altars given to Guadalajara by King Ferdinand VII (1784-1833). Open daily from 8 am to 7 pm.
Guadalajara Regional Museum
Originally, it was constructed as a seminary in 1701, becoming the Regional and State Museum in 1918. This beautiful baroque landmark includes an interesting collection of artifacts tracing the history of western Mexico. The museum also contains the skeleton of a woolly mammoth, five 19th century carriages, and a fibreglass replica of the 780-kg (1,719 lb) Meteorite of Zacatecas. Open Tuesday to Sunday from 9 am to 3:45 pm. Closed on Monday. Admission: 2 USD. Free on Sunday.
Plaza de los Mariachis
This picturesque small plaza is known worldwide for the mariachi bands that play all day and night long. The plaza contains some cafés and restaurants with tables outside, where the mariachi groups come around offering songs to the customers.
Puerto Vallarta Beaches
Puerto Vallarta, a world famous resort city, offers idyllic beautiful white-sand, soft gold and black volcanic beaches, spectacular sunsets and warm waters. The most popular ones are located in the city centre, Playa Olas Atlas and Playa de los Muertos. However, the most beautiful and stunning are found outside the city. The most remarkable are Playa las Animas, Yelapa, Playa Mismaloya and Boca de Tomatlán in the south, and Playa Norte and Punta Mita in the north.
Mexico Regional Landmarks
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Image supplied by Isabel Carranza