Getting Around Guadalajara
The best way to get around Guadalajara is by foot. The streets are best viewed at a leisurely pace, and many of the city-center attractions, such as the Guadalajara Cathedral, are located within walking distance. For places further afield, you can take a bus, but you'll likely face tight quarters as buses are popular among locals. There's also a metro system, but its two routes are more convenient for commuters than tourists. Taxis and rental cars are options, too.
Flights from a variety of U.S., Canadian and, of course, Mexican, destinations arrive and depart Guadalajara International Airport (GDL), which is located about 12 miles southeast of the city.
Many of Guadalajara's best things to do are located in the pedestrian-friendly city center, which makes walking the best and most hassle-free way of getting around. Downtown's grid system makes it easy to find your way around, too.
Hopping aboard a Macrobús is another option, but travelers should be prepared for cramped conditions, as buses are popular among locals. Travelers will also find them convenient since they make stops near some of the city's top attractions. Most Macrobús rides cost 6 Mexican pesos (less than 50 cents), although the aqua-colored TUR express buses will run you 12 pesos (roughly 50 cents). Keep in mind that you'll need to pay for the bus with exact change, so if you're traveling via Macrobús frequently, it might make sense to purchase a transit card at any Macrobús stop and swipe once you're aboard (passes cost 15 pesos, or about $1). This saves you the hassle of keeping the right change.
Commuters rely on the metro's east-west and north-south lines to traverse the distances between their homes and workplaces. Although the bus is more convenient for reaching the city's best things to do, the metro does make stops near some top attractions, including the San Juan de Dios Market. Travelers that want to use the metro will pay 7 Mexican pesos (about 40 cents) per ride, or they can also buy a chargeable card for 20 pesos (around $1) at any metro station.
Travelers can take a fixed-price taxi from the airport to central Guadalajara, and they can also snag a ride at any of the downtown taxi ranks. Make sure, however, to decide on a rate at the outset, and keep in mind that fares tend to inflate by 25 percent between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Uber also operates in the Guadalajara area.
Because visitors can walk, taxi, bus, or metro throughout Guadalajara, driving is not recommended. In fact, the U.S. State Department has issued warnings related to driving in Jalisco, so it's best to defer. However, rental cars from many major companies are available from the airport, as well as at Niños Heroes at Manzano, located just west of the major thoroughfare 16 de Septiembre. All you need to drive in Mexico is a valid U.S. driver's license; an international driving permit isn't required.
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