Skewered by the stunning Sierra Madre and edged by the warm waters of the Pacific, Jalisco is often said to be the most Mexican of Mexican states, and, since it gave the world tequila, mariachi, and rodeos, it’s not hard to see why.
From snow-capped volcanoes of the highlands, down to the central plains and steamy coastal jungles, the state of Jalisco boasts a rich diversity of landscape and culture. Its indigenous peoples (the Huicholes, Coras and Tepehuanes) still maintain their languages and traditions, while urban hubs such as Guadalajara – Mexico’s second largest city and the state’s capital – offer their own attractions: grand gastronomy, upmarket boutiques and a lively night-time scene. Along the Costa Alegre (or ‘happy coast’) you reach the inexplicably popular Puerto Vallarta, but venture a few steps from the beaten path and there’s dozens of sleepy fishing villages and unspoilt beaches to be enjoyed, while taking in the staggering biodiversity of the Pacific coast – whales, dolphins, turtles, seals and rare seabirds.
Between November and June, the weather is at its sunniest and the festival season is in full swing. From February to April the climate is warm and sunny, without being too humid. It’s always a good idea to bring warm clothes to Mexico as, depending on altitude and geography, the nights can often be colder than you might expect.