This time of year, one might think a majority of travelers are flocking to Mexico for sun and sand along resort-lined beaches.

While that is certainly true to an extent, Mexico is a phenomenal place to visit the more inland you go, where you’ll find delightful pueblo magicos and bustling historical cities that are fun to explore.

According to recent statistics released by Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico, the proof is in the pudding that many travelers are craving culture over ritzy resorts and beautiful beaches.

The captivating city of Guadalajara, with no beach in sight, is seeing a 24.3 percent surge in international tourists this spring, and here is why:

Feels Like Real Mexico

The capital city of the state of Jalisco heads a shrinking list of destinations in the country that truly feel authentic.

From the sights, sounds, and smells of delicious cuisine permeating through the air, Guadalajara instantly captivates tourists who give this city a chance.

Dancers in International Mariachi & Charros festival

Among the top 3 most visited cities in Mexico, only one doesn’t have pristine beaches lined with all-inclusive resorts.

Of course, that would be one of the biggest cities in the world, Mexico City. And while it’s an amazing place to visit, Guadalajara is second to none when it comes to being a bustling city that feels real.

There is minimal “Americanization” compared to Mexico City, where you’ll find more and more U.S.-based chain restaurants, new shiny skyscrapers, and easily spottable tourists.

Guadalajara has maintained its unique charm despite being a very large city of 5 million occupants.

Colorful building in Guadalajara

Home to beautiful cathedrals and massive markets and surrounded by delightful small towns, Guadalajara has avoided the pitfalls of being oversaturated with tourists despite the recent surge.

And the city, or region in general, has proven they don’t need crystal blue waters and swim-up bars to entice travelers to visit.

Digital Nomads Love It…For Now

2023 was a record year for Guadalajara, with one key component being digital nomads coming here in droves.

In fact, it’s one of the fastest-growing digital nomad destinations not just in Mexico but the entire world.

Digital Nomad working in tropical setting

Like anywhere else, when there is sudden growth, over-tourism is a concern for both locals and visitors.

Some say it’s only a matter of time before Guadalajara loses its luster as an appealing place to make your base as a digital nomad, but only time will tell.

One thing not going anywhere is the year-round sunshine, and, for now, the city is still very affordable, easy to get around, and jam-packed with things to do as digital nomads are surely just as much foodies and culture seekers as anyone else.

Plus, Guadalajara has embraced the work-on-the-go lifestyle and is well-equipped with trendy cafes and over 70 co-working spaces as low as $15 per day.

Digital nomad with laptop and coffee

The only knock may be its sketchy reputation, but that doesn’t seem to be deterring travelers even with the state of Jalisco designated ‘Level 3′ status by the U.S. State Department.

But let’s be real – that’s not accurately reflective of the entire state, with Puerto Vallarta and Jalisco both being record-breaking tourist destinations in the past year.

Enjoy The Simple Pleasures

It almost goes without saying that Guadalajara is a foodie destination because isn’t that the case for all of Mexico?

That being said, Guadalajara edges out the others given their local staple Tortas Ahogadas and the nearby town of Tequila, properly named for obvious reasons.

Tourists walking down vibrant street of Tlaquepaque near Guadalajara

One of the best ways to experience anywhere culturally is through food and Guadalajara has it all from bustling markets like Mercado Libertad for adventurous street food junkies to TikTok-worthy Santo Coyote, a classic Jalisco restaurant where it’s impossible to leave hungry.

Surrounding Guadalajara are delightful small towns such as Tlaquepaque, but many highlight Tequila as a must on their itinerary.

The trip itself is fun to take as you will pass through gorgeous agave fields to set the mood for what you’re about to endure.

Agave fields of Jalisco

Now, obviously, it’s always best to drink responsibly, especially since this town truly lives and breathes its name.

This is one of a handful of Mexican states producing authentic tequila and tourists can visit distilleries, such as Jose Cuervo and Sauza.

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