Know Before You Go: Guadalajara

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There are a few things to know before you before travel to Guadalajara to help you prepare a smooth trip.

Hope they’re helpful!

1. Careful what you drink…

We’ve all heard it, and it’s true. Don’t drink the water. Our American bodies aren’t equipped to consume the water without some… issues.

At restaurants, opt for a soda or the alcoholic beverage of your choice (palomas are my personal fave).

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This counts as one drink, right?

And ditch the ice. It’s very European, so no one will think twice if you ask for a drink with no ice.

Buy bottled waters at the grocery store or at convenience stores. Those are the best bet for safe drinking. Be careful when brushing your teeth. I used bottled water for this, just to be extra safe.

There is medicine you can buy over the counter to help in case you accidentally ingest water. It’s worth investing in as a precaution! Better safe than sorry (and sick).

2. …and eat

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You will see street carts stacked with fruit cups and cooking up yummy treats. It’s probably best to stay away from these snacks during your trip. This was so hard for me because they all looked so delicious, especially those mango cups. But they sit out in the open air for hours with flies and bees swarming around them, and who even knows if the hands that prepared them were clean…

We did end up buying and eating one cup of fruit during our trip. But my aunt made the vendor wash his hands, sanitize them with her HandiBac, wash the knife, wash the cutting surface, and cut the mango fresh right in front of us. And she paid him quite a bit extra for the trouble. It was delicious, and we didn’t get sick, but the effort probably wasn’t worth it.

There are plenty of nice restaurants around the city where the kitchen conditions are clean and the food is safe (and delicious). Just be careful where you choose to eat!

3. [Almost] no one speaks English

Unlike Iceland and the majority of Europe, not a lot of people in city speak English. But I will say, even if you don’t speak Spanish very well or know enough to hold an entire conversation , people are very kind, gracious, and helpful about it. I understand Spanish very well, but am not as confident with my speaking skills. Being immersed in it for a week and a half really helped, but at first it was a challenge.

I would definitely recommend brushing up on basic phrases at the least. Hello. Thank you. Where is the bathroom? How much does this cost? How do I get to the cathedral? And so on.

Google Translate has a great app that is a huge help, and can be very useful when you need it.

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Photo from Wikipedia

Never let the language barrier stop you from experiencing Guadalajara, or any other destination! There’s always a solution, and there will always be people who are willing to help you out.

4. Pickpockets and crime

Pickpockets hang around the cathedral and other touristy spots, and they’re good at what they do.

Ladies, bring a sturdy crossbody bag that can’t easily be ripped off your person. You also want a nice zipper closure on the bag so you can keep any wandering hands out of your bag when you’re not looking.

The Travelon Anti-theft Heritage Crossbody Bag is great! It has anti-theft features, and it’s cute! It’s perfect for adventuring.

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Gentlemen, keep your wallets and other belongings in your front pockets, securely tucked down where they don’t poke out.

My cousin had her iPhone stolen from her back pocket on a trip to Guadalajara. Something that could’ve easily been avoided.

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