Where to sleep: Guadalajaras restored Hotel Morales (52-333-658-5232, www.hotelmorales.com.mx) is where you want to be; its a short stroll away from downtown attractions but has a quiet elegance and rooftop terrace. Doubles start at $70.
Other tips: On the northern edge of always-bustling Guadalajara is a scenic oasis called the Barranca Oblatos Huentitan (www.parquesguadalajara. udg.mx/huentitan/indexi.html). The park contains a canyon carved out by the Santiago River. This is the place to simply get away from traffic, watch the sun set, or keep an eye out for Mexicos many brightly colored birds and butterflies. Many businesses will accept US dollars, but you should also carry some cash in pesos (a dollar equals nearly 13 pesos). Also, although Guadalajara is located far from the recent spate of violence near the US border, and a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention travel warning for Mexico on swine flu was lifted months ago, check the websites of the State Department (www.travel.state.gov/travel/travel_1744.html) and the CDC (www.cdc.gov/travel/) when planning.
— Peter Mandel