A November 2003 trip
to Guadalajara by lightning
Quote: My experiences at Golden Shores at Plaza Del Sol in Guadalajara and the surrounding area.
Golden Shores Club appears to occupy the top two floors of the Tower 2 building (the round tower) at the Hotel Plaza Del Sol. Three attempts to get information from a Golden Shores Club representative were unsuccessful, so all information comes from observation or other sources. The 14th floor, where we were, had five rooms, I assume one- or two-bedroom units. The 12th floor had 14 doors; I was told that at least one was a lockout, two doors to a one-bedroom unit. Golden Shores was classified as a "Resort of International Distinction" by RCI until last year. We weren’t sure why. There were no activities or contact from the Club except for my failed attempts to get information. All contact and assistance was from the hotel desk and staff.
Hotel Plaza Del Sol occupies the southwest corner of the Plaza Del Sol shopping center, one of the nicest in Guadalajara. The two 14-floor yellow and orange towers are easy to spot. The hotel has two restaurants, outside pool, bar, and workout facilities. The check-in was OK, but not exceptional. The bell captain, Jose’ Luis, however, was very friendly and helpful. We also used the safes and money exchange at the front desk.
Within walking distance are restaurants, the shopping center, clubs, and some other businesses, and not far is the Guadalajara Expo. For an experience, across the street is the restaurant Karne Garibaldi, which serves a traditional dish called "birria," I think. It is thin sliced beef cooked in broth with bacon, onions, and a few beans. On the side are various fresh fixings and tortillas. That is all they serve - you order small, medium or large. I understand that Garibaldi is in the Book of World Records as the fastest service in the world, and I believe it. Their quick service is necessary, since this place is popular with the local people and they stay busy.
Another restaurant that is popular with tourists is Santo Coyote, a taxi ride away. It is on the expensive side (Mexico standards), and we weren’t really pleased with the food. It has interesting decor, and your food may be better than ours; give it a try. Jose’ will suggest other restaurants as well.
Historic Downtown is well worth the effort, probably even two days. Be sure to get a guidebook, I got plenty off the Internet. The Ballet Folclorico (folk dancing) at to was very enjoyable. The zoo in Guadalajara was a nice day. Midweek crowds were small. There were lots of sidewalk markets set up for Christmas; I don’t know which will be there year-round. Since Guadalajara is not a tourist town, the markets have stuff for the locals, not tourist trinkets. They don’t make a great effort to cater to tourists either, but the people were friendly enough. Keep on mind that this is a big city, 5 million people, so you should consider safety first.
For Tonala, a local craft village, take the TUR bus directly from PDS. Get directions from Jose’. I recommend this both for the expense, about instead of , and for the experience. If you take the TUR bus, you can return when you want to PDS. On "market" day, Thursday (and Sunday), the crowds were daunting. It was difficult to even walk around.
The trips to the lakeside villages of Chapala or Ajijic require getting on a city to city bus, 32 pesos, about each way. Unless you know basic Spanish and are adventurous, maybe the guided tour is better. Be sure to visit with the expatriates, U.S. and Canadian citizens, who live there. They are great salespeople for the idea of retiring and moving to Mexico. Maybe you will catch the fever too.
We didn’t get to go to Tequila; one tour company included both Chapala and Tequila in the same trip.