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A digital nomad’s guide to Guadalajara

Almost three months ago we moved our nomadic HQ to the beautiful city of Guadalajara, Mexico. The largest city, second only to Mexico City, Guadalajara had a lot to see. After spending these three months exploring the city, learning about the culture, the cuisine and the unique marketing trends taking hold, it’s time for our quarterly guide for other digital nomads that are looking for their next remote work destination and want to make sure that Guadalajara is the right place for them!

Like the last time, we’ll discuss all aspects that digital nomads need to know before travelling to this beautiful new city. We will share our experience with you so you won’t have any doubt that Guadalajara deserves a spot on your travel list! Let’s begin.

Free WiFi and internet speed

Every guide for digital nomads has to start with the resource that fuels our lifestyle, the availability of a reliable internet connection. Access to free WiFi is the first thing you need to ensure before moving to a different city if you want to keep enjoying the digital nomad lifestyle (and your job). Guadalajara’s city council keeps a list of Zonas WiFi where you can get access to a good internet connection.

Apart from the zones on that list, you can access reliable WiFi from hotels, restaurants, and our favourite, coffee shops. Our go-to work space was Starbucks, and the WiFi is always reliable there. If you use Airbnb for your accommodation, 90% of places have WiFi available. Always double check before booking just to be safe.

The average internet speed in Guadalajara is around 16mps, it’s not the fastest internet but it was enough for us to get our projects done on time, so we can’t complain too much! Unless you need to send huge files in seconds regularly, you shouldn’t have any problem to do your work and enjoy other online activities like binge-watching that new season of your favourite Netflix show to reward yourself for that empty to-do list.

Safety in Guadalajara

Overall, we didn’t have any issues with safety during our time in the city. While there are hotspots to avoid and certain times of the day to avoid wandering around, normal safety precautions are enough to keep you out of harm’s way. In general travellers can walk around the city without feeling unsafe as long as they act with common sense and keep an eye on their belongings, especially expensive electronics like mobile devices and laptops. Stick to the main streets and populated areas, especially at night.

If you avoid dangerous neighbourhoods like the outskirts of Tomalá and the east of downtown and keep an eye on your gear you shouldn’t have any problem here. From a health perspective, don’t drink tap water and protect yourself from mosquitoes. It’s also good to know that travel health insurance covers most travellers during any length of stay in Mexico.

Coworking spaces

There are many coworking spaces available for you to work comfortably in Guadalajara. You can find WeWork offices and other options like the local Hospicio Coworking, Metta Coworking, Regus MX and Epicnest. Local coworking spaces offer all the amenities you need to feel focused, comfortable and ready to meet those deadlines. You will have high-speed internet, all the coffee you need to stay awake, phone booths, access to conference rooms, bilingual staff if your Spanish is a bit rusty and, in some cases, playrooms, popcorn and even a massage. The per day rate usually costs a little more than $10USD and monthly subscriptions are around $120USD.

AC Hotel Guadalajara by Marriot (www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/gdlac-ac-hotel-guadalajara-mexico/)

Where to stay

There are plenty of beautiful hotels in Guadalajara in all price ranges, many of them with their own restaurants to enjoy a nice dinner after a long day of exploring the city. Some famous examples include Hotel Riu Plaza and El Tapatío Hotel & Resort, and lower budget options like Hotel Dalí Plaza and Hotel Castilla y Leon. Apart from the many hotel options, you can find a lot of rooms available on Airbnb in Guadalajara. Keep your budget in mind and read the reviews. Take it from us, there are some great and some really not so great Airbnb options in the city. Take your time to search for the one that suits you best.

The digital nomad community

Cocohub is a decentralised coworking and coliving community of digital nomads and remote workers that aims to start local communities for location independent workers in many cities around the world, and Guadalajara has its own remote work neighbourhood associated with the Cocohub community. You can join their WhatsApp group, find a room in the neighbourhood and join other nomads. They can help you to know the city better, have a great time together, and even meet great business contacts in the process.

Low cost of living

As in all cities, you can find different price ranges across Guadalajara, but on average it isn’t very expensive. For a stay of around three months, staying in an affordable hotel, and eating out three times a day you can expect to spend around $1,100USD per month. The average Airbnb room costs around $22USD per night, and you can get a good dinner for $10USD.

Getting around

Uber has helped us a great deal. You will see many buses travelling around the city, but we have had many times where we got on a bus with the correct number only to find out after going somewhere very different to our destination that there are two or three with the same number. Be careful and don’t be afraid to ask someone at the bus stop if you are going to venture a journey on public transportation. With Uber, once your driver arrives, always check the license plate and ask who is the driver picking up. As we said in the safety section, you don’t have to feel unsafe in Guadalajara, but crime is a factor in all big cities.

Local Opportunities

Some people consider Guadalajara to be Latin America’s Silicon Valley. This is thanks to its growing technology and electronics industry. Not only is the government working on projects to increase this sector, opening spaces dedicated entirely to its growth, but international giants as well as startups are turning their eyes on the city with the aim of opening new offices. Technology isn’t the only industry that is growing in the city, there are many professional opportunities in the city for you, even if finding a full-time job isn’t why you’re travelling, being informed about the business landscape of the city you’re in is always useful.

Puerto Vallarta

Lifestyle and Tourism

Guadalajara is full of tourist attractions of all types, and we were sure to enjoy as many as we could during our three month stay. The few day trips we managed let us see Lake Chapala and Ajijic, the circular pyramids of Guachimontones and the beach towns of Sayulita and Puerto Vallarta. If you miss the beach and you can take a trip, Puerto Vallarta and the Riviera Nayarit is only a five hour bus ride away. It might not be as internationally known as other Mexican beach towns like Cancun and Playa del Carmen, but it is definitely worth a visit. The nightlife, surfing and overall relaxed vibe are big draws for tourists.

But you don’t have to leave Guadalajara’s to enjoy culture and good nightlife. Chapultepec and Zapopan are two main centres for this. There is a lot more than partying, there are many cafes, shopping, cultural events like those held at the Teatro Degollado.

Takeaways from our three months

After three amazing months of exploring the great city of Guadalajara, it’s time to move to our next nomadic HQ. With good WiFi, amazing sights and flavours, and a good community of travellers it was definitely a good choice to visit Guadalajara. We couldn’t leave before telling you all the reasons why Jalisco’s capital needs to be on your list. This city has a lot to offer digital nomads and remote workers. Just a few more days for us in the city, but while we are leaving, we strongly recommend you start making plans for your own visit to Guadalajara.

We’ll see you in our next nomadic HQ. London here we come!

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