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!

We have a new Mexican home!

Our new nomadic HQ:

Guadalajara, Mexico

As you know, Forager is a team of food and travel lovers who enjoy the digital nomad lifestyle. We aim to travel to as many different parts of the globe as possible, exploring new cultures and learning new trends to help our clients be more competitive. One way we ensure this is by choosing a new nomadic headquarters each quarter. Of course we still love Cork, Ireland where Forager Media Group is permanently based, but we are excited to be calling Guadalajara, Mexico our new nomadic HQ for the first three months of 2020!

We packed up in Vancouver and headed south to sunny Mexico. Vancouver was an amazing city for digital nomads and entrepreneurs, full of delicious food and sustainable businesses. And though we love Vancouver, especially Forager’s founder, Bryce Mathew Watts who was born there, it was time to go to our new destination, and that is Mexico’s second city, the beautiful city of Guadalajara!

“Man of Fire” mural by José Clemente Orozco in the Instituto Cultural Cabañas, Guadalajara, Mexico

The second largest city, but not second best!

Guadalajara, or GDL to locals, is considered the archetypical Mexican city. The capital of the state of Jalisco, it is home to some of the most iconic Mexican cultural emblems: tequila, mariachi music and charreria (a Mexican-style of rodeo).

Second only to Mexico City, Guadalajara is a huge metropolis. It has an historic centre stretching back almost 500 years, which is home to the Palacio de Gobierno, the beautiful Guadalajara cathedral and the mesmerising maze of Mercado San Juan de Dios. The artisan district, Tlaquepaque, to the east is where visitors can find the best art and handicrafts from Jalisco and beyond. Each of the neighbourhoods, or colonias as they are known, have a unique characteristic and make each part of the city a new adventure.

Its biggest suburb, Zapopan, is where many larger companies are based, including Expo Guadalajara and the World Trade Centre, and it is also where Forager Media Group is setting up for our three month stay.

The city carries the title of being Latin America’s Silicon Valley. Although many cities are fighting hard to be considered as such, Guadalajara’s technology and electronics industry have a history that can be traced all the way back to the 1960’s, which means it is packing quite a punch in order to keep its rival cities at bay.

Usually a business destination, many people travel to Guadalajara for work, but from the moment they put a foot in this colourful city, the flavours and the people make it difficult to distinguish it from a leisure trip full of experiences to remember and repeat.

Colourful umbrellas giving shade to artists and travellers alike on Andador Independencia in Tlaquepaque, Mexico

Guadalajara: The colourful

Arriving in Guadalajara one of the first things you’ll notice are all the different colours. It is a bright and lively city, with free concerts, cultural events, street markets and lots of traditional handicrafts spread out across the many colonias. The city is a perfect combination of everything the Forager team loves to find when travelling.

But the decorations aren’t the only thing that makes Guadalajara diverse. Previously known as one of the most conservative cities in the whole country, Guadalajara has evolved into an increasingly progressive city. Now, it has become so progressive that it is considered to be the gay capital of Mexico. And because of its large business sector, it is attracting talent from all over the world.

A delicious torta ahogada at one of the many take aways in Guadalajara, Mexico

Guadalajara: The flavourful

Tapatíos (the name locals give themselves) are very proud of their food, so much so that you can’t go a few metres without coming across another delicious food venue. There are many local delicacies to try here, but not being from Mexico, our team thought tacos might be a bit of a cliche. We were wrong, tacos are mandatory and cheap as chips! All conversations lead to food in Guadalajara. Their rich gastronomic culture is a source of pride and with such strong flavours and colourful lates, we will be quite busy these months.

Some of the most popular dishes include Birria which, to many, is the most iconic plate of the city. Made of goat with a blend of tomatoes and spices, it is accompanied by corn tortillas and fresh lime. Don’t forget to try tortas ahogadas as well. It is a pork sandwich in a crispy baguette that is unique to the city. Torta ahogada literally means “drowned sandwich”, once made it is covered in a tomato sauce similar to a beef dip except no au jus, just tomato. With every food in Mexico, all we can say is ask how spicy things are before you pour too much on. Similar colours, but with VERY different heat levels.

Photo taken from Wework website (wework.com/buildings/punto-sur–guadalajara)

Guadalajara for digital nomads

Guadalajara has a lot to offer digital nomads. There are loads of options for co-working spaces like WeWork, Regus and the local company Nevermind. Internet speeds are fast and ready for your daily remote working without problems.

Life is affordable in the city and there are some nice remote work-friendly opportunities thanks to the current growth of the technology industry and others from local companies and international giants that expand to the region. As so often we find ourselves working from a local cafe, you won’t be without options here in Guadalajara. There is the standard and reliable Starbucks, but there are a whole host of other small cafes to choose from. Take a stroll down Avenida Chapultepec, one of the trendy centres filled with boutiques, or the high-end Providencia, or even the restaurant hub that is Chapalita. There will be plenty of places to park your laptop and log a few billable hours.

There are very few obstacles to do business in Guadalajara. You may find it difficult to communicate without at least a basic understanding of Spanish, but locals are friendly and will try to help with sign language if needed.

And when it comes to safety, if you’re used to relatively crime-free cities (like the case of our previous HQ, Vancouver) you’ll notice a difference in Guadalajara. It isn’t by any means a very dangerous city, but crime does happen here. Muggings do happen, so it is always a good idea to stick to walking around during the day and to not leave anything unattended. With a little common sense and good planning, you won’t feel any less safe than in other major cities. Just make yourself familiar with the places you should avoid and develop basic safety habits like keeping valuable objects with you or at home.

The famous circular pyramid at Guachimontones in the mountains of Jalisco, Mexico

What to do in Guadalajara

Now let’s talk about fun things to do in the city other than work. Starting outdoors, for those who love to spend time in nature the charming park of La Barranca de Huentitán is perfect to take a relaxing walk, or a run along its cobbled path like the locals. At the end of the park, you’ll find thermal baths where you can relax after all that exercise but beware, there aren’t changing facilities so if you plan to get in the water go wearing your swimsuit and be ready to go back with damp clothes.

Keeping with the nature theme, there are plenty of day trips out of the city, like visiting the pyramids of Guachimontones or heading to Lake Chapala. And who could say no to a little stop over at the beach after a hard week of working. Well you are in luck, Puerto Vallarta is just a short bus trip away. Rest up on the beaches and have a drink or two to recharge for more work and exploration.

For the foodies, Guadalajara hosts many food festivals with local and international food for you to enjoy, and the history lovers will be delighted by all the tours across all the vestiges of the last 500 years.

The iconic blue agave fields of Jalisco are how we get Tequila

Tequila!

Of course, being the capital of Jalisco, the state where the iconic Mexican spirit was born, we need to dedicate an entire section to the amazing liquor made from the blue agave.

Tequila is made by a special process of fermentation of the nectar from the blue agave. It is a succulent (a plant that holds moisture in thick leaves) native to Mexico and the southern United States with a long list of other uses and benefits apart from making Tequila. It is also used to produce a number of other spirits, including Mexican mezcal and Venezuelan cocuy.

Guadalajara and the surrounding towns are very proud of their tequila, especially the town bearing the same name. It is so important to local identity that the United Nations has designated it a World Heritage Site, and there are many tours that will take you directly through the many distilleries.

The beautiful skyline of Zapopan at sunset

A three month adventure awaits

We are looking forward to exploring Guadalajara and Jalisco state over the course of our time here. Every cafe we can find, each restaurant we visit and every tour we go on will help us feed our sense of adventure, understand our industry better and harvest the best new trends for our clients. We will be sharing our experiences and shedding light on how Tapatios go about promoting themselves and their businesses!

A Digital Nomad’s Guide to Vancouver, Canada

Working full time as a remote worker has been gaining popularity over the last decade. Freelancers are embracing the trend and enjoying the advantages of the digital nomad lifestyle. Being a digital nomad in Vancouver, Canada can be a nice adventure from the usual work schedule. A nice change of scenery is exactly what draws many digital nomads to this type of work. Freelancers enjoy better working conditions that adapt to different needs and life expectations, and companies experience real cost savings for their office needs.

As a result, digital nomadism has become a popular lifestyle for professionals, especially those in the “knowledge industry”, and a goal for people new to the labour market and entrepreneurs. What better way to explore the world than by still being able to make an income while doing it.

Digital nomads typically spend a lot of time travelling the world, and that is exactly what the Forager team does. Since we launched our Digital Nomadic HQ program, we wanted to find the best city to start off. Over the course of these past three months, we have been exploring the beautiful city of Vancouver. Exploring the region, sampling new foods and learning about the local culture, both in and out of the marketing industry. Armed with our laptops, smartphones and a great international calling plan, we set off to explore our new nomadic home in British Columbia.

As with any new city, Vancouver comes with its own challenges that any established or aspiring digital nomad needs to consider before embarking on this journey. After three months here, we have come to find some great things about this city we wanted to share with you.

Overall, Vancouver is an amazing city, and any digital nomad looking for their next stop would do well to add it to their list. Below, we have put together some of our takeaways from this Canadian nomadic HQ.

Free WiFi

For any digital nomad, the first thing to be aware of is the availability of WiFi. Vancouver is one of the tech hubs of North America, so it is no wonder why it has so many great spots for free WiFi. In the downtown core, you can find plenty of work space to use at venues like the Central Library. There are also plenty of cafes with WiFi that can be utilised for the cost of a coffee (from $2.50CAD). The neighbourhood Forager set itself up, Gastown, has plenty of options.

Our only suggestion when visiting an independent cafe would be to check if the internet is working. We have purchased a wonderful cup of coffee or tea, sadly without any way to get online. Apart from that, you can find a more typical Starbucks if you want to stick with what you know.

Vancouver Public Central Library

WiFi at home is standard as well, so no matter if you are staying in a hotel or an Airbnb, there will be a good connection for those times when you just can’t sleep until you get just one more thing done.

Safety

Taking measures to ensure you are safe is essential for digital nomads, especially when travelling to places you aren’t familiar with. Vancouver is virtually a crime-free city. Petty crime can occur, so it is still important to pay attention to your surroundings and never leave valuables unattended on the table at the cafe. Crimes against travellers however, are very rare so you can feel safe as you walk around the city. Whether enjoying the nightlife or going for a run along the seawall, there is no need to feel unsafe.

Hot Desking and Co-Working

For many, a coffee shop or Starbucks is more than enough, but the comfort of using a space specifically designed for productivity and getting work done is what gives others the fresh start they need. Vancouver has a whole host of co-working spaces to park yourself for a few hours or days. You can find different WeWork options, Regus options, and some local ones too. We checked out HiVE because of its social impact focus.

Photo taken from Wework website (www.wework.com/buildings/station-square–vancouver)

If you prefer a dedicated working spot to be able to separate your day, then check out some of those options. And remember your old friend Google if you need to switch it up from time to time. There are many other providers you can choose from like L’Atelier Vancouver, VanCubers and Pavillion Cowork.

Local Opportunities

Even when you’re travelling the world as you work, it is always a good idea to check on local opportunities and build new contacts, find more clients and even a new job. For those interested in the tech industry, it is the perfect city as tech giants like Microsoft are opening new offices, and that entrepreneurial atmosphere brings new opportunities.

The local food industry has a lot of opportunities to offer (apart from unique flavours you won’t find anywhere else) and the film and television industry is quite active too. You can find plenty of local opportunities if you are searching for a new professional adventure.

Lifestyle

Of course, not everything in the life of a digital nomad is about working. We love this lifestyle because it allows us to enjoy all the things we love about travelling the world while still sustaining our careers. There is no need to sacrifice one thing for the other.

So, let’s talk about the fun part! Enjoying your new destination will keep you motivated to continue this career choice. Vancouver has a prolific food scene that you won’t be able to enjoy in a single trip. There are just too many things to try and places to visit and if you’re a foodie like us believe me, you’ll want to try everything. We even made a post about the local food scene, go check it out!

Water Street Cafe

Food isn’t the only thing waiting for you. Vancouver has a lot of events happening each week. Check out websites like Meetup to see what is going on in and around the city. There are plenty of concerts, theatrical shows, music festivals, film festivals and sports for you to enjoy.

If spending time in nature is your thing, don’t forget to take any of the local tours like the Sea to the Sky Gondola or just go for a hike in a local forest. You can’t miss the opportunity to go out and gather your own food from the woods if that’s not common in your city (or if you miss it) but before doing that, research the local rules and make sure you know how to do it safely!

Transportation

As a digital nomad you need to know how you are getting from one place to another. Luckily Vancouver has a great public transport system. The entire city is blanketed with plenty of bus lines, and if you are needing to go farther out, there is the SkyTrain. Tickets cost anywhere between $3.00-$5.75CAD per trip. And don’t miss out taking the SeaBus from downtown Vancouver across the inlet towards North Vancouver.

Taxis aren’t easy to find, and cost around $3.50CAD + $1.89CAD per kilometre. Car-sharing services like Car2Go, Modo and Zipcar are popular among locals and travellers, costing around $0.41CAD per minute or $13.00CAD per hour.

Farewell Vancouver

Vancouver, one of the greenest cities in the world, is an amazing place to visit and explore new experiences. We enjoyed our three months in the city. It has incredible food, great events, beautiful landscapes and, on top of all that, it’s completely remote work friendly. Digital nomads can enjoy their stay in a safe place with many opportunities to offer as they keep up their productivity without worry.

Don’t forget to do your research before travelling to a new destination and plan according to your needs, that will save you from more than a headache in the future! If you need inspiration, don’t miss any of our blogs on working remotely. Every three months we are exploring a new city.

We Are In The Great White North!

Our new nomadic hq:

Vancouver, Canada

Welcome to Vancouver! Home to over a dozen engaging and diverse neighbourhoods, more restaurants than you can fit on your plate and boasting a vibrant and outdoorsy community, Canada’s west coast gem has something for everyone. Vancouver is home to a huge variety of inventive local businesses and neighbourhood institutions and we’re so excited to call the city our current HQ.

Lynn Canyon Vancouver Canada

The Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver

Vancouver: The wild

It’s no secret that Vancouverites love wilderness and nature. MEC, a name synonymous with the outdoors in Canada first launched in Vancouver in the 1970s. The Vancouver location boasts a panoply of events to bring the community together and celebrate the best of what nature has to offer. Tourism sites are also quick to recommend a range of hiking trips in and around the Vancouver area, both solo and guided. Tour businesses should be able to rely on local visuals, from cityscapes to mountain ranges, to build their customer base and show off the quality of the experiences they provide. Needless to say, if you’re heading out here, pack your running shoes, because there is no shortage of businesses whose motivation is to get you moving.

Vancouver’s love for the wild side of life extends beyond leisure activities. Just beyond the city is one of the bases for local foraged food company West Coast Wild Foods. With two headquarters — one in Burnaby, BC and one in Portland, OR — West Coast Wild Foods specialises in all things delicious and freshly foraged in nature. They supply customers with high-quality products such as freshly-dried local mushrooms and tasty jams made from local berries. With a huge focus on local, seasonal harvesting, West Coast Wild Foods is forging a trail for the wild food scene.

Pan Pacific Vancouver Canada

Fine dining at the Pan Pacific Hotel

Vancouver: The trendy

In addition to its trailblazing nature-centric businesses, Vancouver is home to a trendy restaurant scene and is a haven for hip cafes. And with the city’s collective focus on healthy, sustainable dining habits, it’s easy to find an eatery or coffee shop that will cater to your own food ethics code.

For a chic, inventive take on fine dining, try Forage. As the name suggests, this Robson St. spot specializes in bringing local produce and wild finds to diners. Chef Welbert Choi selects his ingredients with great care, and works to ensure that his restaurant has built lasting ties with local fishers, farmers and, of course, foragers.

If you’re after a vegan eatery, Lotus Seed is the place to be. Located in the Granville St area, Lotus Seed specializes in vegan takes on multicultural classics, such as pho, ragu and even a vegan eggs benedict for brunch!

And if you really just want to snuggle up somewhere with a coffee, Vancouver has also got you covered. Home to dozens of trendy cafes, there’s no shortage of Instagrammable lattes and conversation nooks. For a taste of what the world of coffee has to offer without leaving Gastown, try Nemesis Coffee. The multi-roaster cafe serves up some of the best roasters in the world on rotation, and they also stock an impressive number of teas and even make their own apple cider. We love stops like Nemesis because they provide the best opportunity to get out of the house and get some work done. Finding a place that feels like a mix of home with a fresh view can make all the difference when living the digital nomad lifestyle.

Pride Parade Vancouver Canada

Pride Celebrations in downtown Vancouver

Vancouver: The diverse

Another thing we love about Vancouver is the range and scope of its diversity as a city. Back in July we enjoyed our time at the Surrey Fusion Festival, a local celebration of art, culture, and of course food in the Vancouver area. Restaurants throughout the city highlight a multitude of national and cultural backgrounds, and the range is sure to whet your appetite and your creativity.

The city is also full of activities and events by and for the city’s LGBTQ+ community. From serious conferences to late-night dance parties, Vancouver’s LGBTQ+ scene is inviting and varied in its offerings. Welcoming the beginning of October is a queer Indigenous dance party, and November brings the annual LGBTQ+ wedding show back to Vancouver. Marketing events specifically to certain communities is a great way to draw new audiences and ensure that your customers and clients feel welcomed and appreciated for who they are.

Feeling welcomed no matter what is such an important part of making the remote work and digital nomad lifestyle work, and we can’t wait to get to working (and playing) in our new short-term home.