Here are a few notes about our travels between Barra and Guadalajara (and Tequila). Prices and times are approximate. We bussed, cabbed and walked everywhere. We each took just a backpack and made decisions on the fly - no reservations.
We caught the Elite Bus from Barra - it left at about 9 am and every few hours after that. Cost 540. pesos per person. Very comfortable and they give you a sandwich and a drink for the trip. The bus station is on the main street going out of town across from the OXXO store.
The trip took about 6 hours and we went right in to Gaudalajara although sometimes I think they stop at Tlaquepaque (which you will also like). We caught a cab to Tlaquepaque and quickly discovered that it's beautiful and a little over our budget as far as staying for the night. We have a tourist map of Tlaquepaque that we can give you if we see you.
Stay near the square if you stay in Gaudalajara. The architecture is stunning and you'll be right in the midst of things. The lights at night are amazing. There were some very nice looking hotels around but prices are close to Canadian for a nice hotel. We stayed at a cheap (610p per night) place called the Aranzazu.
You definitely won't like that hotel but I think you'd be really happy at the Hotel Morales Historical which is in the historical district and a short walk to all of the action.
There are the horse drawn carriage tours that I wanted to go on (an hour tour for about 300 pesos) but we didn't have the time. It would have been a great way to see some of the things that are not obvious.
The weather was cooler and dryer and a light jacket and jeans will most likely be required at night and in the early mornings. I took a polar fleece jacket that I never wore but I used my little sweater. The mid-days were hot so layers worked best because of the wide temperature range.
We took a taxi to Tequila (350 pesos) and again stayed near the square. There are lots of little places to stay and a fellow named Ricardo who sells tours was very helpful. He was on the street corner (shaved head) near one of the few restaurants we'd found (upstairs on the corner).
We found lots to do and one day we hopped in a taxi to the next town (Magdalena) where there are some tiny opal stores around the square. I just wish I'd got more opals when I was there. It was about a 15 minute taxi ride and a very quick trip. We left immediately after the opal store because Joe realized he'd forgotten the camera in the Taxi (we did get it back).
The taxi ride BACK to Gaudalajara from Tequila was 550pesos.
The bus home from Gaudalajara can be caught in Tlaquepaque or the main Bus depot.
There were tons of things to do in Guadalajara and areas that surround it. You could spend a month and not do it all. We'll definitely be making the journey again.
Next time, the zoo, a chariot ride around the historical district and an excursion to the opal mine where they let you dig for opals.
Also, I have since heard a little secret about obtaining opals in Magdalena. Apparently you should go to the little stores around the square (which indicates to everyone that you're looking for opals) then go sit in the square. That's when the vendors will approach you with their stones.