Guadalajara geography has a bit of a twist. Like Puerto Vallarta, Guadalajara lies on the same latitude as Hawaii, but with a big difference: it sits nearly a mile high, about 5,100 ft. in elevation.
Surrounded by mountains in the geographic center of Mexico, Guadalajara lies in the Atemajac Valley. It is the capital of the state of Jalisco and Mexico’s second largest metropolitan area with a population of about 4.4 million people.
The metro-area also includes seven other contiguous municipalities: Zapopan, Tlaquepaque, Tonala,Tlajomulco de Zuñiga, El Salto, Ixtlahuacán de los Membrillos and Juanacatlán.
Guadalajara is spreading mainly to the south and west. The canyon of the Santiago River, Barranca de Oblatos, limits growth in the northeastern part of the city.
El Salto, a fast-growing city close to the international airport and the main Guadalajara-Mexico City highway, is home to many high technology companies and manufacturers.
Just 12 miles west of Guadalajara, the 90,000 acres of forest in the Bosque La Primavera (Spring Forest) nature reserve is a favorite of locals. Heading south, Lake Chapala – Mexico’s largest natural lake – is just 30 miles from the city, an easy getaway.
Guadalajara is in the Central Standard Time zone and observes daylight saving time beginning the first Sunday in April and ending the last Sunday in October.