I had to give you one more tip for taking the bus. Every so often, a guy will come on selling beauty products, candy, begging for money, or more commonly, singing and playing the guitar. He will stand and play 3 songs as the bus sways back and forth (worth the money just to see him stay standing), and afterwards he will come by with his hand out...hey, at least he´s earning his keep, right?
The one good thing about the buses here is that they come quite often, the bad thing is that if they don´t feel like stopping, they won´t...it costs 3.50 (pesos) to take the bus, and sometimes they will pack you in there tighter than a sardine can, and other times they will drive right by you even though there are only 10 people sitting on it. I could go on and on, but I will give you only one more tip. Apparently it is not considered rude to sit on the outside of the seats and not let anyone sit beside you...at first I was horrified, but I guess it does make for a more comfortable ride...so back off granny, I got here first...
Miguel Mendoza (Mike)
We were luck to find a taxi driver we hired to show us around who was a really great guide. He worked in the USA for 15 years and in his last USA Job was working in Wisconsin as on a duck farm.
There are tons of public buses in Gdl. to take - but be sure that you are sturdy on your feet and strong to hold on. The drivers are FAMOUS for their terrible driving and accidents with pedestrians. They will RUN YOU OVER so do not count on them stopping. It would be better to take a taxi - they should use a taxi meter but many do not. So be sure that you figure out the price BEFORE you get in the taxi. Your hotel can tell you more or less how much a taxi will cost from one part of town to another. It is not the custom to tip taxi drivers in Mexico.
ok some people hate public transportation, i´dont... along with all traffic, pollution and price cost benefits,, i think with some cautions you can go everywhere just fine,, ok try to avoid peak hours when buses are packed and if you are not a local dont know all tricks need it to survive,, carry change with you,, drivers tend to look ugly at you when you dont,, anticipate your stop in advance,, and most important try to use the subway,, clean, fast and efficient
It's a miracle that I am alive to write this tip today. Yes, the city busses in Guadalajara are that bad! The main way to get around the city is on small minibusses like the one in my picture. These busses cost five pesos ($0.50 US/CAD), but you don't get much for that service. Busses stop at bus stops. Sometimes. You never really know if the bus will stop or not. Sometimes, you have better luck choosing a random spot on the street and sticking your arm out. Once on board, prepare to climb over someone sitting in the aisle seat to get to a window seat. Don't expect them to move, even an inch, for you. As the bus begins to move you will understand why my very existance is a miracle- the bus will go 80 km/h around a roundabout, it won't slow down for speed bumps, it will swerve around ladies pushing baby carriages across crosswalks... you get the idea.
A more comfortable option is the line of Turquesa busses. These full-sized busses are turquoise in color and only serve seven routes, but they are much more comfortable. They have plus seats, air conditioning and some have TVs. Turquoise busses are numbered from 700-707 and cost nine and a half pesos ($0.95 US/CAD).
Every time you need to change busses in Guadalajara, you have to pay again. There are no transfers and no weekly or monthly bus passes. However, you have to keep your bus ticket as evidence that the driver collected your money. Inspections of tickets are more common on Turquesa busses than cheap minibusses.
Sometimes a bus only stops if the driver knows people want to get off. Some buses have the pulleys to signal the driver, but others don't. If this is the case, you need to yell "Bajan!" People might look at you if you're a gringo, but that's better than getting lost.
GDL, in the vain of Los Angeles, USA, requires the use of street transport mostly, as it's a sprawling city and doesn't have such an excellent subway or metro grid. If you wish to take a cab, do. Unlike el D.F., there aren't a ton of pirate cabs, so feel safe --that is, unless the driver's erractic turns and accelerations are making you cross yourself, kiss your thumb and pray a padre nuestro. In this case, say> "Señor(a), tranquilo. Maneje más despacio, por favor."
However, occasionally, as in any other large city in the world, taxi drivers may attempt to take advantage by charging in excess of what the taximetro reads. The city is broken down into 3 tarifas. 1-within the 4 municipalities (Tlaquepaque, GDL, Tonala, Zapopan) up to 22:00. 2-within the 4 municipalities between 22:00 and dawn. 3-outside the 4-metro zone. It should be of prime importance to ensure that next to the initial charge of 7.70 pesos on the taximetro a number reads 1. If it's between 2200-dawn, of course, it should read 2. Outside the 4-metro zones- 3.
If you'd rather not deal with this, you can -- before entering the taxi -- ask the cabby how much to 'X' place. It's probably in your best interest to buy a street map (don't pay more than 80 pesos for the Guia Roji) and have some idea of the route you think might be good. The driver may suggest another route due to traffic, construction, etc, at which point you'll have to risk heeding the "advice" or not.
Guadalajara has a nice metro system. See map and details in the websites below (first one in English; second one, official site, in Spanish).
One token for one ride is 3.50 pesos (approx. 30 US cents)
The Tarjeta Inteligente (Intelligent Card, see picture) is a rechargeable contactless cashcard. It costs 20 pesos (about US$1.80), 6 for the card itself and 14 to use in metro trips, and you can recharge it in amounts of 10 to 200 pesos (about 1 to 18 dollars). (exchange rate 2004)
Taxis can be a very affordable way to get around Guadalajara, but you have to be smart. If you're going somewhere new, either make sure the driver is using the meter or ask your hotel to negotiate a fair price beforehand. If you're going somewhere you know, make sure to set a fair price before leaving if the taxi driver doesn't use the meter. I sometimes take a taxi to work in the morning, and on the meter it costs eighteen pesos ($1.75 US/CAD), but if I forget to set a price before (hey, it's 6:00 am!) I usually end up paying sixty pesos ($5.75 US/CAD). It's not a lot, but it hurts to get ripped off. If your pronunciation isn't great it can help to have the address written down, and if you're going off the beaten track it can also help to have a little map drawn out by hand, or at the very least you should know the neighbourhood (called a colonia) that you're going to. It is safe and easy to hail a taxi on the street in Guadalajara, but you can also phone for pick-up or go to a taxi stand (called a sitio).