Zapopan, recently dubbed as Ciudad de los Niños (the city of children), is part of the Guadalajara metropolitan area and is a only a four-hour drive from Puerto Vallarta. Its name comes from the Nahuatl word Tzapopan, or, place populated with zapotes – a term for a soft, edible fruit.
The main square of Zapopan is called Plaza de Las Americas but it is also known as the Plaza de Juan Pablo II, in honor of the former pontiff, who in 1979, visited the Zapopan basilica located just in front of the Plaza.
In the same area, during the day, there are many stands where you can find souvenirs, clothes, tequila glasses, hundreds of religious images and typical balloons for the children that play happily throughout the main square.
Visitors and locals love to buy the classic keychains with the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe or the Virgin of Zapopan, as well as the bracelets embroidered with their names.
In the same area, art and music take over the streets as you enter the famous Andador 20 de Noviembre or 20 de Noviembre Hall, the recently renovated place is ideal for enjoying the Mexican folklore.
Cultural events cannot be missed, and it is always decorated according to the occasion! You’ll find umbrellas, colorful lifesavers or dream catchers, which have been decorating the whole place during the last months.
If you go to Zapopan during the winter you will see this hall decorated with Nochebuena flowers, the flower originating in Mexico and blooming in the month of December.
Another attraction of this hall is gastronomy, each restaurant offers attractive things for those who come to visit the heart of this municipality, such as the Doña Gabina restaurant, a place Mexican to the bones where the specialty is tacos, Mexican tostadas, pozole and the champurrado, a warm and thick Mexican drink prepared with maíz. The desserts are wonderful, whether you choose some doraditas with caramel or an “ate” a very thick jelly, made with meaty fruit that always leaves a good taste in your mouth.
Zapopan is a place that keeps its essence alive and exalts the richness of its culture. The people who live there are friendly and simple, regardless of their social status, everyone has an experience to tell about how the region gradually expanded without losing their customs, faith and tradition.