Valle de Guadalupe Travel Guide

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Plaza Principal

Plaza Principal

Rodriguez

A long time ago, Valle de Guadalupe was known as La Venta and was a station for stagecoaches traveling on the Zacatecas-Guadalajara route.

Embedded in the Altos de Jalisco region, Valle de Guadalupe is the cradle of brave men, intellectuals and beautiful women. This joyful town has clean, cobblestone streets. The only paved street is Main Street, which is an extension of highway number 80 joining Guadalajara with Lagos de Moreno and San Luis Potosí. The town’s tranquility is constantly interrupted by the highway’s intense traffic (mostly large buses and heavy trucks).

History

Historical records indicate that Valle de Guadalupe was inhabited by sedentary farmers living near a small ceremonial center around 600 or 700 AD. The date is estimated from archeological remains found in El Cerrito, which was probably abandoned around 1200 AD. Documentary sources referring to the region, then known as Nueva Galicia, are quite scarce. It was not until we saw an 18th century map that we found Valle de Guadalupe (under its former name of La Venta) as a station for stagecoaches covering the difficult and dangerous route from Zacatecas to Guadalajara. During colonial times, Valle de Guadalupe was settled by ranchers and a few Indians, who did manual labor.

In 1922, Valle de Guadalupe reached the status of municipality. This area was especially important during the Cristero movement (Mexican religious war) since it was (and still is) very religious. It was also the birthplace of many distinguished people and innumerable combatants of the Cristero War.

Valle de Guadalupe Today

The municipality of Valle de Guadalupe has 51,612 hectares and is surrounded by Jalostotitlán, Villa Obregón, San Miguel el Alto and Tepatitlán. It has a temperate climate and a low level of rainfall. Its economy is based on agriculture and ranching. Recently, though, there has been a growing dependence on cash remittances, which many vallenses living in the United States send their families. Due to the large number of migrant workers in the U.S., it is quite common to see cars and trucks with border license plates and many imported items (the traditional “fayuca”).

You enter town from Guadalajara by crossing a picturesque stone bridge, which passes over “Los Gatos” stream, a tributary of Río Verde that surrounds the city.

We keep driving on the town’s only paved street and reach the main plaza, which has a beautiful traditional kiosk - an essential structure of any small plaza. Unlike most Mexican towns, Valle de Guadalupe does not have church, civic and commercial powers all in one single plaza. In this town, the church dedicated (naturally) to the Virgin of Guadalupe is the sole occupant of the plaza. There are a couple of small shops next to the church under some small arches.

The old Posta or Casa de Diligencias (Stagecoach House) is almost in front of the church in the same plaza. Years ago, the place was used as a resting place for travelers and horses of stagecoaches on their way to Guadalajara, Zacatecas, Guanajuato or Michoacán. The building was constructed in the late 18th century and is used today as an elementary school.

There is a bronze statue in front of Casa de Diligencias dedicated to Father Lino Martínez, who is considered the town’s greatest benefactor.

On the plaza’s south side, we can admire some recently renovated arches, under which are several shops and beautiful 19th century houses, where many of the town’s famous people lived.

The municipal palace is located in the second plaza behind the church. It has a beautiful design and the shade of its many trees gives visitors a cool place to rest.

Inside the municipal palace we found the police station and a small museum next to one of the hallways. You can admire beautiful archeological pieces from many parts of the country in the Barba-Piña Chan Archeological Museum.

Something that caught our attention was the lack of a typical Mexican market. The closest thing we found was a small tianguis (mobile market) that operates on only two of the Fridays of the month, the tianguis is very popular because there you can find many things like from food up to clothes and other thins that you might need.

If you enjoy walking, you can explore the narrow cobblestone streets and westwards you will pass another small bridge over “Los Gatos” stream. About 200 meters further, you will see “El Cerrito”, which is the only archeological site in the area. El Cerrito has the corner of a double-bodied pyramid base, studied by Dr. Román Piña Chan in 1980, and dated at 700-1250 AD. The pyramid base is a silent witness of the region’s pre Hispanic people. Today, there is a modern construction (a house) built on top of the pyramid base, which is why you must ask the owner’s permission to visit the site.

The people of Valle de Guadalupe are tall, blond, and very religious like anywhere else in the Altos de Jalisco region. In short, Valle de Guadalupe is a nice place to see picturesque streets, admire beautiful buildings and to enjoy a well deserved break.

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