Exploring Tlaquepaque

The brighter the colours, the more I tend to love a place. Tlaquepaque, Mexico, won my heart the moment I arrived, with its vibrant hues and spirit, and its warm hospitality. I had a whirlwind tour of this artistic village last May while visiting Guadalajara, but longed to go back and spend time in all its enticing shops and galleries, and was fortunate to make a return trip in October.

villa-del-ensueno

La Villa del Ensueno provided me with a perfect location from which to explore Tlaquepaque and its amazing art such as the bronze sculpture below, which can be found in front of the Rodo Padilla Galeria. It is one of the most photographed pieces of art in Tlaquepaque.

tlaquepaque-mexico

exploring tlaquepaque mexico

The name Tlaquepaque translates to mean “on top of clay hills.” The colonial village that forms the heart of the artistic community was founded in the 19th century, and many of the original central buildings including its two historic churches still stand.

tlaquepaque-cathedral

I visited the Parroquia de San Pedro Apostle Tlaquepaque Church with a local friend while she sat down to pray.

Formally known as San Pedro Tlaquepaque, the artisan village of Tlaquepaque–located in Jalisco, Mexico, initially attracted clay artisans and has evolved to include all sorts of artists including “artists of the kitchens.” Yes, Tlaquepaque has become quite a culinary destination, and I was there to search out the chocolate. You’ll find out more about that in in this post.

rio-san-pedro

The lunch I had at Rio San Pedro in Tlaquepaque was one of the best meals I’ve ever had. The dish pictured is called the Molcajete and is a hot pot sizzling with grilled shrimp, chorizo sausage, nopal cactus and fresh cilantro.

My home for a three-night visit to Tlaquepaque was La Villa del Ensueño, a boutique hotel filled with life and colour. Everywhere I turned, La Villa del Ensueño welcomed me with intoxicating colour to feed my spirit. As a student of feng shui, I immediately picked up on all the things La Villa del Ensueño was doing right in order to create a warm and welcoming ambiance that truly spoke to my soul.

tlaquepaque mexico villa-del-ensueno

My king room was on the second floor of La Villa del Ensueno in Tlaquepaque and had a jacuzzi tub.

The 20-room villa was constructed 125 years ago for private use, and recently converted into a smoke free boutique hotel over an 18-month period, during which time the ownership team painstakingly searched for just the right fixtures and furnishings to reflect the artistic nature of the neighbourhood. Vicente Magnaña, one of the partners in the Villa, told me that the only items that were imported from outside of Mexico were the television sets for the rooms. “Being in Tlaquepaque is like being in a dream, and that inspired the name for the villa,” he said. (The word ensueño means dream in Spanish.)

tlaquepaque mexico art galleries La-Coleccion

The gallery at La Villa del Ensueno is called La Coleccion and contains a collection of very colourful and contemplative art pieces, many of which are by artist Adam Donrido.

I was infatuated with the thought-provoking art that was on exhibit throughout the villa, and for sale in La Coleccion gallery. There were several intriguing sculptures on site by local artist Adam Donrido including the Thinker, Caged Man, Winged Ears, and Nude Woman. La Coleccion features works of local artisans in various mediums including pillows, woodworking, silver pieces, and paintings. I loved them all!

 tlaquepaque mexico art gallery la Colección at Villa del Ensueno

Some of the art at La Villa del Ensueno, including the Winged Ears by Adam Donrido.

Many thanks to Vicente Magnaña and to Rocio Martinez Quintal of Concierge Online for coordinating my visit, which gave me the perfect vantage point for exploring Tlaquepaque.

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Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

51 Responses

  1. Donna Janke says:

    Tlaquepaque certainly looks vibrant. I love all the colour. It must have felt great to be surrounded by all that art.
    Donna Janke recently posted…Riding Buses in the Azuero PeninsulaMy Profile

  2. Doreen-Great to re-connect. I love a hotel that features unusual artwork. It gives such a unique feel to the location. La Villa del Ensueno looks like a spot where I could have lovely dreams!
    alison abbott recently posted…100% Grass Fed Yogurt & Whole Milk GoodnessMy Profile

  3. Sabrina Q. says:

    Tlaquepaque looks very interesting. I’m looking forward to the culinary post about the place too. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Mexico is a destination we would love to go to, but we have always been a bit nervous about safety issues. Concierge Online sounds like just the resource we need – thanks.
    Lyn aka The Travelling Lindfields recently posted…Sydney, Australia – The top 5 things tourists do which locals avoid.My Profile

  5. Phoenicia says:

    This hotel is certainly creative with it’s art work and various statues. I am sure they are a point of discussion amongst many visitors.

    The bronze sculpture is what comes to mind when I think of Mexico. A friend recently visited and said the food was amazing – far more authentic than the eateries in the UK.
    Phoenicia recently posted…Dealing with the mundane tasks in lifeMy Profile

  6. lenie says:

    Doreen, you made me hungry with the Molcajete – it looks amazing. I think one of the best things of traveling like you do would be tasting all the different dishes, at least that would be my favourite part.
    When I was looking at all the colours, it just dawned on me – why is it in hot climate countries they go in for bright bold colours when it is actually the cold climate ones that need them?
    lenie recently posted…The Great Canadian Ketchup WarMy Profile

    • Very observant comment, Lenie. That is pricelessly why I don’t like winter. It is not so much because of the cold temps as it is because of the lack of colour. Warm destinations embrace colour because it grows everywhere naturally around them. All the bright coloured flowers and birds, the 50 shades of green in the plant life, the bright blue of the skies and beaches. All that colour can’t help but warm your heart and spirit.

  7. Catarina says:

    Love the pictures from Tlaquepaque, Doreen. Looking at the food actually makes me hungry. Another place for me to visit if I ever go back to Mexico.
    Catarina recently posted…Do you drive leadership through ambidexterity?My Profile

  8. Beverly says:

    How wonderful it must be to live surrounded by all that colour and art! The vibrant colours alone inspire a feeling of happiness.

  9. Linda says:

    The Molcajete looks to die for! But one question, how do you pronounce Tlaquepaque? Fun post and photos.
    Linda recently posted…The BicycleMy Profile

  10. Michele Peterson ( A Taste for Travel) says:

    Tlaquepaque is an amazing place and that Molcajete dish – named after the mortar and pestle its served in– looks delicious! Definitely on my must-try list for next visit. La Villa del Ensueño seems like the perfect place to stay …love the artwork you’ve captured

  11. Jeri says:

    The colors and food of Tlaquepaque look so fun. And it’s good to see a guide to how to pronounce the city’s name in the comments above 😉
    Jeri recently posted…#LiteraryCriticism: London by William BlakeMy Profile

  12. I marvel at the wonderful things I learn about other parts of the world by reading posts such as yours, Doreen! I love how you convey such appreciation for the history, culture and general wonder of Mexico. Your pictures especially bring your words to life. Thank you. 🙂
    Ramona McKean recently posted…Omy K’s Story, the Healing Power of PurposeMy Profile

  13. Ken Dowell says:

    I got stuck on the picture of the Molcajete. That just looks amazing. I’m sitting here imaging what it must taste like. (The cactus is throwing me a little.)
    Ken Dowell recently posted…Dog Rescue in the USA: Some Rescue StoriesMy Profile

  14. The colors are magnificent! They easily make me think of warmth and relaxation. I like that the hotel used all local items, except for the TVs. PS. Who needs TV in such a wonderful setting?
    RoseMary Griffith recently posted…Greenville, South Carolina – One of the Most Beautiful Downtowns in the USAMy Profile

  15. Kathy Andrew says:

    Tlaquepaque Looks like an amazing place. And with a vibrant art scene too what’s not to like? Thanks for this fantastic series Doreen

    • Thx so much for your comment, Kathy. You’d love Tlaquepaque, for in addition to the vibrant artistic community, it is also a very liberal society where all feel equally welcome.

  16. Doreen, your photos of Tlaquepaque are amazing. To be honest, I’ve never been interested in visiting Mexico. Now, you’ve piqued my interest!
    Sherryl Perry recently posted…Do You Sell Online? Want To?My Profile

    • Thanks, Sherryl. Mexico really is an amazing country to visit. And I have been blessed with the opportunity to visit communities like Tlaquepaque that are an artist’s dream! Staying at La Villa del Ensueno was the icing on the cake!
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…Exploring TlaquepaqueMy Profile

  17. I’ve never heard of Tlaquepaque but it looks just beautiful and I agree the colors are wonderful. These posts remind me how long it’s been since I was in Mexico and that I should return sooner rather than later. Thanks Doreen!
    Marquita Herald recently posted…Has Stress Become a Way of Life?My Profile

  18. Susan cooper says:

    Hi Doreen,Tlaquepaque looks like a colorful and lively pace to visit. The villa has definitely got some interesting artwork, doesn’t it? Pretty cool. Every post of your on Mexico makes me want to visit more.
    Susan cooper recently posted…Homemade Puff Pastry Shells: #RecipeMy Profile

  19. I have to agree with you Doreen that bright colors make me happier and more attracted to a place too and your pictures of Tlaquepaque show a colorful vibe that make it seem very welcoming. But your description of the Molcajete and picture was what had me fantasizing about good Mexican food -Mmmm!

  20. Sabir says:

    Thanks for this nice article. Keep it up. 🙂

  21. Grace says:

    Gorgeous! I love all the color and especially the blue hotel! It must have been a fascinating trip

  22. Doreen — What gorgeous photos. How different from crowded and polluted city life. There is so much beauty elsewhere in Mexico.

  23. Andy says:

    Wikipedia’s Tlaquepaque entry (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tlaquepaque) notes, “Tlaquepaque is known for its mariachi bands.” Did you listen to any mariachi bands during your stay?

  24. Tatia says:

    Thanks for sharing Doreen. Tiaquepaque looks like a feast for the eyes! Your trips always look so put together. Do you typically have a set itinerary or improvise once you’re at your destination?

  25. What a beautiful place.
    This is definitely a location I want to visit. The architecture alone seems enough to visit.
    Thanks for sharing this with us.
    William Rusho recently posted…Medieval Monsters and LegendsMy Profile

  26. Chris says:

    There are so many things I love about Mexico, and this post picked up everyone. Thanks Doreen! I can’t wait to plan a walking tour here in T or down the road in Oaxaca.

  27. Patti Morrow says:

    I wish there was an “official” name for someone who loves Mexico, because that would describe me. I haven’t been to Tlaquepaque though, so thanks for putting it on my radar. Love the vibrant colors and colonial architecture!

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