Tlaquepaque was once a small town situated southwest of Guadalajara. Today it has been absorbed into the larger city's sprawl, just as Santa Monica has been engulfed ameba-like into Los Angeles. It's a favorite destination of Credit Card Bearing Gringas bent on buying folk art and antiques. It is also of interest to my friend Clint, who scours Tlaquepaque's galleries and workshops for stuff to export to the USA. I accompanied Clint on one of his trips there.
Our headquarters was the Hotel Casa Campos, a small, warm, and friendly hotel owned by Monica Kabande, seen here walking past the hotel restaurant with Clint. Moni served as our friend and guide during our visit.
A courtyard inside the hotel serves as habitat for a dozen marmosets; perfectly tame creatures, delightful to watch as they scamper on the philodendrons. They like it when you feed them marshmallows.
The hotel is set in a quiet part of town. On a nearby street you'll find a tile replica of Diego Rivera's mural A Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park.
Parking is permitted in front of the tile mural, and a tree has been planted there as well. Apparently the directors of civic art and of streets and sidewalks don't speak to each other.
A kiosk on Tlaquepaque's plaza advertises Systema Apartado. In response to my question, I was told the term refers to a lay-away plan. You put a little money down for something you want to buy, and make additional payments from time to time. When the shopkeeper has collected the full price from you, he gives you the merchandise. Seems cumbersome to me: I doubt anything in the kiosk—cheap sunglasses, pink plastic purses—is priced at more than US $10.
Sitting on benches, we ate lomo and salchichon tostadas from a cart on the plaza. Across from us, a little girl in an avocado dress enjoyed her ice cream. The plaza is a relaxed and safe place.
Tlaquepaque is a quiet sanctuary amid the bustle of Guadalajara. Hotel Casa Campos is the perfect retreat after a day of art and antique shopping.
The large and energetic Kabande family and their friends welcome travelers enthusiastically. Stay here, and you immediately have a circle of good friends. Reasonably priced, with comfortable common rooms and an excellent breakfast of yogurt, fruit, fresh-squeezed orange juice and coffee included, Hotel Casa Campos has become my favorite Guadalajara-area hotel, in my favorite part of town.
Note to beleaguered San MIguel residents: Fireworks are rarely set off in Tlaquepaque.