Not many people seem to know that there’s a town called Tequila in Mexico. It’s where the actual drink of tequila originated from and is home to many of the most popular tequila brands including Jose Cuervo and Suaza. Tequila is about an hour away from Guadalajara with a population of around 26,000.
While most people tend to take a day trip from Guadalajara, we opted to stay in the town for two nights. Although we arrived during the weekend, the town was nearly very few tourists. We were greeted with parades, festivities, and weddings all throughout the town.
Outside of the festivities, the town was quiet and relaxing. There were plenty of tourist attractions but very few tourists. It was odd because it appeared as if the town was preparing itself for a huge influx of tourists but they never came. Guadalajara is the second biggest city in Mexico so tourists are definitely close by but they don’t seem to be coming to Tequila or at least spending much time there which is a real shame but I loved Tequila.
Tips for staying in Tequila
– There are nearly zero hotels listed online for this town oddly. We found one hotel online that accepted online booking. Since there were so few articles about Tequila and we had no idea what to expect with accommodation, we booked the only hotel listed. Once we arrived we realized that we didn’t need to book in advance at all. There a lot of empty and nice looking hotels in Tequila that didn’t seem to have reached the internet era yet. My advice is to simply just arrive and scout around for a hotel but be aware of any special holidays that might fill these places up.
– Jose Cuervo being the largest and most well known distillery, we figured we had to take a tour. It’s a few blocks from the main square and has a beautiful alley way that makes for a great afternoon walk with a drink. The basic tour cost $180 MXN. It includes a walking tour of the distillery in either English or Spanish, a few shots of tequila if you’d like, and a margarita at the end. My opinion is to totally skip the Jose Cuervo tour. It wasn’t worth the $180 MXN 45 minute tour (although they say an hour). It felt rushed and not very exciting. Instead go across the street from the main entrance. There’s a small cart called Jose Cuervo Express that serves great drinks. In the back there’s a beautiful garden with tables. Sit, relax, and have a few drinks there while taking in the environment.
– Suaza signs are hard to miss in this town. It’s a popular tequila brand that seems to have taken over the town. Suaza has a distillery tour that I highly recommend for only $100 MXN and can last over an hour. This is by far a much more in-depth tour that takes you to behind the scenes areas of making tequila. There was plenty of tequila. The only issue here is that the tour was only available in Spanish at the time but they said they do provide English tours as well.
In the backyard Suaza had an enormous garden with statues and benches. In the background behind the walls you see the huge factory of smoke where they are distilling tequila. Kind of amazing.
Perhaps the best part of the whole Suaza tour was near the end. It was 5pm and the doors had closed but we were allowed to stay and chill at the bar for a little while longer. Other tours were ending as well which stopped at the bar. The bartender suddenly started serving non-stop free drinks to the whole crowd that ended up in a mess of tequila, some sort of tequila/whisky mix, laughter, and an array of mixed drinks that I’ve never had before.
– A day tour out of Guadalajara won’t cut it. Stay for a night or two in Tequila itself but past that I’d imagine it would start to get repetitive and boring.
– I don’t think it’s necessary to take any sort of organized city tour. There are many agencies trying to sell their tours around the square. The prices seemed to have ranged from 100 to 300 MXN between an hour to three hours long. Many of the places could be discovered on your own however which we found more enjoyable so we could take our time. If you’re in a rush however, these looked like a good option.
– If you’re facing the church at the square, there’s another square to the left of the church. In that second square on the left side there’s the Tequila tourism office. If you want non-promotional real advice on where to go and what to see, go there. They have a fantastic map as well.
– I HIGHLY recommend renting a car from CarRentals.co.uk and driving to the agave fields for pictures. You’ll be surrounded by mountains in the distance with plains all around covered in agave. You will not be able to see this from the city.
– Parts of the town literally smells like tequila. Not great when you’re hungover from drinking too much tequila. Have fun but stay responsible.
[disclosure]We visited Tequila with a complimentary rental car procured by CarRentals.co.uk.[/disclosure]