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The city of Tequila, an hour from Guadalajara, is best known as the birthplace of Mexico’s national drink, and the surrounding hills are lined with countless rows of spiky blue agave plants. The town has a rustic, picturesque charm and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006. Tequila also boasts several historic distilleries and some beautiful cantinas.
There are numerous train trips that take tourists to the iconic town from Guadalajara, but a bus is a cheaper option and will mean you can stay the night. For accommodation, the Hotel Solar de las Animas is an elegant boutique hotel just a block from the town plaza. The stylish yet rustic location is a great destination for couples and also boasts an outdoor swimming pool. Once you’ve dropped off your bags, head out to explore the central plaza, the beating heart of the town.
Hotel Solar de las Ánimas, Ramon Corona S/N, 46400 Tequila, Mexico, +52 01 374 742 6700
The handsome baroque church, La Parroquia Santiago Apóstol, dominates the center of town. Built in the 17th century, the single nave interior boasts numerous elegant stained-glass windows. Outside, the plaza is usually a hub of activity. Voladores, or “flying” dancers, often perform just off the main square. These performers spin around a tall pole while attached by their ankles, in a ritual ceremony that has been recognized as an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO.
The plaza is also a great place to enjoy your first tequila. Cantaritos, or clay pots, are sold in stalls surrounding the plaza. These are filled with a potent cocktail made of tequila, lime, salt, and fruit juices.
Parroquia Santiago Apóstol, Sixto Gorjón, Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico, +52 01 374 742 1819
Enjoy a late lunch at Amor de Mis Amores, a casual family restaurant in the heart of the town. Traditional Mexican cuisine is the name of the game at this eatery, offering tacos, enchiladas, carne en su jugo, and birria.
The Museo Nacional del Tequila (the National Museum of Tequila) offers fascinating insights into the town’s history and culture. Opened in 2000, the museum offers five beautifully arranged rooms with themed exhibits and artwork relating to the iconic spirit and its production.
Amor de Mis Amores, José Cuervo 26, El Rastro, Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico, +52 01 374 742 3085
Museo Nacional del Tequila, Ramón Corona 34, Centro, Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico, +52 01 374 742 00 12 ext. 105
The next stop on your trip should be Jose Cuervo’s La Rojeña Distillery, the oldest distillery in Latin America. Tours depart from the distillery’s reception and take visitors through the entire production process, from the brick ovens where the agave is cooked to the oak barrels that are stacked in the aging halls. The tour takes 90 minutes and includes a tasting of Jose Cuervo’s premium tequila, Reserva de la Familia.
La Rojeña, José Cuervo 33, Centro, Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico, +52 01 374 742 6717
If sobering up is not on your agenda, head over to La Cata, a superb tequila-tasting room a short walk from Cuervo’s distillery. La Cata boasts a vast selection of Mexican spirits and is run by a very friendly team of tequila-savvy staff.
La Cata, Ramón Corona 109, El Rastro, Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico, +52 01 374 742 0058
Head back to the hotel for dinner. Solar de las Animas boasts one of the best eateries in town. La Antigua Casona is a welcoming, laid-back restaurant in a pleasant courtyard setting. The menu boasts excellent regional dishes made from quality local ingredients.
If you still have the energy, head over to La Capilla, “the Chapel,” for a nightcap. The oldest cantina in Tequila, La Capilla was given that name because patrons walk in on their feet but crawl out on their knees. Inside, the bar has rough tiled floors, spindly stools and a lively, friendly atmosphere.
La Capilla, Avenida México, Centro, Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico, +52 01 374 103 9204
Restaurante Bar La Jima is a great spot for breakfast. The charming eatery offers excellent food, as well as efficient and friendly service. We highly recommend the huevos rancheros or chilaquiles, which are both first rate.
Restaurante Bar La Jima, Avenida México 138, Mayahuel, Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico, +52 01 374 742 4020
After breakfast, head over to the nearby village of Amatitán, 15 minutes’ drive from Tequila. El Guero bar is a legendary institution in Tequila country. The open-air bar offers cheerful cantaritos to its very contented clientele.
Cantaritos El Güero, Carretera Libre a Tequila km 49, Amatitán, Jalisco, Mexico, +52 01 374 100 4569