The charming, rustic town that lends its name to Mexico’s national drink has become a major tourist destination in the past decade. Tequila was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006 and boasts a range of historic distilleries. Most of these are open to visitors, and we would highly recommend taking a guided tour if you visit the picturesque town.
The most famous tequila tour is without a doubt the Jose Cuervo Express, which leaves every Saturday at 9.00 or 9.30 a.m. from Guadalajara. After a scenic, hour-long trip in a mock-19th-century railcar, guests are welcomed at Jose Cuervo’s La Rojeña Distillery, which is the oldest in Latin America. Visitors are guided from the brick ovens where the agave is cooked right up to the oak barrels of the aging cellars. They are also given plenty of tequila shots along the way.
For serious or aspiring tequila connoisseurs, Experience Tequila is without doubt the best option. The specialist company offers a range of tours that are designed to deepen your understanding of tequila culture and its history. The guided tours offer an opportunity to experience the village and tradition behind the beloved spirit. Tour guides will take you through the entire production process, from the iconic blue agave fields to the elegant tasting rooms of some of the finest tequilas in the world. Experience Tequila offers four-day tequila tour packages, single day tours or custom tours tailored to your own preferences.
The hands-on tours offered by Hacienda La Cofradía are particularly memorable, giving guests the opportunity to explore the distillery, watch and learn from a jimador – or tequila farmer – and even unleash your creative side by decorating your own bottle in the ceramics factory. The hacienda also boasts a unique boutique hotel, Matices de Barricas, which has spacious rooms shaped like the oak barrels used to age tequila.
If downing tequila shots is not enough of a thrill, Tequila Adventure offers more action-packed activities. For under 800 pesos ($44), you can arrange to rappel down a waterfall or ride a horse through an agave field. The company also offers a guided tour of Los Azules Waterfall, a tour of the Rubio Distillery and a workshop where you make your own agave paper. An excellent option for visitors looking for something a little more unique and unusual.
For travelers on a budget, the Casa Orendain tequila company offers a tour of their distillery La Mexicana for only 195 pesos ($10.40). Less well-known than Jose Cuervo, Orendain is a family-owned Tequila group that was founded in 1926. The company now produces 10 different brands of tequila, and has collected various awards at international events. The tour provides a close-up look at Casa Orendain’s production process, as well as an opportunity to sample freshly distilled tequila, cooked agave and a few aged tequila shots.