Away from large resorts and tourist-lined streets, there are small towns throughout Mexico that harbor fascinating history, rich culture and mesmerizing charm. For the curious and the adventurous, dare to journey off the sandy, beaten path to find these magical hubs and discover a new side of Mexico.
Just 35 miles northwest of Guadalajara sits the city of Tequila and it’s no surprise what this town is known for. As the birthplace of the delicious drink made from the blue agave plant, the town of Tequila has been named a World Heritage Site for its worldwide popularity. Of the many, many types of agave plants found in Mexico, the blue agave is the only kind used to make tequila. Surrounded by acres of this special plant, the small town offers tons of tours and tastings of the once sacred Aztec spirit.
For a thorough tour of the production process, partake in distillery tours which take thirsty visitors from harvesting to bottling. Renting a car or taking the Tequila Express (a guided train from Guadalajara to Hacienda San Jose del Refuge) or the Jose Cuervo Express Party Train (a guided train from Guadalajara to Tequila) are your best options for getting around to the different distilleries. The town has an assortment of distilleries from big-name ones to small, boutique ones. Jose Cuervo, Sauza and La Cofradia are the three largest ones in town and all offer different tequila experiences. The Jose Cuervo tour includes a visit to the oldest distillery plant there: La Rojeña. If your love for tequila is as strong as your love for a special someone, you’re in luck; the plant can host weddings for a spirited time. The Sauza distillery tour takes you from the very first step of the tequila-making process to the final taste and La Cofradia offers up night tours that include dinner and even has an on-site boutique hotel for when you’ve had one too many. Other distilleries include Hacienda San Jose del Refuge, home of Casa Herradura; El Llano distillery, La Alteña, Siete Leguas and tons more.
When rest is in order, there are quite a few boutique hotel options to choose from. Casa Dulce Maria is a charming colonial-style house in the heart of Tequila while Villa Ganz offers an upscale experience in its 10-room property that is located in Guadalajara. Other choices include Hotel Solar de las Animas in the town of Tequila and Hotel La Cofradia, the on-site boutique offering at the La Cofradia distillery.
For more information, visit: visitmexico.com/en/main-destinations/jalisco/tequila