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Tequila, Mexico is a super fun day or weekend trip, just one hour from Guadalajara. Tequila is, well, the birthplace of tequila, one of the world’s most beloved spirits. Tourists, both Mexican and foreign, come to Tequila to learn about the history and production of tequila, sample the local cuisine, and experience traditional music and dance. Tequila offers a unique and authentic Mexican experience that can be summed up in one word: FUN! This blog post is the best guide to Tequila, Mexico- how to get to Tequila from Guadalajara, how to find a tequila distillery tour, and what to expect on a tequila tour in Tequila, Mexico.
So What’s it Like in Tequila, Mexico?
Tequila is happy. Tequila is fun. Tequila is a really good time that you will absolutely not regret. I have friends in Guadalajara who first suggested I check out Tequila. Initially I was really disinterested. I don’t really drink tequila (not since that one time when I was 17 and well, threw up a lot, and claimed ‘never again’). But after a few more friends mentioned it, I decided to give it a go. I also knew I didn’t want to go for just a day trip. I wanted to stay for at least a couple days to really get a feel of the city. It was the best decision I could have made.
I was traveling alone, so I was unsure how traveling to a place literally named for a boozy nightmare could turn out. I was pleasantly surprised. Walking around Tequila on my first day, I couldn’t help but be infected by the general merriment of the place. Everyone seems to be on the border between almost tipsy and very tipsy. Laughing, joking, singing, trying crickets in the street. Tequila is not a big town so everything is mostly concentrated around the main plaza. Grab yourself a cantarito and enjoy the people watching!
A lot of Tapatios (people from Guadalajara) like to come for a weekend, or just a day trip, as it’s quite close.
When is the Best Time to go to Tequila?
Any guide to Tequila, Mexico might tell you the “best” months would be February, March, and April. This is not a high tourist season, so there won’t be as many people. It will also be hot, but not too hot. Rainy season begins in June, so you’ll be avoiding that as well. But you can’t always control when you go. So don’t let the “best time” deter you. In Tequila, you’re guaranteed to have a blast no matter what the season.
How Can I Get to Tequila from Guadalajara?
Take the Bus to Tequila
Head to the Central Vieja in Guadalajara. The bus company called Primera Plus has frequent trips between Guadalajara and Tequila. I suggest going directly to the station to purchase tickets. Their website is pretty bad. Also, don’t buy a ticket from a 3rd party website. That’s what I did, and when I arrived, my supposed bus to Tequila did not exist. Fortunately a Primera Plus bus was about to depart within the next 30 minutes. I paid 130 pesos ($7) with a credit card.
The total trip takes about 2.5 hours. The first hour and a half of that is spent just trying to get out of the city of Guadalajara. Once the bus finally exits the city limits, the ride is only about one hour. Once you arrive to Tequila, the bus will appear to pass by the center; however, it does make a left turn and will drop you off right at the main street next to a bank. From there you should be able to easily walk to any accommodation in the city.
Take a Taxi to Tequila
In the center of Guadalajara, next to the Rotonda de los Jaliscienses, you can find a taxi stand. Ask there for prices to go directly to Tequila. You can also ask your hotel to call a taxi for you.
As of today, a DiDi/Uber trip from the Plaza de Armas in Guadalajara to the center of Tequila is 615 pesos ($34usd).
Take a Day Trip to Tequila with a Tour company
If you walk around Plaza de Armas in Guadalajara, you’ll hear several people shouting out names of tours: “TEQUILA,” “CHAPALA,” AJIJIC.” You can approach one of these local tour operators to inquire about details.
You can also organize something online in advance, as there are several options.
How Much Time do I Need in Tequila?
A lot of people go to Tequila for just the day, or even just a few hours. It’s not a big town, so it is possible to walk around and see quite a bit in just an afternoon. However, I do suggest staying longer if you have the time. I spent two nights in Tequila, which felt just right. Spending two nights is perfect for seeing Tequila in all it’s stages: quiet mornings, bustling afternoons full of tour groups, jolly evenings, and party-time nights.
Staying two nights allows you the opportunity to do a tour one day, and enjoy the town itself the other day.
How Can I Find a Tequila Tour?
If you are planning to visit Tequila just for the day, there are a ton of one-day tours that leave from Guadalajara. I spoke to one couple while they were in the middle of this tour and they couldn’t be happier.
If you want to find a tour directly from the town of Tequila, it’s very simple- just go to the main plaza. You will see several tour recruiters walking around the plaza with their advertisements. For best results, go in the morning. A lot of tours begin around 10:30 and 12:30, therefore it will be best to get there earlier to make a reservation and pay.
Please note, there are NO tours in English, even if they tell you there is. DO NOT PAY EXTRA FOR ENGLISH.
The ONLY tour that seems to be in English is with Matices Hotel de Barracas. If you really want a tour in English, contact them ahead of time.
What are the Tequila Tours Like?
A note about English tours: As I mentioned above, you should not pay extra for a tour in English. I made this mistake. I do speak Spanish, but prefer tours in English to fully understand complex processes and new vocabulary. I paid extra for English. There was literally no English besides the 3 minutes where one guy pulled me aside to explain the difference between agave and mezcal. That was it.
The tour was 350 pesos. I paid 400 pesos for an “English Tour.” Don’t make my mistake. In the end, it didn’t matter anyways. The tour was less about ‘learning’ and more about ‘tasting.’ In this guide to Tequila, I say- pay for the Spanish tour!
There are lots of tours to choose from, but they are all essentially the same. This is what happened on my tour:
- I chose to do a tour with Corazon Tequila. Everyone met in front of their shop at 12:30. We started out with about 4 different shots of different types of tequilas. One man explained (in Spanish) the correct way to taste tequila, and showed us a few unique flavors.
- Everyone loaded into a giant tequila barrel on wheels. The guide took requests and turned up the music as we drove to our first stop.
- We arrived at a distillery. About 8-10 different tour groups were all put together as a woman explained something about agave that nobody, including native Spanish speakers, could hear or understand. We then went outside onto a patio where several large agave plants without leaves sat in a pile. Again the woman explained something about the process that nobody could hear due to bad acoustics. You have the chance to go up a small ladder to look down into a barrel and see the tequila sludge.
- After the only explanation portion on the tour, we all went back inside to a large cafeteria where we sat at tables with bowls of lime slices and salt bowls at the ready. There we took another 6-7 small shots of different types of tequilas. If there were more explanations about the types of tequila, I wouldn’t know it. I was busy chatting with my new friends who adopted me on the tour, since I was the only solo traveler.
- Then we piled into a different tequila barrel on wheels with a pole in the center. Everyone peer pressured each other to pole dance as we drove to our next stop. By this point, everyone in the group is starting to feel pretty good and becoming friends.
- We arrived at next stop which had two major highlights: agave fields and swings on top of a hill. This is the perfect opportunity to take all of the agave field Instagram photos of your dreams. Then head up the hill where you’ll find mariachi singers, a couple bars, and 3 giant swings. You can wait in line to swing out over the edge of the hill above the agave fields. Highly recomended.
- After about 45 minutes here, you’ll all load back into the barrel, peer pressure each other for more pole dances, and finally end up back at the same place you started. Here you’ll do another 2-3 shots. Then you’re done!
The total trip took about 4 hours.
What Should I Bring on my Tequila Tour?
Bring a water bottle. It’s very hot, and you’ll want to balance out the tequila shots.
Bring spf. Again, it’s very hot and you’ll spend a lot of time outside.
Bring a hat. You won’t regret it. Just take it off during the rides if you don’t want to lose it to the wind.
Bring money. You might want to buy a bottle of tequila. You might want to buy water. You might want to buy beer. You should also probably tip your tour guide.
Where Should I stay?
I stayed here for two nights. There were definite pros and cons. The location was perfect, right on the main street. Everything was easily walkable. They provided ear plugs, which was great since it was on the main street- it can get very loud. The room was very cozy and comfortable, but the hot water didn’t last super long. It’s fine on a hot day. There is a front balcony where you can watch the people below. It’s good for one person or a couple.
This hotel is good for a family or two couples or a group of friends. It is 3-star accommodation with a terrace, a shared lounge, air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a private bathroom. There is also a 24-hour front desk and currency exchange for guests. All guest rooms have a flat-screen TV with cable channels, rooms with a balcony, and bed linens and towels. The location is right in the center of town, just off the main street.
What Should I do in Tequila?
Wake Up Early to Enjoy the Empty streets of Tequila
Like most cities, Tequila has a particular rhythm. Quiet, early mornings. Busy afternoons full of drunk tourists laughing and walking around with cantaritos. Loud evenings, and even louder nights. If you come just for a day, you probably won’t have the chance to experience what I think is the best part of the day- morning.
Get up early to take pictures in this colorful little town. The best time is between 7am-8:30am. During the day, it’s near impossible to get a picture with the “Tequila” sign unless you want to wait in line for 20 minutes. In the early hours of the morning, the only people around are vendors setting up their stalls. Take advantage of this and take all the pictures of your dreams in the empty main plaza, the empty Jose Cuervo Street, and all the empty side streets.
Buy a Cantarito and Stroll Around Tequila
All around town, you’ll see piles of cantaritos– ceramic cups for drinking tequila. There are various sizes and styles, ranging from $100-$300 pesos. When you buy your first cantarito, it comes with a drink. You can choose one of the many tequilas they have available. When you finish your drink, you can simply take it to any of the other stands set up and get a refill, usually for around $60 pesos. Keep your same cantarito all weekend. Tequila is full of people walking around town sipping out of a brightly colored straw sticking out of their cantarito.
Take a Stroll down Calle Jose Cuervo
My waiter at breakfast told me that Calle Jose Cuervo is the most beautiful street in all of Tequila. He wasn’t wrong. It’s a beautiful cobblestone street filled with jacaranda and bougainvillea on both sides. You can also find the Jose Cuervo shop on this street, hence the name, as well as several other distilleries and hotels. If you go early enough, you’ll have it to yourself to take photos.
Take a Tour in Tequila
Taking a tequila tour in Tequila is arguably the best activity to do. You’ll have a chance to ride around in giant barrels with wheels, try tequilas, visit a distillery, swing on a giant swing over agave fields, and make great friends en route. I highly recommend this experience.
Buy a Hat in Tequila
The streets of Tequila are lined with cobblestones, cantaritos and sun hats. They all seem to be $100 pesos ($5). You’ll spend so much time outside in the sun, that I definitely recommend getting yourself one. Plus, a cute sun hat is the perfect compliment to brightly colored walls and Instagram photos.
Visit Cantarito El Guero
About 15 minutes outside of town, you’ll find Cantarito El Guero. It is hugely popular with locals. You can get massive cantaritos to share with a table, as well as food, and a good time. There is live music and high energy. The only downside is that it is so popular, it becomes very crowded. You’ll wait in line for everything- drinks, food, etc.
Visit Cantarito Che Che’s
If you like the vibe of Cantarito El Guero, but want something a bit more intimate, with much shorter lines- head just a couple minutes down the road to Cantarito Che Che’s. You can expect to find cantaritos of varying sizes, tequila bartender masters, live music, and of course, line dancing. Mexican style. Get on the dance floor and shake your booty to the Spanish version of “Achy Break Heat.” If you’re lucky, you’ll hear a whistle sounding off, which means everyone should line up and take turns as a man with a sombrero stands on a chair and pours tequila down your throat directly from the bottle.
Is it Worth it to Visit Tequila?
YES! 100% yes! I was worried about going to Tequila as a female solo traveler, but I had the best time. I felt safe, and comfortable the entire time. It was easy to make friends on my tour and I found the local people to be very friendly and inviting. This was my favorite weekend in two months of travel in Mexico.
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