DescriptionTequila is about 56 kilometers (35 miles) northwest of Guadalajara, just off Mex. 15. It lies at the northern base of extinct, 9,797-foot Volcán de Tequila, which has a stopper of hardened lava in its crater. Shards of obsidian, a volcanic glass, are visible in cuts flanking the highway near town.
La Toma, a picnic spot with a waterfall and swimming pool, is about 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) northwest of Tequila off Mex. 15. Also in the vicinity is the Santiago River Canyon, a particularly scenic area.
Extensive plantations are devoted to the cultivation of the agave plant, from which one of Mexico's foremost alcoholic libations is derived. Local distilleries (the major one is Sauza) have obtained a patent that prohibits other producers, even those within Mexico, from calling their drink tequila.
Cultivated agave plants resemble a field of spiny blue bayonets. Although the region's indigenous peoples had long drunk the fermented sap, the Spaniards introduced the distilling process. The tough, sword-shaped fronds are stripped from the plant, exposing its “heart,” which can weigh more than 100 pounds. The hearts are “cooked” in large copper kettles, and the resulting liquid is transferred to huge tanks. Clear tequila is bottled at once; the golden variety ages in oak casks for up to 7 years.
The Jose Cuervo Express all-day train excursion from Guadalajara to Tequila includes a ride through agave fields, a distillery tour, a box lunch with tequila cocktails prepared on board and a folk dancing performance. The trip departs Saturday and Sunday mornings from the Guadalajara railway station (Ferromex), located at Avenida Washington and Calzada Independencia Sur (across Avenida Washington from the south end of Agua Azul Park).
Passengers should arrive at the station at least 40 minutes prior to the scheduled boarding time. There is no parking at the station; a public parking lot is nearby, or arrange transportation to and from the station with your hotel. The trip cost is 1,800 pesos (about $100 U.S.); 1,550 pesos (ages 6-17). Children are not permitted in the bar and dining coaches. Ticket reservations should be made in advance; for additional information visit the Jose Cuervo Express website or phone (374) 742-6729.