Visiting Tequila from Guadalajara is easy, fast, and highly recommended. Learn how to get to this beautiful Pueblo Magico, plan your own trip and head to the motherland of the America’s favorite spirit.
Maybe the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word “tequila” is not a picturesque town, with beautiful facades & cobblestone streets. Most likely this word will evoke fun, party and celebration. That is totally understandable as Tequila is one of the most consumed alcoholic beverages in the world. However, the drink you love takes its name from a small town surrounded by agave plantations, which is the main ingredient for the Tequila. In fact, Tequila has appellation of origin, therefore every single drop of tequila you have ever drunk, has been produced near this town.
If you are a Tequila drinker, visiting this town is a must. Here you will find many old “haciendas”, -extensive estates comprised plantations and factories- where tequila is produced. Many of these haciendas offer tours that can be hired directly at the entrance. With a little of online research you can find the hacienda that produces your favorite tequila brand and visit it to learn first hand how your tequila is made. At the haciendas, you will learn how the agave plant cultivated, harvested and processed into tequila, using techniques that have not changed that much in centuries. The hacienda tour ends with a tequila tasting. You will have the opportunity to try the different varieties of tequila, and even bottle the one you have liked the most. Among the most visited haciendas are La Rojeña (José Cuervo), Casa Sauza and Casa Orendain.
But even if you are not a tequila drinker, visiting Tequila from Guadalajara is totally worth it. Along with Ajijic, which is about the same distance, they are the closest Pueblos Magicos to Guadalajara and some of the most beautiful in the entire Jalisco State. Besides the haciendas, there are many attractions, worth visiting. Its beautiful main square, with its iconic kiosk, is the perfect spot for a great selfie. Next to the square or plaza, you will find an old colonial temple consecrated to James the Great, known in Spanish as Santiago Apóstol. But even if you are not a tequila drinker, visiting this town is totally worth it.
Along with Ajijic, which is about the same distance from Guadalajara on other direction, they are the closest Pueblos Magicos from Guadalajara and some of the most beautiful in the entire Jalisco State. Besides the haciendas, there are many attractions, worth visiting. Its beautiful main square, with its iconic kiosk, is the perfect spot for a great selfie. Next to the square or plaza, you will find an old colonial temple consecrated to James the Great, known in Spanish as Santiago Apóstol. If you like museums, do not miss “Museo Nacional del Tequila,” “Museo Casa los Abuelos” and “Centro Cultural Juan Beckmann Gallardo.” Their collections showcase utensils, traditional costumes, pottery, furniture, jewelry, handcraft, paintings, framed by fine colonial architecture. Undoubtedly a great way to learn about the culture and traditions of this region of Mexico.
How to Get to Tequila from Guadalajara
Tequila is about 40 miles from Guadalajara and it is easily accessible by Car, Train or Bus. Its closeness to the State Capital City and and its colonial beauty, make it the perfect destination for a day trip, a weekend or even the spot to spend a whole week. In the following paragraphs, you will see how easy is to visit Tequila from Guadalajara. We will tell you the pros and cons of the different means of transportation available, so you can choose the one that fits your travel preferences.
Visiting Tequila from Guadalajara – By Bus
This is the cheapest way to get to Tequila, at leas for solo travelers. Every hour at least three buses depart from Guadalajara for Tequila. You can take the bus at different points in Guadalajara, the ride start point is “La Central Vieja” which is the old bus station located downtown Guadalajara. From there, the ride to Tequila takes 2 hours and 20 minutes. Another option is to take the bus from the Zapopan’s bus station, which is located on the outskirts of Guadalajara, heading to Tequila. From there the ride takes only one hour and ten minutes. Note that in Zapopan there are two bus stations across the street from each other, one where Tequila Plus and Vallarta Plus buses stop, and the other one where all other bus lines going to all other destinations stop.
Bear in mind that buses making short trips such as the Guadalajara to Tequila are not first-class. Do not expect to get from Tequila Plus, the same buses or level of service that you get on other buses lines such as ETN, Primera Plus, or La Linea. Tequila Plus service is a more modest one, however, buses are maintained in good shape and their service is reliable.
Visiting Tequila from Guadalajara – By Train
This is hands down the most stylish way of visiting Tequila from Guadalajara. There are two companies that operate touristic train services to Tequila, José Cuervo Express, and Tequila Herradura Express. As a result of the pandemic, Tequila Herradura Express suspended its operations as of March 2020. José Cuervo Express has resumed its operations with rides every other Saturday.
The José Cuervo ride includes Mexican snacks and cocktails, a visit to the “La Rojeña” distillery, tequila tasting and entertainment. It is important to note that only one way to Tequila is by train, while the other is by bus. You can choose whether you want to go or return by train. There are four classes of service, that offer different travel experiences on the train. The higher the class, better the snaks and the Tequila you are served. The higher classes also come with exclusive access to Reserva de La Familia Private Cellar.
Visiting Tequila from Guadalajara – By Car
This may be one of the most convenient ways to get to Tequila as is available 365 days a year and offers total flexibility to go and come when you want. Although you may think that driving is Mexico is not for you, it is actually easier than it appears. Our main advise is to drive defensively, be attentive to the mistakes of other drivers in order to anticipate and make decisions that avoid an incident.
There are two roads that lead to Tequila from Guadalajara. A modern four lane toll highway called in Spanish “autopista” (Mexico 15D) and a free parallel two lane undivided road known as “la libre” (Mexico 15). Distance is similar in both roads, while the travel time is about one hour and twenty minutes if you take the toll road and a little longer if you choose the free road.
If you take the autopista you can use cash or card to pay the tolls. If using cash, is not necessary to have the exact amount as the cashier always have change. Alternatively, you can ask your car rental company for a toll tag and get access to exclusive tag lanes at the toll booth, plus not having to worry in case you spend all your cash on Tequila bottles.
If you take the “libre” you will enjoy better sights of the Agave Landscape (a cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site). Driving this road you will also have the chance to stop “Cantaritos el Güero” near Amatitán. This is a famous establishment known for their refreshing tequila drinks, a must if you are not the one behind the wheel.
And If you are concerned about your security while traveling by road, you will be happy to know that both roads are secure and safe to drive. Of course as in anywhere else, common sense precautions are advised. Avoid driving late at night, do not take detours unless and do not pick-up hitchhikers.
You can rent a car in Guadalajara for less than you will pay for a guided tour for one person from Guadalajara. Veico Car Rental as they offer new cars and low all-inclusive rates with no hidden fees.
SIDE NOTE: Remember that If you ever have to ask for directions, avoid using the road number designation. Although all roads have one, In Mexico nobody uses them. Even those who drive every day a certain road, may not know its designation. Mexicans usually use the road endpoint or one of the intermediate points to identify them. When there is more than one way to a city/town they will clarify by using the words “Autopista” for toll roads and “libre” for free roads. You now know it, ask for “autopista a Tequila” or “carretera libre a Tequila” instead of “highway 15 or 15D.”
Read your article “Renting a Car in Mexico: Avoid Scams and get the Best Deals.”