I’m not exactly a fan of tequila, but Jalisco state is home to the city and municipality of Tequila. It is too gorgeous to miss, whether or not you drink its namesake spirit. I’m also not too keen on tours, as they can sound rehearsed and I always wonder if I could have explored more without a guide.
With that in mind, I booked a day trip to Tequila with Panoramex and was pleasantly surprised by the whole experience. Our guide, Jesus, was amiable and kept everyone engaged, all the while conducting the tour bilingually for the gringos and Spanish-speaking travelers alike.
Our bus was to pick us up at Parque San Francisco, but we got there early so we walked around the neighborhood for about an hour while we waited for it to arrive. More churches, fountains, and statues, and I can’t complain. Tapatios actually make use of their parks and plazas, and they’re so inviting and bustling that an hour goes by fast.
It took us a good forty-five minutes before we left the city limits after we boarded the bus, and Jesus told us that our first stop would be Tres Mujeres, a boutique distillery that offered samples of tequila joven and anejo. Both were smooth enough to sip, and I bought a bottle of the anejo.
Once everyone was aboard the bus again, we drove further away from the city and towards the agave fields of Jose Cuervo distillery. At the fields, Jesus described how agave is grown and harvested for fermentation. With a machete and a blade-like metal disc, Mario, a rancher at Cuervo, demonstrated the steps to attaining an agave “pineapple,” which is essentially the heart of the plant:
I tried a piece of the freshly-cut agave. It tasted kind of like jicama, only sweeter and grainier.
Mundo Cuervo was only a short ride away, and struck me as a family-friendly tequila museum meets theme park sort of place, except prettier. Upon entrance, we were welcomed by a giant metal raven statue:
The staff at Mundo Cuervo had us watch a short movie about Cuervo’s history and production that reminded me of the film that’s shown at the Korbel Winery tour in Sonoma County. The tour picked up from there, and we learned about their production method and walked through their facilities, sampling tequilas at various stages of distillation.
We ended the tour with a margarita and boarded the bus to head towards El Mar II, where we had lunch. I ordered the shrimp fajita and yet again got a plate of overcooked shrimp with bacon bits and a side of mushy, unpleasantly sweet rice.
At least their salsas were good. And the view from the restaurant was amazing.
Back in Guadalajara, I spent the evening strolling around Plaza Guadalajara and peeking in the Catedral Metropolitana, which was absolutely impressive from both the inside and outside. After dinner and a short search for Mexican candy, I called it a night.