Tequila Mexico is a town northwest of Guadalajara and yes, this is where tequila is from. If you’re visiting from Puerto Vallarta like we were, the drive can be anywhere from 3 to 5 hours – depending on how crazy the drivers are that day.
Once you get over the twists and turns of the mountain roads, the drive can be pretty enjoyable. It’s far from your usual beach destination so you won’t see any all-inclusive resorts here. There are a few tour companies that book day trips to popular distilleries like Jose Cuervo but, for the most part, the town is close to being free of tourist crowds.
We spent a night at Hotel Plaza Rubio, a hotel right in the heart of town with rooms surrounding a hidden courtyard. For the same price as a hostel in some other countries, we had one bedroom suite with a television and access to their pool.
We were invited to tour a distillery just on the outskirts of the city. The huge gates that fenced off the property were prison-like at first but opened to a welcoming entrance with beautiful gardens. We were treated to lunch outdoors with food made fresh by their in-house chef.
We learned all about the agave plant which looks like a big pineapple when uprooted. Coincidentally, it’s called a piña which is pineapple in Spanish. The plant is mashed, malted and fermented before turning into the fire water we call tequila. Real tequila (the good stuff) is meant to be sipped like a fine scotch. Somehow the tourists got it wrong and only know tequila as a shot with lime, salt and a bad hangover.
Before heading back through the mountains, I knew I had to take something home with me to remember Tequila Mexico, especially since the souvenir prices were so cheap compared to Puerto Vallarta. 450 pesos later, I had two bottles of tequila, my very own Mexican soccer jersey and was representing the Chivas of Guadalajara. I’m glad we made the trip and got to see a different side of Mexico.