The Jose Cuervo Express. Just a regular name for a train connecting two cities in Mexico. It might not catch your attention, but when people say its colloquial name, it surely will: the Tequila Train.
A guided luxury train tour from Guadalajara to Tequila (yes, Tequila is a town), the Tequila Train allows you to learn all about the distillery process of tequila.
The unique tour starts in Guadalajara, Jalisco, at 9.00 a.m. every Saturday.
Don’t bother getting breakfast beforehand, since at the reception you will be greeted with freshly baked bread, cold juice, hot coffee and delicious fruit. You will also be woken up by a morning show of a typical Mexican dance.
After that, all passengers embark on buses that will take you to Tequila. When you board the bus, you will receive a small complimentary bag with some more snacks. We got a small sandwich, an apple, a cup of yogurt, water and juice. If you’re into drinking tequila at 9.30 in the morning, this is where your open bar begins!
Around an hour and a half later, you will arrive at Jose Cuervo’s agave fields. Here, you will attend an agave harvesting demonstration of how the plants are selected and prepared for the distillery process.
Feel free to walk around the agave fields while drinking tequila and listening to live mariachi music. (Make sure to grab one of the cute little cups they offer so you can refill it throughout the day!) Oh, and by the way, the drink you will most likely try (and my personal favorite!) is called “Paloma,” which is grapefruit soda with tequila, sprinkled with salt.
After enjoying some drinks and dancing to the mariachi music, you will get back on the bus for around 40 minutes and will officially arrive at the town of Tequila. Here, you will be guided into an open-air theatre, where a professional tequila tasting will take place. Just like a wine tasting, an expert will be there to guide you as you discover a variety of tequilas, teaching you how to taste each one of them.
Next, you will head to Jose Cuervo’s “La Rojeña” distillery, where most of the action takes place. Remember Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory? Well, this is the tequila-loving-adult-version of it. A tour guide will accompany you through the whole tequila-making process, step-by-step. The tour guides are very well-trained, so don’t be shy by asking them any questions you might have. After wandering around “La Rojeña,” your tour guide will invite you to a margarita tasting (this tour just keeps getting better and better, right?). All the members in my group agreed on the fact that these were the best margaritas we have ever tried.
Lunch time! Now, the tour will take a break to let you stroll around the colorful town of Tequila to grab lunch somewhere, try the local dishes and buy souvenirs. All around town, you’ll encounter drink vendors that give you your drink in mugs in the shape of barrels, which, if you ask me, make the perfect souvenir!
Right behind the main plaza you will find a street market with typical merchandise from the region (here is the place to look for that giant Mexican sombrero you so desperately want to bring back home), jewelry, souvenirs, toys, snacks, you name it! Make sure you have cash with you since the street market vendors don’t take credit cards.
After the lunch break is over, the group meets back at the open-air theater for a Mexican cultural music show, you’ll get to experience Mexican folklore dances and sing along to a mariachi group all while sipping on some more margaritas.
After the show is over, the group will take the bus to the train station, where you will finally hop on the Tequila Express. There are three different types of cabins available: Express, Premium and Premium Plus. All three types have an open bar throughout your trip back to Guadalajara. We took the premium cabin where snacks are offered, while at the Premium Plus they offer dinner. We had guacamole, beans, meat, chicken, vegetables and cheese. Throughout the whole ride back to Guadalajara, your waiter will keep bringing you unlimited margaritas, palomas or tequila shots (or all of them at the same time, if you please).
This experience is recommended for anyone interested in the tequila process or Mexican culture (or if you just want to drink tequila for a whole day and learn something in the process). After travelling around and taking all kinds of tours, I would say this one is definitely in my top 5. The Jose Cuervo Express lets you choose either a sunrise or sunset itinerary; the difference being that you can either take the train on your way to the town of Tequila at 9.30 am and a company’s bus back to Guadalajara or the other way around; a bus from Guadalajara’s station to Tequila and take the luxury train on your way back to Guadalajara at 6 pm.
We decided to get the “sunset” package since we preferred to start drinking by noon, but hey, we don’t judge!
Get your passports ready for this one-of-a-kind tequila trip and while you’re there, take some shots for me!