Tequila!… México

Mrs. ItchyFeet in front of Tequila town letters

When a friend told me that there was a Tequila Train in Guadalajara, I was like, “That sounds fun… ride around in a train while drinking tequila.” He was all, “No, it’s a train that takes you from Guadalajara to the town of Tequila while you drink tequila.” What? What? What? There is a magical town of Tequila!?! And there’s a train to it?!? Where do I sign up? I am so in!

The train! The train!

So the concept is that you jump on this wonderful train with unlimited tequila, winding your way through agave fields toward the town of Tequila (which really is, turns out, a designated Pueblo Mágico). Along the route, you stop to tour an agave processing facility. You get to see those buff jimadores chopping up the plants and feeding the piñas to the fire. Fun! Then it’s off to Tequila for a tasting at the world famous Jose Cuervo Distillery and a wandering through the town.

Mrs. ItchyFeet in agave field
That’s the Volcano Tequila behind me!

It all sounds well and good until you really stop to think about it. Unlimited tequila… I think I would literally die. It’s not like bottomless mimosas at brunch. This is pure tequila constantly poured into your champagne flute for over an hour. While it would be fun to watch all the other humans get schwasted, I could only drink maybe two and then I would be done. Plus, that tour is really expensive, and the train is only one way. They bus you back (or you can do it in reverse so you get wasted on the train ride home). Sigh.

Lucky for me, I found a different tour that includes the pyramids that are close to Guadalajara. Those pyramids are a must see on my bucket list, so I’m in. I immediately booked it. But then, within a few hours, they canceled the tour, and refunded it, for not having enough people. It’s the off-season after all. I booked again for a Friday, thinking that would help. It did not. Still not enough people. After that, I WhatsApped the dude and gave him my number so he could text me when he had other people going. And then I wait… and wait…

The Fire Tour!

Well, screw this! I’m going by myself. I don’t need no tour guide to give me very useful information and show me all the cool sights. I can almost read enough Spanish on the info plaques to understand the history. I can do this. It’s just a quick bus ride to Tequila and a ride-share to the pyramids. Done. I got this. Planned and ready to go, he texts me, saying he has a group interested in a tour in just a couple of days. Fhew! Crisis averted.

Goddess of Agave statue
This slightly disturbing statue of the Goddess of Agave lords over the agave fields.

The tour guide was waiting on a couple to commit and book before I could pay for the tour, so I got nervous again when I didn’t hear from anyone until the night before. Then it was on! Plus the tour was the 10am tour so I could sleep in. Yes! And he would pick me up, which is the best way to start a tour. That stupid, expensive, drunken train tour made you get to the train station by yourself. Who needs that kind of pressure?

Immediately after stepping outside to wait for my ride, he texted to let me know that the other guests were running late. He was waiting for them outside their hotel. No worries. I wander back inside to wait in my apartment’s gorgeous garden courtyard. Once they arrive, we immediately have a problem. The vehicle has two seats in the front, both taken, three seats in the second row, two of which are occupied by humans, the middle seat occupied by a purse, and a trunk with a bunch of stuff.

Agave fields
This massive valley is just filled with agave fields!

You can’t sit by me

I’m like, scoot over. I’m coming in. Or I’ll sit between you two. I’m tiny and I don’t mind. The gentleman gets out to let me in to the middle seat. However, the young lady he is with (daughter? girlfriend? wife?) says no. She is not willing to move her stuff. She hasn’t had coffee yet and needs her space. Um… okay. This is going to be an interesting ride. They make the driver move his stuff, having to fold down the center row seats to provide access, and shove me in the boot. There is a tiny seat back there, but only about four inches between the seat and the floor of the vehicle, so my knees are in my chest. Awkward, but I’m game. Take me to the pyramids!

Alejandro (the driver and tour guide) introduced us all, and off we went. It was pretty cramped in the back and the drive was long, but the views were nice. We noticed some fires going in the distance. Alejandro said that it was the start of the sugarcane burning season. Soon it would get so bad that smoke would choke out the sky over Guadalajara. Glad I’ll be moving on to Mazatlán soon.

Okay… I’m stuck in the back of the vehicle. It’s like a total production to get me out. The lady has to move all her stuff so that the seat can be lowered and moved to allow me access to clamber awkwardly out. It’s a whole thing. Alejandro fed me a banana, so all was well again. Legitimately the bananas in México are ten times better than in the States. And I was very happy to discover free bathrooms right there by the parking lot.

The pyramids of Los Guachimontones
The pyramids of Los Guachimontones are round! Check out the volcano behind it.


Los Guachimontones Archaeological site has the most unique pyramids in México. They are round. The biggest of the pyramids mirrors the giant volcano behind it. So cool! There are also a few Ball Game Courts similar to what you find at Chichen Itza and other Mesoamerican sites. They’re not sure of the exact rules, but many of the losers of the games get their heads chopped off, which is a pretty big incentive to win. I learned something new. Our guide was wonderful and gave us a great history lesson as we wondered around the massive site.

The pyramids of Los Guachimontones sit on this hill with amazing views over the town of Teuchitlán, along with Lake La Vega. It’s a really big lake and apparently used to be connected to Lake Chapala. That would have been massive! Now the lake is slowly disappearing and almost completely covered in lily-pads. It’s really pretty. I’m getting hungry, so it’s time for lunch. We did the whole thing to get me back in the trunk again, and then we’re off.

Los Guachimontones Archaeological site
Los Guachimontones Archaeological site from above one of the Ball Game courts.

Low and behold, the restaurant for lunch is right on that beautiful lake! It’s so fun watching all the egrets fly around over the lily-pads. I bet this place is amazing when the lily-pads are in bloom. The food is wonderful. While we are eating, we spot these people fishing in a concrete pond by the restaurant. It’s connected to the lake but the lily-pads can’t grow there, so you can see the fish. An egret landed by the people and they have stopped fishing to take loads of selfies with the giant bird. For the Instas!

Are you going to eat that?

So if you take a picture, you need to tip. The people obliged by giving the egret one fish that they had caught. How funny! As the server was clearing up the plates, I realized that the gentleman and young lady had ordered too much food. Can I have it? I don’t waste food! I asked Alejandro if he wanted some leftovers, but he said no. I had them box it up for me and Alejandro put it in the cooler in the car. Save that sucker for later!

After lunch, it was on to a tequila distillery. This was so much fun. We got to practice cutting up an agave plant using a traditional coa de jima which are still used by jimadores to this day. Those things are heavy. Then we got to taste an agave piña after they have roasted it in a wood-fired oven. Tastes a bit like tequila. They had these big round stone squashers for getting all the good sugar juices out of the roasted agave.

Mrs. ItchyFeet cutting agave
We were instructed not to cut off our toes. Good advice!

We then went on a really cool tour of the distillery in all its glory. Alejandro picked this particular distillery based on the flavor of the tequilas, the decor, and because it is and always has been woman owned. And not just some woman who got a bunch of money after her husband died and opened a distillery because she was bored. Oh, no. This woman built that place from scratch and it was gorgeous.

Let’s try some tequila!

We all had a delightful time tasting a variety of tequilas. We even put some of the blanco tequila on our hands, like hand-sanitizer (best hand-sanitizer ever!) to smell the agave and feel that it is not sticky. That way you know that they made the tequila purely with agave, and not cane sugar as some of the cheaper brands are wont to do. I got to taste cristalino for the first time. It’s aged for a long time like añejo and then filtered so that it is clear. Noms.

Tequila tasting at Cava de Oro
Alejandro paired the different Cava de Oro Tequilas with various foods. It was so much fun!

They use multiple types of barrels for the aging process. All the barrels have been previously used for some other type of alcohol before being used to age the tequila. They even make a pink tequila from red-wine barrels. Fun! I got to know the gentleman and his significant other a lot more, which was fascinating. She was a lot more fun after getting some coffee at lunch and a bit of tequila at the tasting.

I for sure bought a bottle of reposado. Time for a trip to the agave fields. The idea was to hit up this bar overlooking this amazing valley filled with agave fields. It reminded me of the Douro River Valley wine fields in Portugal as the agave plants like fast draining hillsides. However, none of us could drink anymore. We looked, took pictures, and headed out. We start driving and all of a sudden the young lady exclaims that we absolutely must stop right now because the sunset light is the best light for pictures!

Is that a horse?

Alejandro proclaims that he knows this and is taking us to the perfect spot for pictures in the agave fields. She insists that he must stop now… by the side of the road. Both she and the gentleman jump out and abandon me in the back of the car. Help! I want out too! I get let out and it was then that I realized the young lady had changed outfits for this event. She was now very scantily clad while the gentleman took loads of pictures of her in someone’s agave field. I could die! So fun to watch.

Tequila tasting room
How gorgeous is this tequila tasting room!?!

Back in the car, we finally make it to the spot Alejandro had mentioned. It’s way more gorgeous than that other spot on the side of the road. Plus, the massive volcano of Tequila, for which the town is named, eventually also becoming the name of the alcohol, forms a beautiful backdrop over the agave field. Picture perfect. Yup… he was right. So then the young lady wanted her picture taken in the agave field on top of a horse. That’s a thing. Lucky for her, there was a guy offering horse rides for just such an occasion. She almost fell off and her gentleman stopped filming to try to help her. She was disappointed that he didn’t get the footage, but really glad she managed to stay on. People watching is the best!

Okay, we really should make it to the actual town of Tequila at some point. We drove past the absolutely massive complex that houses Jose Cuervo. Once we found parking and got out, it started to sprinkle lightly. I’m from Seattle. Rain does not bother me. If it did, I would never leave the house. However, as we walked further into Tequila, it started to rain harder. The young lady was in white and was having none of it. She ducked into a bar with her gentleman.

Agave squishing stone
They roast the agave piñas in these wood fired stoves and squish the juices out using the giant round stone. The liquid is collected in the basement below where it ferments.


The rest of the group continued into town. Usually, you would have to wait in line to get pictures in front of the Tequila town letters. Not when it’s raining! Ha! We wandered around watching all the peeps hide from the rain. There’s a really pretty church there that I got a picture of. The back of my phone is cracked, so I had to be careful not to get it wet, as it is no longer waterproof. By the time we got back to the car, we were all completely soaking wet. Sorry Alejandro!

We drove over to the bar to pick up the couple and headed back to Guadalajara. It’s so dry here that my clothes didn’t stay wet for long. We did get stuck in a ton of traffic on the way back, but it was a fun ride. Alejandro taught the dude in the passenger seat a bunch of Spanish curse words, which was fun to overhear. Unfortunately, the couple forgot to get cash out before the tour, so we had to go hunt down an ATM for the gentleman once we got back to his hotel. What a trip.

I thanked Alejandro profusely for the wonderful adventure. I even mentioned that I would be in Mazatlán for the April 8th, 2024 total eclipse of the sun. If he decides to head down there for the event, he should look me up. It’s always good to make new friends!

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  1. Great adventure, you are such a trooper. Sending New Year hugs,

  2. […] and Zapopan and the small towns of Chapala, Ajijic, and last but absolutely not least… Tequila! Let me tell you about the rest of Guadalajara […]

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