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Tequila, Magical Town and UNESCO site
Ever since the ancient Aztecs first started making a drink from the sap of the agave, the plant has been part of the culture around Tequila, Mexico. And now 2,000 years later, the tequila-making tradition and the rolling hills of blue agave plants themselves have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.
With most of world’s 140 tequila distilleries located in the town itself, there’s no better place to start a tour of the magical town of Tequila than in the town square. Step inside the town’s 18th-century church and pay your respects to the patron saint of tequila, Our Lady of the Purisima Concepcion, before heading to National Museum of Tequila to learn about the history of the Mexico’s national drink. Then, visit a distillery or two and discover the tequila-making process firsthand from master jimadores, agave farmers, and distillers.
Sample the two basic types of tequila: mixto, which must be distilled from at least 51 percent agave; and tequila, which is made from 100 percent blue agave. To experience the full subtlety and complexity of tequila, be sure to try añejo tequila, aged one to three years in oak barrels, and extra añejo tequila, aged more than three years in oak barrels.
The town of Tequila is a beautiful one-hour drive from Guadalajara, but it may be more enjoyable if someone else is doing the driving. Roundtrip taxis can be arranged that include stops at a couple of distilleries and a restaurant. Package tours are also available.
One popular way to see Tequila is to take the Jose Cuervo Express. The luxury train brings guests from Guadalajara to Tequila and includes a visit to the famous distillery, a tequila tasting, a margarita, a show, free time in the town center, and a discount at the Jose Cuervo restaurant.
The Sauza Tequilacopter is a more luxurious experience and includes transportation from Guadalajara to Tequila on a helicopter, a tour of the Sauza distillery, and a tequila tasting.
Packages for both tours vary by offers and price.
Tequila enthusiasts should consider taking a few days and following the Tequila Route, which takes travelers from Guadalajara to Tequila and includes distilleries, agave fields, haciendas, and historical and archeological sites like Guachimontones.