Guadalajara is located in the State of Jalisco, where many of the Mexican icons where born, including Mariachis and Tequila. Of course, it’s only natural to start the journey with a tequila tour.

TEQUILA

Herradura and Jose Cuervo are the 2 main tequila tours and there are 2 ways of enjoying them.

For the hardcore drinkers, you can take the tequila train for either of these, the Tequila Express or the Cuervo Express. You’ll be drinking tequila the entire way there and then do a tour of the factory.

agave fields campo agavero

That sounded fun, but we decided to take it easy. We got our own private tour guide, who took us to visit the Tres Mujeres “Campos Agaveros” (Agave Fields). Tres Mujeres is another tequila manufacturer. We briefly went through the fields and got the 411 on how this part of the process works. In short, the Agave plants need to grow for about 7 years, before they are ready to be harvested for baking and fermentation.

blue agave quote

After this, we went to the Herradura distillery to see the rest of the process. Herradura is fascinating because it still has the original factory from 1870 as a sort of museum, to show you how things were done in the old days, as opposed to Jose Cuervo. There they walked us through the different steps of the current process.

My favorite part? When we got to the ovens where they bake the “piña”. After it’s baked for 24 hours it tastes like the sweetest most delicious sugarcane.

Casa Herradura

guadalajara_pics

Our tour ended of course, with some tequila tasting. For those not super familiar with tequila, there are 4 kinds: Silver, Reposado, Añejo and Extra Añejo. What varies is the time they are in the White Oak barrels. The longer they are in there, the darker the color, the oakier the taste, and the more expensive it gets. Some would say that not one is better than the other, while others would argue that Añejo and Extra Añejo would be the best. It’s all about personal taste, but one thing is for sure: Silver would be the perfect choice for mixed drinks, while the others would go better by themselves. Because you wouldn’t have a 21-year Scotch with coke, it would be stupid to ask for a margarita with Extra Añejo.

FYI: There is also “Gold”, which is the worst kind.

A PIECE OF HISTORY

You cannot go there without visiting the Centro Histórico (downtown), where the city was founded, which is rich in culture, history, and architecture. Everything is within walking distance. Highlights: The Cathedral, Teatro degollado, Museo Hospicio Cabañas, Palacio.

 

Catedral Metropolitana { The Cathedral }
This church is an impressive piece of history, with its gothic architecture, circa 1550.

Teatro Degollado

Teatro Degollado
Neoclassical theater, still operating today. It’s famous for its beautiful paintings along its interior golden walls and its symbolic mosaic on the exterior.

Hospicio Cabanashospicio guadalajara
hospicio orozco

Hospicio Cabañas

Originally a hospital and orphanage, now a Museum. It is of neoclassical architecture and was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It contains masterpieces from the famous muralist José Clemente Orozco, who specialized in political murals, including “hombre de Fuego” (Man of Fire), that symbolized the political injustice and corruption of that time.

 

Palacio de Gobierno { State House }

Circa 1650, this is where Mexico’s leaders worked and passed prominent laws, such as the abolition of slavery in 1810. Also contains Orozco’s famous murals.

 

Pit Stop: “Rotonda de los Jaliscienses Ilustres”, in front of the Cathedral, and the “San Juan de Dios” market (Just be aware of your surroundings).

 

TLAQUEPAQUE

 

All along “Calle Independencia” (small pedestrian street) you’ll find the cutest stores, a plaza, and delicious restaurants. When walking through the area you are immediately transported into a simpler and culturally richer way of life.

Recommended restaurants:
El Abajeño
Real San Pedro
El Patio

What to eat? Everything! But you must try their iconic cocktail: “Cazuela”.

Happy hour? You must go to ‘El Parian’ to have a margarita and listen to some mariachis. Might sound cliché, but it is definitely a bliss.

Cazuela Tlaquepaque

OUR STAY

We stayed at two hotels, which were both very good options:
Riu Plaza Guadalajara and The Westin.

The Breakfast buffet at the Riu Plaza was awesome.
From Chilaquiles to waffles to mussles, it was delicious.

NOTES

Tacos? Want good, authentic, and the most popular? Must go to Tacos providencia.

Our tour company: Andares.

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