Ted Alan Stedman rides the Tequila Express…
Guadalajara, the city of fountains, tree-lined avenues, colonial architecture – and the Tequila Express. Locals plainly dub it “the party train,” fair appraisal for a rail ride during which tequila flows freely, entertainment is a 10-piece marachi band, and the destination is the Hacienda San Jose del Refugio – home to Herradura Tequila in the heart of tequila country.
But the Tequila Express isn’t as much a day-long happy hour as it is a full sensory experience that exposes tourists to the cultural mystique and heady charms of Mexico’s legendary elixir. Departing Saturdays from the Guadalajara Train Station, the 1.5-hour transit leaves the cityscape behind and heads west into rugged hillsides spiked by the turquoise-colored blades of the blue agave used to produce tequila. En route tequila tastings dispensed by friendly, festive porters and hosts prime your thirst for knowledge. Once at the Hacienda – a stone’s throw from the town that started it all, Tequila – you’ll tour the facility and learn of the beverage’s unique history and its processing before settling into a Mexican buffet luncheon.
Tequila sampling is available all day during the 9-hour round trip, a recipe for giddiness if there ever was one (turisto warning: imbibe slowly). Yet even by the most sober of accounts, the journey is a wonderful way to learn about Mexico’s signature beverage. Salude!
Ted Alan Stedman