Travel to Tequila
Stone tequila bar.
We just came back from a 2 day trip to Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico and loved it there. This was a fairly low budget trip for 4 of us (2 couples) and we allowed ourselves a knapsack each so our plans could stay flexible. We made no reservations but jotted down the names of a few rooming places whose prices fell within our spending preference.
We began in Guadalajara and rather than take a day long tour we decided to spend at least one night in Tequila (it turned into two). After asking around in our fledgling Spanish
it was decided that we'd take a taxi to Tequila - cost, 350 pesos.
As we sped closer to the town the steel blue of the agave fields popped up everywhere and as we neared, the smell of sweet agave steam from the distilleries permeated the air. The inactive volcano that overlooks the town rose to our left.
After looking at a few places we settled on 2 rooms upstairs at the Hotel Tequila, a sweet little unit that had an outdoor sitting area (there are no big hotels, just small establishments with 6 or so rooms) about 2 blocks from the square. In Mexico, every village, town and city has a square and it's the happenin' place. When we're walking we like to find a place to stay that's near the square (plaza).
Tequila is situated in the midst of opal and obsidian mines and the obsidian is so abundant that many of the roads are paved with it. We didn't find a lot of opals in Tequila itself but after a few inquiries we hopped in a taxi and were transported (at supersonic speed) to the small town of Magdalena where there are stores that sell "opalas". It was obvious by the curious attention we received from the old men gathered around the town square, that they don't get a lot of Canadians passing through.
One thing we found in Tequila was that there are very few restaurants - a LOT of tequila drinking establishments, but few eating establishments. On our first evening we decided on a place that had a small menu of burgers and quesadillas. As we approached they brought us a generous shot of tequila, then a blackberry flavored tequila, then a margarita. We weren't even in the restaurant yet. We had some drinks and each ordered food. The bill (cuenta) for all 4 of us came to 121 pesos. To put that into perspective it's about $10 Canadian. It turns out that they don't charge for tequila drinks but they sell tequila by the bottle.
Next day, a tour of the agave fields and tequila distilleries was very enlightening. We traveled in a barrel shaped vehicle to view some of the historic areas and long abandoned distilleries that illustrate the labour intensive processes of producing tequila in the yesteryear. Obsidian glinted everywhere when we visited the agave field and you could fill your pockets with it if you wanted.
The tequila factories are very wealthy and one way they contribute to the town is by having fire and ambulance services and top of the line equipment that can supplement the town's rather meager resources.
We were woken each morning by the whistle of the steam train bringing workers to the Jose Cuervo distillery and if, by chance we slept through that it was followed by the ringing of the church bells.
Over all Tequila is a small and charming working town with a population nearing 30,000. The people are friendly and the infrastructure is a
balance of authentic Mexican barrios (neighborhoods), historical architecture (some dating back as far as the 1500's) and opulent stores and "tequila casas".