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This was my third time going to the tiny town of Tequila but my first time visiting Tequila without a tour. My past two trips have both been with a budget tour but this time my girlfriend and I wanted to try something new and visit Tequila on our own.
Visiting Tequila without a tour is a great idea if you want to explore around with complete freedom but if you are looking to spend a day relaxing, learning about, and liberally enjoying tequila, without any worries, you should definitely visit with a tour.
Visiting Tequila without a tour seemed like any other “new city backpacking day”. Research beforehand, find the bus that takes you there, which takes 2x longer to arrive. Once you arrive find lunch or your accommodation and head to the tourist are for a wander. Finding a distillery tour is the next step, because you can’t come to Tequila and not see how tequila is made. Afterwards, if you are not staying in town, its time to find your bus back home.
Visiting Tequila without a tour is a lot more work compared to going with a tour. Once you add in all of the individual costs it’s actually cheaper to take a budget tour than to visit on your own, but if you are like me and enjoy planning and having an adventure, then visiting Tequila on your own is the way to go!
How to get to Tequila on your own
If you are staying in Guadalajara’s Centro Historico you need to head to the Central Vieja bus station, which was about a 20 minute walk from my hostel. The bus ticket to Tequila costs 182 pesos round trip. My bus ticket showed that the cost was 102 pesos to Tequila and 79 pesos back. There is a 1/2 peso fee to enter the Central Vieja bus station. Buses run every 40 minutes to an hour depending if they are behind schedule or not.
The bus to Tequila is your standard travel bus, one that stops and picks up passengers along the road. The Tequila bus also stops at both the Tlaquepaque and Zappopan bus stations before leaving town. My bus took an hour and a half just to get through Guadalajara. Outside of the city we stopped over a dozen times picking up and dropping off passengers, plus a lunch break for the driver, which took us another hour before we actually arrived to Tequila. In total the local bus took over 2.5 hours to make the 50 minute drive to Tequila, so make sure you are up and on the road early to get more time exploring Tequila.
- Wild Tip: The last bus from Tequila back to Guadalajara is at 8pm.
What to do in Tequila
There are a handful of distilleries in town and after some research my girlfriend and I decided to do a tour with Casa Sauza. It was decently priced at 200 pesos, plus they included a tour of their agave fields.
The tour is provided in Spanish or English. The tours with agave field trip are at 10am, 11am and 1pm. If you do the 3pm, 4pm or 5pm tour you do not get to go to the agave fields. Which we found out the hard way after just barely missing the 1 pm tour.
Since Casa Sauza is a worldwide distributor of tequila their distillery is very large scale they handle a massive amount of tequila per day. The tour itself was more in-depth about how a large scale manufacturing process works and the guide focused a lot on the technical side of making tequila versus the historical side.
A quick visit to the historic museum is a must to learn the history and process behind tequila and how it evolved into an alcoholic drink. Located just past the main square in town. Entrance cost is 15 pesos. The museum is small but definitely worth it.
Eat Lunch at the Local Market
For some delicious, and cheap eats, you should grab a bite at the local food market, called Mercado de Comidas. Located just north of the church.
This is why your here right? The best place to grab a drink is on the street! Little stands are set up all around the main street and plaza area. There are two popular drink types the Ricos Cantaritos or Ricas Micheladas, the first one is standard, tequila, sprite, fresh squeezed lime and lemon with a dash of spice and rimmed with salt. The second is made with tomato juice instead of sprite. Depending on your mug size drinks go for 40-80 pesos each. You get to keep the ceramic mug and refills are priced cheaper 25-50 pesos
Final Thoughts for Visiting Tequila on Your Own
Tequila is a cool little town and a must visit when in this area of Mexico. I was excited that we were visiting Tequila on our own, so I could show Emma around for her first time. Unfortunately for how long the local bus took each way (almost 6 hours in total) we did not get that much extra time to wander around. And by visiting Tequila on our own we did not feel comfortable having more than a couple of drinks, making sure we got home okay after dark.
By the end of the day visiting Tequila on our own felt like a lot more work to see the same things I’ve seen before with a tour. It was still fun trying it on our own, just a different type of fun.
If you want to learn more about this area of Mexico check out my 2 week guide, where I took my mother on her first Mexican adventure. For more information on visiting Tequila with a tour, I’ve done that too.