For tequila lovers, a trip to Mexico’s tequila region is one of life’s must-dos – even if the memories are a tad blurry (no judgment). The country’s tequila is as much of a draw as its stunning beaches, taco stands, and Mayan ruins for many food and drink-focused travellers.
The western state of Jalisco is known for its tequila and mariachi music – both of which originated here – and is home to many storied tequila distilleries. In particular, the town of Tequila is literally synonymous with its major draw.
For those travellers in the market to splurge (and – more importantly, for a designated driver), a ticket aboard a luxury all-you-can-drink tequila train completes the bucket list Tequila experience. Yes, a ‘tequila train’ is a thing…and it’s a worthwhile way to spend a day.
The vintage-style black and gold train, known as the Jose Cuervo Express, travels between Guadalajara and Tequila and has become a local celebrity in its near-decade history. Taking train travel up a notch, train riders can enjoy a view and tequila-filled train ride to the region for a memorable experience that’s educational, entertaining, and indulgent all in one.
Guests can choose between the “sunrise” or “sunset” experience. The former departs Guadalajara at 9 a.m. for a two-hour train journey through 40 miles of agave fields and scenic countryside to Tequila. While onboard, guests enjoy an expert-led tasting of various premium Jose Cuervo tequilas. The experience includes a tour of the Cuervo production facilities, lunch, an authentic Mexican show, and an agave harvesting demonstration.
Those who’d rather save the tequila sipping for later on in the day can opt for the “sunset” option. This tour begins at the Cuervo bottling plant with the agave-harvesting demo and essentially does the aforementioned itinerary in reverse, with the day ending with the two-hour onboard tequila tasting before returning to Guadalajara at 8 p.m. Both tours are 11 hours.
The onboard experience is as lavish as guests want to make it, with a choice of experience options: Express, Premium Plus, Diamond, and the new and buzzed-about Elite experience. Like grades of tequila, each is a little more refined than the last. The most basic and affordable option, the Express, is an easy-on-the-eyes car wagon coach seating. The Premium Plus option adds a bar, private tables of four, lounge seating, and a waiter to the equation.
But it’s the Diamond and Elite options that really offer a top-tier experience in the luxury department. The Diamond experience features a car with an embossed roof, multiple rooms, velvet sofas, beautiful mirrors, and – naturally – a premium tequila tasting.
The new Elite Experience includes a ride in the stylish new 37-passenger Elite Wagon car, which is wood-panelled and features floor-to-ceiling windows and two lounge areas with inviting couches. The luxurious experience also includes access to a premium bar with Reserva de la Familia, in addition to Tequila Maestro Tequilero, Centenario, 1800, rum, vodka, and whiskey.
After a pandemic-inspired break in service, the train resumed service by December and is currently offering socially distanced experiences on Saturdays every two weeks. The bad news is it’s pretty much booked solid for the near future. But those looking to get their passion for travel “back on track” once life returns to normal(ish) can always book a ticket for a later date.