On The Tequila Herradura Express From Guadalajara
Sipping cocktails on a luxury train passing through fields of agave into the heart of Jalisco
With a golden sun rising in the horizon, guests walk through an uncommonly quiet train station (for a bustling Mexican city) and onto a platform dedicated to just one train, the Tequila Herradura Express. For all its shimmering whimsicality, the recently refurbished train serves a purpose; it brings visitors from Guadalajara to Herradura's home, La Hacienda San José del Refugio in Amatitán, Jalisco. A 90-minute journey stretches through sun-soaked agave fields as travelers sit in lush accommodations, while starting their day sipping refined tequila cocktails. We took the luxury, custom-outfitted train to witness a cocktail competition and, while the results of that experience were long-lasting, the memory of the train ride—and the hacienda at its conclusion—continue to provide an almost delirious amount of beauty. This isn't a private mode of transportation reserved for a select group, by the way. Anyone who has a view in mind to visit Casa Herradura can book a passage.
As the slender vessel eases into Amititán (the birthplace of tequila), the adventure has only just begun. There, one completes a journey to La Hacienda San José del Refugio at Casa Herradura, a 256-acre hacienda where Herradura has been producing tequila for more than 146 years. The 10,000-foot-high tequila volcano rises in the distance as guests enter the sprawling compound, which pairs historic buildings with areas housing cutting-edge machinery. Herradura is the only tequila that still produces on its original location. Much of its original factory, built back in 1870, can be toured—and walking through these well-preserved stone spaces feels like stepping back in time.
A tour of the active facility reveals an adherence to both tradition and innovation. Over 200 tons of agave pass through Casa Herradura every day—drawn only from agave plantations that Herradura owns and controls. Passing by the ovens reveals the scent of toasted agave, a sensory profile that blends a light sweetness with toasted wood. Everyone on site seeks to keep the environment as pristine as possible. This isn't just for looks. It's to reflect the fact that the tequila is organic. The land is treated with the utmost respect, as the structure itself has ben, with parts as old as 400 years. And while it is great to spend hours stretching one's legs and perhaps imbibing a bit more, the journey is only complete after the magnificent train ride home.
You can book a seat on the Tequila Herradura Express online now. Premium Car seats cost $95 per person. The adult-only Club Car lounge experience (with upgraded seating and TVs) goes for $105 per seat. Finally, the First Class Car (with luxury cabins sporting lounge chair seating, TVs and exclusive personalized service) is $115 per seat.
Images by David Graver