After taking a pandemic pause last year, the famous Jose Cuervo Express, Mexico’s luxury tequila train, is back on track and accepting reservations for 2021.
This year’s tickets are being snapped up quickly, due to a combination of pent-up demand and diminished capacity. The train is only operating every other Saturday, with a limited number of available tickets to comply with government restrictions.
The tequila train experience is operated by Jose Cuervo, a name synonymous with tequila. In 1758, three quarters of a century before Mexico became an independent republic, King Ferninand VI of Spain bequeathed land to Jose Antonio de Cuervo y Valdes to begin growing agave. Thirty-seven years later, his son, Jose María Guadalupe de Cuervo, began selling the very first Vino Mezcal de Tequila de Jose Cuervo after receiving the first official charter to produce tequila commercially.
The Jose Cuervo Express offers two itineraries. The first, the “sunrise” itinerary, departs Guadalajara at 9 a.m. for two-hour train journey through 40 miles of agave fields to the town of Tequila in the state of Jalisco. By law, real tequila must with blue agave grown in one of five Mexican states — Jalisco, Michoacan, Nayarit, Guanajuato and Tamaulipas.
On board the train, an expert taster guides a tasting of various premium Jose Cuervo tequilas. After disembarking in Tequila, guests tour the Cuervo production facilities, have lunch and take in a Mexican show before ending the afternoon with a demonstration of agave harvesting.
If you prefer to sample tequila at a more respectable hour, the “sunset” itinerary makes a lot more sense. You begin the tour at 9 a.m. at the Cuervo bottling plant with the agave-harvesting demo, and then hit all the elements of the first itinerary but in reverse order. The day winds down with the two-hour train journey and onboard tequila tasting, with the train arriving back in Guadalajara at 8 p.m.
Ticket prices range from $116 to $166, depending on which of the four types of train cars you choose. At the lowest end of the price range, three Express passenger wagons have wood-paneled interiors and offer coach seating. The next level up is Premium Plus, which comes with a bar and waiter service. Some of the wood-paneled wagons offer private tables for four, while others offer lounge seating.
The two top tiers offer next-level luxury. The new Elite wagons feature comfortable couches, enormous windows for watching the Mexican countryside roll by, and multiple rooms with both table and lounge seating as well as a dedicated open bar. Finally, the Diamond wagon is the most exclusive on the Jose Cuervo Express, with velvet curved sofas, a beautiful embossed roof and various rooms, including a dedicated bar service and waiters.
Travelers interested in hopping aboard the famed tequila train should move quickly to secure tickets. As of today, the train is sold out into mid June.