Taking A Day Trip From Puerto Vallarta To Tequila? Here’s What You Need To Know

A popular day trip from Puerto Vallarta is to the town of Tequila. It’s about 4 hours away depending on your route, making it a perfect overnight trip—especially if you will be drinking. Here is what you need to know before you go.

What Tequila Has In Common With Champagne

In order for bubbly to be named Champagne it must be grown in the Champagne growing region of France otherwise it is just a sparkling wine. A similar classification is true for Tequila, as it must be distilled from the blue agave growing regions—most of which are in the state of Jalisco. However, small sections of the surrounding states of Nayarit, Michoacán, and Guanajuato and a small growing region on the Mexican east coast in Tamaulipas can also produce authentic tequila. Since approximately 80% of Tequila is grown and distilled in the city of Tequila making it a popular tourist destination.

Day Trip From Puerto Vallarta To Tequila - Tequila Tasting

Not All Tequila Is Created Equally

You certainly don’t have to go to the city of Tequila to sample a wide range of Tequila, as there are many tasting spots in Puerto Vallarta. In fact, we taste quite a few on our Mex-ology food and drink tour. However, not all tequila is created equally. While the fruity and flavored Tequila that you find in and around PV is fun, and a unique gift or souvenir—there are different classifications of tequila. As with many other liquors, it’s has a lot to do with maturation. Blanco or silver tequila can be served shortly after the distillation process and is often used for margaritas and mixed drinks. Reposado is aged in an oak barrel for 2 to 12 months, making it ideal for sipping or mixing. If sipping be sure to let it aerate for a bit first.  Añejo and extra-añejo are aged in oak barrels for 12 months or more and have an oakiness and are more common for sipping.

Day Trip From Puerto Vallarta To Tequila - Tequila Tasting

Mezcal Is Not Tequila

Think of Mezcal (or Mescale) similar to how you would compare sparkling wine to Champagne—similar but certainly not the same. Tequila is a Mezcal but Mezcal is not Tequila just like Champagne is a sparkling wine but sparkling wine is not Champagne. Mezcal is also made from agave but can be made from over 25 different types of agave, including the blue agave plant—which Tequila must be made from. However, processing and distillation are quite a different process. The classifications of blanco, reposado, and Añejo are the same. Overall, Mezcal has a bit more of a smoky flavor when compared to Tequila. It can be stronger depending on the proof, which is up to 110 proof. The worm that you sometimes find in a bottle of tequila (which is actually a moth larva that grows on agave plants) originated in Mezcal bottles as a marketing ploy—and was adopted by many tequila brands.

Last but not least, while you can’t ship Tequila or Mezcal out of the country without the proper licensing—you can fly it home. Just be mindful that what you purchase must be placed in your checked luggage or purchased at the airport Duty-Free shop after you pass through security. The taxes and duty for what you bring in your checked luggage will vary by country.

Top 7 places for Margaritas in Puerto Vallarta

Margaritas are undeniably the most common tequila-based cocktail in the US and worldwide. It’s served shaken, blended and straight up.  So omnipresent in the world of cocktailing that it merits its very own glass. Even though we cannot get enough of this refreshing drink, what do we really know about margarita?  What’s the history behind this famous drink? As with many popular cocktails, the exact origin is not verifiable.  Perhaps because of this fuzziness, many have taken credit for its invention.

Many believe that Francisco Morales created the margarita on July 4, 1942, in a local watering-hole, Tommy’s Place in the El Paso-Juarez area.  The story goes that a bar patron asked Morales to make a magnolia – a drink that he wasn’t familiar with.  Not wanting to appear ignorant, he improvised and whipped up a drink.  The customer absolutely fawned over it and the margarita was born.According to the LA Times, “over the years, several people claimed to have invented the drink; but  Mexico’s official news agency Notimex and many experts say that Morales has the strongest claim. ”
Puerto Vallarta holds the margarita in high regard.  Understanding its place in the pantheon of fabulous cocktails with Mexico’s favorite spirit.  There are plenty of establishments making margaritas.  This is our list of the best:

1) La Playa‘s Jalapeno margarita is among the best in Vallarta.  Mixologist Alex carefully crafts a sweet and spicy mix that will have you hankering for more.   La Playa is located in Old Town next to Lazaro Cardenas Park.

2) Joe Jack’s Fish Shack- Cadillac margarita. Tank, or Tanque, is a gifted bartender whose Texas Cadillac margaritas find few rivals.  These Grand Marnier-laced margaritas pack a punch, but boy do they go down easy. Joe Jack’s Fish Shack is located in Basillo Badillo 212


3)Solar– Our favorite dive beach bar has some some amazing cocktails.  Start with a fresh cucumber/jalapeno cocktail with your choice of tequila or mezcal. You won’t regret it!

4) Patio de mi Casa–  With a bohemian ambience that will have you relaxed, Patio de mi Casa pairs up a classic margarita with some jazz in the evenings. Marco knows his way around the bar. Don’t take our word for it. You will not be disappointed!. 

5) La Palapa–  Puerto Vallarta’s oldest elegant beach-front restaurant has an extensive drink menu that will impress just about everyone. With more than 10 flavors including tamarind and cucumber, La Palapa is a spectacular location, day or night.

6) Gaby’s – One of the cutest courtyards in downtown Vallarta, Gaby’s dishes out delicious mole perfectly washed down with a hand-crafted margarita.

7) Cafe de Artistes- Upping the cool quotient, this beautiful and revered restaurant, is well-known for their mezcalinis. Served like martini, mezcalinis are margarita’s favorite cousin.

Many of these margaritas can  found in our Mexology Tour and our Original Downtown food  tours. Remember the old adage: Drink tequila because no good story ever started with drinking milk. SALUD!

Tequila Day in Vallarta

Salud! It’s National Tequila Day (July 24th)! Our favorite spirit, tequila, is only grown in certain parts of Mexico. The majority of tequila is grown and distilled in its namesake, the city of Tequila, in our very own state, Jalisco. This region’s red volcanic soil is particularly ideal for growing agave, the majestic plant which tequila is derived from. Premium tequilas come from blue agave.

There are classifications of tequila based on its maturation. These classifications include blanco (silver), reposado, añejo and extra-añejo.  The flavors vary greatly between these different tequila types. Blanco is great for making margaritas and other libations, while añejo is usually what we drink when sipping.  Añejos typically have an oakiness that envelops your taste buds.
La Palapa We love to hoist our tequila in various places around Puerto Vallarta. With an enviable beach-front location, it proves to be the perfect location to enjoy a tequila with some friends. Patio de Mi Casa, with its cool vibe, lush surroundings and killer live music is a wonderful venue.  For an even more relaxed setting, try La Playa,  a local favorite watering hole. Barracuda, with its delicious fare and amazing view, is where we go to sip our tequila and watch the sunset. Of course we can’t forget about our tour. On our Vallarta Walking Food Tours you will try some great tequila and in our Evening Taco walking tour we have tequila’s cousin, Mezcal!

So, go ahead! Celebrate tequila on its day! It’s only right. 😉
tequila , lime and salt