Volcán de Tequila is an extinct stratovolcano near the town of Tequila in the state of Jalisco, Mexico.
It is the fourth highest of the state at 2940m altitude after Volcán Nevado de Colima, Volcán de Fuego and Cerro Viejo. Part of the “Eje Neovolcánico” or “Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt” that extends west to east across central Mexico, it erupted about 220 000 years ago and has been inactive eversince.
The town Tequila is only 62 km west of Guadalajara, Mexico’s second biggest city, which is about 550 km northwest of Mexico City. Most tourists that visit Guadalajara actually usually include a visit of Tequila and the neighbouring village Amatitán, which both claim to be at the origin of Mexico's national drink, Tequila. The volcano itself is far less visited although it does make for a nice day hike into the countryside.
Some of the travel agencies in Tequila offer “ecotours” into the forest on the slopes of the volcano and to the summit. Reaching the summit however is relatively easy and can be done in a day trip from Tequila and even Guadalajara if you leave early enough. Locals refer to the volcano as “el cerro”, and as often in Mexico somewhere near the summit you will find some antenna’s, which for most local people means the summit.
The landscape around the volcano is also covered with blue agave fields, the plant that is used to make the famous alcoholic drink Tequila. So most visitors take a tour to a tequila distillery while they are there. The name "Tequila" comes from the native name for the volcano "tequillan" or "tecuila" that has been interpreted as "place where they cut", most likely referring to the obsidian that was mined here since ancient times.
By car it is only a one hour drive from Guadalajara on highway 15 heading northwest. By means of public transportation you can get a bus from the old bus terminal in Guadalajara called “la central camionera vieja”, mostly called “la central vieja” for about 50 pesos. The most direct bus will still take nearly one and a half hours to get to Tequila.
On weekends there is also a (more expensive) tourist train from Guadalajara to Tequila which includes food and drinks and a visit to a tequila distillery although chances are big you'll be pretty drunk by the time you reach Tequila...
As with most volcanoes in Mexico there are many ways to get to the summit. When asking around in Tequila the best known way for the locals is the 18 km long cobblestone road that goes all the way up to the antenna’s near the summit. You can go up by car as far as a gate, from where it is about another half an hour walking to the antenna's. From the antenna's to the summit of La Tetilla is about another 30 minutes.
By foot from Tequila on the cobblestone road it is a long walk of about four hours but you might be lucky and get a ride from someone going up to some of the cabins in the forest or from one of the workers at the antenna’s.
To get to this road start off at the main square in Tequila and head into Calle Hidalgo. After about 15 minutes you’ll get to the outskirts of town and pass the railroad track. Continue over the dirt road past a couple of rancho’s which then goes onto a bridge over highway 15. From here the forest starts and it is just all the way to the antenna’s.
As a way of shortcut you could leave the cobblestone road and follow the electricity cables that lead to the antenna’s where the forest has been cut steep up the volcano although you won’t have any trails here. There are other possible routes, for example starting off in Teuchitlán, so anyone that knows any of these routes is free to add them to this page.
The actual summit is known as “la tetilla” a rock formation about 50m high of hardened lava which can be seen from afar and which dominates the silhouet of the volcano. To head up “la tetilla” it is a short climb. You'll recognize the start of the climb where a rope has been attached to the rocks to help you up the first meters. Then there is some more rock climbing involved and for some a rope might come in handy here as you'll find some bolt hangers attached to the rocks, although you can perfectly do without. At the summit you will find a metal cross put in between the rocks.
When to go and camping
You can hike up Volcán de Tequila all year. November to February are the cooler months. March untill May is dry and hot. At the end of May the rains start, and give some cooling off but still expect to be sweating though. After the rains the landscape is greener and it is more pleasant hiking.
During the weekend there will be a bigger chance that other people are going up the volcano, which increases you chances to get a ride when you don't have your own vehicule.
There is no red tape as far as I know, and you could camp basically anywhere in the forest, although this is pretty much a day hike.
Other hikes in the area / links
While you are in the area it is worth going to the "Barranca los Oblatos Huentitán", a canyon on the northern edge of Guadalajara.
Jalisco's highest point, the "Nevado de Colima" is located some three hours to the south near Ciudad Guzmán (renamed "Zapotlán el grande").
Tequila has been declared a "pueblo magico": Tequila pueblo magico
Information on the geography of Jalisco from INEGI: INEGI Jalisco