Spend the day understanding more about mezcal culture, production, and traditions of Oaxaca

René Cabrera

SANTIAGO MATATLÁN is a small village that is a one-hour drive from Oaxaca City on Highway 190, just past Mitla. Matatlán has a large sign at the main entrance to the village declaring it the “World Capital of Mezcal”. Here you’ll be able to see the entire process of how mezcal is made from harvesting the agave plant to distillation. There’s a wide variety of producers; some are small family distilleries, others have larger-scale production but they all use traditional techniques (clay pots and copper still). But the true highlight of a visit to Matatlán is the opportunity to sample the wide variety of mezcals including Espadín, Cuishe, Madrecuishe, Tobalá, Tepextate, Coyote, Arroqueño, Jabalí, Mexicano, Pulquero and Pechuga, among others.


Mezcal is a spirit which has been growing in popularity in recent years. The production of mezcal has increased by 600% in the last 10 years. Like Tequila, it is made from the agave plant, but while tequila is made with only one type of agave, the Blue agave or Agave Tequilana, mezcal can be made with 35 different varieties of agave, though the Agave Espadín is the most often used. Since 1994, mezcal has been under the regulation of COMERCAM that determines that agave spirit may only be labeled mezcal if it is 100% agave and made within certain regions of Mexico that comprise 9 different states, but the main mezcal producer is the state of Oaxaca produces 65% of the mezcal in Mexico.


We will meet at Casa de las Bugambilias B&B (See Map), from where we will drive 30 miles southeast on the Pan-American Highway 190 to the municipality of Santiago Matatlán (World Capital of Mezcal) to visit three distilleries to learn about the traditional method to make mezcal. We will not visit commercial distilleries on the way to Mitla where tour companies take their clients. We will visit only family-owned Palenques to see the entire process to make artisanal mezcal and you will have a free tasting of premium mezcals. At the end of the tour, you will have the opportunity to buy bottles of the best mezcals directly from the producer and the mezcal will be certified by COMERCAM. There is no pressure to buy mezcal and all the tastings are free.

During the tour, we will visit some agave plantations to learn about the farmers who cultivate the agaves and then we will visit the home of a family that has been making pulque. Pulque is a milky, slightly foamy and somewhat viscous beverage made by fermenting the fresh sap of the giant agave Pulquero and you will have the opportunity to taste fresh pulque.

At the end of the tour, we will have lunch in a traditional restaurant in Santiago Matatlán to taste the traditional food of that region and we will return to Oaxaca City.

We will meet at Casa de las Bugambilias B&B (See Map). We will establish a meeting point by telephone or e-mail for people that stay outside the city. All tours normally end at the starting point, but this can be changed to another place in downtown Oaxaca if the customer prefers.

8 hours. Weather and traffic conditions might affect the length of the tour.

VW Transporter Mod. 2019 with A/C, liability insurance, purified water and driver.

See the Map

The service includes transportation, an English-speaking tour guide, soft drinks and a free tasting of the finest mezcals.

Lunch, bottles of mezcal and additional beverages.

We recommend you bring walking shoes, sunblock, a hat, sunglasses, and a camera.

1-2 persons: $100 USD per person
3-5 persons: $75 USD per person
6-9 persons: $50 USD per person

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Check the photos of this Tour:

14 comments on “Tour 4: Mezcal Distillery

  1. Rene,

    Our friend Rose, from America who lives in Oaxaca recommended we speak to you about a Mezcal tour. We will be in Oaxaca 16, 17 and 18 of February. Can we get a tour for 2 or be a part of a larger tour on any of those days?

    Also, will the tour last 8 hours?

    We will be staying at La Tia Tere

  2. Hola!
    ¿los precios para mexicanos también son en dólares? ¿podrías decirme que casa mezcalera visitan en tu tour?

    • Hola Aida: Los precios para los mexicanos son en pesos al tipo de cambio del día del tour. Los palenques que visitamos son Gracias a Dios, Dainzu y el Sabino. Este tour dura 8 horas y visitamos 3 destilerias, una plantación de magueyes y una pulquería. El precio no incluye comida ni propinas. Si tienes más preguntas por favor escribeme a

  3. Hola René. Hope you’re well. You come highly recommended for a mezcal tour. Do you have any space for 3 persons for a tour Saturday, July 7? Sorry for the last minute— we’d love to join you!


  4. Hola!

    Planeo ir a Oaxaca por dos o tres dias. Vi en su calendario que no tenia fechas disponibles para los dias que voy a ir yo. Tiene algunas sugerencias? Gracias por adelanto! 🙂

  5. Hola!

    Mi amiga y yo hicimos este tour el año pasado y nos gustaría hacerlo otra vez porque vamos con personas diferentes. Lo que quería saber es si es posible ir a diferentes mezcalerias si lo tomamos otra vez. El año pasado fuimos a mal de amores, Gracias a Dios y a macurichos.

    Porfavor hagan saber si podemos ir a diferentes lugares para reservar. Somos 5 personas que haríamos el tour el 29 de agosto.

    Por su atención e informes les doy las gracias.

    Fabiola Guido

  6. Hello,
    would like to arrange a mezcal tour for two adults tomorrow morning Friday June 7th. Or would like to arrange an afternoon tour for 2 adults and 2 children. Please let me know if this can be done.

    thank you!

  7. Hi Rene,

    Your mezcal tours come highly reccomemded… are there any tours 2 of us could join on August 13th?
    Do prices decrease of there is already people booked on a tour or is the discount only for group bookings?


    • Dear Henry,

      At this time I don´t have a mezcal distillery tour on August 13th. I have a private tour and I am not available. The discount is only for group bookings.

      Best regards, René.

  8. Thank you René for introducing me to these family-owned distilleries; it was a rare privilege to meet these craft-masters and witness the time-honored tradition of mezcal making.

    It was definitely the highlight of my trip to Oaxaca and will definitely put this tour first on my next trip [back].

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