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This Monday, a couple of the interns took a break from working and went on a road trip to San Sebastian del Oeste, an old mining town two hours east of Puerto Vallarta. The ride there was beautiful: lush mountains, rich auburn earth, and foggy mist set the scene. It was also great to be in the mountains because the temperature dropped quite a bit. A nice change from the Bucerias heat!
Mountain view
Our first stop was the Hacienda San Sebastian Distillery, an artisanal distillery that makes tequila and raicilla “the old-fashioned way”. Our lovely guide, Nestor, explained the process. The agave is cut after nine years of growth, cooked, mushed by hand, fermented, and distilled. At this distillery, raicilla is distilled twice so that it meets legal guidelines for consumption.
Agave after it’s been cooked
After sampling some of the delicious raicilla flavors (almond, mandarin, café) and exploring the agave growing area, we continued on our way to San Sebastian.
The reason why San Sebastian is such a destination is because it is partially responsible for the start of Puerto Vallarta. Back when San Seb was a silver mining town, Puerto Vallarta was used to supply the mines with salt that were then used for the smelting process. The silver was then sent through Guadalajara and Mexico City to Veracruz, where it was sent to Spain.
Not much has changed in this town since 1605. We drove through the main street in town and parked in the plaza, which didn’t look anything like the usual small-town Mexico plaza, along with most of the town. Most buildings are white and dark red, and the streets are small and winding. We
We had lunch at a restaurant in the plaza, featuring traditional Mexican fare: sopes, gorditas, enchiladas, among others delicious options. And jamaica aguas frescas of course! After lunch we explored The Church of San Sebastian, which was originally built in the 1600s and then rebuilt after an earthquake in 1868. We wandered around the streets, ending up at La Quinta Coffee Plantation, where we explored the grounds and sampled delicious coffee. They offer espresso beans, regular coffee beans, peanut concoctions, and a lovely snack featuring coffee beans and cane sugar.
 
Sopes
Church of San Sebastian

We waddled around the town a little more, stopping to chat with “The Cigar Man”, who has lived in San Sebastian for his entire life. He demonstrated how he makes his cigars, and explained that he sells every single one he makes (at 30 pesos a cigar that’s a pretty sweet deal for him!)

Walkin’ down the streets
Cigar Man demonstrating how he makes his hand-made cigars

That’s about it! San Sebastian was really fun to walk around and soak up the quietness of the town. At only two hours away from Puerto Vallarta and accessible by bus, it’s definitely worth a day trip.

It was a tiring day!

 -Julia, Investours Summer Intern

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