The imposing building of the Hacienda de Jaral de Berrio, is in the municipality of San Felipe, a little over an hour away from San Miguel. Movies, series, and various short films have been filmed there. In reality, when walking through the patios, corridors and backyards, the visitor can move back to the times of its glory.
There are no announcements on the internet about tour hours, or opening days. There are legal issues that can only be discussed by the locals. Long ago the hacienda had more than six thousand employees, its own train station, a private church and another for the town, as well as schools for servants. Today, only vestiges remain. In those glory times there would have been up to 20 thousand head of cattle, and a mezcalera, since it was the first farm with a certificate granted by the colonial government to produce the distilled beverage.
It is quite an experience to go through it, but you have to be careful where you step. And although you can still see the frescoes in some of the rooms interconnected by rectangular doors in the middle of the walls, some are now in a state of collapse.
From the top of one of the towers you can see the square with the silos in which the grains were kept. You appreciate a different era—a church that was for the workers, and a mausoleum where the remains of the former owners would be.
Mezcal is no longer packaged or sold there—part of the same legal issue—but around the corner, on the left side, there are those who sell it. If you are going to Jaral, the tours are from 10 am-2pm, and there is no entry after those hours.
Even though you might want to just rest at the end of the day, a red or white wine does not fall badly in Bella Italia (Portal Guadalupe). I recommend the Eggplant Parmesan to start, and it can be shared, and follow that with a frutti di mare pasta. Of course there are red meats, fish, and salads. The best tables are at the portal—the one on the corner, on Correo is the favorite. They are the ones from which you can watch life go by, probably in the rain, or spot a lost dog and call the owner and have him pick it up. It’s common in the place, don’t be surprised. Probably while you enjoy the food, the drink, and the rest after the visit at el Jaral, a cartoonist will appear and for 300 pesos he will draw you a picture.