City Guide: Cuernavaca

 

Dear Reader,

This adorable city little over one hour away from the chaos of Mexico City is a hidden gem. With its amazing climate, rich history, and beautiful nature I’m sure you will find something that intrigues you

Basic information

The city is easy to reach from Mexico City by bus which runs almost every fifteen minutes. You will arrive a little outside of the city, but there are cabs waiting to take you where you want to go. As always in Mexico, do not trust just any cab driver you see and make sure to ask for the price before you get in. If you feel more comfortable you can also take Uber which works very well here.

One of the things you will love in this city is the weather. The city is nicknamed “the city of eternal spring” due to the temperature always being between 20 and 25 degrees. It is also nice and sunny almost all year except for the months of August and September when it is the rainy season. Even at this time though it normally rains during the night, so you still get to enjoy the good weather during the day.

This guarded climate is due to the mountains that surround the valley of Cuernavaca. These mountains protect the city from the different forces of nature which lead to the development of this special place with its nature and animal life.

Now let’s talk about getting around this cute city. They have buses which will get you everywhere you want to go; however, if you don’t have a local with you, you might be stuck asking each driver if he’s going to the place you want to go to. This is a very cheap option though since the ticker will cost you just 8 pesos regardless of where you’re going. Taxis are available and very affordable. If the guy in the car seems trustworthy, you can take these without any big issue. They are also relatively cheap, so don’t worry about it too much. If you would rather be 100% sure, you can always rely on Uber, which you can also pay in cash here.

So after all that information, let's get into the fun stuff and talk about all the things you have to see, eat, and do around here while visiting.

El Centro

El Centro is the center of Cuernavaca and where most of the life is. Here you can go for a walk, buy anything you really need from fruits to cloths, or just sit in the main square with a book and relax. The streets here are narrow and windy and best walked in, since they are confusing, and it is easy to get lost. Make sure to explore the stores that are almost always bigger on the inside, and some even develop into huge indoor markets, which you would not expect from the entrance. Make sure to spend some time around the main square since much of the city life takes place here. We once saw a blast band play in the pavilion just of the square and in true Mexican fashion, there were people dancing to the music. If you are already there ask for a fruit water from one of the stands and get some esquites from in front of the palace.

Jadrín Borda

little house at the end of a pond in Jadrin Borda, Cuernavaca
One of the many relaxing spots at Jardín Borda

Just a few streets off the main square is one of the most famous sights of Cuernavaca, Jadrín Borda. This beautiful garden is attached to the house that used to belong to Maximilian von Habsburg and his Carlota. At that time Cuernavaca was just a small town close to Mexico City and the preferred vacation place for the rich and powerful. It is an amazing place to take a break and relax for a bit while around you life keeps passing by. The entrance costs 30 pesos and is totally worth the peace and quiet of the park if you avoid weekends. It is also one of the perfect places to take a date on a romantic stroll or just to sit with a book and enjoy the nature in the middle of the city.

Parque Ecólogico de Chapultepec

This is one of the few ecological parks located in an actual city. The park of Chapultepec is located in the south of Cuernavaca in a part with the same name. It shows the way the gorges that you can find everywhere in Cuernavaca used to look like before the city grew around them. It is an amazingly green and beautiful place, where you can really imagine the place 200 years ago before people really got here. The park costs 10 pesos but is the perfect place to come and escape the city for a bit without going too far, since it can be reached in about 20 minutes from El Centro by public bus.

Teopanzolco

Yes, even Cuernavaca has a few small pyramids. There are located a little up the mountain, but still in the city. While they are closed since the earthquake in September 2017, you can still see them from the outside and imagine what it must have been like when this was the center of science and culture for a civilization and how they must have lived,

Casa Rivera

garden at Casa Rivera, Cuernavaca entrance at Casa Rivera, Cuernavaca

If all this sightseeing has made you hungry, I have just the place for you. Casa Riviera used to be known as Restaurant Gaja and belonged to the famous comedian Cantinflas. He was friends with Diego Rivera (the husband of Frida Kahlo), who he commisioned to make the mosaic in the pool. Today the house is named after him. It is a gorgeous place to get a bite to eat or even just for a glass of while or some of the typical mezcal you can get in this country (I promise you will hear more about this later).

Parque Solidaridad

library in parque solidaridad, Cuernavaca
The library with the impressive paintings

This is one of the well-kept secrets of the locals. In this park, on the walls of the library, you can find the history of Mexico and Morelos in eight paintings, each depicting a specific time in history. You can see how the natives lived, what happened once the Spanish came, the story of the revolution, and finally how life is today. It is one of the most magnificent pieces of art I've seen displayed in this fashion and the level of detail is remarkable. In case you are going with a local, who knows a little about their history and culture, try and get them to explain it to you a little. My boyfriend did this for me, and it was so interesting and made everything so much better. Also while here, take a walk in the park and enjoy the nature and the water.

El Mercado Adolfo López Mateos

Names after a Mexican president, this is one of the biggest markets in Cuernavaca. Here you will find everything from a hairdresser to the fish to serve that night. Compared to Europe this market is huge and more like a labyrinth spread over what feels like forever. It is a great place to learn all about the different fruits and vegetables you can find in this country. From mangos and papayas all the way to nopal, you will be able to find and try it all here. One fruit you will find all over is guava or guayaba in Spanish. In fact, it is so popular around here, that people from Cuernavaca are often referred to as "guayabos" by Mexicans from other regions.

La Hamburguesita

la hamburgesita, Cuernavaca

If walking around made you crave food, why not stop by one of the many lunch places that serve the local food. My favorite is La Hamburgesita located in the north p art of the city called Buena Vista. It is run by an adorable family, one of whom you can normally find behind the cash register smiling at you when placing your order. Make sure to be careful when ordering their tortas since it is almost impossible to finish one by yourself. You can always ask for anything to go that you cannot finish, so not that big of an issue. Also be aware of their sauces, or "salsa" in Spanish. They can almost kill you if you are not used to spicy, but they are super delicious. Overall it's just a cute little place that will give you the full taste of the local food. Fun fact: if one of the young guys are behind the counter, you can speak English, since they speak it very well. If you are interested, check out their Facebook page, where they also have the menu.

Barranca de Amanalco

One of the main things you will see, in terms of natural formation, in Cuernavaca are gorges. When you go east or west in the city you will cross at least one before getting to your destination. One of the biggest ones that you can visit is Barranca de Amanalco. The entrance next to the tourist information office, and you can go down to a platform to see how deep it is and the impressive work water can do. I love all the gorges in this city since it also fills it with green and trees everywhere. Make sure to stop by here while you're in the city, to be able to experience it.

Las casas B+B

This is one more food place to suggest. Connected to a hotel with the same name, that you could totally stay at, is one of the best places to grab some more European style breakfast. You should try their brioche or the pancakes which are both delicious. Fun fact: in Mexico they call pancakes hotcakes, so do not be surprised if you see that name all over the menu. They even serve you proper maple syrup at this place, so that is a huge plus in my book. Make sure to check it out for a more luxurious feeling brunch with great food and amazing service.

La Casa de Robert Brady

sculptures in the robart brady house. Cuernavaca
Some of the many sculptures in the house

If you are already wandering around the city, make sure to stop by the former house of Robert Brady. Located only a few blocks from the main square, it will transport you back into the 1950s and how people thought and lived around that time. Robert Brady was a British artist who discovered Cuernavaca in the 1950s and moved here for 3 months in a year. His house showcases his travels and extensive knowledge of the cultures around the world. You can find anything from Jesuses on a cross to sculptures from african cultures. Every inch of wall is is covered in art, for me almost too much. The architecture of the house is also gorgeous and enhanced this art display. They do have an entrance fee but it is only 50 pesos (30 with reduction), and totally worth it. They also sometimes have events, such as film festivals, so make sure you check out the offering on their website.

La Negra Mezcaleria

For my last place to visit, I have chosen a mezcaleria, since it is such an important thing here in Cuernavaca and all over Mexico. Mezcal is a draft drink similar to tequila, made from the same plant. However, tequila is DOA (denomination of origin) meaning it has to come from a specific part of Mexico to be allowed to be called Tequila. Therefore all the other similar drinks have been names Mezcal. There are also not held to the standards of Tequila and can, therefore, warry in production a little and especially in alcohol content. Mezcal not uncommonly has more than 50% alcohol content and can knock you off your feet very quickly. In this mezcaleria, they have all  types and flavors of mezcal, so you are sure to find something you like

Bonus tip: Ferias

Ferias are street festivals arranged in honor of a church. They close a part of the street and vendors come from all over the region to sell their products. You will find everything your heart desires. Many of the objects sold are homemade, so make sure to ask the person selling it. While I was there they had one and my boyfriend and I went at least three different days and absolutely loved it. Also, do not even try going without eating the food. The tacos you can get here are some of the best, as well as the many forms of sweet bread you can find. My favorites were the small little pancake looking biscuits. They are not as creamy as pancakes, but they are absolutely delicious and you should not miss them.

Conclusion

I absolutely loved my time in this little town. There is so much character and charm, here and the people are so open and friendly. If you are looking to visit sights you will also find that and enjoy the beautiful nature. If you are looking for more places to go eat to not miss out on anything, here is a good guide for you to check out.

As always, if you visit or have more tips to share, feel free to share them in the comments below or on Social Media.

Kisses,

Juli

8 thoughts on “City Guide: Cuernavaca”

  1. I have always wanted to travel to Mexico. I speak Spanish fluently because I live in Spain, so I know traveling would be a tad easier for me. This town looks awesome! I’m sure it’s nice to get out of the crazy big Mexico city!

    1. Mexico is amazing. I fell in love with the country so fast. I hope you make it one day. Stay tuned for more Mexico content coming soon.

  2. Cuernavaca looks like a lovely town to spend some time in, when in Mexico. I have been to Mexico this year but only around Yucatan peninsula. I would love to explore parts of Central Mexico as well, that are not so touristy.

    1. Yeah definitely. The Yucatan peninsula is beautiful, but there is so much more to Mexico that just the beach. I hope you get to explore more soon.

  3. There are so many beautiful smaller cities in Mexico that we usually don’t know about. Thanks for sharing this guide about Cuernavaca, would love to go there someday when I visit Mexico City 🙂

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