Posted by Rosana Hart
The great appeal of Cuernavaca can only be hinted at in a description of this elegant, garden-filled city.
Cuernavaca is one of the most beautiful and cosmopolitan cities in Mexico, and it has a mild climate all year as well. Sounds nice, doesn't it? Located only an hour's drive from Mexico City but some 2500 feet lower in elevation, it's a world apart... except maybe on weekends when thousands of people escape the capital for a getaway in Cuernavaca.
The rich and famous have been coming to Cuernavaca for centuries. It's long been a popular home for foreigners, and there is an active foreign colony with many events you can take part in. Even if you aren't rich or famous! Many people come to Cuernavaca for its Spanish-language schools, and while studying you can board with a Mexican family if you wish, for a more total immersion.
The foreign population isn't as overwhelmingly visible as it is in some popular expat spots, though. With a population of over 300,000 in the city itself, and at least that many again in the surrounding areas, Cuernavaca can absorb a lot of visitors and still maintain its ambiance.
The city of full of gorgeous homes, and sometimes there are home tours you can take. Because it gets a good amount of rainfall, Cuernavaca is famous for its gardens. It also has a number of historic buildings that you can visit. Its central plaza is full of activity, including free band concerts. There are spas, hot springs, and several golf courses in the area.
Some things to see in Cuernavaca:
The cathedral is one of the oldest in Mexico.
The Borda Gardens date from the 1700s, when a Frenchman, Jose de la Borda, made a fortune in mining. They still give you a sense of the grandeur of their heyday.
Museums include Museo Casa de la Torre, the collection of American artist Robert Brady, and others.
There are Aztec ruins right in the city and more in the vicinity.
The shopping is superb.
Travel to Cuernavaca is easy, and the topnotch hotels of Cuernavaca are outstanding.(All price ranges do exist.)
When I was nine, my family flew to the capital and then drove to the coast. I remember lunch in a beautiful hotel in Cuernavaca.... I have no idea what we ate, but I clearly remember the lush gardens that our table overlooked. That image has remained in my mind ever since. It's fun to realize that a child's memory captured the essence of Cuernavaca!
Rosana Hart has traveled to Mexico many times. Her website, www.mexico-with-heart.com, contains the full text of a book she wrote about traveling in Mexico, as well as information and travel tipsÂ on a variety of Mexican cities popular with tourists.