One of the greatest perks of living in CDMX is its connectivity to almost everywhere. It is home to the busiest international airport in Latin America and the hub of at least 10 bus lines that carry passengers all over Mexico. It has easy access to the mountains, the jungle and the coast, depending on your mood. And with temperatures rapidly dropping in the nation’s capital, you might be on the lookout for sun. If you don’t have enough time to go to the beach but want a relaxing weekend of warm weather, here’s why Cuernavaca is the ideal destination.
The “City of Eternal Spring” has long been coveted for its pleasant weather. Its pre-Hispanic inhabitants, the Tlahuica people, were a flourishing agricultural society developed around the area’s fertile lands. When Hernan Cortés arrived in the 16th century, he understood Cuernavaca, then known as Cuauhnahuac, to be an ideal location for a colonial outpost. He ordered the construction of an imposing palace and a sprawling hacienda, where he would later attempt to retire. Spanish nobles soon followed suit, and Cuernavaca’s landscape was rather quickly peppered with villas and colorful gardens, many of which remain intact. With the arrival of both the Mexican War of Independence and the Mexican Revolution, Cuernavaca turned into a political and artistic haven for creativity and anti-establishment ideas to thrive.
Today, Cuernavaca’s metro area exceeds 1 million inhabitants with a significant swell on the weekends when Chilangos come to visit from Mexico City. Despite its varied history, colonial architecture, and indigenous culture, I didn’t find much to do. This is exactly why I think it’s the perfect weekend getaway for anyone who wants just a little bit of sightseeing and a lot of time by the pool.
Where to stay
Built in 1531 for Hernan Cortés, there’s no reason not to stay here. The property is gorgeous, peaceful, probably full of ghosts. The rooms could use some updating but nonetheless, I’d advise you to splurge on a suite with a little patio. There’s a spa, a pool and lovely gardens. The onsite restaurant, La Casona, is one of the most beautiful I’ve seen.
Where to eat
La Tía de las Muchachas for fast and fresh. It’s casual, with a traditional menu that leans toward healthy.
Don Fer for cozy, easy, highly-rated dishes.
La India Bonita for the garden and the history.
Iguanas Greens for an authentic menu and local experience.
Casa Hidalgo for its prime location in front of the Cortés Palace and vibey outdoor seating.
What to do
Like I said, Cuernavaca is not overloaded with things to do, and that’s the best part about it. Its small historic center can be exhausted in less than a day if you put your mind to it. This leaves ample time to enjoy my first and most important suggestion: Lay by the pool, soak in the sun and read a book.
When you need a break from all that relaxing, check out the following:
Jardín Borda: It was closed when I visited but sounds like a must-see.
Museo Robert Brady: This eclectic museum was once the abode of American artist and art collector Robert Brady. Guaranteed to spark new decor ideas for your own home.
Palacio de Cortés: One of the oldest colonial constructions still standing. There is a museum inside.
MMAPO: A collection of brightly-colored regional pop art.
Cathedral of Cuernavaca: A complex of 3 churches with a small, very random sheep farm.
The University Museum of Indigenous Art: A tiny historical museum that’s well worth the 15 peso entry.
La Casona Spencer: Art exhibition aside, the house and its gorgeous view of the Cathedral complex is a real draw.
Mercado de Artesanías: In case you are in desperate need of Cuernavaca shot glasses.
Bethany Platanella is a travel planner and lifestyle writer based in Mexico City. She lives for the dopamine hit that comes directly after booking a plane ticket, exploring local markets, practicing yoga and munching on fresh tortillas. Sign up to receive her Sunday Love Letters to your inbox, peruse her blog, or follow her on Instagram.