As fascinating a place as Mexico City is, sometimes a guy just has to get out of town for the weekend.
Of the Best Road Trips from Mexico City, one of my favorites is to head south to Cuernavaca and Taxco. While you could make this excursion in one day, for maximum Road Trip Satisfaction, turn this drive into a two-night, three-day mini-vacation and you will return to El D.F. rested and relaxed.
Day One: Drive from Mexico City to Cuernavaca on Highway 95 (85 km, about 2 hrs, 86 pesos in tolls). Nicknamed The City of Eternal Spring, Cuernavaca has long attracted Mexico City’s moneyed classes as a weekend destination where the winters are warmer and the summers are cooler than in the capital. Long before the Spanish arrived, the Tlahuica settled what is now the largest city in Morelos state – Cuernavaca. Among the note-worthy attractions here are the Robert Brady House Museum, the Cortez Palace, and the Borda Gardens. Spend the night at the historic Hacienda de Cortes, the conquistador’s former sugar plantation. Eat at Cuernavaca’s most famous restaurant, Las Mananitas, whose garden, pictured above, setting is simply the prettiest spot in the city.
Day Two: Sleep in – but not too late – leave Cuernavaca’s historic center, and continue south on Highway 95 to Taxco in Guerrero state (84 km, 1-2 hours, 90 pesos in tolls). Taxco is another one of Mexico’s “Pueblos Mágicos” (Magical Towns) and it certainly deserves the distinction. Situated high in the mountains at over 5,800 feet, the streets of Taxco twist up and down steep grades, providing picture-perfect photo opportunities no matter where you stand. The city – which now numbers about 50,000 inhabitants – was the location of some of New Spain’s most productive silver mines. Taxco remains a center for jewelry production.
The riches that once were Taxco’s can be savored nowhere more impressively than in Santa Prisca Church, which faces the town’s main square. The Baroque, pink stone building was completed in 1758 and paid for entirely by José de la Borda, said to have committed to the construction out of gratitude for the fortune he made in the silver mines. The interior sparkles with gilt and, of course, silver trimmings and is especially captivating during the city’s Holy Week processions. Spend the night in the Hotel Agua Escondida and dine at Café Sasha.
Day Three: Before you leave Taxco, visit some of its other attractions, like the Mercado Municpal and the Vice-Regal Museum, where a collection of Spanish Colonial religious and secular art provide vivid insight into the period. Make a final stop on the way out of town at the Silver Museum or one of the hundreds of shops marked “plateria,” which means silver shop, and buy a necklace and pendant – maybe one of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico’s patroness.
Mexico City’s Best Road Trip – Cuernavaca and Taxco ends with an easy drive back to the capital on Highway 95 (185 km, 3-4 hours, 176 pesos in tolls). If the Federal District’s traffic starts to melt away your Road Trip Satisfaction, just touch the silver Guadalupe hanging from your neck and maybe Taxco’s magic will clear the streets.