Cuernavaca Cortes' Palace

Things to do in Cuernavaca: Planning Your Visit

In City Guides, Mexico by Erik @ DIY Travel HQLeave a Comment

Cuernavaca has a few important monuments but it’s better used as a base for visiting attractions in the region – but if you are stuck here, find out the things to do in Cuernavaca.

Like many cities in Mexico, you don’t head to Cuernavaca for Cuernavaca, but rather to explore the hidden treasures that surround the city.

In this case, we here at DIY Travel HQ used Cuernavaca as a base to explore Tepoztlan, Xochicalco, Grutas de Cacahuamilpa, and Taxco.

However there are a few things to do in Cuernavaca itself & exploring the city will only take 1-2 hours.

The two main areas are around Plaza de Armas, and the walled-cluster of churches down Hidalgo – let’s take a look at some of the major attractions:

Cuernavaca The Assumption of Maria Cathedral Corridor

La Asuncion de Maria Cathedral

Things to do in Cuernavaca

  • Plaza de Armas and Jardin Juarez

Start exploring Cuernavaca from the (currently under construction) Plaza de Armas.

You can tell who was in control of the city as, unlike all other Mexican zocalos, no religious institution lines the square. Instead, both the Governor’s and Cortes’ Palaces loom over the location.

From there, head over to adjacent Jardin Juarez to enjoy the limited open space that the city has to offer. This is a great place to pick up street food or juice to start your day.

When you get tired of people watching, return to the center and visit Palacio de Cortes.

Cuernavaca Yoga at Cortes' Palace

This yoga class is taking advantage of the limited public space.

  • Palacio de Cortes

The Palace is almost 500 years old, and was originally the fortified residence of conqueror Hernan Cortes.

He used it to affirm authority over the indigenous people. Today, everyone may enter for a fee (55 pesos / $2.95) as it has been transitioned to the Cuauhnahuac Regional Museum.

Despite positive reviews on TripAdvisor, this museum is nothing special:

  • The first floor features artwork from Xochicalco and other Morelos’ pre-hispanic ruins.
  • Upstairs showcases armor, carriages, cannons, and focuses on the region during the Hispanic to modern time period.

Around the outside the plaza is lined with cafes, restaurants, and an artisan marketplace.

Downtown Cuernavaca

Cafe near Palacio de Cortes

Looking straight ahead, you can see a cluster of churches that will comprise your next stop.

View of Cuernavaca

View of Cuernavaca and the religious compound.

  • Cuernavaca’s Cathedral

Located a short distance down Hidalgo are a cathedral, and two churches in an enclosed compound.

In similar fashion to Palacio de Cortes, the walls and grandeur were meant to awe the indigenous as well as defend against them.

As you walk into the compound The Third Order of San Francisco Church is on your right, and The Carmen Chapel is on the left.

Third Order of San Francisco Temple

Third Order of San Francisco Church

The UNESCO-listed La Asuncion de Maria Cathedral is in the rear.

Most notable is the skull and crossbones prominently displayed above the cathedral’s entrance.

Cuernavaca The Assumption of Maria Cathedral Entrance

Nothing like a warm welcome!

Inside are frescoes depicting the persecution of Christian missionaries.

Cuernavaca UNESCO The Assumption of Maria Cathedral Mural

La Asuncion de Maria Cathedral Mural

  • Other Sights

For those looking to spend an entire day within Cuernavaca, then consider the following attractions:

Teopanzolco Pyramids are a set of two pyramids, with one located within the other

Centro Cultural Muros is a contemporary Mexican art gallery with works from Kahlo, Rivera, Orozco, Tamaya, and Siquerios.

Jardin Borda and Robert Brady Museum allow a glimpse into the lifestyle of the elite as you tour their houses and grounds.

Cuernavaca Plaza

If you can’t make it to the above properties, you will have to settle for a fountain plaza that Cuernavaca sporadically has.

How to Get to & from Cuernavaca

Most people arrive in Cuernavaca from Mexico City (112 pesos, 90 minutes, Futura/Estrella Blanca).

Other possible destinations are:

  • Puebla (270 pesos / $14.45, 2:45 hours, Estrella de Oro)
  • Toluca (100 pesos / $5.35, 2:30 hours, Futura/Estrella Blanca)

Day Trips from Cuernavaca

Taxco: 80-92 pesos / $4.30-$4.90 departing 9:30 and 11:10, 90 minutes, Futura/Estrella Blanca

Cacahuamilpa Caves: 60 pesos / $3.20, 2 hours, Pullman de Morelos

Xochicalco: 15 pesos / $0.80 departing every 30 minutes, 90 minutes, Lasser

Tepoztlan: 23 pesos / $1.25, 45 minutes, Estrella Roja

Cuernavaca Local Buses: 6.5 pesos / $0.35

*** The Final Word: The things to do in Cuernavaca are not that interesting but the city is great base for other attractions ***

Did you like Cuernavaca?

Visited in February 2016

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