Cuernavaca, which is also known as “The City of Eternal Spring” for its year-round warm and comfortable climate, is located just 30 minutes’ drive south of Mexico City. It was a common location for Aztec emperors to have residences in the area due to the pleasant climate and fertile soil for growing crops. Today, Cuernavaca is home to lush gardens, historic monuments, exciting nightlife, and fabulous Mexican culture.
Palacio de Cortes
The Palacio de Cortes is the former residence of the Spainish conquistador, Hernán Cortés. Coming up on 500 years old, it is the oldest colonial era civil structure in North and South America. Construction of the palace began in 1526 and was later expanded in the 1530’s. After Cortés’ death in 1547, it was slowly abandoned by his family and used as workshops for iron work, textiles, and tannery. Now, the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia has worked to renovate the palace to correspond with its original form. The Palacio de Cortes now features a museum of both historical and archeological exhibits from early human settlers of the Morelos region, Aztec items, colonial, and post-colonial items.
Ideal Language and Cultural Experiences
Feel like your Spanish skills are a little rusty? Tired of asking locals if they speak English? If this is the case, Ideal will help you sharpen those skills in no time. Each student chooses the number of classes they take each day and the duration of their program. The programs consist of four or five intensive 50-minute classes five times a week. This enables students to be completely immersed in the Spanish language and Mexican culture, which allows them to learn the language quickly so they can start experiencing life in Cuernavaca on a deeper level. Ideal also offers optional activities outside of the classroom for students who want to experience Mexican culture with other students. Learning the local language is one of the best ways to engage in the community wherever you’re visiting.
Centrally located in Cuernavaca, Casa Hidalgo is an excellent place to experience quality Mexican cuisine. You can either sit outside and enjoy the view of the Palacio De Cortes and the Zocalo (plaza) or – if you’re lucky – enjoy some live jazz music inside. Casa Hidalgo is known for their fresh ingredients and friendly service.
Attico by Alebrije
If you’re in the mood for dancing, Attico is the place to go. Known for playing danceable house/techno music, it is a great place to bring some friends and hang out with the locals. Often times, they have live DJ’s playing, which adds to the electric atmosphere. This massive venue can hold over 1,200 people. Attico is only open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights and is open until 5:00 am so be sure to adjust you sleep schedule and plan your weekend accordingly.
Once home to the richest man in Mexico, the Borda Garden is one of Cuernavaca’s most famous monuments. José de la Borda once owned a summer mansion where the garden is currently located. He became wealthy by mining iron, silver, and gold in the Taxco and Zacatecas areas in the 1700’s. José’s son, Manuel, inherited the estate and transformed the land into a botanical garden. After changing ownership several times and being somewhat neglected over the next two centuries, the garden was restored in 1987 as the Jardín Borda Centro de Artes. The entire complex houses many galleries with paintings that show the history of the garden over the years, majestic fountains, and an artificial pond/lake where you can rent rowboats. Also, what good would a garden be if it didn’t have any plants? The Borda Garden contains many beautiful plants native to Mesoamerica as well as exotic flora. The Borda Garden is truly an oasis for relaxation in a busy city.
Cuernavaca has a wide variety of activities, learning experiences, and restaurants that engage visitors in the Mexican way of life. You can enjoy tranquility in massive gardens, dance the night away, and learn a bit of Spanish so you don’t feel completely lost. Regardless of what you end up doing in Cuernavaca, you will surely enjoy the City of Eternal Spring for its beauty and comfortable weather.