Some questions/concerns re Cuernavaca and Zacatecas

Jul 18th, 2019, 04:45 AM
  #1  
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Some questions/concerns re Cuernavaca and Zacatecas

We are thinking of spending the month of Feb. in Mexico.. We have spent the last 3 Februarys in Mexico and have visited most of the places on our A and B lists, so this trip would be a revist to some cities(Oaxaca, Mexico City and Guanajuato). I want to add some new places to our trip to keep things more interesting. So that brings me to my questions/concerns:
1-Would Cuernavaca be a good place to add onto our trip for 2 or 3 nights? If so, does anyone have any hotel recommendations for a centrally located hotel for around $100 Us or less per night?.
2-Zacatecas is the second destination we are thinking of adding, though it requires a fairly long bus ride from Guanajuato. Is it worth spending three nights there, and does anyone have hotel recommendations for Zacatecas?
3-Most importantly, are these 2 areas considered safe for tourists? I am asking this because for the past year we have subscribed to the online edition of Mexico News and it seems that crime has gotten worse this year in Guanajuato and Zacatecas. I have never felt unsafe in Mexico for the last 3 years, but I am wondering if safety issues have gotten worse. (Baldone,, any input would be appreciated).

Last edited by shelleyk; Jul 18th, 2019 at 04:51 AM.
shelleyk is offline  
Jul 18th, 2019, 07:13 AM
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Hi Shelly,

I was in Zacatecas last year and it’s a jewel. I spent 2 nights, which really meant 1 full day and the day was filled with activity. Didn’t really investigate things to do if staying longer. I never felt concerned regarding my safety.

Best wishes, Daniel
Daniel_Williams is offline  
Jul 18th, 2019, 07:15 AM
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Coincidentally, we were in Zacatecas just last week for our 3rd visit there. I think it's the most attractive of all the silver cities. We drove a loop from San Miguel to San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas, Aguascalientes, then to Leon. Pretty uneventful, and we've driven to/from Zacatecas by a number of backroads too without incident. This time we stayed at the Hotel Santa Rita right in Centro, which was nice. We had a street-side room which was a bit noisy until about 1030 pm. Starbucks on the main floor. The time prior we stayed at the Quinta Real, which is an absolutely stunning property. It's in the old bull-fighting arena at the end (or is it the beginning?) of the acueducto. It's a bit removed from centro, but still walkable. I don't know your budget; both of these are $100+ per night. We often do a few more budgety type hotels for a few nights then splurge. If I'm in a spendy mood, I'd go for the Quinta. The Misión Argenta looked good too. The Misión chain properties typically have good value.
We've not been to Cuernavaca in a number of years.*
As far as safety in Guanajuato, most of the violence is in and around the industrial cities of Salamanca, Irapuato, Celaya (3 cities where tourists rarely go) and of course León, being the largest city. I did shake my head at the recent article in MND about the official who wanted to cover up recent shootings in San Miguel. In Zacatecas, I don't even give a second thought to safety.*
baldone is offline  
Jul 18th, 2019, 08:29 AM
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I forgot to say I stayed at the Casa Torres hotel in Zacatecas. It was centrally-located a few minutes walk from the main cathedral and the price was maybe $55/night when we went. Comfortable, but not with things like gym and pool if that’s important to you.
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Jul 18th, 2019, 06:55 PM
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We spent last November and December in Mexico and around 4 days apiece in Zacatecas and Guanajuato, loved both places and felt entirely safe in both and travelling around the rest of Mexico. Some photos and detail of our time in both places are on our blog @ https://accidentalnomads.com/category/mexico/

The museums and galleries in Zacatecas were especially impressive.
crellston is offline  
Jul 19th, 2019, 06:03 AM
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I've only been to Cuernavaca once, and that was twelve years ago. I went primarily to chase down the ghost of Malcolm Lowry, the author of Under the Volcano, which is set in a fictionalized blend of Cuernavaca and Oaxaca. It's a much larger city than it was in Lowry's day, I think there are 300,000 or so living there. We spent a day or so visiting the Palace of Cortes, which has an impressive Rivera mural, the Borda Gardens, the Robert Brady Museum https://www.museorobertbrady.com, a quirky mansion filled with Mexican modern and folk art, and the site of a temple on the outskirts. This last is interesting because the Aztecs were in the process of enclosing an earlier smaller temple with the new when the Spanish arrived and put an end to the project. You could also visit places associated with Emperor Maximilian and Carlota.

We spent another day on a day trip to Xochicalco, a pre-Columbian city showing some Maya influence. There are carved reliefs and an observatory in which, if you are lucky, you can watch sunlight move across the floor through an opening in the ceiling.

Some people also make a day trip to Taxco, I think, though we did not.

So yes, there is certainly enough to do for two or three days.

Overall, it's a busy city, maybe even a little hectic, which did not really charm me, but I think there may be a sweet life going on in the courtyards and gardens of the private residences.
Fra_Diavolo is offline  
Jul 19th, 2019, 07:30 AM
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Our experience with Cuernavaca was much like Fra's, and about 18 years ago. We did go to Taxco, planned on 1 night there but spent 2, and skipped a planned 3rd night in Cuernavaca. Not in a rush to go back.
baldone is offline  
Jul 21st, 2019, 06:21 AM
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Just a thought, we were traveling with a close Mexican friend (from CDMX) about 4 or 5 years ago and when we mentioned Cuernavaca, she immediately suggested that instead we go to Tepoztlan which is also nearby, partly because as mentioned above, the nicer parts of Cuernavaca tend to be private courtyards and gardens which would obviously be off limits to visitors such as ourselves.

It turned out to be a fantastic alternative for us, the place is extremely charming with its outdoor market, the church of the Nativity, and especially the hike up the Tepozteco where one reaches an ancient pyramid built atop a mountain with unforgettable views. The hike up probably takes over an hour and is somewhat strenuous at times but it is very much worth the effort. (you need good sturdy non-slip shoes)

There are a number of smaller and charming inns as well as great restaurants in the town itself - for instance we had an absolutely unforgettable meal at La Ciruela, as we sat in their inner courtyard under perfect weather.

Our time in Tepoztlan is very fondly remembered to this very day.
Just my 2 cents worth ...
kanadajin is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2019, 04:09 AM
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Thank you all for suggestions and comments. From what I have read online, Cuernavaca suffered extensive damage from the earthquake of 2017. Much of the damage has not yet been repaired. The Palace of Cortes is one of the buildings closed for renovation with no date available for when it will reopen. So I have decided against going to Cuernavaca on this trip. Zacatecas is still a possibility.

Baldone, I read the article about the mayor wanting to keep a shooting in San Miguel under wraps. Does that say something about crime in SM, which from my reading seems to be getting worse?
shelleyk is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2019, 11:28 AM
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Shelly, good question. While neither my wife and I nor anyone we know, expat or Mexican, have been affected, it'd be naive on my part to think crime hasn't increased here during our 9 years in Mexico. I don't know if I could quantify what the increase might be, since much of the crime is either not being reported or covered up if it is, as highlighted by that article. That shooting was on the highway that we drive daily either to or from our home, but our daily routine hasn't changed Except we no longer drive to Celaya unless it's absolutely necessary. But part of that is because we now live closer to Queretaro for our 'big box' shopping. San Miguel is still a very safe place to live and to visit. If not, I'd look elsewhere, maybe Acapulco or Cd Juárez 😁. Although we have considered Zacatecas if we were to go somewhere different.
baldone is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2019, 05:01 PM
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You might be interested in my trip reports. Pricing may have changed, but the sights should be the same:

Trip Report: Puebla & Cuernavaca, January 2016

Trip Report : Guadalajara and Zacatecas, January 2006
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