Visit Cuernavaca, Mexico

What to Do in Cuernavaca – Attractions, Sights, and Day Trips

Resort towns are nothing new to Mexico. When Cortes and his troops arrived in the central highlands, they learned from the Aztecs how to escape Mexico City’s winter chill by spending the colder months in a town about 40 miles south, beyond the mountains. Its name, Cuauhnahuac, meant “place of great trees” in native Nahuatl. To the Spanish it sounded like cuerno de vaca, which in their native tongue means “horn of a cow,” and that’s how we got Cuernavaca. Despite its notably less picturesque name, people have been going there to get away from the hectic pace of the capital ever since.

When his adventuring days were over, Cortes chose to retire in Cuernavaca. The silver barons of the colonial era also built homes here. Even Emperor Maximilian and his wife, Carlota, had a local weekend hideaway.

Today Cuernavaca has a resident population of more than a million people, but it is also a weekend retreat for Mexico City residents, a hangout for actors “between engagements,” and home to a growing colony of retired Americans.

The town’s big attractions, as you must know by now, are its climate and proximity to the capital. Cuernavaca is about 2,000 feet closer to sea level than Mexico City and enjoys perennial springlike weather.

Cuernavaca is close enough to Mexico City for you to drive over for lunch and be back before dusk, traffic permitting, via a six-lane toll highway. But the town, with its hills, ravines, and one-way streets, is a complicated place to maneuver around. It might be best to park and take cabs or take a tour.

From Mexico City, you can take a one-day tour of points of interest with an option to stay overnight, which would give you the opportunity to visit slightly more distant sites as well, including Taxco, Tepoztlan, or the Cacahuamilpa Caverns.

Cuernavaca Morelos Mexico Map

Cuernavaca Sightseeing

Downtown Cuernavaca surrounds not one, but two big plazas. Overlooking the larger one is the Palacio de Cortes, built by the conqueror in 1526 and said to be the only monument to him in Mexico. The building was once the home of the Morelos State Legislature and now houses one of the city’s major cultural attractions, the Cuauhnahuac Museum, with a collection of pre-Columbian and conquest-era exhibits, plus several superb Diego Rivera murals. The murals were commissioned by Dwight Morrow, U.S. ambassador to Mexico from 1927 to 1930. The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Cuernavaca things to do
Cuernavaca Attractions; image via Wikimedia

Morrow was an outstanding envoy who did much to restore good relations between the two countries after the torment of the revolution. Among his many accomplishments, he awakened Mexican interest in regional handicrafts and probably did more than any other person to keep the industry from dying. The street where he lived in Cuernavaca is fondly named after him and one of Cuernavaca’s leading restaurants, La India Bonita, is in his former residence, Casa Mañana.

It was Morrow’s daughter, however, who put Cuernavaca on the map. She often spent weekends in town with her parents. And when she did, a shy young man with a world-famous name came to call. Miss Morrow eventually became Mrs. Charles Lindbergh.

A focal point of a visit to Cuernavaca is the cathedral, at the corner of Hidalgo and Morelos. Started in 1525 (nearly 100 years before the Pilgrims set foot on Plymouth Rock), it is among the oldest churches in the country. Due to a renovation in 1959, it is also among the most modern. Adorning some of the walls are a series of murals depicting the crucifixion in Japan of a 16th-century Mexican saint, Felipe de Jesus. The cathedral is especially renowned for the Mariachi Mass held Sundays at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Just across the street from the cathedral is Jardin Borda. Joseph de la Borde, a wandering Frenchman who struck it rich in Mexican silver back in the 18th century, altered his name to the Spanish-sounding Jose de la Borda, but kept many of his French ways. Among them was a penchant for gardens, the sort Louis XIV liked. Borda spent a fortune on his own private park. A century later, Carlota and Maximilian discovered the park and turned the grounds into a summer residence. According to royal household gossip, the imperial couple favored the gardens for romantic after-dark rendezvous–with their lovers. Today, the Borda Gardens have been restored to reflect some of their former glory. Open Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Behind the cathedral is Museo Casa de la Torre (formerly known as the Robert Brady Museum), housed in the former Convent of San Francisco. The collection of 1,300 artworks and antiques belonged to the late Robert Brady, an American expatriate who lived in the building until his death in 1986. Dating from pre-Hispanic times to the 20th century, the displays include Frida Kahlo’s most renowned painting, “Self Portrait With Monkey,” and African tribal masks. A cantina, old-fashioned tiled Mexican kitchen, and walled gardens make this an enjoyable place to visit. Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., except Monday. Guided tours in several languages are available by appointment. Tel. 318-8554 or 314-3529.

A small photographic museum, El Castillito, on Agustin Guemes, opposite Las Mañanitas restaurant, offers a glimpse into the area’s fascinating history. Near the railroad station, about a mile from the center of town is Teopanzolco, whose one-standing building is the only remnant in the town of the Aztecs.

For excellent guided tours of Cuernavaca and its surroundings, including the Zapata Route, which traces the footsteps of revolutionary hero Emiliano Zapata, contact Ludel Tours, run by the multilingual and well-informed Eleonora Isunza. Tel. 318-1015.

Day Trips from Cuernavaca

South of Cuernavaca is Xochicalco, where an intricately carved pyramid pays tribute to the god Quetzalcoatl, or Plumed Serpent. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999, Xochicalco’s artistic styles tie in cultures from central Mexico, the Gulf Coast, the Mayan region, and the Mixtec-Zapotec area of Oaxaca state. An impressive, ultramodern, on-site museum tells Xochicalco’s fascinating history.

Eight miles from Xochicalco and 11 miles from Cuernavaca is the town of Xochitepec, one of the few truly picturesque colonial towns in the state of Morelos. This sleepy town has a colorful Sunday market and a 16th-century Franciscan church.

Just 23 miles from Cuernavaca is Las Estacas, an oasis that has served as the jungle backdrop for several Tarzan films. The crowning jewel of this nature resort is a crystal clear mile-long river fed by an underwater spring. You can walk the length of the river to its source and enjoy the surrounding exuberant vegetation, swim, snorkel, scuba dive, or just float along its calm surface in an inner tube. Crowded on weekends, but wonderfully tranquil midweek, the park has swimming pools, playgrounds, mini-golf, horseback riding, a restaurant bar, cabins, campgrounds, and meeting facilities. Tel. 345-0350.

East of Cuernavaca, near the town of Cuautla, is the very early site of Chalcatzingo. Enigmatic Olmec-style bas-reliefs associated with the water deity, agricultural rites, and possibly fertility symbols were carved into the mountainside as long ago as 1100 B.C.

Located some 30 miles east of Cuernavaca, Cuautla is famous as the stomping grounds of revolutionary hero Emiliano Zapata; Zapata was born in Anenecuilco, today a suburb of Cuautla. La Ruta de Zapata, a tour inspired by the rebel’s life and times, is a good way to get to know this region and its people, with visits to the mud shack where he was born, a former sugar plantation now in ruins that remains a powerful symbol of the oppressive colonial system he fought to eradicate, and his empty mausoleum, among other sites. Cuautla is also known for its sulfurous springs, including Balneario Agua Hedionda, located on Calle Progreso.

Half an hour past Cuautla (two hours from Mexico City) is La Casa de Los Arboles, a country house-turned-holistic retreat set in a landscape of exuberant rose orchards and a smoldering volcano. This haven for the mind and body is located in Zacualpan, a quintessentially Mexican village where men on horseback canter along cobblestone streets, a majestic 17th-century church, and former convent dominate the town square, and the overgrown ruins of a once sprawling hacienda hark back to the colonial era. In this timeless setting, the family-run Los Arboles offers sanctuary from the stress and pace of urban life, in addition to spa treatments to rejuvenate and replenish.

Golf aficionados can play nine holes at the attractive Hacienda Cocoyoc resort, or 18 holes at Club Campestre country club, both in the Cuernavaca area.

About 23 miles south of Cuernavaca is Hacienda Vista Hermosa. It once served as a retreat for Hernan Cortes and became the first sugar cane mill in Mexico. Zapata and his rebels burned much of it and most other haciendas in Morelos during the revolution. The sturdy stone structures survived, however, and were restored to house a hotel and restaurant that opened in 1945.

Popular with water skiers is Lake Tequesquitengo, a four-mile-long and nearly two-mile-wide body of water just 20 minutes from downtown Cuernavaca. Weekend residences and a few hotel-restaurant-ski clubs surround the lake, including Molacho’s and Villa Bejar.

Between Tequesquitengo and Taxco, just off the free road, are the largest caverns in central Mexico, the Grutas de Cacahuamilpa, which compare in size to those at Carlsbad, New Mexico. The wide variety of stalactites and stalagmites are often interpreted by local guides as resembling religious figures or well-known personalities.

Tepoztlan, Mexico

The town of Tepoztlan, just 25 minutes from Cuernavaca or one hour from Mexico City, is a delightful place in one of the most beautiful settings imaginable, beneath towering vertical mountains.

Tepoztlan is so typical a Mexican village that it has long been studied by sociologists and economists, from Stuart Chase to Oscar Lewis. Lewis, of “The Children of Sanchez” fame, wrote about it in his book “Five Families.” Carlos Coccioli started his novel “Manuel the Mexican” in Tepoztlan. The town made headlines not long ago when residents prevented the building of a golf course and country club by overthrowing the local government and running the mayor out of town (he had unilaterally approved the project). Their successful small-scale rebellion received ample coverage in The New York Times.

Ruins of a temple dating from the late 1400s are located north of town, atop a majestic mountain, 1,200 feet above the valley. It is a difficult climb, but the view is rewarding. The temple was dedicated to Tepoztecatl, the god of pulque, a still popular fermented drink made from the spiky maguey plant. The site also was associated with Tlaloc, the rain god, whose presence can be felt when dark storm clouds cling to the mountaintop. Give yourself at least an hour and a half to reach the top, and stop along the way to rest and take in the scenery. The site opens no earlier than 10 a.m. and closes at 4:30 p.m. sharp.

The Sunday crafts market is one of the best in central Mexico. Also, the town’s main street, Avenida Revolucion, is home to several wonderful shops, most of them selling attractive, rustic home furnishings and decorative items.

For a memorable meal, try the hilltop Posada del Tepozteco hotel, with its castle-like aura, charming dining room, and garden tables with a panoramic view. Tel. 395-0010. Luna Mextli, Revolucion 16 (395-1114), is a favorite restaurant for its pleasant setting around a garden patio and bohemian ambiance. El Ciruelo, Zaragoza 17 (395-1037), serves gourmet fare in an attractive covered courtyard and draws a trendy crowd. Prior to Christmas, the restaurant stages pastorales, irreverent renditions of a Nativity play, followed by dinner, and piñata games for kids. Casa Piñon, Revolucion 42 (395-2052), features French cooking on a sunny terrace.

The valley of Tepoztlan is attracting a growing number of spas and holistic retreats, such as the Posada del Valle and Villas Valle Mistico, and Hostal de la Luz in nearby Amatlan.

Where to Dine: Cuernavaca

A sumptuous, relaxed meal in a semitropical garden setting can be the sole objective of a trip to Cuernavaca, as guests at the famed Las Mañanitas can tell you.

At the market or in small towns and villages around Cuernavaca, you are more likely to find typical regional fare, including tacos filled with colorin flowers, tamales stuffed with beans, blue tortillas wrapped around jumiles (an insect), cecina (Mexican-style beef jerky) with cream and fresh cheese, rabbit in chileajo, and Tlayacapan-style mole.

Jacarandas Hotel, Cuauhtemoc 133
Tel. 315-7777
In Colonia Chapultepec. In business for 40 years, and recently completely refurbished, this hotel and restaurant is set amid beautifully kept tropical gardens. The Mexican and international menu features Greek salad and beef medallions in a three-pepper sauce. Open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Carlos ’n Charlie’s
Domingo Diez 711
Tel. 313-0626
Housed in a former mansion-turned-fun house, this restaurant is one of the liveliest and most popular places in town. Great food, terrace dining. Don’t miss it!

Casa Hidalgo
Jardin de los Heroes 6, on the main square
Tel. 312-2749
This beautifully renovated colonial-era building offers international and Mexican specialties in an attractive contemporary setting, and romantic balcony tables overlooking the plaza. Try the cream of Brie soup and Fileton Hidalgo, breaded fillet of beef stuffed with manchego cheese and prosciutto. Open 1:30 to 11 p.m.; to midnight Saturday; to 10:30 p.m. Sunday.

El Amate
Hacienda San Gabriel de las Palmas Hotel
Cuernavaca-Chilpancingo Hwy., Km. 41.8
Tel. 348-0636
In Amacuzac, 20 minutes from Cuernavaca. This lavish hacienda built in 1529 offers gourmet international fare in an elegant indoor or garden setting. Menu highlights include green salad with avocados, pears, strawberries and goat cheese in a honey-mustard dressing, beef specialties arrachera del hacendado and cecina San Gabriel, and Mandarin duck. Open 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

El Faisan
Zapata 1233
Tel. 317-5281
Four blocks south of the Zapata monument. This popular Yucatecan restaurant, founded in Mexico City some 40 years ago, is a real treat for those who love to explore new flavors. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

El Gallinero
Leyva 94, downtown
Tel. 312-7444
International fare in an elegant Bohemian-style restaurant-bar-bookstore-bakery and nightclub. Try the tacos sudados de cochinita pibil and robalo al ajillo. Open 2 to 10:30 p.m.; to 7 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday.

El Laurel
Plaza El Pueblito
Tel. 318-9559
Excellent Mexican and international cuisine is served in a charming, relaxed, European-style setting. Specialties include chicken breast stuffed with squash blossoms, brains in black butter and Norwegian salmon. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

El Madrigal
Sonora 115, Colonia Vista Hermosa
Tel. 316-7878
Ruben Cerda, who managed Las Mañanitas for years, has opened this contemporary hacienda hotel offering excellent dining overlooking an attractive garden with a waterfall.

El Nido
Galeana 119, downtown
Tel. 314-2993
“The Nest,” as it’s called, offers fine dining in a chic art-filled setting with a great view of the city, plus live jazz on Friday and Saturday evenings.

El Patio
Cuernavaca Racquet Club
Francisco Villa 100, in Rancho Cortes
Tel. 311-2400
At midday, it’s fun to dine on the terrace overlooking the action on the nine hard-surface tennis courts set in a lovely garden among a grove of royal palms. Evenings are for candlelight dinners.

Benito Juarez 102, just off the main square
Tel. 312-3656
One of Cuernavaca’s leading restaurants, it offers an attractive setting for contemporary Mediterranean cuisine with a Mexican touch. Try the taquitos de jaiba, mini crab tacos with tamarind sauce and guacamole; and salmon Gaia, a fresh fillet in a sweet-and-spicy chabacano (apricot) and chipotle chili sauce. Open 1 p.m. to midnight; to 8 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday.

Hacienda de Cortes
Plaza Kennedy 90, Colonia Atlacomulco
Tel. 315-8844
This historic monument, which has served as the setting for several films, was built by Hernan Cortes. Destroyed during Mexico’s revolution, it was later restored and converted into a hotel with a romantic restaurant with an international menu and lovely gardens with enough flowers, fountains and history to overwhelm you.

Hosteria Las Quintas
Diaz Ordaz 9
Tel. 318-3949
This popular and newly-expanded retreat, which recently celebrated its 30th anniversary, features more than 10,000 square meters of lush semitropical gardens ideal for banquets and special events. A new specialty restaurant serves fine international and Mexican cuisine, and a “light” spa menu. Las Quintas was founded by the late Salvador Castañeda y Mendoza and is managed by his son, Salvador, with the same attention to quality and service.

La Calandria
Posada Maria Cristina Hotel
Juarez 300, corner of Abasolo
Tel. 318-2981
Built in the mid-16th century by one of Hernan Cortes’ men on the site of the orchards and stables of Cortes’ palace, this former hacienda features a fine restaurant-bar overlooking a garden with fountain. Try the camarones angeles a caballo, jumbo shrimp stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon, served on a bed of croutons in white wine sauce. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

La India Bonita
Dwight Morrow 15, in Casa Mañana
Tel. 312-5021
A longtime Cuernavaca favorite offering authentic Mexican fare in a charming colonial-style setting with garden seating. Try the India Bonita soup, made with squash blossoms and corn; filete Maximiliano, fillet of beef stuffed with huitlacoche (corn truffle) and bathed in avocado sauce; cecina de Yecapixtla accompanied with refried beans, corn tortillas and other Mexican staples. Closed Monday.

La Pancha
Rufino Tamayo 26, Colonia Acapantzingo
Tel. 312-8186
Housed in a charming Italian villa-style hotel, this restaurant-bar offers a popular open-air setting for Mexican fare with a Mediterranean touch. Try the fish with fried parsley and the duck tacos.

La Strada
Salazar 38, next to the Palace of Cortes
Tel. 318-6085
A beautiful spot featuring Italian specialties served in a romantic, candlelit colonial patio. The delicious dishes, ample portions and reasonable prices have made this one of Cuernavaca’s favorite spots. And you can savor a variety of wines from around the world (they have more than 120) at their European-style bar on the second floor, Caffé Central. Open from 1:30 p.m.; from 2 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday. Reservations suggested.

Las Mañanitas
Ricardo Linares 107, downtown
Tel. 314-1466
One of Mexico’s most famous restaurants features alfresco dining in a colonial setting overlooking a lush garden, where cranes, peacocks and flamingos wander amid elegant Zuñiga sculptures. The lovely surroundings, fine cuisine and gracious service (on chilly nights portable “fireplaces” are arranged around tables so diners can enjoy the beautiful outdoors in comfort) make for a memorable meal. Specialties include tortilla soup, escamoles (ant eggs), fettuccini Alfredo, grilled red snapper, and chocolate pie. Las Mañanitas was selected by the Franklin Mint for its “Demitasse Collection” of the 25 most famous restaurants in the world, and is a member of the prestigious Relais & Chateaux.

Los Delfines
Palma Real 1, La Palma
Tel. 320-2118
Popular with locals for fish and seafood specialties. Try the parrillada de mariscos, a grilled seafood platter with jumbo shrimp, squid, fish, crayfish and other fruits of the sea. Open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Marco Polo
Hidalgo 30, across from the Cathedral
Tel. 312-3484
A fine Italian-Mediterranean restaurant serving authentic regional specialties prepared with fresh homemade pastas and delicious sauces. Charming Mediterranean setting.

Maximiliano y Carlota
Galeana 29, Colonia Acapantzingo
Tel. 318-2004
Located in one of Cuernavaca’s oldest, quietest and most picturesque neighborhoods, this lovely hotel features a terrace restaurant. Nicely decorated and with a relaxed, informal ambiance, it serves excellent Mexican and international cuisine, including good steaks, accompanied by classical music or live piano.

Rancho Cuernavaca
Callejon del Arrastradero 10
Tel. 313-3962
In the Chamilpa neighborhood, off the road to Tepoztlan. This upscale hideaway on a seven-acre former ranch with expansive gardens, fountains and charming colonial-style architecture offers outdoor dining under the arcades or in an elegantly appointed dining room.

Camino Real Sumiya Hotel
Tel. 320-9199
About 15 minutes south of town via the Civac exit on the Acapulco highway. The converted home of late heiress Barbara Hutton is set amid Japanese gardens and contemplation pools whose imported stones were ceremoniously placed by a Japanese priest from Kyoto. Dining is on a terrace overlooking the valley. A variety of fish and seafood specialties include squid sashimi, shrimp in peanut sauce. Open 1 to 11 p.m., except Monday and Tuesday.

Villa del Conquistador
Paseo del Conquistador 134
Tel. 313-1188
In Colonia Lomas de Cortes, this first-class hotel and restaurant feature expansive gardens and a wonderful panoramic view of the city.

Cuernavaca Nightlife

Although Cuernavaca is more famous for its sunny days, nighttime activities are on the increase. Enjoying a drink in the garden at Las Mañanitas is always pleasant. Casa Tamayo hotel’s La Pancha bar is another popular alfresco alternative. For dinner theater, try La Comedia, at Casa de Las Campanas shopping center, Comonfort 2. For reservations, call 314-3445. Barbazul, a popular disco at Prado 10, features laser light shows and music for the young set; an adjoining bar has lovely gardens and jazz from 8 p.m. Other good discos include Ta’izz and Alebrije, both popular with the Mexico City crowd. For dancing to tropical music, there’s Zumbale, at Bajada Chapultepec 13-A, with live bands and an over-25 crowd (open from 9:30 p.m. Thursday to Saturday, tel. 322-5344). Tel. 312-3484.

Where to Stay in Cuernavaca

Antica Locanda Tamayo
Rufino Tamayo 26, Colonia Acapantzingo
Tel. (777) 312-8186
A charming Italian villa-style hotel with just nine guest rooms with a terrace and cable TV, a popular open-air restaurant-bar, swimming pool. Rates MD.

Rio Mayo 1001, Colonia Vista Hermosa
Tel. (777) 316-3286
Newly opened in a residential zone and near the Acapulco-Mexico City Highway, this hotel offers 51 spacious, air-conditioned rooms with cable TV, and safes. Restaurant, wine cellar-style bar, elegant wood-paneled meeting room for 15, conference room for 50, heated outdoor pool. Colonial decorative touches and royal palms add charm. Rates MD.

Camino Real Sumiya
In Jiutepec, 10 minutes from the city center
Tel. (777) 320-9199
The former Oriental-style estate of the late heiress Barbara Hutton serves as a deluxe hotel with rambling gardens and pagoda-inspired architecture. There are 163 rooms and suites with deluxe amenities, two lovely pools, eight tennis courts, gym, meeting facilities for up to 600 people. Rates FC.

Casa Colonial
Netzahualcoyotl 37, downtown
Tel. (777) 312-7033
This charming hotel is housed in a beautifully converted 18th-century building near the cathedral. There are 16 individually-decorated rooms, each with a fireplace, and antique decorations. Lovely gardens, a swimming pool, cable TV, small meeting room. Rates MD.

Cuernavaca Racquet Club
Francisco Villa 100, in Rancho Cortes
Tel. (777) 311-2400
A charming modern-colonial-style hotel and tennis club featuring nine Laykold courts (four illuminated), 52 guest rooms with cable TV, a restaurant, bar, pool, and fitness center. Meeting rooms for up to 200 people. Member of Mexico Boutique Hotels. Rates FC.

El Madrigal
Sonora 115, Colonia Vista Hermosa
Tel. (777) 316-7878
Ruben Cerda, who managed the legendary Las Mañanitas restaurant for many years, has opened this contemporary hacienda hotel offering 36 guest rooms and excellent dining overlooking an attractive garden with a waterfall.

El Nido
Galeana 119, in Las Palmas, downtown
Tel. (777) 314-2993
“The Nest” offers 14 guest rooms with a terrace, marble bath, and cable TV; fine dining in a setting with a great view of the city. Heated swimming pool. Rates MD.

Hacienda Cocoyoc
About 30 minutes from Cuernavaca
Tel. (777) 356-2211
This converted sugar plantation and one-time summer home of Hernan Cortes resembles a colonial-style country club. There are 289 spacious colonial-style rooms and suites (23 with private wading pools), restaurant, nine-hole golf course, tennis, pools, jacuzzi, and horseback riding. Fitness center. Convention facilities for up to 2,000. Rates MD.

Hacienda de Cortes
Plaza Kennedy 90, Colonia Atlacomulco
Tel. (777) 315-8844
A beautifully restored 16th-century hacienda built by Hernan Cortes has been converted into a picturesque hotel with 23 colorfully decorated suites. Lovely gardens, pool, meeting facilities, and indoor or terrace dining on fine international cuisine. Rates MD.

Hacienda San Gabriel de las Palmas
Cuernavaca-Chilpancingo Hwy., Km. 41.8
Tel. (777) 348-0636
In Amacuzac, 20 minutes from Cuernavaca. This lavishly decorated hacienda built in 1529 has served as a Franciscan monastery, sugar plantation and headquarters of Emiliano Zapata. Today it houses 15 guest rooms decorated with period furnishings and original artwork, some with balconies, indoor and outdoor restaurants, swimming pool, tennis court, temazcal steam room, game room, meeting and banquet rooms. Horseback riding, massage services. Member of Mexico Boutique Hotels. Rates FC.

Hacienda Vista Hermosa
Alpuyeca-Tequesquitengo Hwy., Km. 7
Tel. (777) 345-5361
Off the Jojutla exit of the Acapulco toll road. South of Cuernavaca in San Jose de Vista Hermosa, close to Lake Tequesquitengo, this beautiful 17th-century hacienda has 105 spacious colonial-style rooms and suites, fine Mexican restaurant, bars, huge pool, myriad outdoor activities, including horseback riding and tennis, game room, and six well-equipped meeting rooms. Rates MD.

Hosteria Las Quintas Resort & Spa
Diaz Ordaz 9, in Cantarranas
Tel. (777) 318-3949
More than 10,000 square meters of gardens for banquets and special events, a first-class spa, and five-star service have made this charming owner-managed hostelry one of Cuernavaca’s favorite retreats. Newly expanded, it offers 90 spacious terrace and jacuzzi suites with cable TV, fine dining and gourmet “light” cuisine. The spa offers a wide range of services, including a temazcal, or pre-Hispanic sweat lodge; the latest in relaxation therapy, called “floating”; and massages, scrubs, wraps and facials. Also three swimming pools, gym, access to golf and tennis clubs. Meeting rooms for 10 to 300 people. Rates MD.

Cuauhtemoc 133
Tel. (777) 315-7777
Completely refurbished, with seven charming, individually-decorated suites and 80 balconied guest rooms overlooking beautifully-kept tropical gardens. Three swimming pools, two tennis courts, squash, Ping-Pong, and other recreational facilities. Good open-air restaurant. Meeting rooms. Rates MD.

Las Mañanitas
Ricardo Linares 107, downtown
Tel. (777) 314-1401
Everyone’s favorite small hotel is famous for its outstanding gourmet restaurant. If you can get a room (there are only 21 suites), you’ll enjoy extensive gardens and a private pool area. A wonderful setting for special events; also small meeting rooms. Impeccable service, outstanding staff. Member of Relais & Chateaux and Mexico Boutique Hotels. Rates DX.

Las Villas de Bellavista
Tabachin 133, in Bellavista
Tel./Fax (777) 317-1893
This colonial-style property, run by an expatriate from New York, is ideal for longer stays, with eight one- to three-bedroom villas with cable TV, phone, fully-equipped kitchen, living-dining area, terrace and private garden, some also with fireplace. Heated swimming pool, bar area. Maid service. Rates MD.

Maximiliano y Carlota
Galeana 29, Colonia Acapantzingo
Tel. (777) 318-2004
An attractive establishment with extensive gardens and 72 suites with private terraces distributed in “old” (antiguo) or modern sections (opt for the old, they have more character). There’s an excellent restaurant overlooking lovely, sloping grounds, bar with live music weekends. Two heated pools, meeting facilities for up to 400. Rates MD.

Mision del Sol
Gral. Diego Diaz Gonzalez 31
Tel. (777) 321-0999
About 15 minutes from downtown. An upscale health retreat with 40 rooms and 12 villas surrounded by gardens with fountains; guest quarters have no phones or TVs to distract. Full-service spa, lovely swimming pool, tennis court, gym. Restaurant with a vegetarian bent (no red meat). Water recycling and solar power. No children under 13. Rates FC.

Posada Maria Cristina
Juarez 300, corner of Abasolo
Tel. (777) 318-2981
Built in the mid-16th century by one of Hernan Cortes’ men on the site of the orchards and stables of Cortes’ palace, this former hacienda features 20 well-appointed suites around 7,000 square meters of gardens. Swimming pool, fine restaurant bar, small meeting rooms. Meetings, banquets, and events coordinator. Rates MD (includes breakfast).

Rancho Cuernavaca
Callejon del Arrastradero 10
Tel. (777) 313-3962
In the Chamilpa neighborhood, off the road to Tepoztlan. This upscale hideaway on a seven-acre former ranch with expansive gardens, fountains and charming colonial-style architecture is ideal for romantic getaways, executive retreats, weddings and other gala events. Each of the 12 guest rooms has marble floors and a fireplace, and is decorated with fine European antiques. Accommodations range from standard doubles to private two-bedroom cottages with a kitchen. Outdoor dining under the arcades or in an elegantly appointed dining room. On-site stables for horseback riding, rodeo ring, bar with billiards, and large swimming pool. Rates FC (includes breakfast).

Villa Bejar
Domingo Diez 2350
Tel. (777) 311-3300
A Moorish-style property with 69 suites, a restaurant, bar, two pools, tennis courts, spa, kids club, meeting facilities. Rates MD.

Villa Bejar Beach Club & Spa
Blvd. Tequesquitengo and Lomas Tropicales
Tel. (734) 347-0179
On a private beach on Lake Tequesquitengo, with 45 suites, spa, restaurant, pool, jacuzzi, marina. Rates MD.

Villa del Conquistador
Paseo del Conquistador 134, in Lomas de Cortes
Tel. (777) 313-1166
Expansive gardens and a panoramic view of the city are among its best features. The 40 spacious rooms and suites are equipped with color cable TV and phone. Large pool, restaurant, bar, squash, tennis, children’s playground, and ample meeting facilities. Rates MD.

Vista Hermosa
Rio Papaloapan 111, corner of Rio Panuco
Tel. (777) 315-2374
In the Vista Hermosa neighborhood, this attractive hacienda-style hotel offers 35 suites and five master suites, each with a terrace, ceiling fan, cable TV, and phone. Outdoor swimming pool, open-air restaurant-bar overlooking the gardens, meeting room for up to 50 people. Rates MD.

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