Cuernavaca City of Eternal Spring A guide for students and visitors—

Cuernavaca
City of Eternal Spring
A guide for students and visitors—
By Kay Godfrey
Language Link
Directors Meredith Popp/ Kay Godfrey
4204 W. Creighton Terr., Peoria, Illinois 61615 U.S.A.
Telephones 800.552.2051 309.673.9220
Mexico Office (777) 317.6971 [email protected]
www.langlink.com Revised November 2014
God created the world in six days, and on the seventh day he rested (...) Now it is rumored
that He spends weekends in Cuernavaca, with its singular climate. Some inhabitants of
Mexico and others visiting from its neighbor across the border agree with God.
- Alfonso Reyes
Dedicated with much affection to my associates Francisco Ramos, Maru Cortés Ramos,
and Rosita Partida
A warm abrazo to the Medellín Cortazar family who started me on
my Mexican path many years ago
INTRODUCTION
Welcome to Cuernavaca! You are in a place which has attracted travelers for centuries,
extending back to the time of the Aztecs. The climate is nearly perfect, the people are friendly, and
you will be jumping headlong into the culture with your study. Each student's adventure is an
individual one, however. For that reason it was requested that I compile this book. It's a series of
advice, explanations, facts and opinions -- all designed to help you explore the area. The sources are
experiences gained through many years of directing groups and sending students to study Spanish,
written information about the area accumulated through these years, and most of all, generous
Mexican friends who have all given me their valuable time, resources and opinions.
This guide will be updated annually, and I urge you to contribute your finds and suggestions.
Please call me at Language Link, U.S. 800.552.2051, Mexico (52)777.317.6971, or send your valued
comments to [email protected]
WELCOME TO CUERNAVACA
QUICK FACTS: Population - Figures are officially
at about 450,000, although the surrounding area is
close to one million. These numbers increase on
the weekends, as many Mexico City inhabitants,
chilangos, arrive at that time.
Location - Cuernavaca is in the state of
Morelos, southwest of Mexico City at a drive of
about an hour and a half. To reach the city you
cross mountains called the Ajusco, part of the Sierra
Madre range. You then descend to Cuernavaca,
located at 5,000' above sea level.
Climate - The nickname is the City of
Eternal Spring, as the temperature is nearly perfect
year round. It's best described by the fact that very
few houses have central heating and rarely have air
conditioning. They simply are not necessary. More
details follow in CLIMATE.
Personality of the City - Cuernavaca is in
essence an overgrown resort town. Since days of
the Pre-Conquest it has been considered a perfect
place to escape for relaxation and tranquility. Many
Mexico City residents have weekend homes here,
and famous residents have included Carlos
Fuentes, Helen Hayes, Gabriel García Márquez,
Erich Fromm, Yul Brynner, the exiled Shah of Iran,
and Barbara Hutton. It is typical of the Mexican
tradition to have much of the city’s beauty hidden
behind walls, often adorned with vibrant
bougainvillea.
Many Mexico City homeowners moved
here permanently after the earthquake of 1985, and
industrial plants have also arrived. Students from
all over the world come to the city to study Spanish
in the high quality language schools, as it is
considered a nearly perfect environment in which
to learn the language.
ARRIVAL
Most students arrive by flying into Benito
Juárez International Airport with two terminals in
Mexico City. Let's clear up something right away.
Mexicans call the city México or el D.F., without any
reference to the word for city. The formal term for
the city is México D.F., meaning Distrito Federal.
You must pass through customs, and you
will have your tourist card stamped and a section
removed.
You will next proceed to the baggage area.
There are free carts available. Keep your baggage
check sticker available, as you will have to show it
to retrieve your bag. Proceed to the final check
point where you may have your bags inspected.
There is a random system used. If you get the green
light, you go ahead. If you receive a red light, your
bags will be opened. On the plane you will have
filled out a customs declaration. The form will be
collected at this point. From either terminal you
will exit to waiting areas.
For flight changes or delays, you must
call Rosita Partida. From the US or Canada
dial 011.52 (777), within Mexico dial 01(777)
before any of these numbers. 313.3828 or
311.0114, cell 011.52.1.777.169.7767 calling from
US.
If you have made arrangements for school
pickup, you will proceed out the departure doors,
where you will be met by one of the school drivers.
Drivers will be holding signs with your name and
will take you to your host family.
If you arrive at Terminal 1, you will be
directed to exit from Sala 1 or Sala 2. Because there
are two exits, if your driver is not immediately
outside your exit, then go to the restaurant which is
between the two exits, but closer to the doors of
Sala 1.
If you arrive at Terminal 2, please exit
customs and stay right where you exit even if the
driver may be still on his way.
In the unlikely event you do not see your
driver after waiting 15 minutes, please call Rosita
Partida at the Spanish Language Institute (if
before 3:00 PM (Mon - Fri) 01(777)317.5294 or
after hours or on weekends at the numbers in bold
above.
Cell when calling within Mexico
044.777.169.7767.
If not doing school pickup you can arrive
by bus. You will need pesos (airport ATM) or a credit
card. Pullman de Morelos buses leave directly from
the airport to Cuernavaca, with departures from
early morning to late evening. Complete schedule
at www.pullman.com.mx. Cost is about U.S. $15.
U.S. dollars will not be accepted. In Terminal 1,
from where you exit after customs, you can hire a
porter and simply say Pullman de Morelos. The
porter will take you to the ticket counter, wait while
you purchase your ticket, and then take you and
your luggage to the downstairs bus. If you carry
your own luggage, walk to your left. You will see
signs leading you to Transporte Terrestre (Ground
Transportation). The signs will lead you to an
upstairs area where you will see the sign for
Autobuses. The ticket counters are there.
In Terminal 2, look for the Transporte
Terrestre sign or Pullman de Morelos, walking
straight ahead after exiting customs.
In either place look for the counter labeled
Pullman de Morelos. There will be a schedule of
buses for Cuernavaca, and you will buy your ticket
at the counter. In Terminal 1 you must go
downstairs to locate the bus. In Terminal 2 the
buses are directly outside the ticket counter. These
are first class buses with movies shown and
refreshments served. The trip takes about an hour
and a half to two hours, depending on traffic. You
will arrive at the bus station called Casino de La
Selva.
At the bus station take an official taxi
(located through revolving doors) to the home of
the Housing Director Rosita Partida (Prado #11,
Colonia Pradera). For this location you can tell the
taxi driver cerca de (serka day) Barbazul (a well known
club, although currently closed). At maximum
you should not pay more than U.S. $4 US (or 35
- 40 pesos) for the taxi, and establish the price
before getting in. Telephone of this destination is
in the preceding paragraph. If arriving after 10:00
PM, please plan on staying at a Mexico City hotel
(see suggestions in the Excursion section) and
arriving the next day.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES
If archaeology interests you, you are in an
ideal place. A quick frame of reference 20,000 B.C. Early hunters appear in
Mexico’s central valley.
900-400 B.C. Olmec civilization reaches
its height.
200 A.D. Teotihuacan begins.
600-900 A.D. Mayan culture enters its
greatest age.
900 A.D. Toltecs conquer the central
valley.
1345 A.D. Tenochtitlan (now Mexico
City) founded by the Aztecs.
1519 A.D. Spaniards enter Mexico.
1521 A.D. Destruction of the Aztec
empire, The Conquest.
In Cuernavaca or nearby Teopanzolco - In Colonia Vista Hermosa,
this small pyramid was discovered during the 1910
Revolution when bombardment shook loose the
surface soil. It was built by the local Tlahuicas
before the Conquest.
Xochicalco - A central spiritual meeting
place where various groups met to correct their
calendars. The Temple of Quetzalcoatl has
magnificent carvings depicting the meeting in the
year 650 A.D., and there is a ball court and a
fascinating underground chamber totally naturally
illuminated on the day of the summer solstice (June
22). There is even a natural “Xray effect” created
by the minerals. The hilltop setting is magnificent.
Sound & Light show Nov-May, 7-11pm.
Chalcatzingo - Built by the early Olmecs,
this is among the most important petroglyphs of
Mexico.
El Tepozteco - Situated high atop a
mountain overlooking the valley of the nearby
village of Tepoztlán, this simple temple offers a
magnificent view. The steep climb of more than an
hour (and you pay a fee at the top!) is only for the
physically hearty, and be careful of a slippery path
during rainy season. The temple was built shortly
before the Conquest.
The Palacio de Cortés in downtown
Cuernavaca is built on the ruins of a Tlahuica
temple, and these can be viewed as you enter the
museum.
For
complete information on
archaeological sites, visit the Tourist Office on
Morelos Sur 187, Col. Las Palmas, 314.1880,
www.morelostravel.com
For true professionals the INAH (Instituto
Nacional de Antropología e Historia) is located in
Colonia Acapantzingo in La Casa de La India
Bonita, Matamoros 14, 312.31.08.
In Mexico City –
Teotihuacan - This is what most tourists
refer to as "the pyramids". It was not built by the
Aztecs (a common error), but was a city of the
Teotihuacanos which flourished from 400 to 800
A.D. The immense Pyramid of the Sun and
Pyramid of the Moon are stunning, and it will make
a very special memory if you climb to the top. The
city is located to the north of Mexico City, and a
visit during the day will expose you to a persistent
sun. Take your hat and very comfortable shoes.
There are often long lines.
Do not miss seeing the Museum of
Anthropology in Mexico City. It is considered the
best in the world of museums of its type and
will give you an excellent overview.
ART
Cuernavaca will give you easy access to a
wealth of Mexican art. Let's begin with a cast of
characters. The "Big Three" of muralism, Mexico's
greatest contribution to world art, are Rivera,
Orozco and Siqueiros. Their murals are a
stimulating way to make history, politics and social
conditions come to life. Mexico City is filled with
these murals, and there is a superior one by Diego
Rivera in the Palacio de Cortés. It depicts the
conquest of Cuernavaca. Frida Kahlo was the wife
of Diego Rivera and has become a cult artist due to
her surrealism and tragic life. The movie Frida will
give you a good introduction to these two artists.
Most museums are closed on Mondays.
In Downtown Cuernavaca: (Described fully under
local sights)
Museo Robert Brady
Palacio de Cortés
In Mexico City
National Art Museum - Tacuba 8 –
An overview of Mexican art from prehistoric time
to the present.
Rufino Tamayo Museum - Reforma and
Gandhi in Chapultepec Park. Considered the last of
the great Mexican masters
Museum of Modern Art - On Reforma in
Chapultepec Park. The best known of Frida
Kahlo's work, The Two Fridas, can be seen here, as
well as works by modern Mexican masters.
Frida Kahlo Museum - Corner of Londres
and Allende in Coyoacán - House where Kahlo
and Rivera lived together. Very personal feeling and
highly recommended, but it's best to learn
something about the artist before visiting the
museum.
Franz Mayer Museum - Alameda Central
Described as a collection of marvelous everythings.
Diego Rivera's Studio - San Angel, across
from the San Angel Inn. His actual working
studio with a very personal feeling.
Dolores Olmedo Museum - Ave. México
5843 in La Noria, Xochimilco.
A newer
museum in the city, it is considered one of its most
impressive. An extensive collection of the works of
Rivera, and twenty five paintings by Frida Kahlo.
Don't miss the outstanding collection of folk art.
ASSOCIATIONS AND CLUBS
Rotary Club (Club Rotario de Cuernavaca),
Ave. Morelos 316, 317.5182
Lions Club (Club de Leones), Morelos Sur
803, 312.3640
English Language Alcoholics Anonymous
– none currently available. There is an Al Anon
group which is in English. For information on AA
please contact Greg - [email protected]
CCCC Cuernavaca Community Cultural
Center, communitycccuernavaca.weebly.com – a
community organization serving all English
speakers in Cuernavaca (the best source for English
speaking events) Meetings held first Friday of every
month at St. Michael’s Parish Hall, Calle Minerva 1,
Col. Delicias.
St. Michael’s Library (English language,
non-sectarian, on the grounds of St. Michael’s)
Calle Minerva 1, Col. Delicias 316.7049 Books for
loan and used books for sale, library open Mon-Fri
10:00 AM to 12:30 PM and Wed and Fri 4:00 to
6:00 PM, Sat 10:30 – 1:00pm
[email protected]
ATTITUDE
Cuernavaca may not immediately enchant
you. Your first reaction may be quite different
from the way you feel about Mexico after a few
days. Be prepared for a bit of culture shock. Even
though the Mexican style of life is not completely
different from your own, there will be significant
changes to which you will have to adjust. Mexico
is a less developed country than some, and events
such as power failures and scarcity of water are
common. Mexicans tolerate these situations with
great patience, and it would be wise for you to do
the same.
Please remember that since you are the
visitor, the burden of cultural adjustment is upon
you.
Be on the lookout for cultural
misunderstandings. The exact same set of facts or
circumstances may be perceived very differently
between you and the Mexicans. Do not jump to a
conclusion which may be erroneous. If there is a
misunderstanding, try to step back and analyze it
from the Mexican point of view. It often helps to
be very precise in your communication. Don't
assume that you will be fully understood if you are
using idiomatic expressions in English or if you are
operating within your own cultural framework.
Start from a basic point and explain fully.
Mexico is not neat and tidy. It does not fit
into precise and orderly boxes. For many people
this is part of its charm. It gives you something to
ponder, will constantly surprise you, and will amaze
you with its beauty and variety. If you spend your
entire trip comparing quality of plumbing or
efficiency of bureaucracies, you will completely
miss the point. Stop comparing and celebrate the
differences.
BATHROOMS
Let's get down to basics here. Many public
bathrooms in Mexico are quite unacceptable in
terms of cleanliness, although airports and
government facilities usually do a good job. If you
are out on an excursion, you are probably best off
to locate a nice looking restaurant. If you are
decently dressed and look presentable you can ask
to use the bathroom and most often the request will
be granted. Sometimes you can buy a bottled soft
drink or water para llevar (take out), use the
bathroom, then take your drink with you.
Downtown McDonald's is a good place for a
bathroom stop. When traveling for the day, carry
your own small packet of tissues (toilet paper is
sometimes scarce), and take every opportunity
presented to use a bathroom when offered. It may
be quite a while before the next acceptable one
comes along. In nicer places there may be an
attendant who will hand you paper. It is customary
in these places to put a few pesos in the always
obvious small plate.
Because of older plumbing systems, many
people place used toilet paper in the waste basket,
not the bowl. It may seem unappealing, but it is
much less so than a plugged toilet.
BOOKS ABOUT MEXICO
Distant Neighbors: A Portrait of the Mexicans,
Alan Riding
Good Neighbors: Communicating with The
Mexicans, J. Condon
Conquest: Mexico, Hugh Thomas
Frida Kahlo, Hayden Herrera
The Labyrinth of Solitude, Octavio Paz
The Mexicans: A Personal Portrait of a People,
Patrick Oster
Limits to Friendship: The United States and
Mexico, J. Castañeda
The Children of Sánchez, Oscar Lewis
The Discovery and Conquest of Mexico, William
Prescott
People's Guide to Mexico, Carl Franz
Opening Mexico, Julia Preston and Samuel Dillon
Fiction:
Aztec, Aztec Autumn, Aztec Blood, Gary Jennings
The Old Gringo, Carlos Fuentes
Stones for Ibarra, Harriet Doerr
Like Water For Chocolate, Laura Esquivel
La Moderna - Barber Shop, Lerdo de
Tejada 4 (Centro) Described as a very macho style
shop.
CHILDREN
BEAUTY SALONS, BARBERS, SPAS
You will find very reasonable prices in
most of these places. If you ever wanted to splurge
on a manicure or pedicure, this is the place. Please
remember to include a tip of 10% for services.
Villa Béjar, Ave. Domingo Diez 2350, Tel.
311.3300, a very international shop with luxury
prices. No appointments taken.
Estética Quin - on Calle Prado #6,
excellent haircuts, appointments needed, Tel
313.8767
Spa Hostería Las Quintas - Tel. 318-3949,
Díaz Ordaz 9, Col. Acapatzingo
Misión del Sol - Ave. Gral. Diego Díaz
González 31, Col. Parres,
[email protected],
www.misiondelsol.com, Tel 321.0999.
Expensive, but beautiful and world class spa. A
specialty is the temixcal steam bath.
Joss Claude, San Diego 103, Col. Vista
Hermosa, 311.9468, full service luxury salón.
Spa Villa Vida, Eucaliptos 77, near
school, 313.2525, lovely, luxurious spa, facial $40,
hydrating mudwrap $70.
Cocoyoc - There is a spa at the resort
hotel Cocoyoc. See Haciendas. Facials and Salt
Wrap
Plaza Laurel, Park Avenue (near school see Shopping for directions) Walk-ins are
accepted. Convenient place for men's haircuts,
also. Good massages, manicures and pedicures.
Anel et Chuy -Salon in Plaza Cuernavaca,
appointments at 318.9308, 312.3487,
[email protected], acrylic nails, hair
extensions and even “permanent” eyelashes.
Kleen Day Spa, Rio Conchos 109, Esq.
Rio Pánuco, Col. Vista Hermosa, 176.8888,
315.7488.
Children can easily be accommodated in
Cuernavaca. At the Spanish Language Institute
there are separate programs to accommodate
children and teens. Spanish classes are available for
children ages 5 and up when studying with their
families or a responsible adult. In these cases the
Institute makes every effort to place children and
their parents in a Mexican family with children of
close ages. For children under 5, the school can
arrange a sitter in the host family for about $20 per
school day. Another alternate is to have the child
attend the local Cendi (excellent government
supervised preschools). The instruction is in
Spanish, and the cost is less than $50 per week. For
longer stays another alternative is that children can
often be accommodated in local Montessori
schools. One, Escuela Montessori de Morelos is a
bilingual school and accepts students from 1-12
years of age. Actores 104, Col. San Antón,
317.1544.
A favorite activity of children is to visit the
new Cuernavaca branch of the Mexico City
Children’s Museum Papalote. It is located across
from Costco. This is a lively, interactive museum
which children of all ages greatly enjoy.
CHURCHES and RELIGIOUS
INFORMATION
Baptist
Iglesia Bautista Monte Abraím, Ocotepec
612, Col. Reforma, Tel .311.4362, Service in
English Sundays - 8:30am, 10 am in Spanish
Episcopal
Anglican-Episcopal Church of Mexico
St. Michael & All Angels (all Christian
denominations welcome), Minerva 1, Col. Las
Delicias (behind Superama on Río Mayo via Río
Pánuco) Servies in English with music are held
Sundays, 10:45am with coffee hour following.
Otherwise, the heat will creep up on you, and you
can become dehydrated or badly burned.
Check weather at
www.wunderground.com/global/stations/76726.
htm
Jewish
El Eishel Nuestro Hogar Madero 402,
Col. Miraval, for information call 777 318 6800
[email protected]
Roman Catholic
English language mass at the Carmen
Chapel near the cathedral, 9:30 AM Sundays
Mariachi Mass - please inquire about
times Sundays at the Cathedral downtown
CLIMATE
Cuernavaca is located at 5,000 feet above
sea level. This means 12 to 15% less oxygen which
can affect breathing. Alcohol tolerance is cut by
half, and smoking affects your lungs differently. It
is very important to drink a good quantity of water
to stay hydrated.
The dry season is October through April.
The evenings can be chilly, but never bitterly cold.
Daytime average temperatures are in the 70's and
low 80's.
In other words, sun bathing is
comfortable during the day, but you may need a
light jacket for evenings. April and May are
considered the only hot months, as winter has
passed, but the cooling summer rains have not yet
arrived. June to sometimes the end of September
is the rainy season. Most often it rains in the
evening, but showers can be very heavy. Locals call
these aguaceros. During this season there can also be
storms at night and accompanying loss of
electricity. Daytime temperatures at this time are
usually in the low 80's. You should always carry an
umbrella or raingear, as rain clouds can roll in
quickly. When it has rained, the temperatures can
lower quickly to the 60's, and a jacket or sweatshirt
will feel quite good in the evening or early morning.
Do be careful of the sun in the day. It may
not seem to be hot, but you will sunburn very
quickly. If you are walking around a great deal,
wear a sun hat and put on your sunscreen.
CRIME
Cuernavaca is most likely safer than many
U.S. cities of similar size, especially if narcotics
crimes are subtracted from the mix. However, in
any country where poverty is prevalent, tourists are
often targets for pickpockets. The Mexican thief is
much more interested in your money or
possessions than in committing an act of violence
against you. For this reason, it is foolish to walk
around looking like a target with large quantities of
cash. Do not walk on the streets wearing obviously
expensive jewelry and don’t flaunt electronics.
Please only carry what you need for the day, and
there is no reason to carry a credit card unless you
plan to use it that day. Also, do not leave valuables
such as jewelry or expensive cameras out in the
open. They should be kept in a drawer or in a
locked suitcase. You are being very unkind to place
temptation directly in the face of someone who
may be struggling to provide food for his family.
Be culture-sensitive and do not flaunt your
possessions. Women should be careful about the
type of handbag they carry and how they carry it.
A well known trick is for a pickpocket to use a razor
blade and slice the bottom of a bag. Also, never
leave your purse foolishly unattended in a
restaurant or especially a bar or disco. Men should
be particularly careful where they place a wallet. If
carried in a back pocket, it can be cleverly lifted
without your ever knowing what happened.
Be aware that drug laws in Mexico are
quite stiff. You want no part of a Mexican jail, and
the legal system in Mexico requires that you stay in
jail until your trial. You can also be arrested and
fined for public intoxication. A foreign country is
no place to take risks or indulge in questionable
behavior.
CULTURAL DIFFERENCES
Although you will find that most Mexicans
have the same daily concerns, joys and perhaps the
same dreams as you, you will find different
approaches toward human relations.
It is
important to be aware and to respect these
differences.
Courtesy is of supreme importance to
Mexicans. This is expressed by greeting or
departing from each person with a handshake or a
cheek kiss. You should not depart from the dinner
table or from a group in conversation without
saying con permiso. Buen provecho (similar to bon apetit)
is usually said before eating.
When you enter a shop you should greet
the clerk. Hola is more of an introduction to a more
extended conversation, although Mexicans quickly
pick up that it's easy for foreigners to understand.
It is preferable to use buenos días, buenas tardes or
buenas noches (after7:00 pm). There are many
formulaic courtesy phrases such as Me haría el favor de...
Si fuera tan amable de...
It's quite insulting to say something such
as "How much is that in real money?" if you are
asking a clerk a price in dollars. Also, lay money
down respectfully. Never toss it down. That is
considered quite rude. Ask for everything with
courtesy, and then be certain to express gratitude
for the service received. On the other hand, don't
expect a formal written note of gratitude. This is
not routine practice.
Things which Mexicans find offensive:
1. Slamming doors.
2. Sleeping or napping on a bed on top of
the bedspread.
3. Not acknowledging that Mexicans are
Americans, too. It's the name of the continent, not
just part of the U.S.A.
4. A critical comment without a great deal
of softer statements coming before and after.
Direct criticism is difficult for Mexicans to take
without feeling personal resentment.
5. Not eating food when you yourself have
put it on your plate. Don't serve it to yourself if
you're not going to eat it.
6. Putting feet on tables.
7. Coming to the table without a shirt.
8. Massaging bare feet at the table.
9. Removing makeup with towels or
mopping up the bathroom floor with bath towels.
10. Offering your opinion on how Mexicans
should improve their country. You may do this if
you are very knowledgeable about past history,
cultural influences and economic conditions...and if
you are among very good friends. Otherwise, it's
best to be a respectful listener.
11. Expecting luxury items (which you may
not consider to be so) such as bottled soft drinks.
12. Jumping directly into business matters
without first acknowledging the person through
informal conversation about family, the city, etc.
13. Not respecting the cost of a telephone
line by talking for hours.
DRESS
Cuernavaca is a very informal place. Very
casual clothes will be the dress in your classroom.
Outside of class and during the day shorts (longer
shorts are a better choice than running shorts) and
jeans are appropriate. For clubs in the evening men
should wear jeans or long pants, a nicer shirt (no T
shirts) and shoes which are not sandals or tennis
shoes. Outside of class women can wear shorts
everywhere in the day, but they should avoid the
shorter ones when downtown or on public
transportation. For dressier places, nicer pants or
a skirt will be quite acceptable. College women
have described the clothes worn to clubs as "nice
bar clothes.”
High heels are not necessary, but shoes
other than tennis shoes are more danceable if you
are in a club. There is absolutely no need for a very
dressy outfit or expensive jewelry. An important
need for all is extremely comfortable walking shoes
which are sturdy.
Avoid wearing revealing
beachwear. Provocative clothes will be seen as an
open invitation, and you may not want the
attention.
DOWNTOWN CUERNAVACA
Familiarize yourself with the downtown
area as soon as possible. Your main landmarks can
be the Palacio de Cortés, the Cathedral and the
Zócalo. Downtown is a great place to observe
Mexicans. You can sit in one of the outside cafes,
have a beer or coffee, and watch the Mexican world
go by.
Cathedral (Catedral) - It was dedicated to
the Virgin of the Assumption at the end of the 16th
century. The capilla abierta is one of the oldest in
Mexico. This area was used to preach to the
indigenous population in efforts to convert them
to Christianity. As you enter the cathedral itself,
notice the immense baptismal font of stone. The
interior was greatly modified in 1957 and has a
rather contemporary feel. Look up on the wall, and
you will see a very interesting mural. This was only
recently uncovered, and it depicts the martyrdom
of missionaries in Japan at the end of the sixteenth
century. One of them was San Felipe de Jesús, a
Mexican saint crucified in Nagasaki, Japan, in 1597.
This is the same story told in the novel Shogun.
There are always surprises in Mexico! On the
opposite side there is a small chapel dedicated to
the Virgin of Guadalupe. Have a look inside, and
when you exit, turn left. This will lead you to the
interior courtyard of the convent-monastery of San
Francisco, built in 1532. On the wall is an
interesting "roll call", with drawings of the monks
and nuns from the sixteenth century. In the far
corner you may find an impressive large wooden
statue of St. Christopher. This piece was recently
in a large exhibition of Mexican art which toured
the United States, and it is considered quite
significant. It may be on loan to another exhibit.
Outside the cathedral you will see two
other churches. The Chapel of Carmen was built
at the end of the eighteenth century, and the
Temple of the Third St. Francis Order dates from
the beginning of the 1700's. The Temple is a
popular place for local weddings.
Cortes' Palace (Palacio de Cortés) and
Cuauhnáhuac Museum (inside) - Admission fee is
about $3. Closed Mondays. Open Tues – Sun, 9am
– 6pm. The fortress style building was built by the
conquistador Hernán Cortés on the remains of a
Tlahuica temple. Inside is a museum with a recently
revised collection, and there are several areas worth
your attention. The principal one is the mural by
Diego Rivera on the second floor. It's a terrific
history lesson in the conquest of the area of
Morelos. The mural was commissioned by the U.S.
Ambassador to Mexico in the 30's, Dwight
Morrow. He was quite popular here, and his
daughter Anne Morrow was the wife of Charles
Lindbergh of aviation fame. Anne Morrow
Lindbergh is also known for the book of poetry
Gift From The Sea.
When you view the figure of Morelos (with
a bandana on his head), note that his face is really
that of the artist himself, Rivera. There is a great
visual trick involving this figure. Walk slowly by it
from left to right, and the eyes will follow you, as
well as the turn of the body.
In the museum there is also a good-sized
representation of the state costume, the chinelo, on
the second floor. This strange looking outfit dates
from shortly after the Conquest, when the local
people were taught to re-enact the victory of
Spaniards over the Moors in the year 711 A.D.
Another interesting group of items are
photographs from the Revolution of 1910.
Jardín Borda (Borda Garden) is located on
Morelos 271 just opposite the cathedral on the left.
Closed Mondays. There is a small entry fee. This
is worth a visit on its own, but there are also many
cultural events which take place here, everything
from puppet shows to recitals. Check the posted
calendar. The house and gardens were built by José
De La Borda, one of Mexico's silver magnates, in
1783. He was responsible for the magnificent
church in Taxco. His motto was "God gives to
Borda, Borda gives to God". His son became a
priest, and his daughter became a nun. The house
was also occupied by Emperor Maximiliano when
in Cuernavaca. There is a beautiful group of
paintings which are hanging in the auditorium.
They depict the entire story of Maximiliano and
Carlota, including the charming figure of his native
mistress, La India Bonita, coyly peeking out from
behind a tree. You can stroll down by the artificial
lake which is the same one shown in the paintings
you saw earlier, and you can even rent a boat to row
on the lake.
Robert Brady Museum, also known as
Casa de la Torre, Netzahualcoyotl #4. Exit the
main gate of the cathedral, turn right, and walk
until reaching the first street. Then turn right.
Open Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 AM - 6:00
PM. This was the sixteenth century house of the
first bishop of Cuernavaca and became the private
home of an American, Robert Brady, 1928-1986,
who restored the house and filled it with treasures
from all over the world, including works by Frida
Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Rufino Tamayo and Miguel
Covarrubias. There are 1,300 art pieces, including
furniture and primitive art. It is an amazingly
eclectic house. Admission fee is about $3, and to
see the house takes about an hour. There are
printed self-guides in English in each room. This is
always a favorite place for visitors and is highly
recommended. I
There is a tourist trolley located at the
downtown Zocalo which offers drive-by tours of
important sites of Cuernavaca.
Papalote, a branch of the children’s
museum of Mexico City, is not downtown, but a
short distance away, across from Costco.
ELECTRICITY
All appliances such as hairdryers will
function without any adapters in Mexico. Rarely an
older house may not accept the newer plugs. In
this case a quick trip to a supermarket will get you
an adapter for minimal cost
E-MAIL
There are several computers at school to
check your email and to send, but these are
available only during school hours. There is also a
wide variety of internet cafes and places with wifi.
New internet cafes are opening every day
in Cuernavaca, as well as restaurants and coffee
shops featuring wifi. It is quite impossible to keep
these current, as they open and close at the blink of
an eye. It is best to ask the school staff where the
closest one may be. Ask about un café de internet or
acceso de wifi o de internet. Costs range from $1 to $2
per hour of usage, and some clock your time by the
minute and charge you for less than the full hour.
The major problem you will encounter
with email when using a Spanish keyboard is the
"at" sign or @. In Spanish this is called arroba. At
times it will be in the same place as an English
keyboard, over the 2 key. However, in most
computers in Latin America, you access it by
holding down the ALT key on the right side of the
keyboard, and then pressing the Q key. If this
doesn't work, you can always ask the attendant
about the location of this arroba.
EMERGENCIES
Always carry with you the address and
telephone of your host family. In an emergency
there will always be an easy local contact.
The state has established an emergency
number for tourists. If you have any problem such
as being pickpocketed, are injured, or anything at
all occurs in which you need assistance, dial 066
from any private or pay phone without cost. The
answerer will speak English, and you will receive
rapid help. This is similar to our 911 emergency,
but specifically designed for foreign visitors.
The emergency number of the Red Cross
(Cruz Roja) is 065, and they provide ambulance
service.
EXCURSIONS
There may be school excursions available
to some of these places. You can also very easily
visit all these places on your own.
A local resource for touristic visits in the
area is the Centro Turistico Cuernavaca, part of the
Pullman de Morelos group. Located at Av. Río
Mayo 807, Col. Vista Hermosa, Tel 242.2640
www.centroturisticocuernavaca.mx
México D.F. is immensely big and
immensely interesting. Don't be put off by the
pollution stories. Yes, pollution does exist, but it is
not very noticeable if you are in the city as a visitor
for only a few days.
There are frequent public buses to Mexico
City, Pullman de Morelos, and they leave from both
the downtown station at Abasolo 106 and from the
La Selva station near Plaza Cuernavaca.
On Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays
the Centro, the Centro Turistico Cuernavaca
mentioned earlier has direct vans to the Polanco
area, departing at 7:30am from their center and
returning at 6:00pm from Plaza Carso.
There are many luxury hotels included in
guidebooks, but an inexpensive, well located choice
which is highly recommended is the Posada Viena
Hotel. It is two blocks from the Zona Rosa at
Marsella 28 and the corner of Dinamarca,
www.posadavienahotel.com
[email protected], Tel 555.566.0700.
Rooms are about $60 per night, and you can book
in advance through their website. They will arrange
reliable transportation to the bus station for arrival
in Cuernavaca (or to the airport). Another costlier
choice and found in most guidebooks is the Hotel
Majestic
in
the
Centro
Histórico,
www.majestic.com.mx, 73 Ave. Madero,
+52.55.5521.8600. A personal favorite is the Gran
Hotel de la Ciudad de México. It has a lovely dining
área
overlooking
the
Zócalo.
www.granhotelciudaddemexico.com.mx
In the airport there are several major chain
hotels, none inexpensive. Marriott Courtyard is
located there.
When hiring a taxi make certain it has a
functioning taxímetro. You pay only what it
measures. Take only authorized taxis in this city.
They are painted red and gold.
Taxco is a very picturesque silver city with
a bus ride of about two hours. The bus line is
either Estrella Blanca on Av. Cuauhtémoc or
Estrella de Oro on Morelos Sur. Buses leave every
hour on the hour. Be certain to visit the
magnificent Santa Prisca Church, and bring lots of
pesos for shopping in the many platerías. You will
see silver in more styles and designs than you ever
could imagine, and the town itself is a delight for
photographers.
Tepoztlán is a nearby town (less than an
hour by Directo bus or minivan), and it makes an
easy daytrip for you to do on your own. A taxi will
take you there for about US$18. You can also get
there by bus. To catch the bus go to the downtown
public market where departures are frequent. You
pay for your ticket when you board (small change,
please), and the cost is less than $1. The big market
days are Wednesday and Sunday, with Sunday being
the bigger one. When you arrive by bus, you will
be just out of the downtown area and may have to
walk several blocks downhill to arrive at the center
of town. You can also take a taxi if you don't
choose to walk. As you enter the town you will see
vendor stalls lining the street which leads off to the
right. There are many types of artesanías at good
prices. Since this is a place with a tradition of magic,
you can have a tarot reading for about $15 or have
your palm read for $10. Walking down the main
street where all the vendors and shops are, look to
your left about halfway down. You will see the top
of a church. Head toward it, and you will find the
Convento de la Natividad, a sixteenth century gem.
The accompanying church is not unique in its
interior, but its plateresque style facade is one of the
finest examples of sixteenth century art. The
carved figures have no depth, as the indigenous
sculptors were carving things they had never seen
or imagined, only what was described to them or
drawn flat on paper. There is no charge to enter
the convent which was built by the Dominicans
shortly after the conquest. The thickness of the
walls is amazing, and the views from the second
floor are impressive. Be sure to see the newly
restored frescoes on the first floor. There is a
recently added museum shop worth a visit on the
first floor.
Tepoztlán is known for its beautiful
mountains, very unique in form. Look to the right
in the dip between two of the tallest ones and you
will see a flat roofed structure. This is a temple built
at 600 meters above the valley by the local
Tlahuicas in 1482 A.D. It was dedicated to
Ometochtli, associated with the god of pulque and
is called the Tepozteco. If you are in good physical
condition, a climb to the top will give you an
unbelievable view of the valley. To reach the
entrance walk down the street you were on coming
from the bus. At the end of it is the entrance to the
path. Be prepared for very steep steps with no
handrails, and you will also be charged a small fee
at the top. The climb will take at least one hour.
Comida is enjoyable in Tepoztlán.
Recommended is the restaurant Los Colorines (on
the street leading to the Tepozteco path, Tepozteco
13). After eating stop for dessert at Santa Clara,
down the same street. Try mango or tequila ice
cream....special treats. Another restaurant on the
major shopping street is La Sandía Azul, on the left
toward the far end. If you want a more elegant
atmosphere with beautifully presented food, try El
Ciruelo, Zaragoza 17, Tel. 395.1037. Reach this by
walking on the inside wide path through the market
in front of the church toward the mountains until
you reach the next street. Turn right onto this
street, and you will see the restaurant's sign.
Another interesting restaurant is Axitla, on the
same street you walk down to climb up to the
Tepozteco.
Dusk is considered a magical time in this
town, and an overnight stay allows you to enjoy the
enchantment. A recommended hotel is Hotel
Posada del Tepozteco, Reservations 739.395.0010,
www.tepozteco.com, [email protected]
Enjoy the day in Tepoztlán, and see if you
do not feel especially energized. The town of
13,000 is known for its magical qualities and the
magnetic lines. It is said that cellular phones will
not function in the town due to this magnetism.
Las Grutas (caves) de Cacahuamilpa beautiful natural formations which are quite large.
Use the Estrella Blanca bus line. The bus is one
known as a guajolotero, meaning that it stops at all
the little towns along the way. Be prepared for the
local color of the “chicken bus.”
Acapulco is near for those who can't live
without a visit to the beach. The trip takes about 4
hours, and the buses are quite comfortable. Use
the Estrella Blanca bus line with either the Futura
or Turistar bus, departing every hour. Another
choice is Estrella de Oro, with a nicer terminal and
stops in the Diamante area. You should reserve
your ticket and purchase it at least two days in
advance. Acapulco is considered paradise by the
Mexican people, and the tourism officials have
done an excellent job of cleaning up the beautiful
beaches. The not to be missed sight is La
Quebrada, setting for the world famous cliff divers.
There is an abundance of night life and exquisite
scenery. If you are a sportsman, you can get
together a group and hire a fishing boat for the day.
Las Estacas is located an hour outside
Cuernavaca. It has beautiful natural springs, a pool,
and a tropical jungle setting. A Tarzan movie was
filmed here, and it is very easy to imagine
swinging through the vines.
Lake Tequesquitengo is less than 1 hour
away. Boat rentals for water skiing are popular.
Puebla and Cholula are twin cities easily
reached by a several hour bus ride (Oro busline).
Puebla is the fourth largest city in Mexico and has
a colorful history. Cholula is the site of the world's
largest pyramid in diameter, and the earth covered
mound is capped with a chapel. The churches in
Cholula are absolutely unique and breathtaking.
This area is famous for Talavera style tiles, pottery
and candies.
Jardines de México is the newest attraction
in the area. It is described as the largest flower
garden in the world! It contains eight theme
gardens which are lushly planted. This should
really be an all day affair to walk all the gardens,
even using the handy trolleys which you can board
and hop off at the beginning of each garden area.
There is a beautiful bamboo roofed restaurant
which serves a lovely buffet lunch. It is located
about 50 minutes outside of Cuernavaca. If you are
not driving, the Centro Turístico de Cuernavaca
offers van transportation packages leaving on
Saturdays and Sundays. See full information at
www.jardinesdemexico.com
FAMILIES
Mexican families come in all shapes and
sizes, and very seldom do they fit the profile of only
mother and father plus 2.5 children. Divorce is
becoming more common in Mexico, and there are
many single mothers. The extended family is quite
evident, however, and it is common to have several
generations living happily together in one home.
Relatives seem to be everywhere, and there is
always a sense of obligation toward helping out a
family member. Enjoy the warmth you will find in
the families. It will definitely enhance your stay.
Families place great emphasis on good
manners which show consideration toward others.
Please be thoughtful in things such as telling your
family you will not be home for comida or by letting
them know in advance if you will need a lunch for
an excursion. Your efforts will be very much
appreciated, and you will often be surprised by the
Mexican generosity of spirit and time.
FOOD AND DRINK
Prepare your stomach for a different
schedule. Eat your desayuno heartily, as you will not
eat again until your comida, the main meal of the day
in Mexico, usually about 3:30pm if you are
attending classes. This is the heaviest meal of the
day and may include several courses. Your last
meal (not included) is a very light supper, cena, eaten
at 7:30 PM or later. Some things in town close
down from 2:00 to 5:00 PM so that Mexicans can
leisurely enjoy their main meal. There is a great
variety of foods eaten, and part of your adventure
is trying something new. If you're a picky eater, you
can live very well just on the wonderful soups and
breads. Just don't expect Mexican food to be as
your idea of it may be. The authentic cuisine is
often quite different than the versions which are
seen outside the country. The word taco will take
on a whole new dimension.
Soft drinks are called refrescos, and come in
all flavors, including diet versions (called light in
Spanish). Carbonated mineral water is commonly
ordered by a brand name Tehuacán. If you want it
non-fizzy, order agua mineral sin gas. Popular brands
of cerveza include Corona, XX Lager, Sol, Negra
Modelo (heavy and dark), Tecate (Regular and
Light and drunk with accompanying lime), Modelo
(Regular and Light), Carta Blanca, Superior,
Bohemia, Victoria. There are few imported beers
in Mexico, but you won't miss them.
Perhaps one of your first experiences in
ordering in Spanish may be a drink, so this will put
you a bit more in the know. Mixed drinks which
are popular are Margarita, Piña Colada, Sangría
(preparada means with vodka or rum - natural means
alone), Tequila Sunrise, Daiquirí (de limón and de
fresa - strawberry), Vampiro (tequila with a tomato
mixture called sangrita), and Desarmador
(Screwdriver). Kahlúa is often served as an after
dinner drink. One type is called Beso de Angel,
with cream floating on the top. Brandy brands
include Presidente, Viejo Vergel. Rum brands are
Bacardí, Appleton Añejo, Solera. Tequila brands
are Sauza, Herradura, Cuervo, Tres Magueyes,
Orendáin and Don Julio. If you want the very best
(not inexpensive, but like a fine brandy), order
reposado or añejo. Tequila is often drunk straight up
with lime and salt on the side. A common chaser is
called sangrita - a light, tomato based mixture. But
sip a fine tequila; don’t shoot it!
Imported drinks such as scotch, bourbon,
and after dinner drinks such as Amaretto will be
very expensive. Be prepared to pay the price of an
import.
Straight up is called solo. On the rocks is en
las rocas, but be careful of where you drink this way
because of the possibility of contaminated ice.
In clubs or antros it is common for
Mexicans to order an entire bottle of rum or tequila
for the whole table. It will come with six sodas,
glasses and ice.
Wines in Mexico are steadily improving.
The better brands are L.A. Cetto (pronounced
Chetto), and Domecq. A very good white wine
with a beautiful bouquet is made by Monte Xanic.
The reds (vino tinto) are constantly improving, and
many of the drier white wines are quite good.
Chilean and Argentine wines are a great buy
Ice Cream - Top brand is Santa Clara, with
stores located in Plaza Laurel (see shopping), Plaza
Cuernavaca, and others throughout the city. Their
yogurt is also very good. Ice cream is called de
leche, and sherbet is called de agua or nieve.
HACIENDAS
The state of Morelos is filled with many
haciendas dating from the colonial era, and some
have been beautifully restored. Most of these were
sugar cane haciendas, as this crop was known as the
"green gold" of Morelos. Within the city you can
visit the Hacienda de Cortés, Tel. 315.8844,
www.haciendadecortes.com, Plaza Kennedy 90
por Paseo Cuauhnáhuac - an interesting place for a
drink or dinner.
Another beautifully restored hacienda is
Hotel Hacienda de Cocoyoc, Tel. 735.356.2211,
located about 50 minutes outside the city off the
highway to Cuautla. It is now a luxury resort hotel
with golf course, horses and swimming. To reach
it you can hire a taxi or take the Estrella Roja bus
to Oaxtepec. It will let you off less than five
minutes (2 kilometers) from the entrance to the
hacienda. You can take a cab from the Oaxtepec
bus station for about $2.
The prices are
surprisingly reasonable both for rooms and food.
The grounds are lovely, and this is a very special
place to spend an afternoon or a weekend. There
is also a spa, riding stables, and a golf course.
www.cocoyoc.com.mx, Toll free US 800.537.8483
HEALTH
Before arriving it would be prudent to see
if your medical insurance provides coverage while
out of the country. Medicare does not cover you
when out of the U.S. Experts say the most
important coverage to have is medical evacuation
benefits. In case you are in an area where medical
care would not be available for your specific
situation, you would be flown back to the U.S.
Also, coverage for accidents such as a broken limb
can be welcome. You can buy an accident/health
policy through Language Link from Travelex, a
very reputable company. For information on how
to do this, call Language Link 800.552.2051 or
contact [email protected] You can also call
Travelex, 800.228.9792 or see their website
www.travelex-insurance.com. You will need to
provide the Location Number 13-1069. This
insurance will cover accidents, illness, and
emergency evacuation. The cost depends on the
length of your stay. This must be arranged prior to
your departure.
For any foreign travel, most doctors now
recommend Havrix, a vaccine for Hepatitis A,
transmitted in food and water. This provides
lifetime immunity. It is also wise to see that you
have had a tetanus shot within the last ten years.
Many students are concerned about
traveler's diarrhea, commonly known as turista. In
most cases it is a problem which you can avoid. A
time tested remedy, not a drug, is to take
acidophillus tablets before each meal or probiotics.
It produces the same effect as if you were eating
yogurt, but is more convenient. It merely increases
the good bacteria in your system in order to provide
you with better defenses. These can be purchased
at health food stores and some drug stores in the
U.S. and should be started several days before you
arrive in Mexico. If you choose to start taking them
in Mexico, they are known by the brand name
Lacteol-Fort. They are a preventative, however,
and will not help much if the diarrhea has already
begun. In most cases one or two tablets of
Imodium, an over the counter medication, will
solve the problem quickly. Obviously, you should
alter your diet for a few days. Good soups and
bread can see you through your bout. Keep well
hydrated with plenty of liquids, and stay away from
alcohol. Mexicans favor feeding you bananas with
the small black seeds removed and also, a
concoction of Coca Cola and cornstarch. It does
seem to be effective.
In almost all cases the problem can be
completely avoided by carefully choosing what you
eat and drink. Water is the most important factor.
Use only bottled or purified water for brushing
your teeth and for drinking. Your family will
provide purified water, not pre-bottled. This water
is quite safe. Be careful where you have a drink
with ice cubes. In all restaurants mentioned in this
book you can safely have a drink with ice. If you
are the least bit unsure of any other place, however,
make your choice something which comes directly
in a bottle. The phrase is sin hielo (without ice).
In your Mexican families’ homes and in all
restaurants in this book, fruits and vegetables will
have been purified. This means that you can have
a great salad or an unpeeled vegetable in one of the
better restaurants.
Although it will be very tempting, DO
NOT eat food sold on the streets. Many locals will
not do this either, as the government often
publishes warnings about the high contamination
of such products. The absolute worst thing you can
eat on the street is ceviche, made from raw fish. It is
almost a certain recipe for a stomach disaster.
You should bring with you a good supply
of any prescription drugs you require. In case you
need to replace something, it is helpful to have with
you the original bottle with the pharmacy label.
Many drugs requiring prescriptions in the U.S. are
sold over the counter here, so your medicine may
be quite easy to replace, and the price may be less.
Antibiotics are not available, however, without a
Mexican prescription.
There are excellent doctors associated with
the school, and they can handle matters such as
stomach disorders, colds, sore throats. You can
arrange for a doctor to see you at school or at the
end of the school day. These doctors’ offices can
also give you any injections you may require. Fees
are very reasonable.
For other minor medical needs:
Gripa - the Mexican catchall word for cold,
sore throat, flu. A good over the counter medicine
for this is XL 3.
Insect Bites - For prevention ask for
repelante contra moscos.
Pharmacies:
Farmacia Pradera, Emiliano Zapata 104
Farmacia Catedral, Morelos 138 (across
from Jardín Borda)
Farmacia de Jesús, Morelos Norte 910
Mega Comercial Mexicana (downtown
and La Selva) have well stocked pharmacies with
20% discount.
Farmacias Ahorro - 30% discounts,
located at Avila Camacho and San Jerónimo, near
Plaza Laurel, open 24 hours.
HISTORY NECESSITIES
History of Cuernavaca
The Pre-Conquest name of Cuernavaca
was Cuauhnáhuac, which means next to the woods.
At that time the city was inhabited by an indigenous
group called the Tlahuicas who paid tribute to the
powerful Aztecs. The Tlahuicas first arrived about
the tenth century.
In the year 1523 the Spanish conqueror of
Mexico, Hernan Cortés, chose Cuernavaca as the
site for his palace, making it the headquarters of the
territory held under his title, Marqués del Valle de
Oaxaca. This included the present state of
Morelos.
At Cortés' request Franciscan priests
arrived in 1525. The following years of the
sixteenth century witnessed great building projects
including churches, cathedrals and convents, as the
missionary priests exerted great efforts to
Christianize the indigenous locals.
The colonial period was dominated by the
cultivation of sugar cane, using the encomienda
system. This system exploited the local people, but
the profits for the landowners were immense.
In the next two significant periods, names
from the state of Morelos played major roles. In
the War of Independence from Spain in 1810, a
priest named José María Morelos was a key leader.
The state now bears his name, as well as the major
avenue of Cuernavaca. In the Revolution of 1910,
the people's hero was Emiliano Zapata, also from
Morelos.
It is quite impossible to condense Mexican
history enough to fit the size of this book, but you
should at least know who the following characters
were, as well as those mentioned previously.
Hernán Cortés - Spanish conqueror of
Mexico
La Malinche - his female interpretor and
mistress, used as a symbol for a traitor to the
Mexicans
1521 - destruction of Aztec empire
1531 - vision of a dark skinned Virgin Mary
and a shrine is built, honoring her as the patron
saint of Mexico. The veneration of the Virgin of
Guadalupe becomes a unifying factor in
Mexican Catholicism.
1535 - First viceroy, Don Antonio de
Mendoza arrives and colonial government begins.
1810 - Father Miguel Hidalgo begins the
11 year war for independence from Spain.
1821 - Mexican independence completed,
led by Agustín de Iturbide who later declares
himself emperor.
1846-48 - Mexico fights war against the
U.S. and loses more than half its territory. (This is
still a very sensitive issue with many Mexicans.)
1858-1862 - Benito Juárez, a Zapotec selfmade lawyer, leads Mexico. He is considered the
Mexican counterpart of Abraham Lincoln.
1863 - Mexico is seized by the French and
Maximilian of Austria is declared emperor.
1867 - Benito Juárez reclaims the
government and Maximilian is executed.
1876 - Porfirio Díaz becomes president,
and for the next thirty five years exists the period
known as the Porfiriato.
1910 - Mexican Revolution, Zapata leading
agrarian forces in the south and Pancho Villa
leading forces of the north.
1934 - President Lázaro Cárdenas makes
good the revolution's promise and redistributes
fifty million acres of land.
1988 - Carlos Salinas de Gortari elected
president, and Mexico sees great expansion with
heavy foreign investment.
1993 - Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León
elected president. In December the peso is greatly
devalued, currently reaching half of its former
value. Interest rates soar, and high inflation sets in.
Mexicans refer to it as la crisis.
2000 - Election of President Vicente Fox,
breaking the long domination of the PRI political
party.
2006 - Election of Felipe Calderón
2012 – Election of Enrique Peña Nieto
HOLIDAYS
January 1
New Year's Day
February 5
Constitution Day
March 21
Birthday of Benito Juárez
Good Friday and often the Thursday before
Easter. This is called Semana Santa and is
the biggest vacation period of the year.
April 10
Birthday of Emiliano
Zapata
May 1
Labor Day
September 16
Independence Day
November 1, 2
Day of the Dead (banks
open)
November 20
Revolution of 1910
December 12
Virgin of Guadalupe
December 25
Christmas (most
celebrations occur on December 24, and
Christmas Day itself is rather quiet)
HOTELS
All costs quoted are approximated in US
dollars and include the 15% IVA tax.
When calling from out of Mexico, be sure
to add 011.52.777 (international, country
code and Morelos area code if calling
Cuernavaca)
Recommended Mexico City Hotel—Hotel Posada
Viena, Posada Viena Hotel.,
[email protected],
http://www.posadavienahotel.com.mx
Tel (55) 55-92-73-12
From U.S., Toll free 888-698-0690 Rooms
are about $60 per night., and you can book
in advance through their website.
Recommended Cuernavaca Hotels
Hotel costs are high in this area. There are
very few real economy choices.
Recommended B & Bs are Casa Chocolate
and Your Host Inn. All have easily found
websites.
Moderate
Posada Tlaltenango, Privada Eucalipto 77,
Jardines de Tlaltenango, Tel 313.2525,
www.posadatlaltenango.com.mx, single $70,
spa on premises, within walking distance of
school
Hacienda de Cortés, Plaza Kennedy 90 por Paseo
Cuauhnáhuac, Tel 315.8844, 316.0867,
www.hotelhaciendadecortes.com,
[email protected], single
$108
Misión Cuernavaca (Maximiliano and Carlota),
Galeana 125, Col. Acapantzingo, Tel
318.2010, www.hotelesmision.com, single
$90
Deluxe
Hostería Las Quintas, Blvd. Díaz Ordaz 9, Tel
318.3949 Fax 318.3895,
[email protected]
www.hlasquintas.com, Toll Free in U.S.
888.772.7639, single $190
Villa Béjar, Avenida Domingo Diez 2350, Tel
311.3300, [email protected],
www.villabejar.com.mx, single $150
Hotel Posada María Cristina, Blvd. Juárez 300,
Col.. Centro, Tel 312.9126, www.mariacristina.com, [email protected]maria-cristina.com,
single $135, good downtown location
Hotel Casa Colonial, Netzahualcoyotl #37, Col..
Centro
Tel 312.7033 Fax 310.0395,
[email protected],
www.casacolonial.com, charming restored
grand home downtown, rooms ranging from
$50 per night up to suites of $150
Las Mañanitas, Ricardo Linares 107, Centro,
314.1466, 312.4646,
www.lasmananitas.com.mx,
[email protected] , single
$265 and up, reservations must often be made
six months or more in advance
Gusto, 16 de Septiembre #44, Col. Acapantzingo,
tel 318.3563, 318.3597, small boutique
hotel with six rooms, $120 and up,
www.gustocuernavaca.com
Calinda Racquet Club, Francisco Villa 100,
Rancho Cortés, Tel 101.0350,
[email protected],
www.hotelescalinda.com.mx, single $147, nine
tennis courts
Holiday Inn, Blvd. Díaz Ordaz 86, Col.
Acapantzingo, Tel 362.0203,
[email protected],
www.holiday-inn.com
Also a new Holiday Inn Express is in town.
HOUSES & RENTALS
Rental houses and apartments can be
found in Cuernavaca, but short term prices are
quite high and limited in number. Small two
bedroom casitas with pool access and cleaning
service can be rented for $1,000 and up per month.
Weekly rentals of houses can sometimes be
arranged. The school office can assist you with
these matters. Please know that real estate, in
comparison with the rest of Mexico, is expensive in
this city. A recommended place for rental houses
is Las Villas de Bellavista, Tel 777.317.1893,
www.cuernavaca-rental.com, [email protected]
LAUNDRY
A reliable one near school is Lavandería
La Glorieta, San Jerónimo 302, 313.5315. They
will fold and iron clothes at additional cost. It is not
self service, and you must leave your laundry and
pick up the next day. Cost for three kilos (close to
six pounds) is $3.00 US. Bring a plastic bag with
you to carry soiled laundry. In busy months
sometimes there is laundry service available directly
at school, with drop off and delivery back to
school.
Dry Cleaning—Euroklin, Morelos Sur
801, Colonia Las Palmas
MACHISMO
Most Mexican men are exemplary
gentlemen, but there is a cultural component
known as machismo. Foreign women seem to be
favorite targets. If comments are made or
unwanted attention occurs, it is best to politely
ignore them. There are a few "professionals" in the
city who go after foreign women. One current ploy
is to twist a paper napkin in the shape of a rose and
send it to your table in a restaurant or bar. Enjoy
the flattery if you wish, but it is not wise to
encourage anything else. Some women
unknowingly invite rude or aggressive behavior by
their manner of dress or actions. Appearing to be
intoxicated, wearing provocative, revealing clothes,
dancing very close, and using obscenities are all
interpreted as signals by Mexican men, and
unwanted attention may come your way.
Women should also be careful in taxis. They
should never sit in the front seat or enter a taxi
when there is another man riding in the front with
the driver. Conversation with a driver should
always be on the proper side, and drivers should
always be addressed with the formal usted, never the
informal form of tú.
Obviously such behavior by men is not
acceptable even when unknowingly encouraged. It
is a cultural reality, however, and you cannot
pretend that it is not a part of everyday life in
Mexico.
MAIL AND PACKAGES
Bring some U.S. stamps along with you if
you want a letter or postcard to be received quickly.
You can put it in the school office, as each week
departing students are requested to carry these back
and deposit them in the U.S. mail. You can
purchase Mexican stamps for letters and postcards
in the school cafeteria, but plan on several weeks
for them to reach their destination.
If you want the adventure of visiting the
local post office, it is located at the Plaza de Armas
downtown. It is open from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
For sending packages to and from Mexico it
is best to use the services of a private carrier such
as FedEx or DHL. Be prepared, however, for
exceptionally high prices. To send a letter or very
light weight package from the U.S. to Mexico by
this service will cost at least $40. It is dependable.
In Cuernavaca the DHL office is located at
Morelos Sur 1001, Colonia Palmas, 312.2256.
Another location is in the Plaza Corporativa on Av.
Domingo Diez.
After finding some large treasure while
shopping, inquiries are often made about shipping
it out of the country. If you are dealing with a large,
very reputable store, it can be done, but the cost
will be high for reliable service.
MAPS
Complete city maps are sold at the various
Sanborn's locations, downtown, Plaza Cuernavaca
and Galerías. They are most helpful in learning the
city.
Since many Mexicans give directions
according to landmarks, make your own notes
about landmarks near your Mexican house, near the
school, etc. Common landmarks are statues,
glorietas (roundabout intersections), well known
restaurants and discos, major stores, and historical
places.
MONEY
The Mexican currency is called a peso, and
the smaller portions of it are called centavos. The
exchange rate against the U.S. dollar changes daily.
At banks and ATMs you will receive the highest
rate. Near the school in Plaza Laurel there is an
ATM which accepts Mastercard, Visa, Cirrus, Plus,
Carnet. See Shopping section for directions. There
are many ATMs (cajeros automáticos) in town, inside
supermarkets and by banks.
An easy way to become accustomed to the
difference between pesos and dollars is to take a
calculator and make a small chart of the value in
dollars of varying quantities of pesos. After
consulting your chart for a few days, your financial
frame of reference will be established. You can
print out a currency exchange “pocket sheet” on
www.xe.com, the Universal Currency Converter
website.
Although not in wide use nowadays,
traveler's checks are accepted, as long as they are in
U.S. dollars and under the $50 amount. You will
need to show identification. Take your passport.
The signatures must exactly match, or they may be
refused.
Credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, and
American Express somewhat) are widely accepted
by most stores, restaurants and hotels. At the
American Express office, Agencia Marín, Centro
Las Plazas 13, downtown, 3126844, you can use
your American Express card to get traveler's
checks. Visa and Mastercard can be used to get
cash advances through appropriate banks, but you
need a PIN number.
ATM machines are available throughout
the city, and they are reliable for withdrawing pesos.
Most honor Cirrus and Plus cards. You must know
your PIN number, and it would be wise to notify
and check with your card company or bank before
arrival. Personal checks are almost impossible to
cash, and you should not rely upon these for
emergency cash.
Tipping - Mexicans do not usually tip taxi
drivers, unless they carry your luggage. Generous
tips of 15 - 20% are left by local people in bars,
clubs and restaurants. In Cuernavaca many U.S.
Americans have a reputation for not remembering
to tip in bars and clubs, and as a result often receive
poor service. Hotel and airport porters should
receive about $1.50 US per bag. If you are staying
with a Mexican family, it is not appropriate to tip
them. If they have servants who have given you
extra service, you can give them a small tip, but
clear this first with your Mexican host.
MOVIES
Seeing a movie at a local theater is an
excellent way of practicing your Spanish. U.S. films
are surprisingly current and will either be dubbed
or have Spanish subtitles. To find out theater
locations and show times it is best to buy a local
newspaper such as the Diario de Morelos or La
Unión. The theaters also have websites. Good
theaters in town are the Cinemex, three locations:
Diana, next to Mega Comercial and Galerías, and
Jacarandas, Av. Cuauhnahuac, and the newest one
in Plaza Cuernavaca (VIP section). Tickets are $3
– 6, more for VIP salons. A very nice theater is the
Cinépolis in Galerías. There is even a VIP section
with reclining lounge seats and food available
through waiters. A fun experience!
change rapidly. In most cases expect to pay a cover
charge (sometimes as high as $20), and plan on
drinks being more expensive than in other places.
A national mixed drink can be up to $6, and a
local beer will cost about $3. Many Mexicans
order a bottle of rum for the table. It will come
with mixers, six glasses and ice. Be careful not to
order an imported drink such as Scotch, as costs
can be high. Also, be prepared for very late nights.
These clubs usually open their doors at 10:00 PM,
but often the music does not begin until 11:00 PM
or even midnight. They keep going until about 5:00
AM. Those needing a taxi at very late hours should
ask the doorman for help and take a radio taxi..
Shorts should not be worn, and shoes which are
not tennis shoes or sandals are a better choice. Age
18 minimum.
(Note: These are difficult to keep current, as they
open and close without much notice.)
Ta'izz - Bajada Chapultepec 13, Col. Chapultepec,
cover charge. Open Fridays and Saturdays.
Ahma – Av. San Diego 326 Local A-1, Plaza San
Diego, Vista Hermosa, Tel 315.5920
Bars (these often change)
Freedom - Avenida Plan de Ayala 501, Plaza
Cristal, Colonia Teopanzolco.
La Estación - Blvd. Benito Juárez #2, Centro,
facing Palacio de Cortés.
La Tepocata - Juárez 4, Centro, in front of
Palacio de Cortés.
NIGHT LIFE
Quieter Bars with Live Music
Villa Béjar - Avenida Domingo Diez 2350
Las Mañanitas - Ricardo Linares 107
Los Quetzales (Hotel Villa del Conquistador) Paseo de los Conquistadores 134, dancing also to
Latin music
Maximilian's - Galeana 29, Col. Acapantzingo
Clubs or Antros
Among younger people there is a routine
circuit. For example, this year Ta’izz may be the
choice for Wednesday night, and another is the in
spot for Saturday. Ask the local people, as these
Los Arcos - Jardín de los Héroes, Centro, Tel
312.1510, good music and great for people
watching, salsa dancing.
RESTAURANTS
Cuernavaca is filled with beautiful
restaurants. Some are very luxurious, and prices are
very reasonable by U.S. standards. Visiting these
restaurants makes a very enjoyable outing.
Deluxe
Las Mañanitas, Calle Ricardo Linares 107, Centro,
362.00.00, reservations usually required
World famous, exquisite gardens with
sculptures by Zúñiga, very generous main
courses. This is an absolute must go place,
but more for the location than the food or
service. If you don't want to have an
expensive dinner (entrees average $35), at
least go for a drink. M- SU 8am – 11pm
Gaia, in the shopping center where Superama is
located on Río Mayo, reservations
suggested, nice setting, well presented
food, most truly gourmet
menu in the city. M-TH 1pm – 11pm, F,
SA 1pm – 12am SU 1pm – 6pm
Gusto, newer place in town with beautiful setting
16 de Septiembre #44, Col.
Acapantzingo, tel 318.363, 318.3597,
www.gustocuernavaca.com Open every
day
Casa Hidalgo - Calle Hidalgo 6, Col. Centro,
312.2749, 312.9505, international food. A
beautifully done restaurant overlooking
Palacio de Cortés, nice bar terrace
M-TH 1:30-11pm, F-SA 1:30-12am
El Madrigal - Sonora 112, Col. Vista Hermosa,
Tel 100.77.00 In a lovely setting,
there’s even a fountain in the kitchen to
relax the staff, and service is excellent
TU – SU 12:00pm to closing
Misión del Sol - Avda. Gral. Diego Díaz González
31, Col. Parres, excellent Sunday brunch
with fresh, natural foods. Beautiful,
relaxing atmosphere in this upscale spa.
El Rincón del Bife - Av. San Diego 1001, Col.
Vista Hermosa, 315.4794, 316.4428,
lovely garden, excellent Argentine style
beef M-Sun, 8am – 11pm
Medium
Marco Polo - Calle Hidalgo 30, Centro, Tel
318.4032, facing the cathedral, a good
downtown meeting place. Very popular
with students, flavorful pizzas. Sit on the
balcony and overlook the lively street
scene.
M-TH 9am – 10:30pm, F-SA 1pm –
12pm, SUN 1 – 10pm
La India Bonita – Dwight Morrow 15, Centro,
312.50.21, oldest restaurant in
Cuernavaca, traditional Mexican food,
located in the former home of
Ambassador Dwight Morrow, and named
after the mistress of Emperor
Maximiliano. TU – SA 9am – 9pm, SUN
9am – 5pm
Casa Roma – Vicente Guerrero #17 across from
Home Depot, Tel 317.1300, excellent
fresh pastas and wood fired pizzas
Club de Golf Los Tabachines—Paseo Tabachines
s/n, 314.33.96, a lovely Sunday brunch
for $15. At the gate tell them you are
going to the restaurant.
Los Colorines – Emiliano Zapata 598, Col.
Tlaltenango, informal Mexican food
M – SU 8am – 8pm
Hostería Las Quintas - Av. Díaz Ordaz 9, Col.
Cantarranas, 318.3949 One of the nicer
garden restaurants, brunch on
weekends.
Vivaldi - Pericón 102, 318-0122 Have dinner or
a coffee and pastry to classical music.
La Tortuga Cucufata - Av. Domingo Diez 1460,
311,48,10 SU – M 9am – 10pm
Immense tacos!
Carlos ‘n Charlie's - Domingo Diez 711, 311.2065
Fun atmosphere and good ribs.
Sushi Itto - Japanese food
Río Mayo, Col. Vista Hermosa 31.0196
Sanborn's- Benito Juárez y Abasolo 313, near
Palacio de Cortés, in Plaza Cuernavaca
and Galerías. A bakery, candy shop,
good assortment of books and magazines.
VIPS - Benito Juárez 9, near Palacio de Cortés and
on Río Mayo near Superama
Log Yin - Morelos 46, Col. Acapantzingo,
312.4142 Szechuan, Mandarin and
Cantonese food
M-Th 1pm – 10pm, F, SA 1pm – 11pm,
SU x
Teely Bistrot – Plaza Laurel, Avila Camacho 274,
311.9193 Franco-mexican cuisine, great
crepes M-SA 8am-9pm
Budget
Subway - across from Zócalo downtown, Plaza
Laurel, Galerías
McDonald's - across from Zócalo downtown and
in Plaza Cuernavaca
Burger King - Plan de Ayala
The upper floors of Plaza Cuernavaca and Galerías
have food courts with a variety of good,
inexpensive food.
There are coffee shops everywhere, including
Starbucks in Galerías and on Río Mayo. A
recommended Mexican one is Italian Coffee,
located next to Superama on Río Mayo.
ever taste.
Plaza Cuernavaca - A large U.S. style semi-enclosed
mall with many U.S. American style goods. Many
shoe stores, Radio Shack, Sears and various others.
Food court is located upstairs. There is an elegant
new addition, but as of 2014 only the movie theater
is open. Shops and restaurant are being added.
SHOPPING
You will be greatly tempted by the low
prices and beautiful workmanship found in the
artesanías (handcrafts) of Mexico. To the side of the
Palacio de Cortés downtown is an open air market
with a little of everything. This is definitely a place
for bargaining.
Some shops close between 2:00 and 4:00
PM. The exceptions are Plaza Cuernavaca and
Galerías where most stay open until 9:00 PM.
Centro Las Plazas - Downtown mini mall with
camera shops and other small stores.
For finer quality artesanías
Azahares - Emiliano Zapata 810, 317.0132
Creaciones Izcalli - Hidalgo 26, Centro (below
Marco Polo) 318.8880, Mexican clothes which
can be custom made in a few days. There is a
second larger location in Vista Hermosa, Av. San
Diego 823 in the Plaza Caracol, Tel 316.1264.
This store carries Mexican top designer names of
tropical clothing.
There is a wide selection of artesanía stores in
Tepoztlán.
Books There are several book stores in Plaza Cuernavaca.
Check book sections at Sanborn's and Comercial
Mexicana.
Shopping Centers
There are the usual chain discount stores in
Cuernavaca - Costco, Sam’s Club and a Super
Walmart.
Plaza Laurel, near the school. Walk down Prado
past the former Barbazul. Turn right where the
street ends. Several blocks down is this small
shopping center. In it are located banks, a
vegetarian restaurant, Subway restaurant, Teely’s
restaurant, a flower shop, two ATMs in banks, and
a Santa Clara ice cream shop. Reward yourself for
arriving with some of the best ice cream you will
Galerías de Cuernavaca - new and elegant, with a
branch of Mexico’s largest department store, El
Puerto de Liverpool, and many luxury stores. On
Calle Diana.
Woolworth's downtown on Guerrero. Downtown
there is also another MegaComercial Mexicana on
Morelos, heading away from the Zócalo.
Music
MixUp in Plaza Cuernavaca or Galerías.
Prices for CD's made in Mexico are
reasonable, but imported music is costly. Also
check the music section of Comercial Mexicana.
Mariachi Music - Mariachi Vargas is considered the
best. Others are A. Fernández and Garibaldi.
Guitar Trios - Trío Los Panchos are the
classics.
Longtime favorites are Luis Miguel and
Alejandra Guzmán.
A sort of folk music with sometimes social
content is called canto nuevo, and leading stars are
Silvio Rodríguez, Pablo Milanés and the group
Mexicanto. Trova is similar.
A popular female singer of Mexican songs is
Lilah Downs.
Fresh Flowers - You can often buy fresh flowers
on the street or along the roadside, as the state of
Morelos is a commercial rose growing area. A
dozen long stemmed roses can be less than $3. Be
extravagant and take some home to your Mexican
mother! A more formal shop is Floristería Vista
Hermosa, Río Bravo 23, Col. Vista Hermosa,
322.4907, floristeriavistahermosa.com.mx
Newspapers - Local newspapers are the Diario de
Morelos and La Unión. The biggest Mexico City
papers are Reforma.and Universal.. The Mexico
City English newspaper is The News.
Film and Developing - Foto Alameda, Morelos
138, Centro and in Plaza Cuernavaca has one hour
developing. A nice gift for your Mexican family
is to take a picture of the whole family, have it
enlarged, and present it in a nice frame. Costco has
a photo center where you can have photos printed
from memory sticks or discs.
Public Market – The largest one is called the
Mercado López Mateos and is located
close to
downtown. A favorite part of this market is the
large flower section. It is also interesting to see
heaps of herbs used in natural medicines. There are
signs describing what they claim to heal. The meat
market is for strong stomachs only, but still
interesting. Be very alert to pickpockets and purse
snatchers in the crowded market.
SPANISH STUDY
Some tips gleaned from thirty years of observing
Spanish students:
1. Listen! Some students are so busy
talking that they never hear all the patterns that
are around them. If you listen carefully to what is
said to you and around you, you will learn "the
music" of the language, and high frequency phrases
will start rolling out automatically.
2. Keep a vocabulary notebook. For each
new situation you encounter write down key nouns
and verbs. If it's a small pocketsized notebook, you
can carry it around with you. Be sure to write the
gender of the nouns, also.
3. Practice nouns by saying them aloud
and modified with common adjectives. Example:
el problema. Hay un problema. Hay muchos problemas.
Es un problema muy serio. Este problema es muy malo.
By doing this, correctly modified adjectives and
other words will feel right to you and will come out
more spontaneously.
4. Practice verbs by conjugating them in
the most logical tense where they would normally
be used.
5. Watch a telenovela to learn conversational
phrases often used between friends, lovers and
families.
6. Memorize the words to songs. It will
help your pronunciation and provide you with great
grammar examples which you won't even have to
think about to produce.
7. Instead of trying to learn every
grammatical rule in the language concentrate on the
high frequency areas and work on mastery of them.
Then move on to the finer points.
8. Notice the way Mexicans use those
sticky grammatical areas such as ser vs. estar, and por
vs. para.
9. Be easy on yourself. Do not demand
perfection. The important thing to do is to
communicate.
With time and work that
communication becomes refined. Think of your
Spanish as a house you are building. At first it is
just a basic shelter, but with effort it becomes a
palace. Yet it has to be built stone by stone. In the
final stages you will be polishing the stones.
10. Before you are in a situation here in
Mexico, look up the key words you will need. For
example, when looking for a specific item, look up
some descriptive words about the item. Practice
ahead of the situation a "script" that you will have
in your head.
11. Don't re-invent the wheel! By talking
with your teachers and family, listen to the way they
phrase things. Copy these patterns, alter them a bit
when needed, and sing back the song.
SPORTS
AND
OTHER
ACTIVITIES
Outdoor Adventures
Rock climbing, rafting 322.6555,
01.800.728.4312,
www.mexicooutdooradventure.com
Bowling (boliche)
Spring Bowl, Domingo Diez 1042
Tennis
Cuernavaca Racquet Club, Francisco Villa
100, 311.3678
Tennis Palace, Paseo del Conquistador
903, 313.6500
Villa Internacional de Tenis, Subida a
Chalma 914, 380.0507
Horses
Centro Hípico Morelos, Carretera
Tepoztlán km. 3.5, Frac. Limoneros, Ahuatepec,
382.0368
Swimming
Temixco Aquatic Park, 325.0197,
325.0355, 10 minutes from Cuernavaca Carretera
Federal Mex.Acapulco, Km. 25, many pools and
waterslides and a wave pool
Gyms with Weights and Machines,
Aerobics (these often change)
Sport Center - Morelos N. 1230 (at the
corner of Pradera), $25 per month.
Gold’s Gym, Río Mayo 17, Col. Vista
Hermosa, www.goldsgymcuerna.com.mx,
314.4344, large heated lap pool
Golf
Club de Golf de Cuernavaca - Viveros 1,
314.0235. This is the less expensive one.
Club de Golf Tabachines - Frac. Los
Tabachines, 312.9935 The cheapest rates here
are on Tuesday, - Friday and after 1:30 on
Saturday or Sunday. Closed Mondays
Since these are private clubs you should
call ahead and expect greens fees of $35 and up on
weekdays and $60 to $160 on weekends and
holidays. Caddy fees are about $10, and golf club
rental is about $10. Golf cart rental is $25 for
two.
Go Carts
Kuernakarts, Paseo del Conquistador 77,
Col. Del Empleado, Tues – Sun, 10am – 7pm,
must be 4 or older.
Dance
Cumbia, mambo, merengue, salsa, tropical, $3
per class. Ask at school about where they may be
held.
Video Games
Recórcholis, Galerías, open every day
11am – 11pm.
Music (guitar and singing lessons)
Juan Alejandro - $12 per hour. Tel
394.2528. Classes offered anytime after 2:00 pm
seven days a week.
Concerts and Dramatic Presentations
Cuernavaca is rapidly growing in its arts
presentations. They are usually announced through
posters and in the events section of the local
newspapers. Most occur in the Jardín Borda,
Centro Cultural Universitario or the Teatro
Ocampo. Prices are always reasonable, and you
may have the luck to come across some
outstanding talent.
SUPERMARKETS
MegaComercial Mexicana – (sometimes just called
Mega) downtown, La Selva and near Galerias
Superama - on Avila Camacho near Plaza Laurel,
not far from school location. Also on Morelos
halfway between SLI and town and on Río Mayo.
All accept credit cards.
There is also a Sam's Club and Costco and if you
have a U.S. membership, you can use them here.
TELEPHONES
There is a limit for local calls, and calls over
that number are charged. It is not very high, but it
can add up if you spend a great deal of time on the
phone. Please be considerate with your family.
To call Cuernavaca from the U.S. precede
the seven digit local number with 011.52.777.
These first numbers are to make an international
call, 52 is the country code, and 777 is the area code.
To call a Cuernavaca cell phone from the U.S. –
011.52.1.777 and seven digit number. To call a cell
phone within Mexico 044.777 and seven digit
number.
To call long distance from Mexico the best way is
to buy a prepaid international phone card at the
school. It is good for 40 minutes of calls to the U.S.
and is reasonable in cost.
National calls - preceded by 01. Canada and the
U.S. - by 001. International calls to other countries
- by 00. Operator assisted international calls - by
090.
Toll free does not always mean a free call
in Mexico, and there will sometimes be charges
1. Call collect. There may be an added
charge in Mexico of about $1.00.
2. If you want to make a high volume of
calls, consider buying (as cheap as renting) a cellular
phone at MegaComercial La Selva, among others.
With it you can buy a prepaid calling card or time
and renew as needed. Recargas are available in
supermarkets and many places throughout the city.
3. If you have a Verizon (IUSA Cel) or
Sprint (Telcel) phone, it may be possible to convert
these for use in Mexico through the stores’
headquarters in Plaza Cuernavaca. You are
assigned a local cell number, and it costs about
US$.25 to receive a call. You can buy a prepaid
plan to call out. This is like a second identity for
your phone, and you will have to switch it back on
your return to the US.
TELEVISION
There is cable service in most areas,
including premium channels and an international
network. Some people have satellite dishes for a
wider program choice.
If you have access to a television while in
Mexico it can be of great help. Commercials are a
great way of observing how commands are used.
The telenovelas (soap operas popular with both sexes
in Mexico) are often in historical settings and a fun
way to learn. Unlike soaps in the U.S. they are more
like extended miniseries and have limited runs.
Usually there is at least one which is widely popular
at the time, and it's a good source for conversation
using the past tense or speculating about what will
happen in the next episode.
TIME
Cuernavaca is on Central Standard Time
and in 1996 adopted Daylight Saving Time.
TRANSPORTATION
Rental Cars - This is not recommended, as rental
cars are expensive and driving can be difficult when
the driver is not accustomed to the Mexican style
of driving and heavy traffic. If you choose to do it,
however, renting the car from the U.S. before you
come will be a much cheaper way, even up to half
the cost. Local agencies are Hertz Morelos Rent-ACar, Plan de Ayala 300, 314.3800 and Dollar, Av.
Zapata 904, 317.3791.
Taxis - They are quite abundant, cheap, and an easy
way to get around the city. All taxis are white and
will have a LIBRE sign in the front windshield if
available. There are no meters, but there is a
general understanding about acceptable fares. It is
always wise to ask ¿Cuánto cobra a .......? before
entering the taxi. Expect to pay more at night or
when it is raining. The fare is not per person, but a
fare for all who will fit in the taxi unless several
different stops are made. Drivers are not usually
tipped unless you have luggage.
You should carry peso coins and small bills with you
for taxis, as often a driver will tell you he has no
change (cambio).
Women should not ride
unaccompanied in a taxi if it is very late at night and
should not ride in the front seat with the driver.
The most secure taxi service (especially
late at night) is a Radio Taxi. Tel 311.5325 Citlalli,
with fast and reliable service anywhere in the city.
It is a good idea to write this number on the back
of your host family card. Radio taxis charge a little
more, but they can always find the address, and you
should never have any problem this way.
One of the first things you should do is to
find out which major landmark is near you and also
know the name of the colonia or neighborhood.
Learn to give directions in Spanish once you are in
the general area.
Rutas - These are minibuses which travel
throughout the city. They have numbers or names
on the front and have certain routes. Many will
pass by the downtown area. They are less than 75
cents, but be prepared for crowded conditions and
be wary of pickpockets. Young women should not
wear short shorts when using this mode of
transport. Also, you must be prepared to board and
get off quickly. Sometimes they don't make
complete stops. If you do not have the ability to
move quickly, for safety please avoid the rutas.
Buses - Many students use buses to visit nearby
towns or to take them to other parts of Mexico.
To Mexico City and directly to the airport:
Pullman de Morelos – Casino de la Selva
station near Plaza Cuernavaca. Buses for the city
leave about every 30 minutes and are 1st class. You
will end up in the Terminal del Sur (Taxqueña) in
Mexico City and can easily find a taxi to take you to
your next destination. This line also has direct
airport buses. These take one hour and 30
minutes, sometimes two hours depending on
traffic. Cost is about $15. It is best to buy your
ticket one day ahead and check the departure
schedule carefully, as it changes frequently. See the
schedule at www.pullman.com.mx. Departures
start at 4:00 am, with the last bus at 11:30 pm.
Bus Line Oro - Buses to Puebla, depart
every half hour. Bul. Cuahnáhuac Km 2.5,
320.6126
Estrella Blanca - Buses to Taxco every
hour, also buses to Acapulco and Querétaro
(Futura or Turistar buses are the best), station on
Morelos Norte 503. Tel 312.2626
Estrella de Oro - Nicest terminal and best
buses to Acapulco, and also to Taxco, Morelos Sur
900, 312.3055., www.estrelladeoro.com.mx
Estrella Roja—to Cuautla, Galeana esq.
Cuauhtemotzin, Centro, 318.5934
TRAVEL AGENCIES
If you want to change an airline ticket or
travel more in Mexico see one of these agents. If
you are thinking about traveling by bus, you might
check their air and hotel packages. Sometimes
these are cheaper than you might find on your own
and more comfortable and convenient. These are
all located downtown.
Velasco Viajes - Lerdo de Tejada #5D, Centro,
314.1626, [email protected]
Viajes Cuernavaca - Rayon 24-1 (off Morelos
near Cine Cuernavaca) 314.2949
[email protected]
Agencia Marín, Centro Las Plazas 13, downtown
314.2266, another office on Pericón,
[email protected]
American Express office
TRAVEL TO AIRPORT
At the Casino de la Selva station you can
get a Pullman de Morelos bus directly to the airport.
It makes stops at both terminals. It is wise to buy
your ticket at least a day in advance. The cost is
about $15.
Airlines now require that you check in for
an international flight three hours in advance of
your departure time. Plan on extra travel time to
Mexico City if you are going in during peak traffic.
In addition to the airport buses, the school
can also arrange a private driver who will pick you
up at your house and deliver you to the airport.
TRAVEL DOCUMENTS
To enter Mexico and return to your
departure country, you need a valid passport. It is
recommended that you renew your passport if it
will expire within six months of your departure
from Mexico.
Your arrival airline will give you a tourist
card to fill out. Most commonly these have been
handed out while in flight. When you land in
Mexico the duplicate part will be torn off and kept
by the inspector. When you depart the country you
must give back the remaining portion to customs.
It is quite important that you carefully keep this small piece
of paper. If you lose this tourist card you will have
to arrive early at the airport, go to the 2nd floor,
office #78, request special permission, and pay a
fine. This is not always easily accomplished, and it
may take a good deal of time. To prevent this
problem, make a copy of your tourist card and keep
it in a separate place from the original.
WHAT TO BRING
A washcloth (some Mexicans typically do not use
these)
Small packages of tissues (Kleenex) to carry with
you for the public bathroom, just in case...
Mosquito repellent - If rains are especially heavy,
sometimes mosquitos emerge.
Camera with extra batteries or charger
A phone or device to program for wakeups
Sunscreen and hat
Small garbage bag or paper sack for laundry
Fold up umbrella or plastic raincoat to carry
Sweatshirt, sweater or light jacket for cooler
mornings
U.S. stamps
Pack lightly! You will not need a large
amount of clothes, and you can depend on the fast
and inexpensive laundry service.
ZÓCALO
This section was needed so that the book
could be completed with a "Z"! The word zócalo
refers to the base of a statue and originated in the
capital. The statue was late in arriving, but the word
for the base became synonymous with the central
square. It is used in cities throughout Mexico and
is often used as a point of reference.
YOUR OWN NOTES
All suggestions for additions to the book are always
appreciated! Please email to [email protected]