Cuernavaca is the capital of the state of Morelos. It’s warm year-round, earning it the nickname “City of Eternal Spring”. The name comes from a description by geographer Alexander von Humboldt in the 19th century. I actually spent my Christmas holiday there three years ago and found that unlike Mexico City, where there are some days you don’t need a jacket at all and some where there’s a wintery chill all day long, Cuernavaca has the kind of climate where you can hang out at the pool all day or in short sleeves. The average temperature in December is between 12 and 26ºC. But despite this stark difference in climate, Cuernavaca is only about an hour’s drive from Mexico City. So there are a lot of people who leave chilly Mexico City to spend their long holidays or weekends there. It’s always been a popular destination for Mexicans, and though I’m not sure about Europeans and Americans, I get the sense that it doesn’t get a lot of visitors from Asia.
Because it’s a resort town, there are tons of hotels there. You can stay in a place with nice facilities for around 10,000 yen a night, and since most of them have pools, you can really relax and unwind. When I went, I stayed at a hotel called the Hotel Racquet Cuernavaca, located in an old hacienda built in the 1940s. The newer hotels are nice too, but I loved the elegant vibe of that place, since it gave you a real sense of Mexican history.
Hotel Racquet Cuernavaca
The hotel has tons of tennis courts, and apparently a lot of people go there for the tennis. There’s also an outdoor pool surrounded with greenery.
Strangely, Cuernavaca also has a Japanese-style hotel run by the famous Camino Real hotel chain called the Camino Real Sumiya Cuernavaca. I popped in to check it out, and it was clearly a Japanese building that looked incredibly tranquil at first glance. It’s a place I’d love to stay sometime if I get the chance.
Camino Real Sumiya
Cuernavaca is an adorable little city that’s safe and easy to walk around in.
Cuernavaca street scene
The city is also home to a World Heritage Site called Catedral de Cuernavaca. Built in 1529 by Hernán Cortés, it is one of the oldest churches on the American continents. It features a mural commemorating 26 missionaries, including a Mexican, who were killed during the persecution of Christians in Nagasaki under Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
Catedral de Cuernavaca
A place I personally enjoyed was the Museo Robert Brady. Robert Brady was a painter from Iowa, and the museum is located in the estate where he actually lived. There you can see pieces of art that he collected from all over the world, but it’s fun just to walk around looking at all the rooms—each of which is decorated in a completely different style.
Museo Robert Brady
The building also has a unique exterior, but every room is so charming that you wonder how anyone could even think to make them that way.
Cuernavaca is so close to Mexico City that you can make a daytrip out of it, and yet Japanese people seldom seem to visit it. Still, I think it’s a wonderful place where you can take it easy—especially since it’s warm during the winter.