Known as the “City of the Eternal Spring” due to its beauty and mild climate, Cuernavaca is a city in Morelos. It is just an hour and a half south of Mexico City. Visitors to the city can enjoy numerous excellent restaurants and markets. Three of the most important tourist attractions are the Palace of Cortés, the Morelos and Juarez Gardens, and the Robert Brady Museum. In addition to these sites, you may also want to consider Cuernavaca as an excellent place to study Spanish.
Palace of Cortés
Mexico’s largest non-religious building, this fortress-like Palace was built by Hernan Cortes in 1533. It served as his and his descendents residence for centuries. Then it fell into common use. The building, restored in the early 1970’s, now houses the Museo Regional Cuauhnahuac, a major museum. Ironically, since the entire history of Mexico and the State of Morelos is represented, many of the 19 rooms of this colonial building are dedicated to pre-Columbian artifacts and stone carvings. Diego Rivera murals, on a second floor balcony, are the most popular exhibits. Just outside of the museum is a permanent handicraft market where shoppers can lose themselves beneath a maze of tents.
Morelos and Juarez Gardens
The Morelos and Juarez gardens are two different gardens at the center of the city. Trees line the plazas in each. In between them stands the three-story State Government Palace. A statue of the hero of the revolution and namesake of the one of the gardens, José Maria Morelos, stands prominently at its center. Gustave Eiffel, of Eiffel Tower fame, designed the kiosk that is in one corner of Juarez Garden, the oldest public square in Cuernavaca. In the evenings, tourists and locals pack the park, and vendors sell balloons, trinkets and food to them. Singers, dancers and clowns entertain the crowds.
Robert Brady Museum
American expatriate and artist, Robert Brady gave his home as a museum to the city of Cuernavaca when he died in 1986. The home itself is part of what was once a friary. The museum contains artifacts from pre-Columbian Mexico as well as other artifacts from around the world. Works by 20th-century artists such as Marsden Hartley, Max Beckam, Frieda Kahlo, Miguel Covarrubias, Maurice Prendergast and Graham Sutherland hang on the walls. Fine pieces of furniture from the colonial period are throughout the house. Moving through the museum feels as if you have stepped into the home of a living person. It is an interesting and somewhat eccentric concept.
Spanish Language Schools
Cuernavaca is famous for its Spanish language schools. Families, businesspeople, students and scholars from all over the world come for a program that usually includes a home stay with a Cuernavaca family and intensive studies during the school week. Weekend excursions to nearby sites are also included.
Not only does the city itself, but also the surrounding area contains much to do. A number of important archaeological sites, such as Teotihuacan, and a natural spring, Las Estacas, are all within easy driving distance of Cuernavaca.