On this trip we set out to explore Guerrero’s only Magical Town. We were first attracted by its traditional silversmithing, although we knew that it offered much more than just that: Taxco was one of the Spanish Viceroyalty’s most prosperous mining cities and so conserves interesting architectural jewels; its narrow cobbled streets were witness to many notable personalities such as explorer Alexander Von Humboldt, dramatist Juan Ruiz de Alarcon, and collector William Spratling.
Guerrero, a town with an important mining tradition, owes its charm to its sloping streets, churches, squares and of course, its shops and stalls selling silver jewelry. We invite you to explore its sloping, cobbled alleyways that open out into picturesque squares; and try the delicious “jumiles” (insects with a subtle cinnamon flavor) served with hot tortillas; admire the interiors of the Parroquia de Santa Prisca (Saint Prisca Parish Church); to take a panoramic cable car ride; and to visit the imposing, nearby Grutas de Cacahuamilpa (Cacahuamilpa Caves).
- Calmly enjoying the interior of the Santa Prisca y San Sebastian Parrish Church.
- Taking photos from at least one panoramic viewpoint over town whether it be the cable car, the Cristo Monumental, or any other nearby hill.
- Taking a look at the small but interesting collection at the William Spratling Museum.
- Shopping for knickknacks at the silver market (Saturday morning).
- The San Antonio Abad (Saint Anthony) Fiesta in which priests bless domesticated animals in the atrium of the Santa Prisca y San Sebastian Parrish Church on January 17th.
- The cultural events during Jornadas Alarconianas (Alarconian Days) in May.
- Processions and events during Holy Week.
- The National Silver Fair at the end of November and beginning of December.
If you want to know more about Taxco’s silversmith tradition, we recommend that you visit the William Spratling museum, which was named in honor of the American who founded the town’s first silver jewelry workshop. You will find an extensive collection of silver articles, as well as an interesting exhibition on prehispanic art. The popular Feria del Jumil (Jumil Fair) takes place in November. If you want to spend the night in Taxco, you can do so in any of the colonial mansions in the center, or in the luxury boutique hotels.
Where to Eat:
Del Angel Inn
Celso Muñoz 4, Col. Altos
Tel. (762) 622 5525
(Mexican and international cooking)
Plazuela de los Gallos 2, Centro
Tel. (762) 622 3096
(Bakery and Mexican cooking)
Inside Hotel Pueblo Lindo
Miguel Hidalgo 30, Centro
Tel. (762) 622 3481
Camino a Tetipac s/n, Col. de Landa
Tel. (762) 624 3102
Where to Stay:
Pueblo Lindo ****
Miguel Hidalgo 30, Centro
Tel. (762) 622 3481
Monte Taxco *****
Fraccionamiento Lomas de Taxco s/n
(Near the beginning of town when coming from Cuernavaca)
Tel. (762) 622 1300 / (55) 5523 6902
Agua Escondida ****
Plaza Borda 4, Centro
Tel. (762) 622 1166
Office of Tourist Information:
Av. de los Plateros 1, Centro de Convenciones
Tel. (762) 622 2274
Perhaps the best way to discover Taxco is by taking a ride in its cable car, which provides a panoramic view of this Guerrero town. At more than 200 meters high, this is the ideal way to see the town in all its splendor. Once you come back down, don’t hesitate to go out and explore its streets, enter its shops and visit its squares. An essential visit is to the Parroquia de Santa Prisca (Saint Prisca Parish Church), the symbol of the town. Don’t forget to wash them down with a “berta”, the local refreshing drink prepared with tequila, honey, lime, mineral water and ice.
6:00 p.m. Sunset up high
Our weekend began up in the skies. As soon as we got to Taxco we headed to the cable car station, which travels almost 200 meters up to Hotel Monte Taxco. From the cabin we took our first photos of the town; the elegant silhouettes of the Santa Prisca y San Sebastian (Saint Prisca and Saint Sebastian) Parrish Church rising from downtown Taxco and the surrounding green mountains made for a postcard-perfect scene.
Once up on the mountain, we sat to watch the sunset: the town’s lights came on one by one and in spite of it being Friday, the evening calm was perfect. We decided to stick around and have dinner at the hotel’s restaurant: they specialize in exception regional plates such as Guerrero-style pozole (a traditional pre-Columbian stew) and shrimp- and mushroom-stuffed fish.
9:00 a.m. Morning among the silversmiths
Located on the top floor of the highly recommended Hotel Pueblo Lindo, which makes great use of a peaceful manor house in the heart of town, we ate an early breakfast at Restaurante Los Vikingos. Enjoying an unsurpassed view from the terrace we had coffee and tried some of the delicious homemade bread: the most famous is called vikingo (Viking) and is filled with blackberries and cheese. If you prefer a more hearty breakfast order the place’s specialty, huevos Chapultepec (‘Chapultepec eggs’): fried eggs in green salsa, cheese, and cream all served over a sope (a type of thick tortilla).
Saturday is silver-market day in Taxco, so a good option is to spend the morning exploring the stands and shops on La Avenida de los Plateros. Go fearlessly exploring the streets that run perpendicular to the same: you’ll find enormous galleries with dozens of stalls. The artisans themselves are often the ones selling the silver so prices are unbeatable and calculated by the gram. Most of it is jewelry, though you’ll often find other trinkets such as Disney characters worked in silver or tiny soccer balls for all the different Mexican soccer teams.
12:00 noon. A little bit of art at noon
Having purchased silver earrings as gifts for friends we headed towards the interesting William Spratling Museum. Bearing the name of the American that founded the first silver jewelry shop in Taxco in 1931, the museum features Spratling’s collection of pre-Hispanic art and is worth checking out; although some pieces are of doubtful origin and others are clearly copies, all are esthetically valuable. Among other peculiar objects are salamander-shaped pendants, small figures depicting acrobats, characters from phallic cults, and a two-headed badger. The lower floor shows silverwork designed by Spratling himself.
Later on we finally had the chance to enter the Santa Prisca y San Sebastian Parrish Church. Built in 1758, it features pink quarry stone and the contributions of Don Jose de la Borda, a prominent miner from France. It’s one of Mexico’s most spectacular baroque churches and not just because of its facade and high towers: the grace of its interior, its twelve gilded cedar altarpieces, and its monumental Spanish organ – brought over from Veracruz by donkey – all set the church apart. It also features magnificent works from painter Miguel Cabrera both on the main nave’s altarpieces as well as in the sacristy and chapter house. These works depict a pregnant Virgin Mary, scenes from the life of Jesus, and scenes from the lives of the church’s patron saints, martyrs Saint Prisca and Saint Sebastian.
3:00 p.m. Time for lunch
Among our many downtown options we chose Restaurante Del Angel Inn, located a half-block away from the zocalo (Plaza Borda). There we had tortilla soup and Guerrero-style cecina (Mexican-style cured meat) without ever leaving the increasingly boisterous town behind.
5:00 p.m. An afternoon of labyrinthine adventures
We left the Santa Prisca y San Sebastian Parrish Church amazed, convinced that the trip would have been worth it even if the church were Taxco’s sole attraction. It was then that we decided to catch a taxi from the zocalo up to the Cristo Monumental (‘Monumental Christ’) on one of the town’s tallest nearby mountains. We didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into! In Taxco there are streets that are so narrow that the car’s side-view mirrors almost scratch the walls of houses on both sides – and they’re not even one-way! After ‘a maximum adrenaline, semi-urban rollercoaster ride,’ we got to a small clearing over which Christ stood. From there we all took a deep breath and enjoyed a marvelous view over Taxco and its surroundings.
8:00 p.m. The night is long
Saturday night is for partying in Taxco ‘because everybody does out and spends what they made at the silver markets,’ as locals say. At the zocalo you’ll find Mariachi bands; the nearby pizzerias and cafes fill up with visitors. For those who prefer a more alternative nightlife, there are also a couple of bohemians bars in the area: a small cantina-style spot called Bar Berta features the Bar Berta house special prepared with tequila, honey, lime juice, and Yoli soda; for those who like to move there’s Amnesia, a club featuring electronic and pop music inside Plazuela de San Juan.
We spent the night at Hotel Pueblo Lindo. It’s highly recommended for its location (three blocks from Plaza Borda), the view from its terraces, and the inviting central pool.
10:00 a.m. A busy Sunday morning
Even though Taxco isn’t very big, we still had a lot of options for Sunday. Museum-lovers can visit the small though pleasant Colonial-Era Art Museum (Museo de Arte Virreinal). Housed at the stately Casa Humboldt, an 18th-century building decked out with Mudejar-style ajaracas (ornamental patterns on walls using protruding bricks), in 1803 the building played host to the famous German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt during his travels throughout the Americas. Here, the elderly guides offer enjoyable twenty-minute tours. If she’s available, ask for the always-smiling Doña Naty. She’ll give you an enthusiastic explanation of Casa Humboldt’s 18th-century paintings, religious objects, and daily-use objects such as censers, tabernacles, and a press for producing communion wafers.
Afterwards you can head to the Cacahuamilpa Caves located 31 kilometers northeast of the city using Highway 55. Its enormous subterranean passageways and fantastic rock formations are part of a national park with abundant flora and fauna. You can also stay in Taxco a bit longer and explore the countless silver boutiques throughout town; you can visit the house where it is said that the dramatist Juan Ruiz de Alarcon was born, or visit other famous religious buildings; such as the Santa Veracruz Church, which has a splendid atrium whose floor is decorated with small colored rocks.
2:00 p.m. Just a taste
Before making the trip back home, take a seat at any of the restaurants with a view of the Santa Prisca y San Sebastian Parrish Church including Restaurante La Parroquia. You can also head over to La Presa, a spot preferred by the locals for enjoying ‘Guerrero’s best pancita’ (a traditional Mexican tripe soup) on the road to Tetipac.
- Careful! Driving through town is risky for your vehicle, stressful for the driver, and terrifying for copilots so if arriving by car, park it somewhere as soon as possible.
- When at the Santa Prisca y San Sebastian Parrish Church look for famous painter Miguel Cabrera’s signature. You can clearly spot it in many of the paintings in the chapter house.