Cuernavaca, Mexico – City Guide for Nomads and Expats

Updated in 2022.

Cuernavaca is the capital and largest city in Morelos, and is located about a 1 hour and 30 minute drive south of D.F.

A lot of foreign students study here. Made famous to the English-speaking world through Malcolm Lowry’s novel “Under the Volcano.” Cuernavaca is a city located in the state of Morelos, in central Mexico. It is known for its warm climate and has been a popular destination for tourists and travelers for many years. The weather is perfect and the people are welcoming.

Is it worth a trip? Let’s find out!


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One of the top things to do in Cuernavaca is to visit the Palace of Cortés, a stunning 16th-century building that was once the home of Hernán Cortés, the Spanish conquistador. Today, the palace houses a museum that features a collection of historical artifacts, paintings, and other items that provide insight into the city’s past. Another must-see attraction is the Robert Brady Museum, which showcases a variety of pre-Columbian art and artifacts, as well as modern Mexican art. Cuernavaca has a wealth of historic landmarks and museums to visit, such the Museo de las Culturas de Morelos. The city is also known for its beautiful gardens, such as the Jardín Borda and the Jardín Juárez. Be sure to visit the bustling Mercado de Artesanía de Cuernavaca for a taste of the local flavor, as well as the opportunity to purchase handmade crafts and souvenirs.

In addition to its museums and cultural attractions, Cuernavaca is also known for its beautiful natural surroundings. The Jardín Borda is a tranquil botanical garden that is perfect for a leisurely stroll, and the nearby Parque Nacional Lagunas de Zempoala offers opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, and other outdoor activities. Definitely take a day trip to Tepoztlán.



The history of Cuernavaca goes back to the pre-Columbian era, when the area was inhabited by the Tlahuica people. In the 15th century, the Aztecs conquered the region and established the city of Cuernavaca. After the Spanish arrived in the 16th century, they established a number of churches and other buildings in the city, including the Palace of Cortés, which was built by Hernán Cortés, the Spanish conquistador. Cuernavaca has continued to grow and develop over the centuries, and today it is a vibrant and diverse city with a rich history and culture.



It is known for its warm climate and rich culture, which has been influenced by a variety of factors including its indigenous heritage, Spanish colonial history, and modern Mexican culture. The city is home to a number of museums and cultural institutions, including the Robert Brady Museum, which features a collection of pre-Columbian art, and the Jardín Borda, a beautiful botanical garden that was once a summer retreat for Mexico’s wealthy elite. Cuernavaca also has a vibrant music and arts scene, with a number of festivals and events throughout the year. Additionally, the city is known for its delicious cuisine, which includes a variety of dishes influenced by indigenous, Spanish, and Mexican traditions.



Cuernavaca is known as a pretty rich town. A lot of rich people with business in Mexico City live in this area. Despite recent news of pesky drug cartels battling for territory, Cuernavaca still remains safe for tourists. Still, best to stay out of any sketchy looking areas, most of which are a good distance from the centre. Standard precautionary measures will suffice.



$400.00 will do you just fine for a 1 bedroom apartment near the centre of Cuernavaca.



The best area of Cuernavaca is right in the center. It’s close to everything you’ll need, very walkable, and you can easily see all the sights. You’ll see there are 4 parks that create a ring around the center. Try to find an Airbnb or hotel somewhere in the middle. The most central location is between Centro Cultural Jardín Borda and Plaza de Armas. From here you’ll be close to all the museums, historic places, theatres, and culture. 

Map of Cuernavaca Centro
Map of Cuernavaca Centro




Decent bar/club infrastructure to satisfy weekend-warriors flooding in from Mexico City. Many located on Plazuela del Zacate Street (around the zocalo). Most bars/clubs in Cuernavaca are packed full of beautiful women from both Cuernavaca and Mexico City’s more affluent citizens. Nightlife in Cuernavaca will run you about $7 cover and an excruciatingly long wait if you happen to be male. If cover charges and sexist bouncers aren’t your thing, there are enough low-key options to wet your beak.

I recommend: Bora BarCan feel a bit exclusivo if you’re not in the hip crowd, but still fun.



The following data is from Expatistan, a crowdsourced database of prices and cost of living around the world. In our experience, the data tends to underestimate cost of living, so take the following as the minimum you might need to live here.

*Figures are listed in USD

You’ll need a minimum of $863 USD/month to live in Cuernavaca, Mexico



It’s easy to get to Cuernavaca from Mexico City. There are buses traveling this route every day. Taxco is a 2 hour drive away.  Puebla is a 2.5 hour drive away.



A good place for both long and short-term stays. The city is aesthetically pleasing, safe, and only an hour or so bus ride from Mexico City in case you get bored…which you eventually will unless you are studying or working full-time.


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If you enjoyed this city guide, check out another one of our 100+ city guides to nearly every city in Latin America!