23/02/2024

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Things To Do In Taxco

12 min read
Things To Do In Taxco

One of my favorite little gems in Mexico is the utterly charming town of Taxco. Despite being located not far from Mexico City, it’s often overlooked by travelers rushing straight to Puebla, Oaxaca, or other better-known destinations.

Taxco is usually considered a weekend trip destination from Mexico City, and on average it’s worth staying for about 2 or 3 days.

Personally, I spent 5 days in Taxco, which let me experience it to its fullest and write up this in-depth guide!

Where is Taxco?

The charming town of Taxco can be found in Guerrero state, approximately 170km west of Mexico City. It takes about 2,5 hours to reach by coach bus from Mexico City’s southern bus terminal, or about an equal amount of time if driving there yourself.

Why Visit Taxco

There are some solid reasons to visit Taxco:

  • This colonial town with narrow cobbled streets is built on several hills, giving it an unpredictable layout and making it a joy to explore. I love the central market area which is an absolute maze of little alleyways.
  • Taxco is also known as the Silver Capital of Mexico—and if you’re looking to buy some silver jewelry, this is definitely the place!
  • Almost all the taxis in Taxco are classic VW beetles, giving the street scenes a unique look.
  • It’s the home of a traditional dish called pozole. While you can try it in other places in Mexico, it’s only in Taxco that they make all three versions of this dish.
  • Finally, it’s a great base for taking trips to caves, waterfalls, and natural pools.

Is Taxco Safe?

Don’t let travel warnings for Guerrero State throw you off! 

While Guerrero state has its share of problems, Taxco remains an exception. Safety levels here are considered ‘normal’ for Mexico and similar to other popular tourist destinations. If you look at the UK’s travel advisories for Mexico, you’ll see Taxco is in the green zone on the map, as is the entire region between Taxco and the capital.

I loved my time in Taxco and felt very safe and worry-free, even when walking the streets in the evenings. It’s a small town with a great atmosphere.

You can visit Taxco as a group but it’s also suitable for a solo visit. However, it may not be particularly social, as there are few backpacker hostels in town and most tourists are domestic Mexican tourists.

Do keep in mind there are some areas of concern if you were to venture further south in Guerrero.

Getting to Taxco from Mexico City

Traveling to Taxco

If you prefer using public transportation, you can take a bus from Taxqueña (Terminal de Sur) located in the southern part of Mexico City. The journey to Taxco lasts approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes, traffic permitting, and terminates in the center of Taxco. You can book tickets using Busbud and expect a round-trip cost of about 600 pesos.

Hiring a car in Mexico City can be a good option if you prefer more flexibility. It may also work out to be more economical, especially for groups. You can use Discover Cars to find the best car rental prices.

Taxco Day Trip from Mexico City

Although it’s possible to visit Taxco on a day trip from Mexico City, the experience might feel a little rushed. It’s ideal to spend the night if possible, which is the same advice I give for visiting Puebla or Tepoztlan.

If you have limited time, then a day tour to Taxco and Cuernavaca on Viator or this similar tour on GetYourGuide will be the most convenient option. The tour includes pick-up from your accommodations, eliminating the need to travel to the Taxqueña terminal to catch a bus.

Considering the nearly 5-hour round-trip bus journey (not counting your trip to the terminal), visiting Taxco in just one day via public transport would be quite tiring. A tour will be more efficient, and you will also benefit from making a stop in Cuernavaca, which is the beautiful capital of Morelos.

Where to Stay in Taxco

Taxco offers numerous accommodation options for every budget. You can check hotels on Booking.com and find one in your price range.

Important tip: stay away from the main road, Route 95, as the traffic is very loud and goes on until deep in the night! I stayed in a hotel beside this road and had to move because of the extreme noise.

Here are two options I recommend:

Budget

Casa Pajaritos has private hotel rooms, a dorm, as well as Airbnb-style studio rooms with kitchenettes. I stayed here for 4 nights and highly recommend it! It’s on a quiet street and the owner is super friendly and helpful.

Luxury

Hotel Posada de la Misión. A stunning yet reasonably priced boutique hotel that I also experienced first-hand. Amazing pool with gorgeous views of Taxco, plus it’s on the site of an ancient indigenous cave which the hotel discovered by chance (the staff can give you a tour). Alternatively, stay at Hotel Cielito Lindo or the impressive Hotel Montetaxco.

How Long to Spend in Taxco

Taxco is a popular weekend trip from Mexico City, and I think this is an ideal choice for many travelers. Leaving Mexico City in the early morning and returning the next day late evening gives you approximately two full days to explore and enjoy Taxco.

The town does get much busier from Friday til Sunday, with more crowds and more souvenir sellers on the streets. Visit during the week if you want to have the place practically to yourself.

2 days are enough for seeing the sights and soaking up the atmosphere, at least if you limit yourself to the town itself.

3 or even 4 days will let you also take trips nearby, such as to the Pozas Azules (natural pools), the Mil Cascadas (the 1000 waterfalls), or the Cacahuamilpa caves. All of these are within 30 or 40 minutes from Taxco.

The 20 Top Things to Do in Taxco

See the Santa Prisca Church

The Santa Prisca Church is an iconic landmark in Taxco, featuring a magnificent Baroque-style design. Built in the 18th century by a wealthy mine owner, it is considered one of the most beautiful churches in Mexico.

You can admire the church from the main square, the Zocalo. For a better view, grab lunch at the Restaurante Bar Pizza Acerto, which has huge full-length windows with direct views of the church (pictured at the beginning of this article).

Wander the Alleys and Backstreets

It’s a joy to get lost in Taxco’s charming backstreets and explore the beautiful white houses, adorned with colorful flowers and balconies. A leisurely stroll will offer a glimpse of local life and a picturesque scenery reminiscent of a Mediterranean town.

Get Lost in the Local Market

The market in Taxco is a confusing warren of alleys and small roofed plazas that are super fun to explore. I have a pretty good sense of direction, but I’ll be honest: I kept getting utterly lost and discovering all-new ways to lose my bearings.

You can find almost anything at the market, but it’s the food that will surely catch your interest the most. You can find everything from empanadas, tamales, and quesadillas, to local sweets and beverages. If you’re into street food, take a seat at one of the food stalls and point at anything that smells good!

Shop for Silver

Taxco is famous for its silver, and shopping for beautiful silver jewelry and goods is a must. With a long history of silver mining and craftsmanship, you will find a wide range of traditional and quirky pieces to suit any taste, often at good prices.

You can identify high-quality silver by the “925” mark. You’ll find some high-end luxury silver shops near the main square, while the silver market inside Mercado Tetitlán offers more budget-friendly jewelry.

Experience the Silver Workshops

Taxco is also home to numerous silver workshops, where skilled craftsmen create jewelry, tableware, and decorative pieces.

Visiting a traditional silver workshop is a great way to see firsthand the craftsmanship that goes into producing these items. Some workshops even offer silver-making classes if you’re interested in learning a bit about the craft for yourself.

The most notable workshop is at the Spratling Ranch, the longtime home of American entrepreneur William Spratling, who put the town on the map in the 1920s. This tour also includes a visit to a silver workshop in Taxco.

Swim at Pozas Azules de Atzala

Pozas Azules de Atzala is a series of naturally occurring waterfalls and pools in the forest, located about a 40-minute drive from Taxco. It is the easiest trip you can do independently (without a tour) from Taxco.

The vibrant blue waters of the pools stand out against the lush green surroundings, making it a perfect spot for a swim. Do keep in mind the mountain water is usually very cold!

You can either negotiate a reasonable rate with a local taxi driver or take a colectivo on the main road in front of the store named ‘Coppel Plateros’ (map location).

Opening hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM. Entry fee: 100 pesos per person.

Mina Prehispánica de Taxco

A surprising discovery was made during renovations at the Hotel Posada de la Mision, where construction workers stumbled upon an ancient mine located beneath the hotel.

This small mine was used by the indigenous prehispanic people and is filled with gold and silver. Because it’s a protected monument, the hotel can’t mine it (despite it being worth a fortune!), but instead they run tours into the mine.

The tour takes about 30 to 40 minutes and is in Spanish, during which they explain the history and the indigenous methods of extracting valuable minerals. It also includes a photo opportunity at the deepest end of the cave and a free cocktail at the hotel bar. You can get tickets at the reception of Hotel Posada de la Mision (map location).

Take a Trip to Las Granadas Mil Cascadas

This epic series of cascading waterfalls and turquoise pools surrounded by lush vegetation makes for an amazing day trip from Taxco.

Mil Cascadas provides various options for adventurers, including hiking along trails, jumping into the pools, and rappelling down the waterfalls.

To reach Mil Cascadas, you need to drive around 30 minutes from Taxco. Although the trip can be done independently, many tourists opt for a guided tour. Guided tours will provide transportation, safety equipment, and expert knowledge of the site.

Journey up to El Cristo Panoramico

Make your way to the El Cristo Panoramico statue for amazing hillside views of the city. Whether you hike up or take a taxi, this spot offers a great perspective of Taxco and is well worth the effort.

Ride the Cable Car

Another way to experience the incredible views of Taxco is by taking a ride on the cable car. The cable car’s bright yellow cars take you on a short but scenic ride from a central boarding point up to the top of the hill. The mirador (viewing point) is located near the Montetaxco Hotel.

Indulge at Hotel Montetaxco

Hotel Montetaxco is in a stunning location with excellent views of Taxco (see location on map). It’s pricey but a good place to enjoy a cocktail or two after riding up the cable car.

If you want the full luxury experience, consider staying the night and making use of the hotel’s amazing facilities, including a swimming pool, golf course, tennis court, steam room, and gym.

Take a Ride in a VW Beetle

You’ll notice many of the cars in Taxco are classic Volkswagen Beetles, a peculiar sight if you’re from other countries where this model has almost completely disappeared.

The VW beetle was a huge hit in Mexico from the 1960s up to the 1990s, with Volkswagen constructing a huge factory in Puebla to meet the demand. In Taxco, they still serve as the main taxi vehicle, so if you’ve wanted to drive around in a classic vehicle, here’s your chance!

They are admittedly somewhat noisy and pollute the narrow streets, but they also add to the unique street life in Taxco.

Experience the Berta Cocktail

Taxca has its own signature cocktail: the Berta. It’s made with lime, honey, and tequila. While the drink might not be for everyone, it’s an interesting taste of local culture.

A convenient place to try it is at Bar Berta on the main square. This establishment is known as the oldest bar in Taxco and boasts great views of the Zocalo area.

Spelunk in the Grutas de Cacahuamilpa

The Grutas de Cacahuamilpa National Park is another great day trip you can take from Taxco. Covering an area of 2,700 hectares, this park is home to one of the world’s most extensive cave systems.

Cacahuamilpa caves in Mexico

You can take guided tours of the caves, which showcase impressive subterranean chambers adorned with stalactites and stalagmites. The Grutas of Carlos Pacheco is a smaller cave system within the park, but still worth exploring for its distinct features and formations.

There are several tours available that combine a visit to the Grutas de Cacahuamilpa with a stop in Taxco. Consider this tour on GetYourGuide or this tour on Viator.

Try Pozole at the Pozolerias

A must-try dish in Taxco is Pozole, a hearty and spicy soup that has its origins in pre-Hispanic Mexico. This dish is made with hominy corn, meat (usually pork), and a variety of seasonings and spices.

Pozolerias are specialized eateries that serve this delicious dish, and you can find them throughout Taxco. I went to Pozoleria Tía Calla on the main square, a basement eatery with a very local vibe. Pozole Blanco is available every day of the week, and the red and green varieties are available on Thursdays.

Get Your Craft Coffee at Bálsamo Café

Not being a morning person, I often find myself craving a great specialty coffee to start my day. At Bálsamo Café they serve some excellent Mexican roasts, as well as crepes and other breakfast options. The views are also amazing!

Visit the William Spratling Museum

Named after the American silversmith William Spratling, who opened a silver shop in Taxco in the 1930s, this museum holds a collection of indigenous artifacts and some impressive silver jewelry.

It’s a small museum and not necessarily a must-see, but it’s worth stopping by when you’re wandering through Taxco. You’ll learn a bit more about the town’s history, which enjoyed a huge economic revival thanks to Spratling’s work, and see some unique silver jewelry designs.

Visit the Museum of Religious Art

Another museum you may want to pop by is the Museum of Religious Art, which has a small collection of religious art and artifacts, spanning several centuries and reflecting the rich cultural heritage of Mexico.

It’s housed in one of the oldest colonial buildings in Taxco. One of the highlights of the Museum of Religious Art is its collection of silver artifacts, reflecting Taxco’s long-standing reputation as an important silver-mining center.

Indulge in Ice Cream at Tepoznieves

Satisfy your sweet tooth with a tasty ice cream from Tepoznieves, a local favorite offering a wide variety of flavors and a delightful ambiance.

Cultural Festivals

Finally, while I did not have a chance to attend myself, in the interest of completion I should mention some of the cultural festivals in Taxco.

One of the most famous festivals in Taxco is the Semana Santa, or Holy Week, which occurs during the week leading up to Easter. This celebration features processions, theatrical reenactments, and traditional ceremonies that offer a glimpse into the town’s deeply rooted religious connections.

Another notable event in Taxco is the Feria Nacional de la Plata, the National Silver Fair, held annually in November. As Taxco is renowned for its silver production, this festival showcases the craftsmanship and creativity of local artisans. The fair includes various cultural activities, such as live music, dances, and exhibitions, with local silversmiths displaying their works of art.

In addition to these major festivals, Taxco hosts various events throughout the year that celebrate other aspects of its culture, such as music, art, and food.


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Posted NOV 22, 2023

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