Taxco, Mexico Travel Guide
I visited Mexico for the first time in late fall. After attending a retreat for healers in Mexico City to advance my studies as an intuitive healer, my plan was to stay in the city for an extra week. But my teachers, Mexicans proud of their country, encouraged me to travel around, listing the names of "pueblos magicos," towns highlighted for tourism by the Mexican government for their "magical" qualities. When I looked up Taxco de Alarcon, I thought it was so pretty I had to go.
Taxco is a 500-year-old colonial town in the state of Guerrero. A hidden gem for international tourists, it is more than 5700 feet above sea level in the mountains. Once a prominent silver mining town, now it's known for silver craft, having exhausted its supply. The winding cobblestone roads and well-preserved historic architecture make this traditional Mexican town the perfect day trip, although, you might want to stay the night to take in Taxco at a leisurely pace.
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How to Get to Taxco
Taxco is 100 miles (160 km) southwest of Mexico City. If you're coming from CDMX, I recommend taking a bus from one of the luxury bus lines. Each way takes around 3 to 3.5 hours. Tickets can be booked in advance online with a bus service such as Estrella de Oro and Costaline, or you can simply show up at Mexico City's south bus terminal, also known as Terminal Taxqueña, and buy the next available ticket to Taxco from one of the counters. It costs something like $12-$14 USD each way.
In general, these luxury bus lines are a great way to travel to different cities and towns in Mexico. They put our buses in Canada to shame, offering water, luggage check-in, and movies playing during the ride.
If you've rented a car in Mexico, be careful driving in Taxco, especially high up the steep mountains. Personally, I would never want to drive here. The roads are narrow, winding, and irregular. If you're not comfortable driving here, you can always park the car near your hotel and take taxis around town as needed, although most places can be explored by foot.
Ubers don't operate within Taxco, but if you're in a town nearby, you can probably catch an Uber that will take you to Taxco as long as Uber is in operation there. In Taxco, you'll find cute white Volkswagen Beetle taxis, which shouldn't be that expensive. If you want to get an estimate of what taxi rides should cost to certain destinations, ask your hotel concierge. As for public transit, I've seen locals take small shuttle buses but I don't know how to access that network.
If you're coming from somewhere farther in Mexico, Cuernavaca Airport is the closest airport to Taxco, and a taxi or bus can take you into town.
Practical Travel Information
- Keep some pesos on you for cab fare, street food, and tipping hotel staff.
- The weather in Taxco is generally sunny and warm. I was there in late November 2021, and it was around 20°C. I kept a sweater on me because can get a little chilly in the mornings and evenings, but it wasn't needed during the day.
- If you want to practice your Spanish, Taxco is perfect. There's less foreign tourism here so English is not as widely spoken. Even at my hotel, only one staff member spoke English and she wasn't there most of the time. If you don't speak Spanish, use a translation app or keep a phrasebook handy.
- Even though my hotel was on top of a mountain, the wifi was more or less stable. My phone data, on the other hand, did not work this whole trip even though I tried to sort it out with tech support. I recommend downloading a Google map of Taxco on your phone with important spots bookmarked in case you run into Internet issues.
Check out my Mexico City Travel Guide for general travel tips for Mexico.
How Long to Stay in Taxco?
A day trip here is doable, although you'll have to leave early in the day to factor in travel times. I don't think you need to stay in Taxco for more than one night/two days to explore the town. There are not that many tourist attractions and activities. However, if you want to relax and unwind, it's a good town for slow travel. There are plenty of cafes, restaurants, and bars to lounge in.
Is Taxco Safe?
I hear there is crime in other parts of Guerrero, but inside Taxco's city center feels safe to me. Just exercise general street smarts. Don't wander into secluded roads or alleyways, especially at night.
The major safety issue in Taxco seems to be the narrow streets, which force cars to drive too close to pedestrians.
Covid Restrictions in Taxco
I visited during a time when Covid cases were low here (late November 2021), but many locals were wearing masks, both inside and outside. While there were no vaccine mandates, certain activities were closed at the time due to Covid, such as the cable cars to and from the Montetaxco Hotel. For the latest on Covid restrictions and protocols, read recent travel reviews for where you plan to visit; check with your hotel, airline, and other reliable and up-to-date travel sources.
Staying in the Montetaxco Hotel & Resort
The Montetaxco Hotel & Resort has the best views of Taxco, which is why I stayed there. Amazing mountain views are available from each room. Even though it's supposed to be a four-star hotel, I would say the rooms are three stars at best since they're a little dated and nothing fancy. The hotel has a pool, spa services, laundry service, a couple of bars, and a restaurant called El Taxqueño. I believe their tennis courts are still under construction.
Stay here if you want to relax and enjoy the cityscape. Since the hotel is on top of the mountain, it's very safe, but there's not much going on outside of the hotel. The center of town is a good drive down and I would not recommend walking down, especially at night, since it's not only very secluded in some parts but also quite steep, with slippery cobblestone on unpredictable streets. It's a long way down by foot.
If you prefer to be closer to the action, stay in a hotel or Airbnbs in the town center. I would probably stay in Hotel Los Arcos if I visit again. For solo travelers looking to meet other travelers, there are hostels in Taxco.
The Best Restaurants in Taxco
The local specialty in Taxco is Pozole. Also try enchiladas, chilaquiles, cecinas and tostadas. Taxco has a signature cocktail called “Berta," which contains tequila, lime, and honey. You won't find any foreign chains such as Starbucks here. From what I can tell, it's all local businesses.
Even if you're not staying in the Montetaxco Hotel, it's worth the trip up to eat at the El Taxqueño hotel restaurant to sit on the balcony overlooking the mountains and rolling hills of Taxco.
Here are some more popular restaurants, cafes, and bars in town to check out:
- Rosa Mexicana — Gourmet Mexican food with panoramic views of Taxco.
- Casa Spratling — Historical house and restaurant.
- Santo Café — Sandwiches, crepes, cocktails, and frappés.
- Del Angel Inn — Restaurant restaurant with pre-Hispanic delicacies and local recipes.
- La Hacienda — Mexican fusion restaurant.
- Tepoznieves — Mexican-style ice cream
- Bar Berta — Quirky bar founded in 1930.
You'll also find plenty of street food around town & food stalls in the market.
Things to Do in Taxco
Taxco is best experienced at a leisurely pace, getting lost in the idyllic side streets, marveling at the architecture, and sipping a cocktail or two on rooftop bars. If you want to be more active, try:
If you're not already staying at the Montetaxco Hotel, you can take a cable car up to enjoy the panoramic views of the town. When I visited, the cable cars were temporarily closed due to Covid, and they might still be closed now.
Alternatively, you can hike or take a taxi up to El Cristo Panorámico for a similar view of Taxco.
Santa Prisca Church and Zócalo
The 18th-century Santa Prisca Church is the crown jewel of Taxco. Entry is free. If you've visited a lot of ornate churches, it might be underwhelming when you go in, but it's a beautiful spot nonetheless.
The Zócalo, the main square next to the church is a lively hub for the community. It seems to be the most touristy area, with idling taxis and vendors peddling souvenirs. Many restaurants and bars are nearby.
There are a few small museums in Taxco. I visited the Museo De Arte Sacro Virreinal close to the Santa Prisca Church. Someone there offered me a tour, but as I didn't understand Spanish that well, I just wandered around looking at the religious art and artifacts.
Although I didn't do this, you can get a tour of the Prehistoric Mines, a museum connected to the mines.
Shop for local crafts
You won't find modern shopping malls or high-end luxury boutiques here. Instead, there are small shops and street stalls for locally-made crafts and souvenirs. As Taxco doesn't cater to too many foreign visitors, the prices here are reasonable.
Mercado Central is where locals shop for fresh food, as well as clothes, trinkets, and souvenirs. It's partly open air and partly inside a building. Inside is where you'll find food stalls with authentic local food.
Taxco's Silver Jewelry
Taxco is famous for silver mining, so you'll find plenty of silver in this town, whether it's jewelry, goblets, or trinkets, at affordable prices. I can't tell you which stores are reputable, but there is a silver shop inside the Montetaxco Hotel that seemed legit, so I bought a couple of silver bracelets there as Christmas gifts.
Here's a cool Airbnb Experience where you can make your own silver ring.
I didn't have time to do these things, but they're recommended activities near Taxco that can be arranged through your hotel, or you can get a taxi to take you there.
You can also visit nearby towns such as Cuernavaca or Tepotzlan.
Have you visited Taxco? Let us know what you recommend in the comments below.
Continue reading about my trip to Central America with my travel memoir post on Costa Rica.