Taxco de Alarcon: Enchanting Mexican Town Near Mexico City
by Rebeca Jurado
Sunday, February 25, 2018
Taxco de Alarcon is the perfect pueblo mágico in Mexico to fall in love with. Its enchanting streets filled with small-town Mexican culture, food, music and vibes will seduce you and make you want to set up your own little shop and never leave.
What Is A “Pueblo Mágico”?
I’ve been to quite a few pueblos mágicos (literal translation: “magical towns”) in Mexico. This term was introduced by the Mexican government to define Mexican small towns that give visitors a seemingly magical experience due to their rich cultural aspects, — whether it be the food, colonial-style architecture, historical importance, beauty, or as in most cases, all of the above.
New Favorite Town in Mexico
I didn’t think any other place in Mexico could be more enchanting than San Miguel de Allende, but after visiting Taxco, I have a new favorite pueblo mágico.
What’s surprising is It took me a little over two years of living in Mexico to finally visit Taxco. I always heard foreigners talk about how much they liked Taxco, but I never really heard the locals talk about it, so I figured maybe it wasn’t that great.
After visiting I realized two things I wish I had realized earlier, — Taxco is way underrated and as great as my foreign friends described it. Nevertheless, the wait was worth it as I never imagined that such a special place was only a 2.5-hour drive away from home (Mexico City).
What makes Taxco so special and different from other pueblos mágicos?
For starters, its colonial architecture sits on a mountain at about 5,833 ft. of elevation. Thus, not only do you see it at an elevated angle as you drive up, but you also notice varying levels of street height throughout. With that said, you do want to be careful when exploring Taxco streets, as most don’t have sidewalks and are very steep and narrow. If you have a bad knee or are a clumsy person like myself, you will need to be extra careful. A plus side to this street structure is that it looks quite picturesque along with the stone pavement.
The buildings you will find in Taxco are mostly white with red roofs, depicting Spanish-style architecture. I found that while most small towns in Mexico (especially pueblos mágicos) have colonial-style architecture, they usually have multi-colored buildings as opposed to one dominant color throughout. You can see picture examples below.
Almost every pueblo mágico has a zócalo, which is considered to be the center or main part of downtown. It is the town square equivalent. You will always find the main Catholic church in these zócalos, and it is usually the biggest and most beautiful church in town, as pueblos mágicos tend to have many churches. You will also find quite a few places to eat at the zócalo, as well as many street vendors of art, accessories, clothing, crafts, etc. The Taxco Zócalo is somewhat smaller than most zócalos I have seen, but nevertheless quite beautiful.
Cristo Rey Monument
Taxco has a Cristo Rey monument at the very top of one of its many hills. This is a monument depicting Jesus Christ extending his arms out and overlooking the city. It’s like the famous monument in Río de Janeiro, but a quite smaller Taxco version. The taxi should not charge you more than 50 MXN to get there, so beware of taxi drivers that want to charge you 150 MXN, as they often try to take advantage of foreigners. However, if you want the full Mexican experience, you can also hail a combi, which is a small van that rides around town picking up people at random locations within its route. One of these combis can take you very close to Cristo Rey.
Rosa Mexicano Restaurant
I highly recommend this restaurant if you appreciate having an awesome view while you eat. It is located inside Hotel Pueblo Lindo. Rosa Mexicano has good traditional Taxco food, very reasonable prices and good service. Its name means “Mexican Pink,” which refers to the traditional shade of pink widely used in Mexico.
Taxco At Night
Taxco is absolutely enchanting at night. Its picturesque streets become filled with lights and music that will take your journey to a whole new level of charm and delight. The main cathedral is lit up all around and looks absolutely majestic. The Zócalo gets really busy at night, as it is a perfect place to go out with friends and have a drink, dine with family or simply go for a walk.
Taxco’s Silver Economy
Within minutes of touring the picturesque streets of Taxco, you will probably notice quite a few shops that sell silver. Other than tourism, silver is Taxco’s main industry. People come from all over the world to get great deals. There is a wide variety of designs in most shops, and they can also do personalizations. If you are a silver enthusiast and live in Mexico City, you definitely need to book a weekend trip to Taxco.
How Do You Get To Taxco From Mexico City?
There are two practical ways to get there from Mexico City,— either buy a bus ticket or rent a car. There is no airport nearby. I recommend buying the bus ticket as the road on way to Taxco is filled with sudden curves and involves going up and around hills; thus it is probably safer to let someone else drive a difficult road that you’re not familiar with. Please also consider that you may get nauseous and your ears may pop aggressively due to the relatively sudden changes in altitude. I asked around, and this phenomenon seems to happen quite often for trips to- and from- Taxco, so please be sure to take proper precautions.
Bus Ticket Purchase To Taxco
I bought the round-trip bus ticket through the website www.reservamos.mx. This is a third-party booking site, but you can also buy it directly with the bus company, such as ADO or Costa Line, and get a cheaper rate (no booking fee). I recommend www.reservamos.com for last-minute trips within Mexico as it will find everything available, including car rides and flights. Their booking fee will cost about 5-10% of the total.
Taxco was a perfect weekend getaway, and I’m definitely going back to continue exploring it. If you have ever been to Taxco, please feel free to share your experience in the comments. Safe traveling!