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Introducing South of Mexico City

A host of great destinations sit south of the Mexican capital, including mystical Tepoztlán, breathtaking Taxco and the superb complex of caves at Grutas de Cacahuamilpa. The main road south from Mexico City, Hwy 95D, climbs from the smog-choked Valle de México into refreshing pine forests above 3000m and then descends to Cuernavaca, ‘the city of eternal spring,’ a long-time popular escape from Mexico City and a home-away-from-home for many North Americans and Chilangos who own second houses here.

The state of Morelos, which encompasses Cuernavaca and Tepoztlán, is one of Mexico’s smallest and most densely populated. Valleys at different elevations have a variety of microclimates, and many fruits, grains and vegetables have been cultivated here since pre-Hispanic times. The archaeological sites at Tepoztlán and Xochicalco show signs of the agricultural Tlahuica civilization and the Aztecs who subjugated them. During the colonial era, most of the region was controlled by a few families, including descendants of Cortés. You can visit their palaces and haciendas, along with 16th-century churches and monasteries. Unsurprisingly, the campesinos of Morelos were fervent supporters of the Mexican Revolution, and local lad Emiliano Zapata is the state’s hero. Those with an interest in the peasant revolutionary leader should head to Cuautla, the first city that Zapata conquered, and 6km further south to Anenecuilco, where he was born.

The mountainous state of Guerrero boasts utter gems such as the silver mining tourist mecca Taxco, one of the best-preserved colonial towns in Mexico.