Buses: Mexico City, Cuernavaca, Grutas, Tepoztlan
Replies: 13 - Last Post: Dec 5, 2012 8:41 PM Last Post By: chris0daniel
Dec 4, 2012 7:55 PM
27th: Mexico City--spend the day checking out the mueseums
28th: Take bus form Mexico City to Cuernavaca, Visit Grutas de Cacahuamilpa, Stay the night in Cuernavaca
29th:Take bus from Cuernavaca to Topoztlan late morning/early afternoon, Spend the day in Tepoztlan, Take bus from Tepoztlan back to Mexico City in the evening
30th: Xochimilco--stay the night in Mexico City
31: Teotihuacan--stay the night in Mexico City
Any information on the frequency, rough timing of buses to these locations is very much appreciated! Or any other travel tips! I realize that buses probably run frequently to Teotihuacan, but I'm a little nervous about being able to catch an evening bus from Tepoztlan to Mexico City. I have not experienced the buses of Mexico yet, but I've heard good things!
Dec 4, 2012 9:53 PM
11 hour Cuernavaca from Taxquena (southern bus station which is connected to the Metro), hopefully no traffic problems on the 28th as the city is quiet the whole week.
20 to 30 mins Cuernavaca to Tepoztlan, depends on where in the city you catch the bus from since you could catch a bus along the way and not necessarily have to go to the bus terminal.
Tepoztlan to Taxquena isn't as frequent as going to Cuernavaca first so you might end up retracing your trip so you don't have to wait for a bus, so anywhere from 60 to 120 mins.
Xochimilco is usually best by tren ligero which you catch from Taxquena and then a short taxi ride, so depends where in the city you are staying.
Teotihuacan is about an hour from terminal del norte which is probably the easiest way for a tourist to do it, but when I went with a local we caught the bus from Indios Verdes metro instead and it was only about 40 minutes.
The buses you will be taking are all short trips so you'll probably get a lot of 2nd class buses which are fine, but they won't be as nice as the 1st class or the luxury buses you have probably read about. Timing of the trips are fine, you can do most of what you want in day trips. The museums in the city probably deserve more time.
Dec 5, 2012 12:14 AM
2It's great that you'll have five full days to spend in and around Mexico City. Your plan is doable. As Willy points out correctly in #1, you'll find lots of local buses available for the "short hops" that you contemplate taking.
I agree with Willy that "the museums" deserve more time. And, perhaps some sights in the Centro Historico, such as the murals in the National Palace, also merit your attention.
Have you ever previously visited a limestone cavern? If not, I think your itinerary makes perfect sense. The first time a person tours a large cave, viewing many limestone formations, can be a memorable experience. But, if you've already done that somewhere else in the world, consider dropping Las Grutas from your plan in order to give yourself more time to visit "uniquely Mexican" places in the City/Federal District.
Dec 5, 2012 2:56 AM
3I respectfully disagree with our amigo, Chris0daniel. Las Grutas de Cacahuamilpa are world class in size (voluminousness) and in speleothem (cave formations) size, although the lighting, as I recall, is not first class, nor is the quality of the tour spiel. But it's still worth a visit for size and magnificence. (Bring a good flashlight.)
And if you are feeling energetic, it's a very worthwhile hike down and back to the Dos Bocas resurgences of the underground Ríos San Jerónimo and Chontalcoatlán.
Dec 5, 2012 5:30 AM
4If you are landing at Mexico City airport, you could make your trip a bit more efficient by taking an intercity airport bus directly to Cuernavaca and doing your Cuernavaca stuff right away.
Museums. Oy, they are all over the place, in the south end, in the zocalo area and out at Chapultepec. The one essential one is the Anthropology Museum in Chapultepec. It is large and so interesting, it should take you at least three or four hours to see. Fortunately there are other close-by museums, the best of which is the Modern Art museum, essential if you are interested in Mexican art.
Dec 5, 2012 5:41 AM
5Don't know how you'd get to Las Grutas unless it's a tour or taxi. It's closer to Taxco than Cuerna and kind of out of the way
Dec 5, 2012 6:08 AM
Dec 5, 2012 6:25 AM
7The one day devoted to "museums" is pretty paltry considering Mexico City has more museums than any other city excpet perhaps Paris.
But, if I had to choose one museum for that one day visit, it would be either the museo nacional de antropologia at Chapultapec or the Templo Mayor at the zocalo. Either one will occupy you for the whole day.
Dec 5, 2012 8:16 AM
8"If you are landing at Mexico City airport, you could make your trip a bit more efficient by taking an intercity airport bus directly to Cuernavaca and doing your Cuernavaca stuff right away."
That's a great idea. In addition to making the routing more efficient, going to Cuernavaca, etc. first could give you a less frenzied introduction to the country than you might have starting in MC. Also, if you want to reduced your transportation time further, consider then spending your first night in the City somewhere on its southern side, before proceeding the next day to Xochimilco. Simply moving around MC, even by metro, takes time.
(Yes, fellow posters I realize that budget accommodations are more available in the Centro Historico than in attractive southern areas such as Coyoacan. Sometimes people make trade offs between spending a bit more time, or some additional money, to do things.)
Dec 5, 2012 8:28 AM
9"But, if I had to choose one museum for that one day visit, it would be either the museo nacional de antropologia at Chapultapec or the Templo Mayor at the zocalo. Either one will occupy you for the whole day."
I agree, those are good choices. Of those two attractions, I prefer the National Anthropology Museum, partly because it interprets Mexico's Mesoamerican past generally, instead of focusing only on the late flourishing Mexica/Aztecs. Extraordinary things (including a completely replicated Mayan temple) are presented in the Anthropology Museum for each of about 6-8 major Mexican civilizations. And, there are exhibits about Mexico's persisting Indigenous societies upstairs.
Dec 5, 2012 8:46 AM
It's a agressive itinerary. Only the OP knows if it's too agressive, given the distances to be covered in the short period of time for each segment. Is the goal to "do" Mexico, or "see" and "experience" Mexico. Sometimes, and for some people, too much is attempted.
Travel by bus will be taking place during one of the two busiest travel seasons of the year in Mexico. Expect some congestion, particularly close to January 1st.
There are good and reasonably priced hotel options (under MX$500) not far from Taxqueña - where the south bus terminal is situated.
I suggest skipping the anthropology museum. It's too massive and overwhelming for a short visit. Select a musem or two you can better enjoy and save the anthropology museum for a future visit.
The Lonely Planet Mexico guidebook, a new edition of which was published this past September, is full of specifics which answer most if not all of these questions specifically. You can download specific chapters instantly if you don't want to purchase the entire book.
Dec 5, 2012 9:11 AM
11Personally, I wouldn't put Xochimilco as a Mexico City priority. Considering your only other Mexico City day will be spent at a museum, I'd devote the other to either Coyoacan, Centro Historico, Condesa, or a mix of them. Although, it depends on your interests. Are you alone, OP? I like Xochimilco for its party atmosphere and I've only ever gone with other people. I'm not sure it would be so great as a solo traveler.
Dec 5, 2012 2:44 PM
12Agree that Xochimilco is not a priority. There are more interesting things to see and do in D.F.
Grutas are great but agree that getting there from Cuernavaca may be time consuming. I saw plenty of collective to Taxco and few large buses but not sure there is a direct bus to Cuernavaca. I doubt that. If you go, use bug repellent once you off the bus: flies similar to Sand flies are abundant around Grutas and their bites are itching as hell for days or weeks.
Xochicalco, on the other hand, is an awesome site with buses running from Cuernavaca. I take it over Teotihuacan any day, tough I realize Teotihuacan is a must for any first time visitor.
Do read a guidebook: all you need actually is LP's section on Mexico City and Around that can be downloaded for 5 bucks or so.
Dec 5, 2012 8:41 PM
13Thanks alterigor for reviving my memories of Xochicalco. On separate days I've taken buses from Cuernavaca to both Las Grutas and the pyramids, etc.of Mayan influenced Xochicalco. That was few years ago (1973), but both the caves' canyon side location and Xochicalco's perch atop an arid plain probably remain just as desolately attractive today as they've been for centuries.
Xochicalco impressed me immensely, perhaps partly because it was my first trip to a Mexican ceremonial city/ruin. (I had innocently not realized that the country possessed any pyramids, modern art, flan, or volcanoes before venturing there.) Xochicalco is not nearly as expansive as Teotihuacan, but its carved stone imagery is at least as expressive, and its surrounding scenery is, I think, more attractive.
The surprise that I experienced at Las Grutas was different, an abrupt realization that the place, despite happening to be in Mexico, greatly resembled other (arguably world class) underground environments that I had previously visited in the USA, specifically in Kentucky.
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