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Mexico Tips
June 24, 2014 1:43 PM   Subscribe

I'm spending several weeks in Cuernavaca, can you tell me...

- How hard will it be for me to get around as an english-only speaker (i have a phrasebook and i'm not afraid to use it)?

- I'm typically pretty austere. What daily amount could I live on (my housing is already taken care of)?

- I have to stay in Mexico City one night when I first arrive. Any lodging recommendation that is cheap, safe, and close to the airport (MEX)?
posted by j_curiouser to Travel & Transportation around Cuernavaca, Mexico (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
It won't be a problem at all to get around in Cuernavaca. I stayed there for about 6 weeks as I tried to whip my Spanish into shape, and it was never a problem.

There are several reasons for this.

1) Cuernavaca is a pretty fancy place, all things told. The way that it was described to me by some Mexicans is that Cuernavaca basically has the same relationship to Mexico City that the Hamptons has to New York City. As such, it's well set up to take care of picky tourists. That'll work out for you.

2) Cuernavaca is chock full of schools teaching English/French/German/Whatever speakers through full immersion classes. This has been true for a long, long time. Decades at least. So the city is full of people who are used to dealing with long term tourists who only have the slightest ability to speak Spanish. That'll work out for you.

3) Cuernavaca is pretty small. Once you get the lay of the land it's easily possible to walk across the entire city in a few hours. I did this a lot and never felt in any danger, but I was largish framed muscular mid thirties male who is used to being in countries where he can't speak that language, when I did this, so your comfort level may vary.

I can't help you on the Mexico City part, I didn't have the chance to stay.

Now, I know you said you're pretty austere so you can live really cheap if you want. Street food is good and plentiful, as are grocery stores. If you walk and cook at home you could easily spend less than $5.00 a day. I don't recommend it though.

But don't fail to take advantage of the exchange rate while you're there. I strongly recommend you head over to Las Mananitas. For the price of a cocktail or two (probably about $6-7 US each) you can waste away hours while munching on the complimentary bar snacks in one of the nicest, peacock and sculpture filled garden I have ever seen. I spent a lot of time "studying" in a largely less and less effective manner there.

If you decide to eat their it'll be pretty pricy as it's widely, and rightly, regarded a world class restaurant where traditional Mexican food is prepared with a modern flare.

If your interested in doing day trips out I bet a lot of the schools would let you pay the fee for the students and tag along on their outings to nearby cities and attractions. They weren't much more than $10-$20 each.

I hope you have fun, I had a great time, learned more Spanish than I did in 6 years of high school and college, and really want to go back and do another month or so of study someday.

Feel free to memail me if you have any more specific questions.
posted by bswinburn at 2:53 PM on June 24 [1 favorite]


Oh, several of the people I met there were doing trips with their teenage kids (12-15) to see if they'd feel safe enrolling the kids in local high schools for a year to let them really soak in the Spanish. A lot of people host children from the USA for that purpose and there's a robust infrastructure to handle it.

All the people decided they felt fine letting their kids move down for a school year. So the safety isn't totally simply my own perception.
posted by bswinburn at 2:56 PM on June 24


I was in Cuernavaca for a conference a couple of years ago and had one of the best meals in my life at Las Mananitas. Mmmm, the tacos with maguey worms were awesome. (It wasn't cheap, but it was a great meal.)
posted by leahwrenn at 10:03 AM on June 25


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