Research and assess Cuernavaca as a location for living, working or retirement in Mexico.
Located fifty-six miles southeast of Mexico City, Cuernavaca is a colonial city that dates back to at least 1200 AD, when the settlement was an important agricultural and artisan center. Following its conquest by the Aztecs and later by the Spanish, the city continued to be an ongoing agricultural concern and also became a popular get-away location for wealthy Spaniards living in the capital.
349,000 (2005 Census)
5,019 feet above sea-level
88F/31C (Daytime, Summer),
53F/11C (Nocturnal, Winter) . Year-Round Average 70F/21C.
Cuernavaca’s rainy season runs from late May to October each year, with tropical downpours happening on occasions
Cuernavaca is inland and not affected by hurricanes
Tourism, Commerce, Light manufacturing including such as printing, framing, ceramics, garment-making, and the production of cleaning supplies); Floriculture and bee-keeping; Research institutes; Centers of Higher learning
Cost of Living
Safe in Cuernavaca
*Relative to other foreign expat communities in Mexico
Today, over four centuries later, Cuernavaca continues to be frequented by middle and upper-class chilangos at weekends and holidays, and is a location of choice for many wealthy Mexicans that own homes in the provinces.
Mexicans and foreigners alike are attracted to Cuernavaca. They are drawn here by three key attributes that make the location ideal for living and retirement: its proximity to Mexico City, its year-round temperate climate, and its abundance of modern services and amenities.
Cuernavaca’s altitude, at just over 5,000 feet above sea level, bequeaths the city a mild, year-round, temperate climate with a very comfortable annual average of temperature of 70F/21C. Air-conditioning is not required here and, as electricity is the most expensive utility in Mexico, this can translate into significant annual energy savings.
The climate also nourishes a lush landscape that during the rainy season bursts into life and giving the entire region an eye-catching backdrop of flora and fauna.
Art and Education
For decades now, Cuernavaca has been a popular city for students and artists. The city is one of Mexico’s principal ‘centers of learning’, boasting more than seventeen universities (including extensions of the National Autonomous University of Mexico and a provincial campus of the elite Tecnologico de Monterrey) as well as over fifty language schools. Cuernavaca is considered to be one of the best locations in Mexico tostudy Spanish as a foreign language.
Popular with Visitors and Expatriates
The city of Cuernavaca and environs is an important tourist area in Mexico, one particularly well-known for its up-scale and boutique hotels and, notably, destination spas, some of which have attained world-class status.
Cuernavaca also has one of the largest concentrations of expats living in Mexico. Again, its proximity to the capital may be credited with the reason why so many expats come to live here — especially those who rely upon commercial connections in Mexico, or who have simply fallen in love with the capital and enjoy being close to it (if not living there, proper). Due to this cluster of foreigners which have relocated to Cuernavaca over the years, the expat community is extremely well-served by a network of English-speaking doctors, real-estate agents, and service businesses.
Much of the city center’s colonial charm has been compromised of late lack of necessary maintenance, heavy street traffic, and urban eyesores like graffiti. None of this is is un-fixable, nor is it a reason to avoid Cuernavaca: the matter of repair and restoration will probably be addressed in due course, as Mexico City’s decaying historical center was restored when it had fallen into significant disrepair.
The lion share of colonial-era elegance and charm in Cuernavaca has always been hidden away from public view. Behind some of the tall walls are beautiful gardens and residences owned by wealthy local families, politicians and celebrities: houses and estates which host some marvelous scenes of colonial-era gardens and architecture. Notwithstanding this, some of these historical properties have been converted into fine hotels, restaurants, and spas, offering the public an insight into the botanical and architectural marvels of that bygone era.
Population and Real Estate
The devastating earthquake that struck Mexico City in 1985 had a profound demographic effect on various provincial cities, as people — by choice or by force — relocated to colonial cities away from the capital. The city of Cuernavaca was one that swelled in population in the months and years following the earthquake.
Housing developments proliferated, and the rural areas around the city were transformed into urban landscapes filled with houses, gated communities and commercial and retail centers. The influx of people, and the accommodation demand that they have created, has brought about a local realty market offering a wide array of real estate choices for buyers and renters.
Lifestyle Services and Amenities
As more people have arrived to live here, services like clinics and hospitals, supermarkets, shopping malls and leisure facilities have opened their doors to fulfill the increasing demand.
Cuernavaca also features several city-based and regional attractions which provide visitors and residents with plenty of options for entertainment and leisure activities.
The city is host to a number of annual events and festivals each year, and there is often something happening at one of the downtown plazas on most weekends.
Cuernavaca is renowned for its many fine restaurants offering Mexican and international cuisine; some of these restaurants are housed inside old colonial residences and haciendas, offering good food surrounded by attractive gardens and colonial atmosphere.
There are number of ‘green areas’ to retreat to inside the city, including the San Anton waterfall, La Borda city gardens, and Chapultepec ecological park that features springs, picnic areas and a small zoo. Within a five mile drive of Cuernavaca’s city limits you can enjoy hiking trails, horseback riding, crystal-clear springs and lagoons for swimming, boating and fresh water fishing, and camping. You’ll also find a number of excellent spas with top-class facilities and staff. Some of the local spas are rated as being the finest in Mexico — and some, like Mision del Sol, are even mentioned on some league tables which rate the ‘Best Spas in the World’.
Cuernavaca is also surrounded by a number of smaller towns and villages, each offering a unique character and many offering good quality food and artisan markets and stores. Tepoztlan is one such local town, just eleven miles away, within easy reach of Cuernavaca.
Comfortable Climate, Modern Amenities
Mexicans and foreigners are attracted to Cuernavaca’s temperate climate, but also its central location close to the capital, and a reputation for being a relaxed and laid-back provincial community that also offers modern services and amenities which support a modern, and comfortable lifestyle.
Cuernavaca is not Mexico’s most picturesque nor most quaint colonial city. But for those who want to live in an authentic Mexican city with a temperate climate, perfectly located to explore the rich history and heritage of southern colonial Mexico, offering an extensive range of modern-day services and amenities, or want to (or have to) be close to Mexico City without living in the capital proper, Cuernavaca needs to be on the short list of locations for serious consideration.
The cost of living in Mexico is typically lower in Mexico than it is the USA, Canada and Western Europe, although precise costs depend upon where you live and your lifestyle choices.
Cost of Living Report
To learn more about the cost of living in Mexico, connect to the Mexico Cost of Livingpage on Mexperience.
Regional and geographical cost variations do exist, and this part of the guide shows you how some goods and services at Cuernavaca vary from the average.
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