Cuernavaca: Weekend Playground for the rich DFeños

10 Nov

This weekend I had the pleasure of going to Cuernavaca with a friend who is updating a guidebook for Mexico.  Cuernavaca, the city of eternal spring, is the destination for wealthy DFeños who want to escape from the madness for a few days.  About two hours south of Mexico City and at a much lower elevation, it has been a popular weekend hotspot since the days of Cortez and Maximiliano, who both built their pleasure palaces here.  We probably saw more DF license plates then we did Morelos.  Because this guidebook is directed towards travelers who can afford to stay at luxury hotels (unlike the backpacker guidebook I tend to use, The Lonely Planet), we happened to visit most of the nicest places around town.

the grounds at Las Mañanitas

the grounds at Las Mañanitas

The thing about Cuernavaca is that from the outside, it looks just like any other gritty mid-sized city in Mexico.  Yet once you step behind the walls (and past the security guards), you enter into another world.  At one place, Las Mañanitas, we found ourselves surrounded by gente bien sipping cocktails on an elaborate lawn, with exotic birds like toucans and peacocks roaming about.  I could almost picture Elizabeth Taylor stepping out from behind the fountain holding a martini.

And yet, on the other side of the wall, we had just watched an old women crawling on her hands and knees begging for spare change.  As I always say, only in Mexico.


4 Responses to “Cuernavaca: Weekend Playground for the rich DFeños”

  1. Oscar Mel November 10, 2008 at 7:51 pm #

    It’s funny when you talked about “gente bien” it is the real thing in Mexico, where you can see two different Mejicos, Carlos Slim Territory and the places where’s God is not passing by.

  2. Raúl November 17, 2008 at 4:43 am #

    That old woman probably makes more money begging for change than working. Cities like Cuernavaca are full of this type of ladies, usually called “Marias”, which are becoming a mafia. One time goverment tried to give them jobs with good salaries to which many of those ladys responded “they made lot more money on the streets”. I actually know one near my house, she takes a taxi to the street she works and has a bank account where she deposits her hi incomes.

  3. dada October 8, 2011 at 10:17 pm #

    People begging for change? I see that in Washington DC all the time. I am from Mexico, and no, it doesn’t happen only there…

    • constant nomad October 12, 2011 at 4:01 am #

      I absolutely agree with you. Poverty and injustice exist everywhere, even in the richest countries in the world, and this vast inequality is part of what motivates me to write. In fact, I too live in D.C. these days and I too see people begging for change on a daily basis. However, it is important to keep in mind a few key differences between the two countries. Homeless people in Mexico often have little or no social network to rely on, whereas myriad programs, shelters and soup kitchens exist in the United States to assist those in need. The women I saw outside of Las Mananitas in Cuernavaca was literally crawling on her hands and knees because she was physically unable to walk due to a disfiguring handicap. While you do see people begging for change every day in the United States, those with severe handicaps requiring medical attention are generally able to receive the assistance that they need. Furthermore, I think what I was implying when I said “Only in Mexico” was more a comment on the incredible disparity between the rich and the poor, and the strong division between classes. While I am not saying we don’t have a divide between the rich and the poor here or that we don’t have divisions between classes, but there is no denying that with hard work and perseverance people born into poverty are able to move into the middle or even upper classes, and that social mobility is much easier here than in countries like Mexico.

      All of that aside, thank you for reading my blog and for taking the time to comment. You are absolutely correct in what you said, and have caused me to reflect on my writing in new and different ways. I will be more careful not to generalize any country in the same way again. I am no longer updating this blog, so be sure to follow me on my new site,

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