Taxco de Alarcon, typically referred to as simply Taxco, is one of the 132 Mexico pueblos magicos (magic towns) that are deemed to have special magic connecting visitors with Mexican roots and traditions. The town of Taxco definitely has a special magic and is almost guaranteed that it will captivate you with its exceptional beauty and atmosphere.
Located in a mountainous area, the small town of Taxco distinguishes with narrow paved streets and traditional whitewashed houses. For being so little, the magic town really has a lot to offer. Find out the best things to do in and around Taxco including historical sights, interesting museums, panoramic viewpoints, caves, waterfalls, delicious Mexican cuisine, and more.
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Where is Taxco located?
Taxco de Alarcon is a small picturesque town in the Mexican state of Guerrero. It is located 170km southwest of Mexico City.
What is Taxco known for?
Taxco is primarily associated with silver, both with the mining of it and for crafting it into jewelry. It is recognized as the outstanding center for silverwork in the Western Hemisphere and many people are visiting Taxco just to shop for silver jewelry and other silver items.
Is silver cheaper in Taxco?
Compared to the European/USA market, silver is definitely cheaper in Taxco. If you want to buy silver in Taxco, make sure to stay away from the zocalo (tourist square) where prices are higher, and explore the small silver shops away from the town center.
Is Taxco safe for tourists?
In my experience, Taxco is a completely safe destination for tourists. There have been some incidents in the past where local workers have been killed, but incidents like this are very rare and unlucky. The US department also advises against traveling in the Guerrero state, thus some travelers are reserved about visiting Taxco, however, the town is a very safe part of the state. The most danger that you can expect when visiting Taxco is being ripped off by taxi drivers or at the silver market.
How to get to Taxco from Mexico City?
Get a bus from Taxqueña (Terminal de Sur), the journey takes anywhere from 2 and a half to 3 hours and tickets start at 260 MXN. The bus will leave you near the center of Taxco, so you can either walk to your accommodation or take a short taxi ride.
You can also travel to Taxco from Acapulco and Valle de Bravo. I arrived at Taxco from Valle de Bravo, from where I needed to first take a bus to Toluca and there change to another one to Taxco.
How to get around Taxco?
The best way to get around and explore Taxco is on foot. Most of the tourist attractions and places of interest are within walking distance; to get to the other ones that are a little bit further away, get on the Volkswagen Beetle taxis.
How many days do you need in Taxco?
You can explore the main attractions of Taxco around the zocalo in a couple of hours and most places of interest in 2 days. However, if you want to cover more of the area and enjoy all of my recommendations for things to do in and around Taxco, you’d have to stay for at least 4 nights and longer.
Day trip to Taxco from Mexico City
It is doable to visit Taxco on a day trip from Mexico City, but it will be a short, rushed visit. If you, however, don’t have much time and a day trip from Mexico City is your only option to visit Taxco, then I recommend you join a tour as you’ll save time from traveling to the bus station, and you’ll have a guide to share with you the history of Taxco.
Things to do in and around Taxco, Mexico
The silver mining and crafting industry in Taxco spans a long history and is the reason why Taxco has been dubbed Mexico’s silver capital. Visitors are traveling to Taxco from all over Mexico and the world to shop high-quality sterling silver jewelry. There is traditional, as well as more quirky jewelry. For example, I saw earrings and necklaces with skulls, guitars, illustrating scorpions and other animals, illustrating saints, etc. You can also buy household silver items; there’s literally something for everybody’s taste.
As silver is such a big deal in Taxco, it is no surprise that silver shopping is one of the top things to do in Taxco; however; you can also visit the Museo de Plateria (the Silver Museum), where you can actually witness the silversmiths crafting different jewelry and items.
Visit the Pre-hispanic mine
The pre-hispanic mine of Taxco is the first pre-hispanic mine discovered in Mexico. The mine was exploited by the natives of Taxco during the 15th century but it was kept hidden so the Spanish wouldn’t find it and loot it. It was discovered more than 500 years later in 2015 when Hotel Posada de la Mision wanted to lower the floor and start renovation work. It was a huge surprise to hotel owners who were absolutely unaware that their hotel was literally sitting on a silver mine.
Today, you can visit the part of the mine that has been restored and adapted for tourism, and learn about mining and the Chontales culture and history.
Explore Taxco historic center and zocalo
Plaza Borda zocalo is the beating heart of Taxco. It is where you can sit on a bench in the small park to relax after wandering the cobblestone streets and steep stairways, grab a coffee or a cocktail, and people-watch from one of the many side coffee shops and bars. The zocalo is the perfect location to begin or end a tour of Taxco on foot.
In the evenings, you can enjoy a more chill atmosphere at the zocalo and on some evenings even watch and listen to pop-folk dance and musical performances.
The zocalo is named after José de la Borda, a wealthy Spaniard who made a fortune as the owner of Taxco silver mines. He was the one who ordered the Santa Prisca Church to be built, the most famous attraction in the zocalo of Taxco.
Visit Santa Prisca de Taxco
Located on the eastern edge of the zocalo, Santa Prisca Church is known as one of the most religious buildings in Mexico. It was built between 1751 and 1758 and nearly bankrupted Jose de la Borda in the process. The church’s architecture is a mix of Spanish colonial Baroque style and ironically, in a town rich in silver, the interior of the church is covered in gold. Santa Prisca was built in the same location as a working silver mine and at the time it was built, the Santa Prisca Church was the tallest building in all of Mexico.
Even if you’re not religious or generally interested in churches, like me, the church is still worth checking out, especially since entry is free.
Get lost in the cobblestone streets of Taxco
Perhaps the best and most enjoyable thing to do in Taxco is just simply wandering around its charming cobblestone streets. There are so many charming houses with colorful flower displays, beautiful streets, small and nice churches to explore, friendly locals, and dogs to say hola to.
Ride the Teleferico de Taxco (cable car)
The cable car of Taxco is one of the town’s main attractions. The scenic ride takes you to and from Hotel Montetaxco at the top of a small mountain from where you can enjoy the beautiful view of the lush surrounding area.
Walk up to El Cristo Panoramico
No trip to Taxco is complete without a hike up to the El Cristo Panoramico, or what is known as the best viewpoint in all of Taxco. Towering above the town on the Cerro del Atche hill, the Christ the Redeemer Statue is one of Taxco’s main tourist attractions, which you shouldn’t miss.
The walk from the zocalo to the panoramic view takes around half an hour, but if you don’t feel like walking the steep streets leading to it, you can hop on a taxi. I would, however, recommend you do the walk and spare more time for it, so you can explore the pretty streets on the way.
P.S. the views from El Cristo Panoramico and Teleferico de Taxco are very similar, so you might just want to visit one.
Enjoy the view from Parroquia de Guadalupe
Parroquia de Guadalupe is a church on the way to El Cristo Panoramico. The church itself is of no interest, but the area in front of it features another amazing viewpoint. In fact, the view from Parroquia de Guadalupe is better than the view from El Cristo Panoramico, in my opinion. You see less of the city but in much more detail.
Visit Casa Humboldt
The Museum of Religious Art aka Casa Humboldt is one of the oldest colonial buildings in Taxco. Even if you’re not into religious arts, don’t let the name mislead you because it’s not just about that; Casa Humboldt is also about the history of Taxco. One of the most interesting exhibits of the museum describes the restoration work on Santa Prisca, during which some material including tapestries, woodwork altarpieces, and rich decorative fabrics were discovered in the basement of the house.
The museum also houses a great collection of beautiful paintings and a really small and nice garden where you can just relax in peace for a while. Museum items are labeled in both English and Spanish.
Visit Casa Museo Figueroa
Visiting Casa Museo Figueroa is one of the top things to do in Taxco as it features secret rooms, hidden vaults, dark escape tunnels, and holds significant importance for Taxco’s history.
Mr. Fidel Figueroa was an American painter who moved to Taxco with his Mexican wife in 1943. He bought the house which is known by the people of Taxco as the ”House of Tears” and filled it with all his art and other pieces of art which he donated to the government when he died. The house was built for the Count of Cadena (friend of Borda) by Tlahuica people who suffered mistreatment, lending the nickname ”House of Tears”. It features hidden vaults, where both people and objects could be stashed away, a panic room, and an escape tunnel connecting the house with Santa Prisca.
Admission includes a guided Spanish or English tour which will introduce you to the history of the house and its art, as well as take you through all the rooms.
Visit the Grutas de Cacahuamilpa National Park
Grutas de Cacahuamilpa National Park is best known for the Grutas de Cacahuamilpa Caverns (caves), which are the largest cave system in Mexico and one of the largest cave systems in the world. Formations inside the cave are still growing, which means that the cave is ”alive”. Inside the caves, there are 90 large salons separated by large natural rock walls and connected to one another via a central gallery. Only 20 of these salons are fully explored and open to the public.
Visiting Grutas de Cacahuamilpa is one of the best things to do in and around Taxco, so don’t miss including this truly impressive natural site to your itinerary.
Visit Pozas Azules de Atzala
Visiting Pozas Azules de Atzala, translating as Blue Pools, is known as one of the best things to do around Taxco. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to this beautiful natural place as I spend one day in bed because I wasn’t feeling well, but if you have the opportunity to make it there, don’t miss it!
The pools are bright turquoise in color and are formed from crystalline mountain water flowing over limestone. The blue turquoise color comes from minerals and is best seen between November and March when the rain isn’t muddying the water.
Visit Mil Cascadas
Another beautiful natural day trip destination from Taxco that unfortunately, I didn’t have the chance to visit due to spending one entire day in bed. Mil Cascadas, translating as 1000 waterfalls, is a series of waterfalls and pools on the Granados river located about 30 km away from Taxco.
If you have a car it is possible to visit both Mil Cascadas and Grutas de Cacahuamilpa on a single day trip as they are more or less on the same way.
Try Taxco’s signature cocktail
Visit the oldest bar in Taxco to try Berta, Taxco’s signature cocktail made of lime, honey, tequila blanca, and mineral water. Located in the heart of the zocalo, the bar which also holds the same name was founded in 1930 and has a nice balcony where you can sip your cocktail, enjoy a view of Santa Prisca, and people watch.
Give the Mole Rosado a try
The gastronomy of the state of Guerrero is characterized by various recipes. Due to its geographical location, bordering the Pacific Ocean as well as mountains and plains, the gastronomy presents ingredients ranging from beef, to fish and shellfish. In Taxco, specifically, one of the most famous dishes and the number one specialty is the Mole Rosado (pink mole). It’s made with a mix of beetroot, pose petals, garlic, almond nuts, and chipotle chili.
I wouldn’t say that I loved it, but is definitely worth the try. One of the best places to try it is the Del Angel Inn restaurant that was recommended to me by my wonderful amigo Rafael of Journey Wonders.
Pozole is another popular Guererro dish. It’s a traditional stew made from hominy with meat (typically pork or chicken), and can be seasoned and garnished with shredded lettuce or cabbage, chile peppers, onion, garlic, radishes, avocado, salsa, or limes. It is also being served with fried pork skin on the top.
The famous pozole comes in three varieties, green (verde), red (rojo), and white (blanco). White pozole is prepared without any additional green or red sauce; the green pozole is based on green ingredients including tomatillos, cilantro, jalapeños, etc.; the red pozole is prepared with a red sauce made from one or more chiles, such as guajillo, piquin, or ancho.
The best place in Taxco for pozole is Pozoleria Tia Calla.
Other places to eat in Taxco
Aside from Del Angel Inn restaurant and Pozoleria Tia Calla other places where I enjoyed having food in Taxco are:
- Restaurante La Parroquia – one of the many restaurants with a beautiful balcony overlooking Taxco’s zocalo and Santa Prisca Church.
- La Bendita – a taqueria that also features a balcony overlooking the zocalo. It has a very youth atmosphere.
- Balsamo cafe – perhaps one of the best places in Taxco for breakfast and brunch. Don’t miss trying their hot chocolates.
- Tepoznieves – an awesome place for ice cream offering a variety of flavors including mezcal, rose petal, coconut gin, and much more.
Is Taxco worth visiting?
Taxco is definitely a place that is worth visiting even if it is just for one day. Its picturesque homes and streets and surrounding landscapes, make Taxco one of the best places to visit in Mexico. Add to this Taxco’s delicious food and chill atmosphere, and the fact that the town doesn’t receive a huge amount of foreign tourists, and you have the recipe for a memorable trip.
I hope that this article gave you a good overview of the best things to do in and around Taxco and how to plan your perfect trip to this picture-perfect Mexican town. If you have any additional questions or comments, please let me know in the comment section below, and don’t hesitate to contact me.