Travel to Cuernavaca

Cuernavaca was nicknamed the “City of Eternal Spring” by Alexander Von Humboldt when he visited Mexico in the 19th century.  He praised the city for it’s wonderful climate, lush gardens, and abundant flowers. It was during the 20th century that the over 40 research sites established in the area, added to Cuernavaca´s nickname the part of “city of knowledge”.  Without doubt for tourism and scientists, Cuernavaca has been a favorite weekend and weekday getaway.  It’s  built on the southern slope of a mountain range, 64 miles south of Mexico City.  With an elevation of 5000 feet, Cuernavaca has beautiful weather year-round with an average temperature of 75F. Today, the city has about 350,000 permanent residents.

Getting to Cuernavaca

When making your travel arrangements keep in mind the following:

Make sure your passport is current, and the expiration date is at least six months after the date you enter Mexico. Since 9/11, all U.S. citizens and permanent residents must have a passport to travel internationally. It can take up to 12 weeks to get a passport, so be sure to apply early if you don’t already have one. It’s always a good idea to travel with a xerox copy of your passport stored in a safe place, in case you lose your original. Keep your passport locked in your suitcase or in a safe place while you are in Mexico. Most of the time, there’s no reason to carry it with you.

Most citizens of the U.S., Canada, or the European community don’t need a visa to enter Mexico, but check with the appropriate authorities in your country to be sure. If you only need a tourist card to enter Mexico, you will get this on the airplane when you fly into Mexico. Be sure to keep the tourist card until you leave Mexico, because you have to turn it in when you depart. If you lose the card, you pay a fine.

  • Minors may need a notarized letter from parents or legal guardians authorizing travel out of the country. If your child is traveling to Mexico for one of our camps or immersion programs, check with group leaders or the airline authorities to see what’s required.

Shop around to find the best price on an airline ticket for a flight to Mexico City that arrives no later than 4 p.m. and departs from Mexico City no earlier than 8 a.m. Be sure you are flying into Benito Juárez International Airport in MEXICO CITY. We recommend these arrival and departure times so you can travel to/from Cuernavaca on the same day as your flights. Cuernavaca has an airport but it’s small, and it’s very expensive to fly into it. It’s better to take the commuter non stop bus to Cuernavaca. Pullman de Morelos offers luxury bus service directly from Benito Juárez International Airport in Mexico City to Cuernavaca’s conveniently located Casino de la Selva terminal. Ask at the information desk in the airport or follow the signs for ground transportation. Buses leave about every 30 minutes. The cost of a one-way ticket is about $215 pesos ($15.00 U.S.). The bus ride will take between 2 hours, depending on traffic.

Check with your health insurance company to be sure it will cover your medical costs in the case of you become ill or are injured while abroad. If additional coverage is necessary we recommend you purchase it before coming to Mexico, as insurance purchased in Mexico can be very expensive for foreigners. To highlight, Cuernavaca has first-class medical facilities and many highly trained doctors and dentists. We have a doctor on call who can attend you if you become ill while you’re studying at Kukulcan.

Last but not least make sure to bring along a pocket Spanish dictionary. For suggestions on what to pack , money exchange and phone & internet click on each hot link.

Some history...

Cuernavaca has long been an appealing destination for international students because of its great historical and cultural heritage.  In Cuernavaca, Mexican history comes alive.  Hernán Cortés, the conqueror of México, built his palace here, where visitors today can see some of Diego Rivera´s most important mural paintings. The Emperor Maximilian had a private retreat in Cuernavaca, which today is an ethno-botanical garden specializing in traditional herbal medicine. The late, great Mexican star, Cantinflas, also had his home in Cuernavaca, and today his former home is one of the city´s finest restaurants. American visitors and residents of Cuernavaca have included Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton, the art collector Robert Brady, and diplomat Dwight Morrow.

What to Pack

We recommend casual clothing for classes and a light jacket for the evenings. Temperatures range from the low 60s (at night) to the low 80s (during the day), so it’s a good idea to dress in layers. If you are coming on a Spanish internship program or for Spanish professional programs, you should bring some ´business casual´ clothes. Laundry service is available at a reasonable price, so you can count on having your clothes washed once a week if you want to pack light.

Tips

You can buy most things you need in Mexico (toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, etc.) as well as notebooks, paper, and writing instruments, so there is no need to bring these things from home unless you want to.

  • Cuernavaca has world-quality restaurants, so if you want to treat yourself to a night out on the town, bring appropriate clothes (similar to what you would wear at home if you go out to a “nice” place.)

  • Consider bringing a rain jacket or umbrella if you’re coming to Mexico during the rainy season (approximately June–November).

  • Good walking shoes are important! Cuernavaca has lots of steep cobblestone streets, plus you will probably have the chance to climb a pyramid or go on a walking tour of the city. You need stable, supportive, closed shoes (like sports shoes) – NOT flip flops – for this kind of activity.

  • If you plan a weekend trip to the world famous wáter parks in Cuernavaca or simply enjoy the Mexican beaches bring a swim suit. If you want to go to a gym while you’re here, bring gym clothes and athletic shoes.

  • Bring an alarm clock and a washcloth if you use one. The Mexican host families will supply you with towels but washcloths are not as commonly used in Mexico as in some other places.

  • Bring your laptop if you want to take advantage of Kukulcan’s free wireless internet, or use wireless internet at some of the local cafés.

  • Bring a good Spanish-English dictionary and any other Spanish grammar reference books (like 501 Spanish Verbs) that you think you might want to use in your Spanish language classes. We provide you with textbooks, but you may want to consult other reference books while you’re studying here.

Money Exchange

  • You can exchange foreign currency at Mexico City´s airport 24 hours a day, or at any bank in Cuernavaca between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. (Monday – Friday) and 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (Saturday).

  • ATM machines are also available at the airport and throughout Cuernavaca. They charge a small fee for the service. It’s as safe to use an ATM card in Mexico as it is in the U.S. or Europe. When withdrawing money, just be aware of your surroundings, don’t let strangers assist you or distract you, and be sure to put your money safely away before you go back out onto the street

  • Most major credit cards are widely accepted in Mexican stores, restaurants and hotels. It’s a good idea to make a photocopy of your credit cards and write down the numbers to call in case you lose your cards or have some problem using them while you’re in Mexico.

  • We recommend that you not carry large amounts of cash on you when you go out to explore the city. Just take what you think you will spend, and keep the rest of your money locked in your suitcase or in a safe place in your room.

Phone And Internet

If you have a cell phone at home, check with your service provider before you leave to see if it will work from Mexico and how much it will cost. Chances are it may not work in Mexico, or it may be very expensive. It’s relatively inexpensive to get a pre-paid cell phone in Mexico, such as Movistar. With this kind of service, you can call the U.S. or Canada and talk for 20 minutes for about 70 cents U.S. Most people find this to be the most affordable way to call home, and you can also use it for local numbers while you’re in Mexico.

E-mail is a good way to stay in touch. If you have a laptop, we have wireless internet at Kukulcan.

If you’re staying with a host family, be aware that you do not have the right to use their phone or computer, however for free you can connect to the house´s wifi.

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