Is it really safe to travel to Cuernavaca?

Is it really safe to travel to …

For as long as I have worked in Mexico (now almost 20 years), I am invariably at a loss when it comes to answering direct questions about safety, as in ‘Is it really safe to travel to Cuernavaca.’ Here’s the message I received this week:

Hi Ron. Quick question about Mexico….my niece has been invited to a wedding in Cuernavaca, Morelos in August. My sister was told this is a very unsafe place to go to (by some Mexican folks who work for a friend of hers) but my sister doesn’t know if this is really true, or not. Do you have a sense of the safety of this place? My niece is 22 years old.

My gut response is YES! A wedding in Cuernavaca would be lovely. That said, I’m bothered by the fact that so much of the dialogue is rushed to judgement without taking bigger pictures into account. Is it really safe to travel to Mexico is a story in its own route, at least on Storify. Kudos to Lonely Planet’s Robert Reed for addressing the topic of safety on his blog.

I would love to hear from friends in Cuernavaca. What would you recommend we recommend?

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15 Responses to Is it really safe to travel to Cuernavaca?

  1. Sherry says:

    I have worked “with” Mexico for almost 20 years, coordinating all sorts of trips for people… mostly to the Cuernavaca area. Since the Swine flu scare a few years ago, the number of tourists to the area has dropped considerably. The recession, then drug violence followed the flu scare and tourism is not recovering. It is sad because the area is ripe with kind people that want to share their lovely city with tourists. Cuernavaca has changed much over the years, growing from a small pueblo to a good size city connecting with outlying towns. Some of these areas are not good neighborhoods and there is no reason tourists would travel there…just like if you went to visit Disneyland in Southern Cal, you’d have no good reason to venture into Watts. The historical Cuernavaca is where tourists stay and visit for the most part and I have no qualms about recommending a vacation there. Will I guarantee safety? Of course not, I would be a fool to. But do I recommend it? Absolutely. This recommendation is based on information from residents/friends living there full and part time. Also feedback from clients that are still loving their time and feeling safe in Cuernavaca. And I don’t hesitate to go myself, or to send family members.

    • Deb W says:

      Thanks so much for that terrific and sensible vision of Cuernavaca, Sherry. As a Spanish teacher, I spent many years studying Spanish at a terrific school in Cuernavaca, which is well known for its abundance of excellent schools for learning Spanish – whether you are a beginning student or an experienced teacher. I stayed with a woman who became one of my best friends and I stay with her whenever I am in this beautiful city. You are right. Cuernavaca is filled with incredibly kind and wonderful people who gather you in as if you are family. I now have many friends there. Also true – like many cities, there are all kinds of neighborhoods and situations and you have to be “smart” in the way you conduct yourself. This is no different than it is anywhere else. It is sad but true that Cuernavaca and the entire state of Morelos have really suffered economically, in tourisim, and in reputation because of the cartel violence flourishing throughout Mexico. Even I am far more cautious when I go there now. It is still an unbelievably beautiful place with terrific weather and people. And, even though I have changed my behavior to suit the times, I will never stop going to the “City of Eternal Spring”.

      • Carole says:

        I’m thinking of Cuernavaca for a March trip for a 1-week intensive Spanish. Looking for a school where nothing but Spanish spoken in class and out. Also looking for a home-stay. Wonder if you have recommendations you’d care to share?

        Thank you.


  2. karead7 says:

    We travelled to that area in February and stayed outside of the city and then took the local bus into Cuernavaca. We had a great time wandering around el centro and walked over to the waterfalls even. Never once felt that our safety was at risk.

  3. Went to Cuernavaca last year in April right after some narco violence had passed in the area. I felt completely fine and nothing seemed shady at all. Just dont go looking for trouble and you won’t find it!

  4. Steve says:

    Just returned from 3 months in Cuernavaca and surrounding area. Have been going down there since 1985 and have NEVER felt in danger. It is unfortunate that CV papers sensationalize (as do all papers I guess !) the violence. I felt safe,comfortable and welcomed by the people there. I would not hesitate to take my family and friends there. I take the same precautions I would anywhere. Radio taxis, I dont walk the streets drunk at 2am ,etc,,,logical stuff !!

  5. alfredo says:

    Cuernavaca is like many places in Mexico and the world for that matter, stay in the areas that most of the people stay…don’t look for trouble and you’ll be fine!

  6. Weddings in our area are absolutely lovely. Some venues are the beautiful old haciendas, others in spectacular gardens. I agree with the comments above..if you go looking for trouble you are going to find it. Use your common sense when you travel, just as you would in Europe or anywhere else and you will have a wonderful visit in Cuernavaca and surrounding areas. There is a lot of history, culture, etc. in our area.

  7. cancuncare says:

    Cuernavaca is in the State of Morelos, and Morelos does not appear on the US State Dept non essential travel warning list. In fact only 4 of Mexico’s 31 States are considered dangerous enough for the Travel Advisory to warn against non essential travel. It’s true that there are some
    places in Mexico you maybe wouldn’t want to visit for a wedding, but Cuernavaca is certainly not one of them. I’m an expat who’s been living in Cancun in the State of Quintana Roo for the last 8 years. Quintana Roo is another safe State in Mexico, I can guarantee that I would be on the first plane back home if I felt my family were at risk by living here or any other place in Mexico.

    My advice would be ignore the gossip of people, many of whom have probably never even left their home State, and the anti Mexican press so prevalent in the US. Visit Mexico, see it for yourself, make your own judgment and enjoy all Mexico has to offer. Your life will be richer for it.

  8. ronmader says:

    Breaking news. I’m visiting Cuernavaca this week. Looking forward to seeing old friends and updating the Cuernavaca guide on Planeta!

  9. ronmader says:

    FYI: We will also be updating our directory of Spanish language schools in Cuernavaca

    • You should update your list of schools for Cuernavaca. I will be glad to send you a list of the ten language schools in Cuernavaca. Tell me where to send it. or you can visit Cuernavaca Language School closed and I think Chac Mool did as well, having moved to Tulum.

  10. ronmader says:

    Thanks, Harriet. Schools pay to be in the directory and I’ll be double checking the list during my visit.

  11. bigfuzzy says:

    Got married in Cuernavaca, and have been several times. Have never felt unsafe. You just have to be, like always everywhere, a smart traveler.

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