I picked Instituto Chac-Mool in Cuernavaca to immerse myself in the Spanish language, Mexican culture and to take Spanish classes because of it's central location, good year round weather, and ease to isolate from others from English speaking countries. Yes, I was a beginner in my new language but I didn't want anything (or anyone) to detract from my ultimate goal of learning Spanish.
Fondest memory: My best memory of Cuernavaca was my homestay arranged for me by my Spanish School, Instituto Chac-Mool. My classes were great, my teachers exceptional but it wouldn't have been a complete experience if I hadn't lived with a great family. My Mexican mama treated me with such kindness and patience while I attempted to learn her language. She cooked for me, she escorted me about town and she has invited me back whenever I'd like. And I will return, for more classes, and more of Josefina's fine chile rellanos.
Favorite thing: Recently I decided that I was in dire need of a vacation, but I wanted to work on my spanish a bit as well. I chose a school called "Chac-mool." The staff is competent, yet laid back. I am a lawyer, so I studied legal spanish in a private class in the afternoon; general spanish in a small class in the morning. I highly recommend it. Most of the emphasis is placed on speaking as opposed to the the high school textbook method. I believe they offer specialty classes for other professions as well.
Visiting the zocalo, watching people, buying a licuado and a newspaper, then going to one of the restaurants nearby and slowly sipping a capuccino at a sidewalk table at a restaurant on or near the zocalo, watching the pedestrian traffic flow, and letting the tides of the day wash over my consciousness, it not being important whether I was alone or shared the time with another expatriate, tourist, student or local. Cafe Vienna, Los Arcos, or another location, it really didn't matter which. The next best activity was to visit the market and enjoy the smells and sounds of the market, soaking in the ambience, buying some fresh papaya or mangos or oranges. The seafood restaurant on the second floor at the north end of the market had great shrimp cocktails, good sauce, fresh onion, fresh avocado, fresh tomato, fresh cilantro and lots of shrimp, and not very expensive.
Fondest memory: From December 1973 through May 1974 I spent five months studying and living in Cuernavaca, most of that time as a student or associate of Cuahunahuac, Instituto de Cultura y Idiomas, which at the time was being run as collectivo by its teacher-owners. I lived on the school grounds most of the time, and for a month or so shared an apartment at a property near Cortez's Palace that since has been converted into the Bajo el Volcan hotel. I made friends, learned some Spanish, and had a great time.
Cuernavaca is a favorite weekend getaway for residents of Mexico City. Once out of the city the drive took about an hour and a half.
Cuernavaca sees it's most favorable weather between the months of October and May.
Climb the tower of the cathedral, and go to Tepoztlan on a Sunday. Find the violin seller and give him a kiss from me....... tell him I'll be back one of these days
Fondest memory: There was a violin seller who plied his trade of tiny squeaky violins in the zocalo. I saw him every week. He called me "maestra" because he could never quite work out my job. Before my parents' last visit to see me, I instructed them in culturally senstitive issues, including kissing people on the cheek when you met them.
We met the violin seller in the street. I introduced him to my parents. My dad shook his hand and kissed him! He said he never had such a bristley encounter.....
Standing proudly in the Plaza de Armas, he fomer Palacio de Cortes - now the Museo de Cuauhnahuac - is a 16th century building used as a prision int he 18th century and then the government building in the 19th.
There are some interesting exhibits but the main attraction is the fascinating Diego Rivera mural, highlighting scenes from the Spanish conquest through to the 1910 revolution, emphasising the cruelty, oppresion and violence that characterised Mexican history.
Favorite thing: Within the Recinto walled-confines, is the Templo de la Tercera Orden de San Francisco. The building was started in 1723, with its exterior carved in 18th century Baroque style by Indian artists. the interior, whilst ornate and gilded is a little more restrained than a lot of Mexican churches.
There are some delightful parts to the city, but it also gives you the feeeling of one big urban sprawl.
The Zocalo is pleasant enough without being wonderful, but the Recinto de la Catedral is one of the highlights
The school was great and I would recommend it to absolutely anybody who wants to learn some level of Spanish, explore a little bit of Central Mex., and meet lots of great, interesting people.
Fondest memory: Just sitting at the dinner table after another completely amazing meal prepared by our sweet Mexican host mother, talking and laughing about everything under the sun. She was so patient and generous helping us practice our Espanol.
I studied Spanish at Cemanauac an intensve spanish school in Cuernavaca and it was great.
Fondest memory: How relaxed it is and the perfect weather.....the daily tanning sessions at the pool