Posted by: Alex MacGregor | January 4, 2018

Taxco: Guerrero’s Silver City

Years ago, we covered a hidden gem in Mexico: the incredible silver mining city of Guanajuato. Since then, Guanajuato has gotten a fair amount of international cred: I’ve seen it pop up on lists of travel destinations, and it seems like people finally are acknowledging the town an hour from the famous San Miguel de Allende is very much worth a visit. It’s even got a nonstop flight from Atlanta now!

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Well, down in the State of Guerrero in Southern Mexico is another epic silver mining town: Taxco.

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Taxco is a considerably hillier town, and probably even more filled with stunning vistas than Guanajuato. Guanajuato’s center sits in the relatively flat bottom of a deep ravine; Taxco was crudely built on the side of a mountain.

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This town is the land of the Stairmaster. There’s barely a flat spot anywhere!

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Unlike Guanajuato, whose heyday was during the colonial era, Taxco grew well after Mexico’s independence, during the late 1800s. The streets are quaint, but have less grand architecture that looks straight out of Europe.

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Instead, there’s a greater feeling of closeness and intimacy here.

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Instead of gelato stands and student-run art shops in Guanajuato, Taxco has dog-filled alleyways aplenty! A very short stroll from the central square and you’re wandering in typical Mexico.

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The city definitely feels less refined and prosperous than Guanajuato. Guerrero’s per capita income is about two-thirds of Guanajuato’s.

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Moreover, tourism has taken a huge hit from the drug war, which has, sadly, engulfed Guerrero as much as it has anywhere in Mexico. I wish I could say that Taxco is outside of the fray–heck, maybe it is!–but the city of Iguala, which in 2014 became synonymous with the busload of Mexican activist students who were murdered by corrupt politicians in cahoots with the drug cartels, is worryingly near. Consequently, Gringo tourists are a rare sight; most of the visitors are Mexican.

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The tourists that do make it to Taxco can enjoy cobbled streets…

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…plentiful VW Beetle photo-ops…

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…and, best of all, ample terraces for breakfast, coffee, lunch, more coffee, dinner, dessert, or a drink! Each with an amazing, unique view over the old town.

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And yes, the cathedral! One of Mexico’s most distinctive and impressive buildings.

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Taxco also has a sprawling market district–or market districts.

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No respite from the stairs, I’m afraid!

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The locals’ part of the market, probably the most interesting area for gringo tourists to wander in and grab a bite of street food.

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“The Night of Iguala”

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The Virgin Mary and death-kitsch. Obligatory Mexican stuff…

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…alongside some more, er, colorful wares!

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Of more interest to Mexican tourists is the seemingly endless silver market.

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It’s certainly a grittier destination than Guanajuato, but Taxco doesn’t disappoint. It’s just a two-hour bus ride from Mexico City, so Taxco is definitely worth a visit if you’re nearby, and should be a high on the list for any foreigner who wants to get to know Mexico a little better.

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