One day in Tlayacapan and Tenancingo – 5 interesting things to do in a single day

As a continuation of the theme of colorful Mexican cities, I want to tell you a little about Tlayacapan and Tenancingo. Each of these cities can be taken for 1 day for a quiet visit.

Tlayacapan is located in the state of Morelos, 60 km from Cuernavaca. Although most of the town looks a bit rustic, there is the former monastery of San Juan Bautista, built by the Augustinians in 1530 and included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1994. Saint Juan Bautista is the patron saint of the city, and the celebration in his honor on June 24th is one of the main holidays.

The city is also known for being the birthplace of the “jumping” dance Chinelos, which is performed in special bright costumes and is a reflection of the joy of Spaniards who, after a long journey, finally found the promised land. According to one version, the roots of the extravagant costumes for the Chinelos dance lie in the old days, when Mexicans mocked the flashily dressed rich Spaniards.

Tlayacapan, Cande Westh

We devoted a day to walking around the city. The purpose of the visit was precisely to visit the monastery. The monumentality of this architectural marvel makes me speechless. I often catch myself thinking, “How, well, how in those ancient times, without special equipment, built such buildings, which stand for centuries and amaze the imagination to this day?

Interestingly, there is no altar inside the monastery, and the cornerstone of the architecture is the number 12: that is, there are 12 doors, 12 main rooms, etc. At the same time, the total number of parts is 144, a magic number found in all the ancient texts about the Apocalypse.

Tlayacapan, Cande Westh

In addition to the monastery, in the city we looked at the Museum and Cultural Center La Cerería, located in a 16th century building that covers an entire block. Inside is a museum of the history and traditions of the municipality, such as its pre-Hispanic past, musicians, pottery traditions and two rooms with temporary exhibits. La Cerería is constantly holding some kind of seminars, courses, practices on a wide variety of topics: playing chess, learning the language, drawing…

Another attraction is the former Hacienda of San Nicolás. It is believed that it originally belonged to Hernán Cortés, who in the 16th century bequeathed it to his grandson Pedro. Since 1809, the Hacienda has been state property.

There are also other beautiful churches in the town: Capilla de Nuestra Señora del Rosario, Santa Ana y Señor Santiago and the stunning views of the year “Hat” Cerro Sombrerito.

Tlayacapan, Cande Westh

Churches of Tlayacapan

I was most impressed by the monastery (San Juan Bautista) and the city’s streets, which have some kind of magic. Many Mexican and American films were shot there. Among them is the 1966 film Valentina, starring Maria Filix and Eulalio Gonzalez. Initially, it was watching this movie that prompted me to visit the city. I recommend the film for viewing. Tangled plot, touching on the theme of the revolution as well, very beautiful actors, and the views of Tlayacapan.

Useful Information

How to get there: From Mexico City’s South Central Bus Station to the Oaxtepec stop – take a cab 10 minutes from there.

Where to stay: Hotels and apartments are not cheap. For example, a standard double room with breakfast at the Villa los Agaves, Hospedería, a 4-star hotel in the city center, costs $80 a night.

Interesting things to do in Tenancingo

The second city is Tenancingo, whose full name is Tenancingo de Degollado. The city, also called the “Star of the South,” is located in the state of Mexico City, 2 hours from the capital and an hour from Toluca. It is a large city with a population of over 1 million people.

Our friendly group traveled to Tenancingo to visit the Basílica de San Clemente, a cathedral very revered by Mexicans.

Tenancingo, Cande Westh

Interestingly, near the cathedral they sell wreaths of fresh flowers, which you have to put on your head before entering and take off on the way out. As our friends have told us, people come here before important events in their lives (wedding, birth of a child, sometimes finding a new job).

The wishes that one asks for at the altar of Basílica de San Clemente are granted. Then, when the wish is granted, one must be sure to return to the cathedral to thank the saint.

There were a lot of people in and around the cathedral, but I did not see any foreigners except us. After visiting the cathedral, we strolled through the nearby market, where they sell everything from food to souvenirs. That’s where the most delicious corn tortillas are, which we probably picked up a ton of and ate them all on the way to Mexico City.

Tenancingo, Cande Westh

From all sides there are beautiful views of the mountains against the backdrop of the cathedral. It must be said that this charming city is not only famous for the Basilica of St. Clementine, but also has the dubious reputation of being one of the most dangerous Mexican cities in terms of kidnapping Mexican girls to work as prostitutes. Since 2007, the police have been trying to fight it, but so far the problem is still acute.

That’s the end of it! On that frightening note, let’s end 🙂 See you in the new notes!

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Melnyk Nykolai

Hi! I'm python-developer from the Ukraine. I often fly to different countries for work and also explore different interesting places. Glad you read my post on this site. If you find an error in the text, let me know!

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