Morelos is a state located in south-central Mexico with a close proximity to Mexico City on its northern border. It’s a place populated by hardworking people trying to eke out a living. Agriculture, commerce, and exports are Morelos’ primary sources of income with the flower industry being a major contributor to the state’s economic stability.
A drive through this state will have you believing you’ve died and gone to bougainvillea heaven! Morelos is Mexico’s largest producer of roses and ornamental plants, selling them as a cash crop and exporting tens of thousands of the flowers each year.
Morelos also claims the poinsettia as being their indigenous plant, however, a “diplomatic patent” registered in the early 19th century by a US ambassador to Mexico has Mexican poinsettia growers paying royalties to the US. Whatever the politics are, the state is covered with the natural beauty of these plants!
The state is immensely rich in history, leaving much for visitors to explore. Among the “must sees” are stunning churches and archeological sites of ancient cities, ceremonial altars, and old haciendas. The state’s many thermal springs are a big tourist draw as well. Towns where you are most apt to find all of these spectacular attractions as well as other services include Cuautla, Tepotzlán, Tequesquitengo, Tlayacapan, Xochicalco, and of course its capital city Cuernavaca.
The beautiful poinsettia and bougainvillea rich Cuautla is a lively tourist city. It’s known as “The City of Hot Springs” because of its numerous natural springs and nearby water parks – some interestingly created from old springs. Here you can tour the beautiful Santo Domingo Church, and check out the adjacent Lake Tequesquitengo, under which the old city rests with only the town church’s bell tower jutting out of it to attest to its existence. The lake is also a great place to enjoy various water sports.
If you love old architecture, the city of Tequesquitengo will not disappoint! This town has many important 16th and 17th century haciendas for you to investigate, some of which are still used as working mines like the Hacienda Tlachichilpan. The archaeological ruins of Chimalacatlan and the town’s ex-convents and churches are also sure to enchant!
The ancient village of Tepotzlán, famous for its pyramids and revitalizing energy, is a great place to indulge in healing tranquility. Visitors are mesmerized by its culture and beauty, so much that in 2002 the Mexican government designated it a “Pueblo Mágico”. Another shining aspect of Tepotzlán that you won’t want to miss are the fourteen 16th century monasteries spread out along the slopes of the Popocatépetl Volcano, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You also must see the city’s spectacular 16th century churches and ex-convent, its Carlos Pellicer museum, and take a guided tour to the mountainous archeological ruins of a sacred mystical center.
Incidentally, since most, but not all, of the monasteries are in the state of Morelos, with a few being in Pueblo, you can drive the “Route of the Monasteries” aka “Route of the Volcano”. The route meanders through varying landscapes offering views of numerous species of flora and fauna, ancient churches, former haciendas, and archeological sites and ruins. The route promises a cultural experience you won’t soon forget!
Tlayacapan is a rural town just south of Mexico City, where way of life has not changed much over the last 100 years. The main industries here are agriculture and manufacturing pottery. In this charming, quaint town purchase amazing pottery, enjoy old mansions, houses with red tile roofs and stone-paved streets, visit the16th century San Juan Bautista Monastery, an ex-convent, and 26 Colonial era chapels. For your trip to this Pre-Hispanic community, be sure to make early reservations – Tlayacapan has just one hotel with accommodations for 15 people.
For stunning scenery compared to the likes of Switzerland, drive the Convent Route. Visit many towns with ancient ex-convents and monasteries all set amongst lush fragrant fruit trees such as plum and fig, with the Popocatepetl Volcano as your backdrop!
In your exploration of archeological sites, be sure to investigate Xochicalco, the state’s largest and most important archeological ruins. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site!
If you’re visiting the state during Lent, you’ll have the opportunity to attend the Carnaval Festival, which takes place throughout Mexico. The difference in Morelos’ celebration is the inclusion of what the state most identifies itself with – the Chinelos dance. But, whether you are taking part in this enchanting dance with colorfully dressed dancers or viewing the many magnificent sites across Morelos, you are sure to enjoy a truly, culturally rich experience!