Getting to Cuernavaca is fairly easy but be aware that Cuernavaca is a popular tourist destination for both foreigners and visitors from other parts of Mexico. The traffic on both the tollway and the free road going to Cuernavaca from Mexico City can become quite busy on Friday and Saturday afternoons. Again on Sunday evening the roads fill up again as visitors return to Mexico City. It is quite possible that at these times the drive back to Mexico City can take 2 to 3 hours. Plan accordingly or choose other days for your traveling.
Please be aware that there are now two International airports in Mexico City. You should arrive at the Mexico City International Airport – officially named the Benito Juarez Airport (MEX) and not the Toluca International Airport, officially named Licenciado Adolfo López Mateos International Airport (TLC) which is on the far side of Mexico City and will add several hours and the extra expense to arrive to in Cuernavaca. Most airlines arrive at both airports, but you should be careful in choosing the flight that will arrive at MEX!
NOTE: One item that you will want to make sure you have on your person is a ballpoint pen, which will be needed for filling out Immigration and Customs papers. You will not be able to find a pen upon arrival and fellow passengers may not have one either. So, please be sure you have one with you.
By Plane to Benito Juarez Airport (MEX)
From the U.S. – Most of the major airlines offer several daily flights into Mexico City’s Benito Juarez International Airport (MEX). If you are flying from the states, be sure to check the early morning flights as they are often the least expensive and will give you adequate time to enjoy Cuernavaca on your first day of arrival. Certain cities in the U.S. offer flights that are often half the price as those cities. And, you may find that taking a flight to Los Angeles, for example, and then a flight to Mexico City will often be less than a flight from your home airport.
From Outside of North America – You will find lots of flights into Mexico City’s Benito Juarez International Airport (MEX). Mexico City is the second largest city in the world, is a major destination for business and pleasure.
From Tijuana or Monterrey, Mexico – Viva Aerobus has started offering very inexpensive tickets, around $45 USD, when flying Tijuana or Monterrey, Mexico, to the Cuernavaca Airport, though the airport is not that close to Cuernavaca. Expect to pay around $25 USD for the taxi to Cuernavaca’s central square.
When Arriving to Benito Juarez Airport
The following steps will help you get from your plane to the bus:
- Immigration: As you debark your plane you will walk through a maze of hallways until you come to Immigration. There are two lines awaiting you. The first is for Mexican citizens and the second, furthest from the entrance to the hall is for foreign nationals.
- If you have not already filled out your visa information, which should have been available from the flight attendant, you can find copies along the wall and near the posts. Also, there are no pens available. Be aware that these forms are only in Spanish and if you have trouble you should ask for someone to help you fill it out. If you get to the front of the line and do not have your papers, you will be sent back to the end of the line.
- When you approach the Immigration Officer hand him your passport and visa form. Do not make idle conversation, answering only the questions you are asked.
- Baggage Claim: After clearing Immigration, you will claim your baggage and pass through the customs area of the airport. If you have a lot of luggage there are carts available or you may use the services of a porter that will take you to the Customs area, which is quite a walk. The price for a porter usually runs between 30 to 50 pesos ($1.85 – 3.00 USD) depending on the number of bags you have.
- Customs: Customs is hardly more than handing the officer your Customs Declaration that was presented by the flight attendant on your flight.
- When arriving at Mexico City’s Benito Juárez International Airport, depending upon the airline you are flying with, you will be arriving at one of two terminals. Both have terminals for the Pullman de Morelos Autobus to Cuernavaca.
- Terminal 2: Flights on the following airlines arrive at Terminal 2; Delta Airlines, Aeromexico, Aeromexico Connect, Copa, LAN and Aeromar. Pullman de Morelos is located on the same floor and to your right as you enter the main hallway of the airport.
- Terminal 1: All other airlines arrive at Terminal 1 – Purchase bus tickets on the second floor, through the fast food restaurant area. The hallway to the bus terminal will be on your right and at the end of this hallway you will find the terminal for several bus lines. Again, you want the Pullman de Morelos Autobuses.
- Bus Service: Pullman de Morelos offers direct luxury bus service (with departures every ½ hour, a trip of approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes) from your terminal to Casino de la Selva, the only Cuernavaca bus station providing service to and from the airport.
- Bus Cost: The cost of a one way ticket is 220 pesos (approximately $13.62 USD) – and subject to change. Visa and Master Card are accepted.
- Bus Departure Times: The last bus departure from the airport for Cuernavaca is at 12:30AM. If you arrive in Mexico City early in the morning, the first bus departure from the airport to Cuernavaca is at 6:30AM. If you arrive at the counter after 12:30 a.m., you will have to wait until 6:30 a.m. to purchase your ticket, or you may want to hire a taxi downstairs at the exit. Expect to pay around $75 to $150 USD for the taxi to Cuernavaca’s central square.
- Porters: If you prefer, at either terminal, after picking up your baggage and leaving Customs, you can simply locate a porter (they will have luggage carts) as you exit and say: “Pullman de Morelos – Cuernavaca – por favor” and one of them will gladly take you first to the ticket counter and then on to the area for bus departures for a tip of 30 – 50 pesos ($1.85 – 3.00 USD), depending upon the number of bags you have.
- Money Exchange: You can always find banks open to change money once you pass through Customs, and you can count on getting the best exchange rates there at the airport. You can also use your bank debit card at any ATM (automated teller machine) to withdraw money in pesos. Remember to advise your bank before you leave that you will be in Mexico and using your card there so that they will not regard withdrawals or charges as “suspicious” and prohibit activity. The same is true for credit cards. You should advise your credit card companies before you leave that you will be using your cards in Mexico.
- Departing Cuernavaca via the Airport: When returning to the airport from Cuernavaca: the first bus departure to the airport is at 3:15 AM. The last bus departure to the airport is at 10:01 PM)
- Take the Mexico-Acapulco expressway south from Mexico City for an hour and a half to two hours from Mexico City’s Benito Juarez International Airport. The toll road costs $85 pesos or there is a free road which is less well maintained and is primarily single-laned.
By Bus from Within Mexico City
Mexico City has four main bus stations located in different areas of the city. Each station has buses serving a different region of the country, though there is some overlap.
- Terminal Central Norte – Northern Bus Terminal
Buses departing to northern Mexico and to the U.S. as well as other destinations: Aguascalientes, Baja California, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Colima, Durango, Guanajuato, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Michoacan, Nayarit, Nuevo Leon, Puebla, Oaxaca, Querétaro, San Luis Potosi, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tamaulipas, Veracruz.
Metro Station:Autobuses del Norte, Line 5 (yellow)
- Terminal Central Sur “Tasqueña” – Southern Bus Terminal
Buses departing to southern Mexico. Destinations: Cuernavaca, Chiapas, Guerrero, Morelos, Puebla, Oaxaca, Tabasco, Veracruz.
Metro Station:Tasqueña, Line 2 (blue), and Line 1 (pink)
- Terminal de Oriente “TAPO” – Eastern Bus Terminal
Buses departing to the south and Gulf area. Destinations: Campeche, Chiapas, Puebla, Oaxaca, Quintana Roo, Tlaxcala, Tabasco, Veracruz, Yucatán.
Metro Station: San Lazaro, Line 1 (pink)
- Terminal Centro Poniente – Western Bus Terminal
Destinations: Guerrero, Jalisco, Michoacán, Nayarit, Querétaro, State of Mexico, Sinaloa, Sonora
Metro Station: Observatorio, Line 1 (pink)
Several bus companies operate routes to Cuernavaca from throughout Mexico.
Buses run from 3 of Mexico City’s main bus stations in the North there is Terminal Central Norte, in the South there is Terminal Central Sur at Tasqueña and at the Benito Juarez International Airport.
The bus station at the Benito Juarez International Airport is well advised for travel to Cuernavaca as you can use Pullman de Morelos http://www.pullman.com.mx/english/. Pullman de Morelos will take you direct from the Benito Juarez International Airport to the Casino de la Selva Terminal in Cuernavaca.
It is also possible to catch a bus from the main toll plaza at the south of the city. Buses run on average every 20 minutes and tickets cost around $68 pesos to $135 pesos from the Airport. Pullman de Morelos runs the most frequent routes. Their buses are modern and safe and come equipped with air conditioning, toilets, and a movie during the trip. When there is no traffic the trip takes around 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hour from the Airport. Once within Cuernavaca, the bus will drop you off along the route wherever you like, except the Ejecutivo Dorado from the airport, as it is non-stop.
Getting around Cuernavaca
Buses: Buses cover most of the city and surrounding areas and cost about $5.50 pesos ($0.41 USD) per trip. These buses are relatively safe and regularly used by the many foreign language students in the city.
Taxis: Alternatively, there are many taxis which can be hailed on the street or ordered by phone or board them at bus stations. One of the largest radio taxi firm in Cuernavaca is Citlali, and all radio taxis are safe, independent taxis are slightly more risky because of low maintenance. Taxis in Cuernavaca do not have meters and prices need to be arranged before getting in the taxi. Most destinations during the day will not cost you more than $25 to $30 pesos.
- Citlali Radio Taxi, ☎ +52 (777) 364-6420
- Citlali Radio Taxi, ☎ +52 (777) 311-3906
- Citlali Radio Taxi, ☎ +52 (777) 311-3776
Early Morning / Late Night Taxis: Early in the morning during rush hour and late at night taxi prices sky-rocket (double). Try and get some idea of how much a trip will cost from locals beforehand. Once you get an idea of the prices you will be able to discuss the price with the driver before you get in the taxi and bring them down to reasonable fares. Remember, there will always be another cab driver coming along right behind the one that did not want to negotiate.