Taxco de Alarcón (usually referred to as simply Taxco) is a small city and administrative center of a Taxco de Alarcón Municipality located in the Mexican state of Guerrero. Taxco is located in the north-central part of the state, 36 kilometers (22 miles) from the city of Iguala, 135 kilometers (84 miles) from the state capital of Chilpancingo and 170 kilometers (106 miles) southwest of Mexico City. The city is heavily associated with silver, both with the mining of it and other metals and for the crafting of it into jewelry, silverware and other items. Today, mining is no longer a mainstay of the city’s economy. The city’s reputation for silverwork, along with its picturesque homes and surrounding landscapes, have made tourism the main economic activity.
I flew into Mexico City, Mexico and I stayed with a family in Cuernavaca, Mexico. I took a bus to Taxco, Guerrero, Mexico for the day to explore. It was definitely a culture shock.
IN TRAVELING HERE, YOU WILL NOTICE THE ROADS ARE VERY SMALL, THERE IS ONLY ENOUGH ROOM FOR ONE CAR TO FIT THROUGH. PEDESTRIANS ALSO DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT A WAY. IN ANY VISIT I HAVE TAKEN TO MEXICO, I WAS ALWAYS TOLD “TO LOOK RIGHT, LOOK LEFT, LOOK UP AND PRAY TO GOD AND RUN LIKE HELL.” THEY WILL RUN YOU OVER THERE.
WHEN YOU GET THERE, PEOPLE WILL SEE YOU ARE AMERICAN, KIDS WILL RUN UP TO YOU FROM EVERY WHICH ANGLE YELLING “CHICLE” AS THEY WANT YOU TO BUY IT. THIS BIGGEST MISTAKE I MADE WAS BUYING SOME FEELING BAD SINCE THEY WERE KIDS. CAUSE ONE YOU BUY SOME, THE SAME KID WILL COME BACK TWO SECONDS LATER ASKING YOU TO BUY MORE CHICLE. I ENDED UP BUYING A BOX OF CHICLE.
WHILE IN TAXCO I THINK THE HARDEST THING FOR ME WAS SEEING ALL THE STRAY DOGS WHO WHERE SO SKINNY THEY LOOKED TO BE STARVING. THEY LOOKED NOT TAKEN CARE OF AND IT SEEMED NO ONE REALLY CARED, AND THEY WHERE EVERYWHERE. HONESTLY I BARLEY ATE THE WHOLE TIME I WAS THERE, I FED EVERYTHING I HAD AND EVERYTHING I COULD BUY TO THESE POOR ANIMALS. I THINK THIS WAS THE BIGGEST CULTURE SHOCK, TO SEE SO MANY ANIMALS IN SUCH A POOR STATE AND UNCARED FOR. WAS A VERY HARD TIME FOR ME TO ENJOY MY SURROUNDINGS WHEN I HAD SUCH A HARD TIME UNDERSTANDING WHY NO ONE WHO LIVED THERE WAS HELPING THEM.
Mexico City authorities report that they capture and kill an estimated 20,000 dogs per month in their city alone. In Manzanillo, a city in Colima, there are more than 16,000 dogs and cats living on the streets. With little food and sustenance, searing heat and very little shelter, these dogs have few friends and a lot of enemies. Because they lack basic care, they succumb to diseases and serious problems such as claws growing into their feet and coats matting, which pulls on the skin and creates a safe haven for insect larvae. They are infested with fleas and ticks, and many suffer from mange. But starvation, dehydration, sickness and exposure are not their biggest challenges; tragically, their biggest challenges are apathy and ignorance. There are many stories all over the Internet of street dogs in Mexico being tortured by kids, killed for sport and tossed overboard when they sneak onto a fisherman’s boat to look for scraps. Anti-cruelty laws, if they exist at all, are ambiguous, authorities typically don’t prosecute offenders. On top of that, spaying and neutering is not widely accepted. Many don’t believe in neutering because they believe that doing so will somehow compromise a dog’s canine masculinity.
WHILE THERE I VISITED THE CHURCH SANTA PRISCA, I WAS TOLD NOT TO TAKE PICTURES OF THE PAINTINGS ON THE WALLS CAUSE THEY CAN SCRATCH THE PAINTINGS WITH THE FLASH. I DID NOT UNDERSTAND THAT BUT I JUST AGREED. THE CHURCH WAS BEAUTIFUL, THE ARCHITECTURE AND ALL THE DETAIL WAS SOMETHING LIKE I HAVE NEVER SEEN BEFORE. THERE WAS A WEDDING GOING ON WHEN I WALKED IN SO I DID NOT GET TO GO EVERYWHERE I WANTED TO, I WAS ALSO WITH A GROUP.
Things to do in Taxco
The most popular activity in Taxco is shopping for silver – see below for some shopping tips, but you’ll find plenty of other things to do.
Visit the Santa Prisca church – the construction of this church was funded by Jose de la Borda.
Visit the Museo de la Plateria, the silver museum, where you can learn about the process for crafting silver, and see some fine pieces on display.
Have a “Bertha” – a lime and tequila concoction in Bar Bertha above the Plaza de la Borda, and enjoy the view of the plaza.
Take a ride in the cable car that goes up to Monte Taxco Hotel for some great photo ops!
TIPS WHILE IN MEXICO:
- DONT DRINK THE WATER, ALWAYS PURCHACE BOTTLED WATER
- DONT DRINK OUT OF A SODA CAN, ALWAYS GET A STRAW OR ASK FOR A “PAJA”
- DONT EAT THE LETTUCE
- MAKE SURE YOUR DRINKS HAVE NO ICE
- BRUSH YOUR TEETH ONLY WITH BOTTLED WATER
- DONT DRINK UNPASTURIZED MILK, AS THERE IS A LOT OF GOAT MILK.
- PRIOR TO TRAVELING TO MEXICO MAKE SURE YOU ARE UP TO DATE ON THESE VACCINATIONS: TETANUS, DIPHTHERIA, PERTUSSIS, MEASLES, MUMPS, RUBELLA, POLIO.
CURRENTLY IT IS NOT SAFE TO TRAVEL TO THE STATE OF GUERRERO, WHICH INCLUDES TAXCO.
Guerrero (includes Acapulco, Ixtapa, Taxco, and Zihuatanejo): Personal travel to the entire state of Guerrero, including Acapulco, is prohibited for U.S. government personnel. Self-defense groups operate independently of the government in many areas of Guerrero. Armed members of these groups frequently maintain roadblocks and, although not considered hostile to foreigners or tourists, are suspicious of outsiders and should be considered volatile and unpredictable.
U.S. citizens have been murdered in carjackings and highway robberies, most frequently at night and on isolated roads. Carjackers use a variety of techniques, including roadblocks, bumping/moving vehicles to force them to stop, and running vehicles off the road at high speeds. There are indications that criminals target newer and larger vehicles, but drivers of old sedans and buses coming from the United States are also targeted. U.S. government personnel are not permitted to drive from the U.S.-Mexico border to or from the interior parts of Mexico. U.S. government personnel are prohibited from intercity travel after dark in many areas of Mexico. U.S. citizens should use toll roads (cuotas) whenever possible. In remote areas, cell phone coverage is limited or non-existent.
The Mexican government has deployed federal police and military personnel throughout the country as part of its efforts to combat organized criminal groups. U.S. citizens traveling on Mexican roads and highways by car or bus may encounter government checkpoints, staffed by military or law enforcement personnel. In some places, criminal organizations have erected their own unauthorized checkpoints, at times wearing police and military uniforms, and have killed or abducted motorists who have failed to stop at them. You should cooperate at all checkpoints.
Kidnappings in Mexico take the following forms:
- Traditional: victim is physically abducted and held captive until a ransom is paid for release.
- Express: victim is abducted for a short time and commonly forced to withdraw money, usually from an ATM, then released.
- Virtual: an extortion-by-deception scheme where a victim is contacted by phone and coerced by threats of violence to provide phone numbers of family and friends, and then isolated until the ransom is paid. Recently, hotel guests have been targets of such “virtual” kidnapping schemes.
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