city and municipality in the Mexican state of Morelos

Cuautla is a small city of about 157,000 people (2020) in the Central Mexico state of Morelos. The city figured prominently in the Mexican Revolution as a Zapatista stronghold and the site of two significant battles with federal troops.

Ex-convento Franciscano San Diego de Alcala

Understand

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Cuautla is a fair-size city of about 157,000 people (2020). The city has a long and colorful history with a number of noteworthy monuments and historical sites.

The story of Cuautla begins with its initial settlements by the Otomi people, about 1,000 years ago. The town was conquered by the Aztecs in 1379 (along with a number of neighboring communities). Spanish conquistadors would arrive in the mid-16th century and promptly began building two churches: the Convento de San Diego, which is still the town's most important church, and the Church of Santiago Apostol. Convento de San Diego was established in 1560, but would take almost 20 years to complete (big churches take time).

Cuautla was a strategic stronghold during both the War for Independence in the early 19th century and the Mexican Revolution in the early 20th century.

During the War for Independence, Jose Maria Morelos and his troops were surrounded by the Spanish Army, who laid siege to the town for 72 days. The siege is remembered for the story of 12-year old Narciso Mendoza (aka, Niño Artillero) who set off a cannon as Spanish troops approached the city, stopping the attack in its tracks.

During the Revolution, federal troops were occupying the city by May 1911, when Emiliano Zapata arrived with 5,000 soldiers. The battle between the Zapatistas and the federales lasted over week before the federales surrendered. After he was assassinated in 1919, Zapata was buried in Cuautla.

Get in

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Map of Cuautla

By bus

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Several bus lines serve Cuautla from Mexico City and other cities in Central Mexico.

From Mexico City's Taxqueña bus terminal, Pullman de Morelos buses go direct to Cuautla. Buses leave hourly throughout the day for the 90-minute trip. A ticket costs from M$120 to M$220 (depending on class, time of day, and demand).

Cuautla is a disorganized mess when it comes to bus arrivals and departures. They appear to be the only town in Mexico that hasn't figured out to have one single, efficient bus terminal used by all lines. Instead, you have to go to a specific place for an individual line. There are many bus stations scattered around a few block area. Very hard to compare schedules, see who has shorter waits, etc.

  • 1 Autobuses Pullman Cuautla, Mariano Antonio y Máximo Bravo 53, Centro, +527353527371. Waiting room for Pullman de Morelos buses.
  • 2 OCC Bus Station (ADO), 2 de Mayo 97, Centro. Waiting for OCC buses.
  • 3 Estrella Blanca Bus Station, Ing. Mongoy 63-51, Centro. Waiting room for Estrella Blanca buses.

Get around

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Emiliano Zapata
  • Museo Casa Emiliano Zapata, Emiliano Zapata s/n, Anenecuilco, +52 735-308-8901. Tu-Su 10:00 - 17:00, closed M. Ruins of the small house where hero of the Mexican Revolution, Emiliano Zapata, was born on August 8, 1879. A modern museum houses exhibits dating back to the pre-Hispanic period, including estates (haciendas) of the region and quite a few exhibits about Zapata and the Revolution. M$20.
  • 1 Parroquia Santiago Apostol (Church of Saint Dominic the Apostle), Vicente Guerrero s/n, Centro. One of the 16th-century mission churches that collectively constitute a   UNESCO World Heritage Site. The church is noted for its artwork that blends indigenous and European Christian themes. The church includes an open chapel and a central courtyard.
  • 2 Old Railway Station (Antigua Estacion Ferrocarril), Mariano Escoto s/n, Centro. Tu-Su 10:00 - 18:00 (closed M). The railway station opened in 1881 and features a working steam locomotive, number 279. The Museo Vivencia Ferrocarril 279 shows objects from the station, the machine maintenance workshop and reproductions of objects typical of the era. M$36, under 12 free.
 
Hacienda San Antonio Coahuixtla
  • Hacienda San Antonio Coahuixtla, San Pedro Apatlaco (10 minutes by taxi from Centro), +52 735-266-7795. 09:00 - 18:00. Abandoned ruins of the majestic old hacienda with its massive 3-story main building. The story is that a young Emiliano Zapata worked here and that the hacienda was the site of the first battle against federal forces when revolution broke out. The hacienda has been used as a set for several movies and television programs. M$20.
  • 3 Ex-Convento de San Diego de Alcala (Monastery of San Diego), Padre Samano, Centro. The church of San Diego was built in the 16th century between 1560 and 1580. The church is built of pink granite (cantera) in a fairly simple style with a somewhat small belfry. The attached monastery lost part of its garden to the railway in the late 19th century when the train station was built.
  • 4 Museo Histórico del Oriente Casa Morelos (Historical Museum of East Casa Morelos), Vicente Guerrero, Centro, +52 735 352 8331. Tu-Su 09:00 - 17:30 (closed M). Small historical site museum that chronicles Cuautla's role in the revolution with a focus on Jose Ma. Morelos.
 
Agua Hedionda
  • 1 Agua Hedionda (Stinky Water Aquatic Park), Av. Progreso s/n, Centro, +52 735-352-0044. 07:00 - 17:30. Public water park famed for its pure waters which have a sulphurous character, earning the moniker "agua hedionda" (stinky water). There are two large pools, twisty slides, private pools, and a whirlpool tub. Relaxing and invigorating. There is a famous mural of mermaids decorating the interior wall. M$4 adults, M$2 children.

Festivals

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  • Feria the town's largest event celebrates the second Friday of Lent
  • Birthday of Jose Maria Morelos is celebrated with a parade through town

Several boutique shops in town sell Mexican artesanias and Cuautla is known for its leather sandals, called huaraches. Also keep an eye open for crafts made in the nearby town of Tetelcingo, including wire birdcages and indigenous clothing such as the huipil or the chincuete. There are also shops specializing in tack (saddles, halters and other equipment for horse riding).

Most of the typical Mexican dishes of Central Mexico are found in Cuautla, but there are some interesting local specialties that are peculier to Cuautla and that a curious epicure will want to seek out and sample, if possible. Two of these are tacos acorazados and chito.

Tacos acorazadosare an unusual local specialty that became popular during the Revolution of the early 20th century. Tacos acorazados begin with a warm corn tortilla and are filled with rice and often topped by a sliced hard-boiled egg. Chito is barbacoa made with goat (not the young goat used for cabrito, but mature goat). The dish is served with cured chili peppers, tepache, and often served on handmade blue corn tortillas. Tepache is a condiment made by fermenting pineapple skins.

  • 1 Las Golandrinas, Calle, Nicolás Catalán 19A, Centro, +52 735 117 7038. 09:00 - 20:30. Traditional Mexican restaurant up to 17:00 (5pm), after that they serve only pizza.
  • 2 El Tizon, 62744, Álvaro Obregón 116, Emiliano Zapata, +52 735 321 0431. Tu-Su 14:00 - 23:00 (closed M). Casual terrace restaurant with burgers, sandwiches, etc.
  • 3 Gea, C. Sufragio Efectivo 52A, Emiliano Zapata, +52 55 1017 8710. Tu-Su 09:00 - 22:00 (closed M). Outdoor dining area with freshly prepared contemporary cuisine. Kid friendly.

Drink

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  • 1 La Taxqueña, 62744, Francisco I. Madero 196, Emiliano Zapata, +52 55 1377 3531. 10:00 - 21:00. Basic bar with beers and antojitos.

Sleep

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  • 1 Hotel Espana, 2 de Mayo 22, Centro, +52 735 352 2186. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Traditional courtyard style hotel with basic rooms. M$400.
  • 2 Hotel Jardines de Cuautla, 2 de Mayo 94, Centro, +52 735 352 5135. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Clean, comfortable room with modern decor. WiFi, swimming pool. On-site restaurant. M$500.
  • 3 Defensa del Agua, Defensa del Agua 53, Centro, +52 735 352 1679. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Modest, affordable hotel with convenient central location. Swimming pool, wifi, coffee shop.
  • 4 Hotel de Cuautla, Batalla 19 de Febrero de 1812 No. 114, Centro, +52 735 352 7211. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Good pool and excellent restaurant and service at the hotel. Centrally located. Nice hotel with modern facilities.

Go next

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This city travel guide to Cuautla is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.