If I was one of those famous Instagrammers that get things for free, I would partner up with El Rollo waterpark in Morelos, Mexico. Bradley and I had a terrible mold situation in our studio apartment in Mexico City, so when a friend invited us to his birthday party in El Rollo, we decided to make a weekend getaway out of the 3 hour road trip!
It all started on a cloudy and cold day in Mexico City. As we drove South to Morelos state, the sky became blue and the temperatures rose. El Rollo was fairly empty considering it was a Friday. I suppose most people cannot get weekdays off, but thanks to the nature of remote jobs, Bradley and I could easily schedule time to relax.
The park has private villas which came to $20 USD each (we were a group of 7). The villa has a small kitchen area, a private bathroom, a hammock, and a jacuzzi. We dropped off our bags and rushed to the big water slides. The park was a lot bigger than I expected. It reminded me of my childhood trips to Wet ‘n’ Wild in Orlando, Florida. Here is a link to a YouTube video with El Rollo’s latest slide (and my favorite)!
We ended the day with pizza, burgers, and french fries! Because we rented a villa, we were able to get our meal and beers brought to the jacuzzi. Not a bad start to what would be one of the best weekends I have had in Mexico so far! The beers and food for 7 people came to a small $36 USD total.
In the evening, our friend dropped us off in Cuernavaca (about 1 hour North), where we slept like babies in our AirBnB room after all the adrenaline rush from the exciting day trip. Keep in mind, El Rollo has accomodation options, including a camping site. Next time, I would really consider staying there and enjoying the park for two full days.
The next day we had the loveliest time exploring Cuernavaca, a small city considering it is Morelos’ capital. Cuernavaca has more of a town feel. Our AirBnB was an easy 20 minute walk from my favorite street, Miguel Hidalgo, where there are plenty of beautiful restaurants and terraces.
I recommend starting your way at the end of Miguel Hidalgo street, where it connects with Avenida Morelos. Check out the Jardín Borda for a beautiful morning walk in nature. Lucky for us, it was Day of the Dead weekend so we checked out their altar exhibit which is always an interesting part of Mexican culture. After Jardín Borda, walk your way down Miguel Hidalgo street and visit the beautiful churches. Most likely, the weather will be grand as Cuernavaca is known to be the place of “eternal spring.”
We had the most amazing lunch experience at Marco Polo Restaurant, right across the cathedral. I was craving good Italian food (give me a break, I eat Mexican food all the time, haha). The terrace facing the church was exquisite, giving us good reason to eat slowly. During the course of our meal, we had 3 waiters taking care of us, and all of them smiled as they took care of our requests. I loved the food and wine, but I was most impressed by the appetizers: an amazing bread with an even better homemade butter, and a plate of melon and grapes with goat cheese and jamón serrano. The melon appetizer was a delicacy I had tried in New York City over 8 years ago. When I saw it on the menu, I knew I had to get it regardless of the price. The meal ended with a lovely red rose gifted by one of the waiters, which sealed my love for Marco Polo Restaurant. Again, another place I would partner up with if I was an Instagram sensation, but here we are.
The rest of Miguel Hidalgo street had fun little markets for Day of the Dead plus the weekend book market. I was tempted to buy some used books, but decided to stick with my digital books for the sake of light travel. We kept strolling down until we reached the MMAPO museum (popular art), which is very small and easy to enjoy in a short hour max.
From the museum, Bradley and I were attracted to Meraki‘s terrace with lovely, bright colored umbrellas, hammocks, and string lights (Check out their Facebook Page: Meraki.Cuernavaca ). As soon as we walked in we were welcomed by approximately 5 beaming faces. It was a bit funny, but soon we found out this place had just been opened 4 days prior. The owners, two young sisters, and their family were happy to see customers.
Once again, we were treated like VIP, and I began to wonder if Cuernavaca’s customer service is just THAT good. Coming from Mexico City, which can be a bit more similar to NYC, it was refreshing! I enjoyed a green matcha latte, and Bradley sipped a glass of red wine. As the sun set and the air became cooler, we decided to order dinner to-go and eat at our AirBnB room, watching a film. It was not the most exciting night, but it was sweet, comforting, and peaceful. The panini and the salad we ordered from Meraki were good, though now I wish I had tried their handmade spaghetti! At the time, it seemed scandalous to eat pasta for lunch and dinner in one day, now I’m kicking myself.
The next day we walked to the archeological site called Teopanzolco, which was closed for renovation. We still got a pretty good view of one of the pyramids from the terrace of the culture center right next to it. The weather was cloudy, so the pictures do not depict the spectacular weather Cuernavaca is known for. Still, we got a nice view of the city and mountains.
Before we took the bus back home to CDMX, we made a quick lunch stop at El Motivo Mexican restaurant. It had a pleasant terrace, and while the service and food were good, I have to say I will stick to Marco Polo and Meraki next time I go there. I do recommend you try El Motivo‘s hot chocolate from Oaxaca. Maybe you can take it to go as you stroll down Miguel Hidalgo street.
Traveling in Mexico has not been as frequent for me as it was in Europe. While the bus service is good, the roads are meant to give you the worst car sickness, and the traffic easily makes a 3 hour trip double in time. While I cannot wait to explore more of the surrounding areas in the city, I am eager to get on a plane and explore the coast. Perhaps I will be lucky to celebrate my 30th birthday this spring with a coconut in one hand and a margarita in the other, sunglasses and sunscreen on, salty hair in the wind, and my best friend. Until then, bring on the chunky scarves and Christmas lights!