Photos: Taxco Celebrates the Virgin, and We Find a Waterfall

Church in Taxco

This past week, we drove three hours from Mexico City to the rugged, extremely steep, and puzzling city of Taxco. It’s got 100,000 people, and they all live on the side of a mountain in homes straight out of an Escher painting. Because of the incredibly narrow streets and complete lack of sidewalks, there is perhaps no place in the world where the driving is more difficult, and Brendan endured it well. We saw at least two accidents while we were there. (Tip #1: If you don’t need to drive there, don’t.)

The town prides itself on its silver production and jewelry designs. It also seemed deeply religious when we visited during the Dia de Guadalupe holiday. Residents trekked to a hillside church, with the little boys dressed as Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, and the little girls decked out in Virgen de Guadalupe outfits. (The holiday commemorates the day in 1531 when Juan, an Aztec convert to Catholicism, saw an apparition of a dark-skinned virgin during a stroll north of Mexico City.) In modern times, unfortunately, the celebration includes ’round-the-clock fireworks.

Take a look:

Dia de Guadalupe

Boy on dia de guadalupe

Taxco downhill.

Streets of Taxco

Taxco uphill.

Walking Uphill in Taxco

Although I didn’t like the blasts at 1 a.m., Taxco did have a unique fireworks setup that made me feel like I was in Mexico 100 years ago. The explosives are set up on tall structures called castillos de luces (castles of lights), and when the pinata-like fireworks are lit, they spin rapidly and then shoot sparks wildly into the air. The kids ooh and aah.

The fireworks were designed to resemble different symbols of the holiday, such as the Virgin, Noche Buena flowers, or of one of my favorite persistent images in Mexican artwork, the Corazon Sagrado.

Taxcos Castillo de Luces

We also spent a day of our vacation hiking to a nearby waterfall called Cacalotenango. After a mountain drive, we parked in the front yard of a local family who lived near the entrance to the trail. The family’s 12-year-old daughter, Rosario, volunteered to be our guide up the steep path to la cascada. Her two dogs also came along for the 30-minute hike. All three of them put me to shame, fitness-wise. The little white fuzz at the head of the trail in the picture below is Rosario’s dog, Rulfo. (Tip #2: You’ll need the help of a local to find your way out of Taxco and to this waterfall up in the nearby mountains.)

hiking to waterfall near Taxco

Most of the waterfall (I nearly caused Brendan to veer off the road when I first spotted this from the highway and began gesturing wildly):

waterfall near Taxco complete view

And the lower portion of the waterfall:

waterfall near Taxco

While Taxco was lovely, it’s also somewhat geared to tourists, which always is kind of a bummer for those of us who consider ourselves “independent travelers.” As always, we had our most fun when we ventured off to places the guidebooks didn’t mention.

More photos on Flickr.

4 thoughts on “Photos: Taxco Celebrates the Virgin, and We Find a Waterfall

  1. Betty Victory says:

    Well, I sent this to all my “reunion” friends. They loved it.

    From Joyce: Dear Betty,

    How wonderful Joy is to share such fabulous things about Mexico! Makes me want to go!

    From Barbara:
    That was, indeed, muy interesante!!!!!……………..I absolutely LOVE to get your emails with Joy’s pictures and commentary. She is “quite a writer, and photographer”………..Keep sending them along to us……….:):):)

  2. DKN says:

    Holy COW! what an amazing trip! The hill pics make me woozy just looking at them. I have no words for that waterfall, that’s freaking amazing. Off to flickr for more…

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