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Photo credit: liberalmind1012 / Foter / CC BY
  • (worth a detour)
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  • Easy
  • Low
  • 3 hours
  • 2 2

Magnificent and mysterious Pre-Columbian ruins

Zona Arqueologica Xochicalco, Miacatlan, Morelos, Mexico

Xochicalco is an archeological site located in Miacatlan in the state of Morelos in Mexico, 38 kilometers (24 miles) away from the city of Cuernavaca. Its name means “the house of flowers” in Nahuatl. The site was declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999.


Most of its construction took place during an era known as “The Epiclassic Era”, between the years 650 and 900 and it is strongly related to Teotihuacan because it is believed to have been constructed after Teotihuacan was abandoned. Due to the area’s poor land conditions, Xochicalco is believed to have been built only for military purposes as well as trading.


There are a myriad of man-made caves around the hill that were constructed by the inhabitants of Xochicalco to get construction materials. One of these caves in particular had a very interesting purpose – to observe and study the Sun’s movement.


One of the many temples in Xochicalco, the Feathered Serpents, has carvings and drawings that depicts several deities. The figures style closely resembles the Mayan’s.


Around the year 900 AD, the city was burned and mostly destroyed, but it is unclear by whom. Later, around the year 1200, the site was colonized by the Tlahuica peoples, the predecessors of the Nahuatls.

The site also includes a museum, which is the first ecological one in the world built in 1993.

Opening hours

Archeological site: 9:00 - 18:00

Museum: 9:00 - 17:00

How to get there

By bus from Mexico City: Take a bus to Cuernavaca from Taxqueña Bus Terminal. In Cuernavaca, take a direct bus to the ruins.