Returning to Las Mananitas in Cuernavaca for Spring Break

Spring Break! We hopped aboard an American Airlines plane in Sacramento and headed to Mexico City and its outskirts this weekend. It’s an easy flight, via Phoenix, and only a two-hour time difference. Like most families, our vacations are planned around our child’s school schedule (and in this case, his birthday). We love Mexico, and the exchange rate of $1 to 18.6 pesos is one the best in years.

We’re starting our trip in Cuernavaca, a Colonial city about one hour from Mexico City. We are returning to one of our favorite places “Las Mananitas.” (The last time we were in Cuernavaca was spring 2009: Obama was visiting, and George Rebane and Russ Steele were both writing columns for The Union. Now both are Former Union Columnists.)

I learned about Las Mananitas from Pimm Fox, once the business editor of The Chronicle, when we were colleagues. Pimm is a New Yorker, and he enjoyed trips to Mexico City and South America. We’ve been back to Cuernavaca a few times.

It’s an easy and inexpensive ride from the airport. We had a jovial conservation with the driver Vicente about the universities where his children went to school, the ’68 Summer Olympics in Mexico City and, of course, President Trump.

The grounds of Las Mananitas are redolent of the opening scenes of “Coming to America,” where zebras and other exotic animals roamed the grounds of Eddie Murphy’s (AKA the prince’s) house in Africa.

The hotel has impeccably manicured lawns, with peacocks and flamingos roaming among the guests. Visitors are entertained with classical guitar music in the afternoon. An American “expat” opened the hotel in 1955, about the same time that expats from the U.S. settled in Cuernavaca, known for its temperate climate. (This week, it is in the 70s and 80s).

The restaurant is wonderful, with al fresco dining, and it is a popular weekend getaway for Mexico City residents. Some have second homes here.  The rooms have patios, where you can enjoy breakfast: chilaquiles, fresh fruit and a pot of hot coffee. The hotel has a beautiful swimming pool, and it is within walking distance to thePalace of Cortés and other museums.

Toward the end of the week, we’re going to return to Mexico City for a visit to the The National Museum of Anthropology, Frida Kahlo museum, Tenochtitlan and the Zócalo, where our son wants to see where the recent James Bond movie was filmed. We’ll dig into the politics when we get to Mexico City.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.

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