High in the rugged mountains of northern Guerrero State, the elegant city of Taxco de Alarcon was once an isolated Spanish stronghold. Today it is known for its mines producing rich, gleaming silver, and the generations of artisans who create some of Mexico's most beautiful jewelry.
Though every possible style is represented in the craftshops that inhabit old adobes lining the steep, cobbled streets, it is the smooth, heavy cast pieces of both modern and traditional design that are considered true Taxco style. Before you shop, stop into the city's two siver museums to see truly fine pieces: the Museo de la Plateria, which also covers the Mexico's history in silver, and the Museo Guillermo Spratling, with pottery and other exhibits.
All that glitters is not silver, however, and the city boasts several other worthy attractions. Culture lovers will love the richly detailed baroque facade and soaring interior of 18th century Catedral de Santa Prisca, while active travelers will enjoy hiking to waterfalls and mountaintops around town.
It's about 280 kilometers (173 miles) between Acapulco and Taxco, using the fast, safe toll road. The old Mexico City - Acapulco freeway is slower but much more scenic; you'll need to take it for the last half hour of your trip either way. Taxco is a great overnight stop if you're traveling between Acapulco and Mexico City, with a solid selection of nice, if not luxurious, hotels. Be sure to make reservations well in advance for Semana Santa (Easter Week), when the city puts on its world-famous fiestas.
Several buses make the 4-hour trip between Acapulco and Taxco daily. It's worth spending a few extra dollars for air conditioning.