01.04.2013 - 07.04.2013
The Borda Garden is a popular place for Mexican and foreign tourists alike. Across from the Cathedral on Morelos Avenue, the garden is best visited on the weekend- Sundays, if you’re on a budget (it’s free then!). The Borda Garden was built in the 18th century by Manuel de la Borda y Verdugo, son of a wealthy businessman and miner from Taxco, don José de la Borda. It is a cultural center full of history and art, and a central point of celebration for holidays such as Day of the Dead and Holy Week. If you're visiting Cuernavaca, you can't miss it; if you live here, you should visit it more often. There's something for everyone, and here are Casa HOY's recommendations to keep yourself entertained at the Borda Garden:
Enchilarse[i] and [i]empalagarse. (Enjoy spicy and sweet to the max). You could spend the afternoon eating your way around the garden. Corn with chile in on the cob, tacos, ice cream, sandwiches, snacks, crepes. The food food vendors are at the bottom of the garden on the left around one of the lakes. And then you have the artisanal food vendors who aren’t making food on the spot but have packaged or pre-made goods, such as mezcal, chocolate, breads and desserts. The artisanal food vendors are spread throughout the garden, usually along the paths leading down to the lakes. Typically they allow you to try a sample; bring money because you won’t want to walk away empty-stomached. The best place to combine spicy and sweet is at the smoothie stand- get a mango smoothie topped with a strawberry and pineapple, doused in chile and chamoy. Que rico!
Rent a lanchita, or a little rowboat. Splash around the second, right-hand lake at the bottom of the garden. Only about 2 ½ people can be packed into these rickety green boats, 2 adults and a child. Usually the boats are taken over by couples who sit knees to knees and talk about sweet nothings under the hot Cuernavaca sun. Occasionally there are ducks to race.
Enjoy a show or concert. Guayabos, or people from Cuernavaca, don’t seem to realize the amount of shows and events hosted by the Borda Garden. Every week there is a musician or a dance, and you can enjoy them from the stadium seating lining one lake, or from the steps around the other lake. For Holy Week the crowds enjoyed folkloric dancing and the Burning of Judas. One of my favorite concerts was a battle of the bands, where local Cuernavaca fusion group and battle winner Maria Cantu had everyone dancing in the stands.
Get lost. Seriously. Don’t pay attention to where you are or where you’ve been. Everything looks the same anyway. Follow the paths, go under the troll bridge (most foreigners have to stoop to go under), lounge by the trees and dip your fingers in one of the many fountains that line the walkways. The botanical garden is full of fruit trees and plants and flowers, and sometimes you have to step off the beaten path to explore the different varieties. Look for the giant amate tree that graces one of the walkways and gently filters the sunlight. The Borda Garden also includes the maze of rooms at the front of the property which usually house an art gallery that changes themes frequently.
Make-out. Okay, you don’t have to. But if you go with a significant other, especially during the week when there is less of a crowd, that is what people do. The number one complaint about the garden by Casa HOY volunteers was that even if you're not single, the sight of all those lovey-dovey couples is enough to depress a lonely traveler’s heart. So be prepared. Lounging, cuddling, canoodling galore. If you’re alone, bring a book or your journal or something to distract yourself. During the week you can grab an empty spot on the stadium stairs and enjoy the quiet of it all.