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Silver, caves and underground rivers

By Sheridan Sansegundo

Come January, when the fake log gas fires have been turned on and the occasional sharp frosts burn the tops of the ficus trees, thoughts turn to moving downhill from our mountain paradise in search of a few tropical breezes — but not everyone wants to go to a crowded beach.

Eco-tour to Taxco
By Sociedad Audubon de Mexico
Jan 23-27, 2013
US$675/US$699 or 415 152 3644

Audubon Eco Journeys has just the answer. From January 23 through 27 they have planned a trip to Taxco, land of silver and natural wonders.

The city of Taxco, with over 50,000 people, lies on very rugged terrain. At the center of the town is the Parish of Santa Prisca y San Sebastián, which is surrounded by a sea of Spanish-style, red-tile roofs. Most of the narrow picturesque streets are paved with dark stones decorated with lines and pictures made of white stones. Some of the figures are from the Zodiac and indicate certain commercial activities in times past — such as Taurus to indicate the area of butcher shops.

Silversmithing was reinvigorated here by the American William Spratling, who moved to Taxco in the 1920s, creating silver design workshops. The tour will visit his ranch and museum in addition to the Taxco silver market and museum and meetings with master silversmiths.

Also on the agenda are visits to the National Park Grutas de Cacahuamilpa for exploring and bird-watching. Cacahuamilpa is one of the largest cave systems in the world. It is a “live” cave system, meaning that groundwater still filters into it and that the formations there are still growing. Inside the cavern system are 90 large “salons” of which about 20 are open to the public and two underground rivers, the Chontalcoatlán and the San Jeronimo.

There will be plenty of time to explore Taxco and on the return journey the tour will stop at Metepec, a town famous for glass, leather and pottery, in particular the ornate and colorful Tree of Life, which represents the tree from which Adam and Eve ate the apple (one of which can be seen on the cover of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band).

The cost of the trip is US$675 double occupancy for Audubon members or a little more for nonmembers. Deadline for signing up is December 10. If you would like to go on this trip, please contact Colleen Besman at or 415 152 3644.


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