With a mild climate, once described as "eternal spring," Cuernavaca has been a retreat for Mexico City residents since before colonial times. When Cort s and his troops arrived in the central highlands, they learned from the Aztecs how to escape Mexico City's winter chill by spending the colder months in a town about 40 miles south, beyond the mountains. Its name, Cuauhnahuac, meant "place of great trees" in native Nahuatl. The town's big attractions are its climate and proximity to the capital. Cuernavaca is about 2,000 feet closer to sea level than Mexico City and enjoys perennial spring-like weather. Cuernavaca is close enough to Mexico City for you to drive over for lunch and be back before dusk, traffic permitting, via a six-lane toll highway. But the town, with its hills, ravines and one-way streets, is a complicated place to maneuver around. It might be best to park and take cabs, or take a tour.