Come With Me to Patzcuaro, Michoacan

So, I’ve got a new favorite place in Mexico: Patzcuaro, in the state of Michoacan. It’s about a 4 to 5 hour drive west of Mexico City, located just south of Morelia, the capital of Michoacan (which is supposed to be lovely, too, but we didn’t have time to visit).

Normally, I’m a beach girl and most of my favorite Mexican places involve the ocean and the creatures that inhabit within. But Patzcuaro takes the cake for:

1. Best little Mexican town, for architecture

I’ve been to a lot of “colonial era” cities in Mexico, meaning they were built soon after the conquest and still have a lot of traditional and very old Spanish architecture. They’re adorable, by and large, but after you’ve visited a few, they do start to look all the same (what’s that? Another Italian Coffee Company in a historic hacienda building? Great). Not with Patzcuaro, with its supremely maintained architecture. It’s also relatively flat, so it’s not a killer city to walk around, like equally cute but incredibly steep Taxco. We stayed at squee-worthy La Casa Encantada, which, btw, has half-off their room rates through July, so get it while it’s cheap.

Every street in Patzcuaro looks like this.

Every street in Patzcuaro looks like this.

Our room at La Casa Encantada (included a kitchen).

Our room at La Casa Encantada (included a kitchen).


2. Best little Mexican town, for arts and crafts

Patzcuaro and its nearby small towns operate under a unique system set up by a Spanish priest hundreds of years ago. He taught the local indigenous communities to individually specialize in specific trades, a practice that exists today. Many of these crafts are for sale in the stores that line Patzcuaro’s main plaza, but it’s also fun to get out and explore the actual towns where the products are made.

In Santa Clara del Cobre, as just one example, you can find copper galore:

At the National Copper Museum

At the National Copper Museum

More shopping:

Pottery for sale in Tzintzuntzan -- which means 'place of the hummingbirds' in Purepecha.

Pottery for sale in Tzintzuntzan -- which means 'place of the hummingbirds' in Purepecha.

3. Best climate, ever?

Simply driving around the countryside is gorgeous. It’s hilly, green, and because of the elevation, not too hot, and not too cold. I’ve heard Michoacan contains many areas considered “most hospitable to human life” and you really feel it when you’re there, because you don’t want to leave.

Blue skies, green trees, the open road...

Blue skies, green trees, the open road...

4. Fantastic bodies of water nearby!

Rare for Mexico, this is a lake-filled region. The most popular is Lago de Patzcuaro, which contains several islands, all swarmed by visitors come Day of the Dead, especially Isla Janitzio. Instead of visting it, we took an off-the-beaten-path tour of two other islands, Pacanda and Yunuen, where the indigenous Purepecha people live.

After spotting a sign for "eco-turistico" stuff, we turned left and headed to shore.

After spotting a sign for "eco-turistico" stuff, we turned left and headed to shore.

Gregorio talked us into a boat tour, and we visited two. We were the only people out.

Gregorio talked us into a boat tour, and we visited two islands. We were the only people out.

It was so quiet here we almost heard our brains thinking.

It was so quiet here we almost heard our brains thinking.

(If you’re interested in a very unique lodging experience on Pacanda, contact Gregorio Campos who operates tours of the island and has new cabanas on the island, too, at 43-4104-2511. He’s already booked for Day of the Dead but the rest of the year he’s less busy.)

Besides Patzcuaro, there are several other lakes that are supposed to be better for swimming — deeper, cleaner, etc.

All this, gleaned in just TWO DAYS I spent there! Suffice it to say, I’ll be back.

3 thoughts on “Come With Me to Patzcuaro, Michoacan

  1. Liz Carroll says:

    Have you made it to Patxcuaro for Dia de Muertos? I want to take my family this year but I hear it is ca-razy. Great blog and pics…

  2. Robert says:

    Not sure what you mean by cra-azy Dia de los Muertos but it is a fantastic and wonderful place year round and especially for Dia de los Muertos.

  3. jenny says:

    I spent many years living with the Indigenous people of Pacanda island. My father was the Anthropologist responsible for introducing the Chicken Farming to them in the 50’s. I remember the “Day of the Dead” ceremonies and of the the candle-lit spiritual nights there.

    I would love to go back!

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