Around Lake Patzcuaro, Michoacan, Mexico
Michoacan is one of Mexico’s most diverse states. From colonial towns to clear water lakes, volcanoes or butterfly reserves. Besides, the indigenous culture is still very strong. You will not hear any Spanish in many of its villages! Let’s discover what you can find around Lake Patzcuaro!
The name Michoacan comes from Nahuatl and it refers to those who fish on Lake Patzcuaro. In fact, the lake used to be the major economical resource, both for fishing and agriculture.
Isla de Janitzio
Isla de Janitzio is the main island on Lake Patzcuaro. To be honest, I have mixed feelings about it. On the one side, it felt a bit touristy. The local fishermen seem more interested in posing rather than actually fishing. Also, the whole island is a maze of restaurants and souvenirs shops…
However, best things always come last. Reach the top of the island to climb a 40-meter statue of Morelos. The views of the island, lake and surroundings are spectacular.
Temple Of Santa Muerte
The small town of Santa Ana Chapitiro is home of curious sanctuary. The Temple of Santa Muerte, the “dead saint”, is a personification of death. There is no need to say that it is one of the grimmest places I have ever been to.
Even though Santa Muerte is not recognized by the Catholic Church, some people worship her… Narcos among them! In any case, it is a clear example of syncretism in Mexico: the mix of indigenous Mesoamerican beliefs and Spanish Catholic practices.
READ MORE: Chepe Train: Across Mexico’s Copper Canyon
Where To Stay In Morelia
Morelia is more than just the capital city of Michoacan. There is much more to see. Actually, the historical centre is part of Mexico’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites list. Do not miss Clavijero Cultural Centre and the magnificent Aqueduct.
The Only Backpacker’s Morelia is the pure definition of a hostel. The dorms are too crowded, the shared bathrooms are basic and the breakfast is super simple. However, the common areas are pleasant and there is a good traveler vibe. If you are looking for the best deal in town, go for it!
Library of Patzcuaro
The Library of Patzcuaro occupies the interior of a 16th-century church. A colorful mural of Juan O’Gorman, a disciple of Diego Rivera, teaches the tumultuous history of Michoacan.
TIP! Any time of the year is good for traveling around Lake Patzcuaro, but consider Day of the Dead or Easter if possible. You will get a mystical experience.
Santa Clara del Cobre & Zirahuen Lake
The Purepecha people have worked with copper since the pre-Hispanic era. Santa Clara del Cobre is the best chance to learn about this inherited tradition.
Lake Zirahuen is a deep mountain lake really close to Santa Clara. It is much cleaner than Lake Patzcuaro and a good place for a swim. Perfect for the hot Michoacan summer days!
- Travel Guide: Lonely Planet Mexico