ReservationDiscover Patzcuaro

Surrounding Areas

Mirador del Estribo Grande
Mirador del Estribo Grande

The best and most scenic view of Lake Pátzcuaro can be enjoyed from atop the Estribo Grande (Big Stirrup), located several kilometres west of the main town. Take the time to climb the stone steps up this inactive volcano to enjoy a stunning panoramic view of the small islands that dot the lake. Feeling ambitious? Climb another 400 steps to the very top of the hill for an even better view (look for the cornfields growing in a nearby volcanic crater). Don’t forget to bring bottled water with you on the hike – there are no convenience stores in Estribo.
 


Janitzio Island
Janitzio Island

No visit to Pátzcuaro is complete without a trip to the picturesque island of Janitzio, about a 20-minute ride from the main dock of Lake Pátzcuaro (boats run back and forth regularly, from about 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.) – look for the sign that reads muelle (dock). Once on the island, be sure to trek to the summit of the island to view the 40-metre stone statue of War of Independence general Jose Maria Morelos – his outstretched hand extend a welcome to both native and foreign visitors (walk to the top of the statue by way of the spiraling, internal staircase). The inhabitants of this island belong to an indigenous community that has conserved the authenticity of its traditions: the local fishermen put on a lavish show to welcome tourists, performing impressive demonstrations with their butterfly nets (as seen on the back of the 50 peso Mexican banknote) and during the annual Day of the Dead celebrations (October 31 - November 2), the locals combine pagan rites with religious ceremonies, creating an atmosphere of joy and sadness.
 


Yunuen Island
Yunuen Island

Located just 30 minutes from the main dock of Pátzcuaro Lake, the island of Yunuen offers travellers an opportunity to enjoy verdant ecosystems while embracing the native culture and customs of the local Purépecha people. Yunuen, meaning “half moon,” is a picturesque and tranquil island with substantial amenities, including a grocery store, a restaurant overlooking the lake, a conference centre and cabins.

 


Tzintzuntzan
Tzintzuntzan

About a 20-minute drive from downtown Pátzcuaro is Tzintzuntzan, located on the northeast shore of Lake Pátzcuaro. This place was once the capital of the Purépecha Empire and the site where the Purépecha people dominated from the 12th to the 15th century. It’s important to recognize that the Purépecha Empire was a civilization just as powerful – and fascinating – as the Aztec Empire. When the Spaniards arrived in the 1520s, the city of Tzintzuntzan had a bustling population between 25,000 and 30,000 people. Today, visitors can view the ceremonial centre of this pre-Hispanic capital city – an area that contains a large plaza; buildings known to house nobility and priests; and five yácatas (semi-circular pyramids) that face over the lake area, each with altars devoted to Purépecha gods. And while here, be sure to pay a visit to the first Franciscan church and convent in Michoacán, built in the 16th century. Outside the entrance are  500-year-old olive trees, said to have been planted by Bishop Quiroga himself – 33 symbolizing the number of years Jesus walked amongst his people.
 


Quiroga
Quiroga

Located 19km from Pátzcuaro is the pre-Hispanic town of Quiroga, an area that once offered passage from the capital of the Purépecha Empire (Tzintzuntzan) to the ceremonial centre of Zacapu. The town is named after Don Vasco de Quiroga, the first bishop of Michoacán who was sent to the region in 1531 to restore order and humanity after Nuno Beltran de Guzman brutally destroyed the Purépecha Empire. Don Quiroga founded cooperatives established in the villages around Lake Pátzcuaro and encouraged each village to develop its own special craft. When visiting the pueblo of Quiroga, enjoy the artesania shopping, with stalls bursting with wooden products, leatherwork, woven cloths and more. The town of Quiroga is also known for its popular carnitas – tasty shredded pork served up in tacos, with lettuce, onions and various sauces. Muy rico!
 


Santa Clara del Cobre
Santa Clara del Cobre

Located 18km from Pátzcuaro is Santa Clara – an area known for being the centre for Mexician copper arts (with local mines now depleted, copper comes to the town in the form of recycled wire and cable from electric and telephone companies). And like the rest of the Lake Pátzcuaro region, the Purépecha people settled the Santa Clara region in the 12th century. Today, the town contains two plazas with shops that sell handcrafted urns, platters, frames and jewellery. If you’re lucky enough to visit us during the month of August, head to Santa Clara for the annual National Copper Festival: an amazing event that brings together artisans from all over the country to showcase unique and beautiful copper designs.
 


Zirahuen (Lake and Town)
Zirahuen (Lake and Town)

As a blue lake surrounded by hills of lush forests, the oasis of Zirahuén is a little-known treasure in the state of Michoacán and is located about 16km from Pátzcuaro. Purépecha for “Mirror of the Gods,” Zirahuén is a quiet fishing lake area and village that offers great music and excellent exploration environments (kayaks, canoes and small boats are often seen touring the small bay of Agua Verde, located at the far end of the lake, and many tourists embark on hike or horseback excursions through the hills). The village is home to about 2,500 residents, has a main church and landscape plaza with a few resident-serving shops.
 


Ihuatzio
Ihuatzio

The step pyramids of Ihuatzio (the name means “place of coyotes”) are just a 15-minute drive from Villa Victoria and located alongside Lake Pátzcuaro. The partially restored ruins of two step pyramids and their impressive courtyards are quite beautiful and, until the arrival of the Spaniards in the 16th century, served as an astronomical observatory and ceremony headquarters for the Purépecha people and are dedicated to the gods Curicaveri and Xaratanga.
 


Morelia
Morelia

A 52-kilometre drive from Pátzcuaro is the stunning city of Morelia: the capital of Michoacán and a designated World Heritage Site that contains more than 1,000 historic buildings and churches. It has a long history (human settlements that date back to the 7th century have been found in the valley where Morelia is located) and, since its foundation in 1541, the city has been at the centre of many ownership disputes and name changes. The people of Morelia are extremely kind, and the city is a university town, with many former ecclesiastical buildings now being used as libraries and educational buildings. Tourists aren’t as common here as in other places in Mexico. When exploring Morelia, the stunning baroque cathedral, located in the downtown square and surrounded by lush parks and gardens, is definitely worth a visit. And within walking distance of the cathedral are interesting museums and superb crafts stores, many shopping opportunities and a number of delicious restaurants. When your belly starts rumbling, opt for some traditional, Morelian eats – both the sopa tarasca (bean soup) and enchiladas morelianas (enchiladas) are unique to the region and have flavours that you won’t find anywhere else in Mexico. Eat up!

Another informational web site you may want  to check out is:  www.lakepatzcuaro.org