If you stay in Morelia and have a day free – you can make a nice full day trip to Patzcuaro and the villages around Patzcuaro's Lake . This trip starts in the morning and ends in the late afternoon. You can either drive or take a tour from Morelia .

Starting from Morelia – head first to Capula.

Capula

Capula is located just off the Morelia - Quiroga Highway and is certainly worth the side trip.  While pottery has a large part in the economy of Capula, they are really known for the elaborate "Catrinas" (Day of the Dead Figurines).  While these low fired pottery figures can be somewhat fragile, they are worth the added effort packing them to return home in one piece.  On the left side as one first enters the village, there is an Atisan's Co-op and further into the village a number of studios of individual artists

Capula Slideshow

Quiroga

The town is named after Vasco de Quiroga, who was sent to the region to clean up after Guzman, the Spanish conquistador who was very cruel to the indigenous people in the area. Quiroga encouraged education and was the founder of the cooperatives established by the villages around Patzcuaro Lake , helping each village to develop its own craft specialty. Like other villages – Quiroga is a great place to shop for Artesanias with shops selling wooden products, leatherwork, Sarapes and many things more.

 Quiroga

While shopping you can also stop and eat the area famous "Carnitas" – tasty pork simmered in lard – sold everywhere in the market.  Take your time and enjoy the town and the colorful shops. When you feel ready to proceed – continue towards Tzintzuntzan.

Quiroga Slideshow

Quiroga Saturday Market Day

Tzintzuntzan

The name of the town is a Purepecha name which illustrates the hamming of the local birds while flying around, as the people heard it –" Tseen-tsoon-tsahn". Vasco de Quiroga had made this town his base until 1540, when he moved to Patzcuaro. Visit the Ex-Convent de San Francisco – built with stones from the near by Tarascan site the Spanish demolished.  

 Ex Convent

The olive trees in the churchyard have been brought from Spain are the oldest in the Americas . It is very interesting to find in the yard and the church many symbols pertaining to the old religion of the people in the area which have been cleverly adopted by the Franciscan monks aimed to encourage the people to join the church. In the town – like in all other villages around the lake – there is lot of shops with local Artesenia.

 Tzintzuntzan    Tzintzuntzan

After shopping – it will be a good time to head to Patzcuaro, directly to the dock to catch the boat to Isla Janitzio

Tzintzuntzan Slideshow.

Isla Janitzio

Isla Janitzio

Isla Janitzio is a small island in the Patzcuaro lake, with pathways going up to the top where the statute of Jose Maria Morelos, independence hero, stands.  Along those pathways there are stands for souvenirs and restaurants. In whole – this is a very colorful and dazzling little island.

 Janitzio  Janitzio

On the way to the island by boat you may have the chance to se the Pescadores (fishermen) fishing in the traditional way with their butterflies like nets. Unfortunately – they do not actually fish this way anymore, it is only a show for the tourists and tips are expected.

 Pescadores

There are no cars on the island and all its habitants are indigenous.   Take the boat back to Patzcuaro.

Janitzio Slideshow

Patzcuaro

Patzcuaro

Sometimes referred to as the crown jewel of highland Michoacán. A colonial city with nice plazas, cobbled streets and buildings painted in reddish brown and white.

Patzcuaro

Beside the beautiful Plaza Grande (Plaza Vasco de Quiroga) and Plaza chica (Plaza Gertrudis Bocanegra) there are also the basilica and some other churches to explore. A unique not to miss place is the Casa de los Once Patios (the house of the 11 courtyards) which is an ex Dominican convent which hosts small artesenias shops, each specializing in a regional craft.

casa de 11 patios

If you still have time - climb to the El Estribo - located some 3.5 Km west of town center and enjoy the beautiful view of the Lake. Head back to Morelia which is about 1 hour drive from Patzcuaro.