Luis and I took advantage of a long holiday weekend (Día de la Revolución Mexicana) to visit the Pueblo Mágico of Pátzcuaro, in the state of Michoacán. We booked an Airbnb just two blocks from the Plaza Vasco de Quiroga, the center of the town, and we brought Taco with us too. We all had a great weekend!
This was my second time visiting Pátzcuaro. In January 2020 I visited for a few hours on a tour to see the monarch butterfly migration. That was enough to whet my appetite, and I was happy to come back and enjoy the town in a more leisurely pace.
A stop in Morelia
On the butterfly trip we stayed in Morelia. This time we stopped there for just a few hours on the way to Pátzcuaro. We had lunch and wandered around. The highlight, now as then, was the 17th-century cathedral.
It’s about an hour’s drive from Morelia to Pátzcuaro. We got settled into our Airbnb and then set out to see some of the town.
When we got to the Plaza, we discovered that they were setting up for something. There were huge tents flanking the square, with tables beneath. The next morning, we discovered that it was the Festival de Café, Chocolate, y Vino. This was an unexpected treat, though it brought enormous crowds to town. The experience was vastly different from my last time in Pátzcuaro, when it was serene and relaxed. (You can see the tents in the picture at the top of the page, but I didn’t take photos of all the crowds.)
Just about twenty kilometers from Pátzcuaro is another Pueblo Mágico, Tzintzuntzan. On Sunday morning we drove there to check it out. The name of this town comes from the Purépecha language; it means “place of the hummingbirds.” (We actually did see one hummingbird during our visit.)
There are really just a few things that earned Tzintzuntzan its status as a magical town. One is a charming open grassy area adjacent to two churches: the Ex Convento de Santa Ana and Iglesia de San Francisco de Asís y El Señor del Rescate.
The other attraction of Tzintzuntzan is an archaeological site, remnants of the Purépecha empire that lasted from the 10th — 16th centuries. One of the major empires of pre-Columbian Mexico, the Purépecha had their capital at Tzintzuntzan. Although the empire came to an end with the Spanish conquest in the 1520s and after, Purépecha culture lives on, and about 200,000 people in the area speak the Purépecha language.
Excavation of the archaeological site didn’t begin until the 1930s. The centerpiece of the site is five yácatas, circular pyramids overlooking Lake Pátzcuaro.
More Pueblo Mágico adventures are coming up in January. Stay tuned!