Aug 11, 2004, 9:16 AM
Post #2 of 5
If memory serves me, as it does on occasion, it's about four hours to Patzcuaro. I am hedging as, when I hit the road, I lose track of time. There is no need to seek lodging enroute to Patzcuaro from Ajijic since it really is not a long drive. There is also no town of significance on the way if you take the autopista until you approach Patzcuaro. Now, you can take the old highway which goes via the south end of Lake Chapala and through some very nice country but that will increase your driving time to about seven hours.
Morelia is not really on the way to Patzcuaro but it is fairly close to it if you are thereabouts. Unless you specifically wish to visit Morelia, get off the autopista at the Zacapu exit which is well before Morelia. If I were you I would head instead to Uruapan where they have the absolutely beautiful Parque Nacional Eduardo Ruiz at the source of the Rio Cupatitzio. This is a great place to walk along forested trails following the river and and it is right on the edge of town. If you stay there, the Mansion de Cupatitzio at the edge of the park is very nice and the restaurant there is pretty good. There is also an outdoor trout restaurant adjacent to the hotel and looking over the river which looks like fun and prepares trout in a number of ways. Unfortunately, it was closed when I was there so I cannot report on the food.
The drive from Patzcuaro to Uruapan is beautiful. Take the free road which meanders through apline forests. Once you get to Uruapan, you can take Highway 37 back up to the autopista. This is a very pretty drive initially through vast macadamia and avocado orchards and then through very pleasant rural countryside.
Speciaties of this area are trout and, of course, macadamias and avocados. You can buy large sacks of unshelled macademias at very reasonable prices here even with the Gringo premium.
Incidentally, if you are returning to Puerto Vallarta via Manzanillo, you can take the new autopista from Uruapan to Lazaro Cardenas and up the Michoacan coast to Manzanillo and points north. This is a lonely road and there have been some reports of banditry south of the Michoacan/Colima state line which may or may not be exaggerated. We just returned from a road trip to the very heart of the Zapatista country near Comitan, Chiapas without incident only to read, upon our return home, that we should not have done this. Thank God for our ignorance. Otherwise we would never have visited some of the most beautiful country on the planet.
(This post was edited by Bubba on Aug 11, 2004, 9:26 AM)