Introduction to Michoacan: The soul of Mexico

articles Travel & Destinations

“If you want to form an idea of our journey, take a map of Mexico and you will see that Michoacán is one of the most beautiful and fertile regions of the world, crossed by hills and lavish valleys, its prairies watered by several streams and its climate temperate and healthful.” — Marquise Calderón de la Barca

Michoacán is unique and one-of-a-kind, the perfect fusion of Natural Beauty, Picturesque Towns, Art and Culture. To travel to Michoacán is to take a trip through the extraordinary history, culture and folklore of México. To journey to Michoacán is to discover and learn what is the soul of México.

Michoacán, a land of mountains and lakes, gave birth to the invincible Purépecha Empire that dominated almost the entire center of this country. The archaeological remains guard the footsteps of time. The indigenous villages along the shores of Lake Pátzcuaro, the Meseta (“Plateau”) Purépecha, the marshlands around Zacapu and the Cañada de los Once Pueblos (“The Gorge of the Eleven Towns”) have preserved the traditions and language of the invincible empire. Not only a multiplicity of landscapes, Michoacán is also a cultural hegemony, where, in addition to the Purèpechas, indigenous groups such as the neighboring Mazahuas and Otomies in the eastern region and the Náhuatl along the coast, offer a wealth of traditions, fairs, fiestas, customs, music, dance, handicrafts, cuisine and architecture. And while the characteristic towns have maintained their indigenous legacies, the attractive cities of Pátzcuaro and Morelia have preserved their colonial heritage.

Michoacán has seeded history and culture with great personages, ideas, courage and inspiration. During the fight for independence, numerous groups volunteered for the cause, among them José María Morelos y Pavón, author of Sentimientos de la Nación (“Feelings of the Nation”), declaring the ideological foundation of the new country. The Constituent Congress of Anáhuac signed the first constitution in Apatzingán in 1814. During the reform era, the Michoacáno Melchor Ocampo was one of the most important theorists, advancing the concept that established the civil marriage in México. In the country’s contemporary history, other notable Michoacános have included Nobel Peace Prize winner Alfonso García Robles, cardiologist Ignacio Chávez, musician Miguel Bernal Jiménez, philosopher Samuel Ramos, historian Luis González y González, muralist Alfredo Zalce and writer José Rubén Romero.

Natural Beauty

Michoacán is a confluence of landscapes, rivers and lakes, a variety of climates, cascades hidden in abundantly exuberant vegetation, virgin beaches with crystalline waters, tempestuous waves and calm cooling waters, therapeutic spring waters, geysers, caves and subterranean rivers.

Come and travel to the extraordinary, visiting the sanctuaries of the Monarch butterfly and sea turtles, enjoying the spas and swimming areas, and partaking in adventure tourism.

Migration of the Species
Monarch Butterfly, White Pelican Flocks, and Sea Turtles

The diversity of landscape and climactic conditions make Michoacán the perfect place for various species to seek refuge from the winter cold of northern countries.

Monarch Butterfly

The Monarch Butterfly, the symbol and pride of Michoacán, has found the eastern portion of the state the perfect spot to seek refuge and escape from the frigid autumn and winters of the forests in the southern Canadian and northern United States. This part of eastern Michoacán offers propitious conditions with sufficient vegetation and temperatures for hibernation and reproduction of the Monarch Butterfly, whose estimated numbers of 60 million travel more than 4,000 kilometers to rest here between the months of October and March. During those months, the pine and oyamel forests of the sanctuaries El Rosario and Sierra Chincua are colored with fluttering butterflies, their tones of orange, white and black contrasting with the forest green and the blue sky.

Pelican Flocks and Other Birds

White-plumed birds, wings revealing dark colors when extended in flight, tipped by clear pink and yellow, grace the sky. The White Pelican Flocks, just like the Monarch Butterfly, emigrate from Canada, spending the winter in the warm country’s more favorable conditions on Petatán Island located on the Michoacán portion of Lake Chapala. Observing the White Pelican Flocks during their period of hibernation is genuinely a spectacle all its own. This migratory phenomenon takes place each year during the months of October to March. In addition to the pelicans, other birds also look for warm places to reproduce and raise their own. Eastern Michoacán provides winter shelter to about 370 species such as guacos, chatterboxes, larks, cardinals, parakeets, woodpeckers, buzzards, and hummingbirds, among others.

Sea Turtle

Along the Michoacán coast, three classes of the seven types of sea turtle lay their eggs in México: Golfina, Black and Laúd. In Michoacán, they land on the beaches of Maruata, Colola, Mexiquillo and Ixtapilla, almost virgin beaches inhabited by the Náhuatl. On these beaches camping areas have been developed to guard and preserve the turtles’ nests, assuring that their young will return to the sea and not join the ghosts of extinction. These turtles land to spawn their eggs at the same beaches where they were born, guided by instinctive memory of the same waters and sandy beaches where they were hatched. This phenomenon occurs annually between the months of October and March.

The Route of Health: Spas

The harmonious conjunction of natural beauty makes Michoacán an optimal site for health, relaxation and diversion, soaking up the sun’s rays and purifying waters of its innumerable spas. In northern, the Ruta de la Salud (“Route of Health”) includes more than 400 springs, waters known and appreciated since pre-Hispanic times for their curative properties. In Michoacán are thermal and mineral waters, hot waters and mid-warm waters, with temperatures varying from 21ºC y 82ºC, located in ecological areas that have given life to rustic spas to modern aquatic parks.

Alternative Tourism in Michoacán

The geographical location and grand natural diversity of Michoacán makes it a virgin sanctuary for nature lovers, adventurers, and those looking for an adrenaline rush. In Michoacán one can partake of activities such as walking and hiking, mountaineering, observing plant and wildlife, mountain biking, horseback riding, canyoneering, star-gazing and camping, as well as adventure sports such as rock scaling, spelunking, rappelling, hunting, free flight in wing delta and para-gliding, diving, snorkeling, sport fishing, speedboat racing, windsurfing, hydrospeed, kayaking, and canoeing.

These activities can take places in areas as varied as canyons, valleys, plains and summits from more than 3,000 meters above sea level at the Sierra Madre Occidental which begins in Michoacán as well as in the rivers, lakes, lagoons, springs and cascading waterfalls of incomparable beauty which exist in this state. Nevertheless, not only the geology and hydrography of this state play a favorable role in adventure tourism but also the variety of climates from the cold mountain forests to the tropical warmth of the coast, from the temperate central zones to the dry heat of the hot land known as the Tierra Caliente contribute significantly.

Picturesque and Quaint Towns

Come and take an extraordinary trip, traversing the streets and plazas of the towns, savoring its cuisine, and admiring its crafts and living its traditions.

Michoacán is heir to towns and villages embracing Purepecha traditions and silent archaeological vestiges. Michoacán is the hospital-villages unique in México; a land of handicrafts excelled only by their variety, colorful hues, imagination, and skillful manufacture; exquisite cuisine composed of grains and vegetable combinations mixed with spices and meats of European origin. The fairs, fiestas, dances, music and traditions of the towns of Michoacán are represented in a wreath uniting old México with the modern. All of this makes Michoacán the soul of México.


The Purépecha Empire founded several centers, which have been preserved in Huandacareo, Pátzcuaro, Ihuatzio, San Felipe de Los Alzati, Tingambato, Tres Cerritos and Tzintzunzan.

Traversing the highways and backroads of Michoacán is an encounter with the magic of adventure and pre-Colombian history. The Michoacán highlands are characterized by a harmonious combination of lakes and mountain forests, territory of the Purépecha domain.


In Michoacán, an important center of craft production in México, more than 30 varieties of handicrafts are made. Most of these have their origins in the pre-Hispanic era, and to this day, much is produced using the same ancestral methods.

Today the Casa de las Artesanías (“House of Handicrafts”) in Michoacán groups craft activity of this state in these branches: Pottery, classified as burnished or polished clay, multi-colored, high temperature fired, glazed, and smooth-finished; Metalwork, exemplified by jewelry, wrought iron, and hammered copper; Wood, made up of sculpture, carving, manufacture of stringed instruments, furniture, masks, spoons, shallow bowls, lacquer and maque, and leather chairs; Textiles, categorized as embroidery, open and drawn work, fabric woven on backstrap and foot-pedaled looms, and hook-woven materials; Vegetable Fibers, comprised of reed, tule, bulrushes, palm, and wheat straw; and a final branch which includes toys, leathercraft, stonecutting, wax, papel picado (“pattern-cut paper”), corn leaves, featherwork, popoteria (“straw painting”), and pasta de caña (sculptures made from a mixture using the inner core of cornstalks).

Excellent showcases to admire and purchase Michoacán handicrafts are the craft markets which take place at different times of the year, such as those held during Noche de Muertos (“Night of the Dead”) in Pátzcuaro, Palm Sunday in Uruapan, the National Copper Fair in Santa Clara del Cobre, and the National Guitar Fair in Paracho.

Meseta Purépecha (“Purépecha Plateau”)

The Meseta Purépecha, possessed of the true truly unique architectural jewels in México, is one of the four geographic regions of the state of Michoacán where the indigenous population and a great part of their traditions as well as their language have been preserved. The other three regions are Cañada de los Once Pueblos, the region of Lake Pátzcuaro and the marshlands of Zacapu.

The Meseta Purépecha is a forested zone, abounding in mountains and valleys in a moderate and rainy climate; the winter is cold and foggy.

The appearance now of the towns of the Meseta Purepecha, as well as of other regions of Michoacán, is distinguished by a particular feature, unlike other regions of the country, because the evangelization of Michoacán took place under a program of establishing towns around hospitals, which served not only as infirmaries but also as refuges, inns, and lodges for workers or families who spent a week away from home serving the community. The end goal was to provide religious instruction, readings, singing, and education to the indigenous people. Although the hospitals were established primarily to further evangelical objectives, in time they became the center of political, economic and social life of the communities.

The religious complex, comprised of a church and a hospital, became the origin of the towns, and the inhabitants built wooden houses known as “trojes” around those complexes, creating a city-planning scheme unique in México.

The churches of the Meseta Purépecha contain interior paintings of images of Mary, angels, archangels, and apostles which extend throughout the nave, making these among the most important artistic treasures of the region, displayed in their full glory in the churches of Nurío, Zacán and Cocucho. In this region, the facades of these religious buildings bear great witness to the enormous influence of Plateresque and Hispanic-Arabic, or Moorish, designs.

The crafts of the Meseta Purépecha are mainly wood-based; simple objects such as spoons, toys or rustic furniture is produced as well as finer works in shallow bowls, small cups, and furniture painted in lacquer or maque. Several towns also work in pottery, as seen in San José de Gracia with its famous “green pineapples” or the fantastic figures created of multi-colored clay known as the “devils” of Ocumicho, or the large burnished pots known as “cocuchas” found in San Bartolomé Cocucho.

Link for Detailed Routes for Meseta Purépecha.

Tradition, Music and Dance

The wealth of popular tradition in Michoacán is shaped by its pagan-religious fiestas, as well as its folklore, variety of music and dance, and transmitted en all of the communities from generation to generation, creating a deep bond of social and cultural unity. Samples of the celebrations of Night of the Dead, Easter Week and innumerable religious fiestas abound in the interior of the state.

Every one of these celebrations is marked by hullabaloo and colored with dances and bands of towns which cherish and display the artistic expression of Michoacán. Nostalgia and joy are two emotions which Michoacános create and recreate with voice and sound. The traditional Purepecha form of song, known as the “pirekua,” is the deepest expression of the feeling and rhythm of these people.

Noche de Muertos (“Night of the Dead”) in Michoacán

The tradition of commemorating the dead is one of the most beloved and spread throughout México; although its character is eminently religious, it not only has Christian foundations in the custom of honoring the “deceased faithful,” but it also preserves many of the ritual funeral traditions practiced in the pre-Hispanic era.

The rituals of candle-lighting, positioning altars and making offerings in houses and cemeteries are the result of several cultural traditions, those of pre-Colombian origin and those introduced by the Christian Spaniards who arrived with the conquest.

In Michoacán the commemoration of Day of the Dead (“Dia de Muertos”) is a solemn tradition which preserves the respect and veneration of those who no longer are among the living.

The ritual of lighting candles dates from ancestral times in indigenous communities in the region of Lake Pátzcuaro, and it is a tradition that has survived the passage of time.

Art and Culture

Michoacán is inspiration, feeling, and knowledge. It gave birth to the first university in America, founded by the Jesuit Friar Alonso de la Veracruz in Tiripetío; it established the first music conservatory in the continent. Morelia, the city of art and culture in the state, is an example of constructive quality and sculptural unity, and its historic center was declared a Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 1991. Morelia annually hosts international festivals of music, guitar and organ, as well as state dance and theatrical festivals. The museums of Morelia are indicative of its cultural character.

Conferences and Conventions in Michoacán

Michoacán, possessed of Natural Beauty, Picturesque Towns, Art and Culture, has the ideal framework for business tourism, shown by installations and services necessary to conduct conferences and conventions at the national and international levels – convention centers, meeting rooms, hotels, restaurants, airports, highways and limitless proposals for post-convention and companion activities.

The cities of Michoacán are perfect scenes for conferences and conventions; every day offers something to see and hear, whether it’s a concert, an artistic presentation or pictorial exhibition, a visit to a handicraft workshop, a taste of its cuisine or simply a delightful stroll among its landscapes.

Convention Center of Morelia

Considered one of the most complete in the country, the Convention Center of Morelia is a magnificent installation set in a pleasant park, making it an excellent choice for business tourism. It is built over 15 hectares, housing different installations: 4,831 m2 for expositions, 9 event salons with capacities from 10 to 2,000 persons, a modern and comfortable theater, planetarium, orchidarium, library, hotel, parking, and garden areas.

Tourist Regions

To facilitate our visitors’ travels through Michoacán, the tourist attractions have been divided into six regions, each headquartered in a principal city and complemented by its environs. These regions are Morelia, Pátzcuaro, Uruapan, Zamora, Zitácuaro and Lázaro Cárdenas. In each of these, the tourist will find Natural Beauty, Picturesque Towns, Art and Culture.

The Morelia Region

Morelia, the Cultural Heritage of Humanity, is the capital of the state of Michoacán and was known in pre-Hispanic times as “Guayangareo,” which meant “flattened hill,” and as Valladolid during the viceregal era.

One of the most attractive cities in America, it was named Morelia in honor of the Servant of the Nation, José María Morelos y Pavón.

In addition to its graceful architecture, Morelia is the axis of art and culture in Michoacán, owing to the infinite number of artistic and cultural events developed from time to time, among them the International Festivals of Music, of Organ, and of Guitar, just to name a few.

The region of Morelia, in addition to Art and Culture, also offers Natural Beauties such as the Route of Health, Morelos National Park, and Picturesque Towns such as Charo, Capula, Tiripetío, Cuitzeo and Huandacareo, the last of which offers the opportunity to visit archaeological zones of La Noapalera and Tres Cerritos, and enjoyment of representative culinary treats such as pollo placero (“marketplace chicken”) and candies such as dried fruit pastes called “ates” and a caramel-based confection called “morelianas.”

The City of Morelia

Morelia is an example of Renaissance ideas that influenced the urban planning of New Spanish cities. In this sense, Morelia fulfills the conditions spelled in the Decrees of Philip II, King of Spain, turning it into almost the perfect city.

Its development during the 16th century was slow until 1580, when the bishop’s seat was transferred from Pátzcuaro to Valladolid. The splendor and magnificence of the city originated during the 18th Century when it took on its present look with the construction of the aqueduct, convents, churches, chapels, monuments, schools, plazas and palaces.

The Pátzcuaro Region

Pátzcuaro, the lake of the same name, the islands and the towns along the lakeshore, are intimately linked with the history of Michoacán, as well as making up one of the four indigenous regions of the state.

This zone is an important nucleus of handicraft production where it is easy to find woodworking, wrought iron, tin plate, paper maché, lacquer, woven wool and coarsely woven cotton shawls.

The Pátzcuaro region is a zone of quaint towns par excellence such as Santa Clara del Cobre, Tzintzuntzan, Santa Fe de la Laguna, Tupátaro, Erongarícuaro, Ihuatzio and Zirahuén, among others. Most of the towns in this area were established before the conquest. The towns along the shores of Lake Pátzcuaro owe their personality to Don Vasco de Quiroga, the first bishop of Michoacán, who established hospital-towns, spaces for the poor and inns for travelers. Vasco de Quiroga taught the indigenous people new techniques of craft-making to enhance pre-Hispanic methods. The artisanal production of these towns consists of woodworking, wrought iron, copper, tin, pottery and textiles.

This region contains two archaeological zones, Ihuatzio and Tzintzuntzan. The lakes, forests and mountains offer the possibility of practicing diverse activities in adventure tourism. Among the important celebrations are the Señor del Rescate (“Gentleman of Rescue”) de Tzintzuntzan, Easter, and the Night of the Dead, as well as the National Copper Fair.

Representative cuisine of the Pátzcuaro region includes important creations such as Tarascan soup, its famous white fish, tiny fish known as “charales,” the unequalled flavor of ice cream known as “nieve de pasta,” and the stew from Ario de Rosales known as “olla podrida.”

The City of Pátzcuaro

Pátzcuaro, in the indigenous tongue has been assigned various meanings, among them “the place where they dye in black” and “foundation place for temples.” History relates that Pátzcuaro was the principal religious center in the pre-Hispanic era during the Purepecha Empire, where it is said that the settlers decided the door to the sky so that the gods could ascend and descend. As a city, Pátzcuaro is an example of indigenous colonial architecture with straight lines and spacious plazas.

In the year 1540, Don Vasco de Quiroga transferred the bishopric seat of Michoacán from Tzintzuntzan to Pátzcuaro, making it the capital city of Michoacán. It is truly a jewel of colonial architecture where religious monuments in Baroque and neoclassic style have been conserved in excellent condition. Adobe and tile-roofed buildings lend harmony to the plazas and fountains, coupled with the always-amiable manners of its people, creating an enchanting atmosphere, inviting visitors to return time and again.

The Uruapan Region

The region of Uruapan has cultural and natural diversity, shaped by hundreds of forested hectares which have framed for centuries the oldest towns in Michoacán, a part of the Meseta Purépecha, jewels of colonial art, such as Nurío, Ahuiran, Angahuan, Cherán and Nahuatzen, towns where it is possible to discover the essence of our country in the streets and through celebrations, music, dance, customs, and cuisine.

Beyond the quaint towns it is possible to enjoy beautiful natural landscapes and participate in alternative tourism, adventure and ecotourism, in the National Park of Pico de de Tancítaro, the Eduardo Ruiz National Park, and in Paricutín, the youngest volcano in the world.

This region also includes the town of Tingambato, with its Geranium Fair and archaeological zone, which was a stronghold of Teotihuacan influence and known as Tinganio. Important celebrations include those of Corpus, San Juan Bautista and Santiago Apóstol in the Meseta Purépecha; the Avocado Fair and Palm Sunday in Uruapan; and the National Guitar Fair in Paracho. The cuisine of this region is one of the most savory, varied and representative of the state, where visitors to the Meseta Purépecha can sample a sextahedronal blind tamale called a “corunda,” stew called “churipo,” fresh-corn tamales known as “uchepos,” the cornmeal gruel called “atole,” and in Apatzingan, a meat-and-rice dish known as “morisqueta.”

The City of Uruapan

Uruapan is the second most populous city in Michoacán. One well-accepted interpretation holds that the name of Uruapan is derived from the Purepecha word “Uruapani,” which means “blooming and bearing fruit at the same time,” which has been translated as “the place where everything blooms.” For that reason, it has become known as the “Orchard of Michoacán” or the “Avocado Capital of the World.” It gained city status in 1858 when it was named “Uruapan del Progreso.” Nonetheless, a more deserving title might be “the true cradle of lacquer work,” from the production of flat, shallow bowls (“bateas”), small wooden cups, masks, boxes, and other wooden objects artistically decorated with a technique dating back to the pre-Colombian era, consisting of coating each piece with a mixture of vegetable and animal oils combined with pulverized minerals, creating a durable and long-lasting surface with a lustrous shine on which decorative designs are etched. The designs reveal a singular mastery and artistic sensitivity of the craftspeople of the districts of Uruapan.

The Zamora Region

A range of possibilities for diversion and knowledge flourishes in this area. The visitor can traverse enchantingly quaint towns of the Meseta Purépecha which have conserved ancestral traditions such as indigenous language, handicrafts of great quality and beautiful design, pieces of pottery from Patamban; the famous green pineapples San José de Gracia; exquisite cross-stitched dresses of Tarecuato and Zacán; the traditional and multi-colored rebozos of La Piedad La Piedad; the basketwork of Santiago Tangamandapio; the devils, figures of colored pottery of Ocumicho; sandals and sombreros made in Sahuayo and delicate orange blossoms for a girlfriend in Chilchota and cut crystal handicrafts in Yurécuaro, and much more.

Another great tradition is the exquisite cuisine where even the most demanding palate will find satisfaction. Pigs feet and pickles in La Piedad, nourishing cornmeal drinks called “atoles” in more than thirty varieties in Tarecuato; popsicles in Tocumbo in flavors as unusual as avocado, custard or corn; delicious candies (candied squash and pumpkin, sweet milk curds called “changos Zamoranos”; breads baked in traditional styles, tamales, a hominy soup-stew known as “pozole,” enchiladas and tostadas, among other tasty dishes.

The handprint of these traditions can be found wherever fairs and fiestas take place, cheering visitors and friends alike, most remarkably in the Festival of the Purepecha People in Zacán.

The climate and the vegetation of this region are pleasant, where romantic lakes, Camécuaro, Orandino, La Estancia, Presa de Verduzco and La Alberca wait calmly for admiring visitors. Birds, indefatigable travelers to this area from November to March along the Michoacán edge of Lake Chapala, are known as the “White Pelican Flocks.” Marvelously beautiful cascades such as Los Chorros del Varal are among the scenic landscapes that have given artists inspiration in nature’s creation of immortal works.

The City of Zamora

The region of Zamora and the city of the same name are situated in the Valley of Tziróndaro, which means “place of marshlands.” In this place the remains of the oldest superior culture in Western Mexico, dating back to 1500 years B.C., have been found.

Zamora was founded on January 18, 1574 by the order of the Viceroy Martín Enríquez of Almanza. It has been witness to a parade of illustrious men, from the presence of the priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a prime mover in the Independence of Mexico; the poet Amado Nervo, Don José Sixto Verduzco, great religious leaders and intellectuals, and Nobel Peace Price winner Dr. Alfonso García Robles. Zamora is known as the “Cradle and Home of Illustrious Men.”

The principal attractions of this city are the Sanctuary of Guadeloupe or the Unfinished Cathedral, which began its construction in a Byzantine Gothic style in the final decades of the 19th Century, only to have work suspended in 1914. 71 years later, construction began again. The Parochial Church, today the Cathedral, has a notable facade whose construction dates back to 1840, and the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, of pure Gothic design, features 24 stained-glass windows, 10 of which represent musical angels and 14 of which are grouped in two series: the prophets and the New Testament.

The Zitácuaro Region

This region is remarkable for his rich Natural Beauty comprised of half a million hectares of pine, oak and oyamel forests; it harbors diverse climates favoring diversity of plants, wildlife and fruits. It guards one of the most prized natural attractions in Michoacán, the Monarch Butterfly sanctuaries.

Zitácuaro is a region of lakes and thermal spring waters, ideal for practicing adventure tourism and ecotourism, enjoying the peace that nature offers in places such as Los Azufres, Laguna Larga, Pucuato, Sabaneta, Mata de Pinos and the Caves of Tziranda; colorful mining towns such as Angangueo and Tlalpujahua; important cities of the independent life of Mexico such as Zitácuaro; and the archaeological zone of San Felipe de Los Alzati.

Just as this region is rich in natural beauty and history, it is also rich in regional cuisine, among them preserved fruits and vegetables, featured during the Preserved Food Fair in Ciudad Hidalgo during Easter Week, and the delicious foods of the Tierra Caliente such as salted meat, pork sausage, cheese, pork-flavored beans, and bean candy. The town of Tuzantla is special gastronomic zone, because it is the only breeding ground for prawns in the state.

The City of Zitácuaro

Called the “Heroic City of Independence,” Zitácuaro earned this title defending its townsfolk through three conflagrations: one during the War of Independence, the second in April of 1855 at the hands of the troops of Santa Anna, and the third during the French Intervention. In this locale, the country took on a new direction when it formed the Suprema Junta Nacional Americana (“Supreme Junta of the Nation”), the first form of independent government.

The attractions and sites of interest most important in this city are primarily historical, such as: the Cerrito de la Independencia (“Little Hill of Independence”), at the top of which stands a monument to General Ignacio López Rayón; a monument and plaque where the first national government was formed; the monument to the flag, Benito Juarez Civic Plaza; the Municipal Palacio with murals revealing the history of Zitácuaro; the garden of the Constitution and the garden of Mora del Cañonazo (“The Cannon Shot”). The grand civic fiesta on the 5th of February begins with an agricultural, industrial, commercial and handicraft fair. In the communities of this municipality are artisans who concentrate their efforts in making wool overcoats, bedspreads, rebozos and other textile products, as well as pottery and wood products.

The Lázaro Cárdenas Region

To enjoy unforgettable vacations, with sun, beach, adventure, ecology, culture and tradition, there is no better place than the Michoacán coast.

This region offers overwhelming manifestations of tropical nature, where it is possible to enjoy the tranquil and crystalline waters as well as the tempest of the open sea, where a great variety of animal and plant species make the estuaries, coves, rocky crags, and beaches their habitat in virgin spaces.

The Michoacán Coast is more than the beauty of its beaches, because it is privileged to contain the natural refuges of Sea Turtles of the species Golfina, Black and Laúd, the same turtles who land year after year on the beaches of Mexiquillo, Colola, Ixtapilla, Tizupan and Maruata.

This zone of Michoacán is inhabited by Náhuatl communities producing crafts of pottery using techniques and designs dating back to pre-Hispanic times; in the same manner, they have conserved their traditions of dress, music and dance.

The Michoacán coast is not only sun and sand, it is also a cuisine of seafood, handicrafts of Náhuatl communities in the area, and celebrations such as the Convivencia Turística Las Peñas (“Tourist Fellowship Group”), and during October, the month of the Sea Turtle and Sand Expo.

The cuisine of the coastal region is based on fish and seafood, among the outstanding examples are stuffed fish and lobsters prepared a thousand different ways, all delicious and always washed down with a drink made from coconut milk.

The City of Lázaro Cárdenas

Previously known as Los Llanitos, it was part of the municipality of Arteaga. It gained the status as a separate political subdivision in the year of 1932 under the name of Melchor Ocampo. On April 12, 1947, the State Congress decreed the creation of the municipality “Melchor Ocampo del Balsas,” and it was renamed “Lázaro Cárdenas” in 1970 in honor of the revolutionary General Lázaro Cárdenas who later served as President of the Mexican Republic.

During the 1970s, the city grew into an important industrial port, where imports and exports are transferred daily. Communication routes have made this city a pleasant addition to this area of Michoacán, strengthened by a national airport and the Morelia-Lázaro Cárdenas toll road. In Playa Azul, 22.5 kilometers west of Lázaro Cárdenas, a 250 kilometer road stretches along a horizon of beaches, bays, cliffs and exuberant vegetation, where the states of Guerreo and Colimo meet Michoacán; here it is possible to admire thousands of coconut palms and mango, papaya and banana orchards, as well as herons, doves, gulls and pelicans.

All of the colors and flavors, the melancholy and the joy of its music, the vitality and happiness of its dances, the wealth of culture, its traditions and history — make Michoacán the soul of México.

Published or Updated on: October 9, 2008
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2 thoughts on “Introduction to Michoacan: The soul of Mexico

  1. Thank you for writing this on-line magazine. It was really helpful to me in understanding Mexico, to which I have never been. I do have one thing that I would like to ask for clarification on. Is Cocucho in Uraupan or is it a town in the country? I am writing a book and needing clarification on that one point, if you do not mind. I have searched the internet, but it is not clear.

    Thank you, and keep well.

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