Patzcuaro: the soul of Michoacan’s Meseta Purepecha

Texas has the Alamo, New York has its Empire State Building, but only Michoacán has Pátzcuaro. Every travel poster extolling Michoacán has a shot of fisherman wielding the famous butterfly net. Look closely, and you’ll spy a tiny cone-shaped island, topped by a statue of José María Morelos, hand reaching to the sky. That’s Pátzcuaro’s […]

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Ignacio Punzo Angel

Santa Clara del Cobre and Erongaricuaro: Mexican craft towns on Lake Patzcuaro

James Metcalf, Stephen and Maureen Rosenthal and Vasco de Quiroga have a lot in common. Each was a foreigner who came to Michoacan’s hills and dales surrounding Lake Patzcuaro, married art with commerce, infused heritages from around the world with local custom, emphasized training of artisans, and raised the utility of ordinary objects to art […]

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Where to stay in Santa Clara del Cobre and Erongaricuaro

We weren’t sure what to expect as we wheeled into Hacienda Mariposa’s entrance, greeted by German Shepherds. Of course, we’d visited the website,, but we knew how deceptive some sites can be. Rounding the bend past the nursery, the property came into full view, and sure enough, the website was deceptively understated. What lay before […]

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Live Better South of the Border and Spas and Hot Springs of Mexico

LIVE BETTER SOUTH OF THE BORDER, by “Mexico” Mike Nelson. (USA: Roads Scholar Press, ISBN 1-889489-02-6, 2nd ed., 1997, $16.95) Available from Amazon Books: Paperback SPAS & HOT SPRINGS OF MEXICO, by “Mexico” Mike Nelson. (USA: Roads Scholar Press, ISBN 1-889489-26-3, 1997, $16.95) Available from Amazon Books: Paperback Visiting Mexico is one thing. Living here is another. Basking amid […]

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Pelea de Gallos Cock Fight

Cockfighting in Mexico: Chicken soup for the soul

The Sunday Mexican fiesta at Guadalajara’s Camino Real promised cockfighting. I should have expected the “cockfight” would amount to a quick display of two cheerfully bored roosters who could have auditioned for a wholesome children’s show. “Genuine cockfights are illegal in Mexico,” chastened self-appointed cognoscenti. I should have known that a real cockfight was as likely to take […]

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Mexico’s Monte de Piedad – more than household finance

The Monte de Piedad, or National Pawnshop, bears little resemblance to the usual perception of the tawdry pawnshop, bordering the bail bondsman’s office in a not-so-savory part of town, patronized by the luckless, amid the milieu of Sidney Lumet’s film “The Pawnbroker.” A respected government institution, it represents more than the mere lender of last […]

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