09th September 2011

At over 2000 metres the Pueblo Mágico, Pátzcuaro [30] lies south of the mountain fringed Lake Pátzcuaro. The bustling centre is all red and white adobe buildings with terracotta tiled roofs, colonial churches and pretty plazas. A busy market, where local food is cheap and good, spills out onto the streets. A huge plate of chicken with potatoes, carrots, cheese and tortillas smothered in sauce, more than enough for 2, is less than $10. Pátzcuaro is one of our favourite Mexican pueblos.


The small Purepécha villages that dot the lake each produce a different handicraft such as pottery, wooden masks and fine needlework, their wares displayed outside to attract passersby. Vasco de Quiroga (1478-1565) established these crafts and did much to protect the indigenous from the worst abuses of the Conquistadores. Today he is revered. Janitzio is the largest of the islands in Lake Pátzcuaro where the men use large butterfly-nets to fish from small wooden boats.


We took a local bus to Uruapan, an hour from Pátzcuaro, to visit the National Park which is in the centre of the town. Water gushes from underground creating a lush rainforest environment, home to many species of plants, animals, birds and butterflies. Trout raised in the streams and covered with macadamia nuts made a delicious lunch. In the town is the first hospital in the Americas, with doorways and windows carved by Purepécha artisans in the Mudéjar style 4 centuries ago.


Red and white adobe colonial centre of Pátzcuaro

Basilica de Nuestra Señora de la Salud (Our Lady of Health) - 16th century

Nuestra Señora de la Salud locally made from corn cobs

If prayer doesn´t work, try the herbal medicine sold outside the Basilica

16th century ex-Convento San Agustin, now the town library

Statue of the revered Vasco de Quiroga in Plaza Grande

Templo El Santuario

Market food is good and cheap and you get lots of it

Sweet potatoes in honey make a delicious snack

Jesuit Church from 1540

Templo de Sagrario

Doorway to the Templo

There are 11 courtyards ...

... in La Casa de Once Patios

Stone statue of the Virgen in one of the courtyards

Pátzcuaro street

Fountain in Plaza Grande

Templo de San Juan de Dios

Wooden masks are some of the local handicrafts

Pottery comes nearby villages - each has its own colours

Indigenous lady with flowers

Indigenous women wear embroidered aprons over their skirts

Janitzio Island on Lake Pátzcuaro

Men with butterfly-nets ...

... fish from wooden boats in the lake

Church on the Island

Handicrafts for sale along the road around the lake

Uruapan´s National Park

Trout from the stream, covered with macadamia nuts - delicious

Entrance to the first hospital in the Americas, carved in the Mudéjar style

Hospital window, Mudéjar style, by local artisans - 16th century