Patzcuaro is a town located near Morelia. Many city folks from Morelia enjoy going to Patzcuaro on the weekends to relax with family. We are no exception. As with many towns in Mexico, it has a centro (central) plaza downtown. Patzcuaro’s plaza is home to children who dress up as old people complete with the masks to truly appear older. They dance the Danza de los Viejitos or the Dance of the Elders. We took in the sounds of their clackety clack shoes, the bright colors of their clothing, and their festive palma hats to realize they are dancing in celebration of those who reach a mature and hopefully wise age.
Across from the plaza, the nieve or ice cream is a locally known sweet treat for the weekend. Nieve can be found in many flavors such as nuez (walnut), rompope (alcohol drink similar to eggnog – but this is frozen!!), chocolate, fresa (strawberry), canela (cinnamon), and many more. The best part of this ice cream is that all ingredients are fresh. They are served with child size spoons that make anyone feel like a child again!
Patzcuaro is, also, known for their tiny fried fish, charales, that are caught from the Lake of Janitzio. One time we ate at a local restaurant right off the water. While eating the small fried fish with fresh squeezed lime on freshly made tortillas topped with homemade salsa, we experienced more of the Danza de los Viejitos. There is nothing like fresh made tortillas!
Another delicious dish and one of my favorites is the corunda. The corundas in Patzcuaro are more generous in size than in the city. The city corundas are the size of a small fist. These in Patzcuaro are at least three times bigger, so maybe start with one first… Corundas are made with a corn masa similar to tamales, but are shaped like pyramids filled with your choice of chicken, pork, or cheese with salsa.
As mentioned before with the fish dish, Patzcuaro is near a beautiful lago or ‘lake’ with an island called Janitzio. A ferry takes you from the town of Patzcuaro to the island of Janitzio.
When stepping off the boat onto the dock, I could feel the water all around me. It felt like a private island. I saw the local island folks wearing their huaraches (leather sandals). The day we went it was raining and the ground was slick. However, we proceeded to climb the mountainside despite the drizzle. I suggest you check the forecast ahead of going as it can be slippery when the rocky stairs are wet. This way you have a good pair of foot wear. Luckily, I had my huaraches on as I carefully made my way up the mountainside. As we climbed the spiral staircase on the mountain, there were many family run stores and restaurants along the way.
Once at the top of the mountain, we were at the base of the Morelos statue. So, of course, we climbed up more stairs to get to the very top. The view was absolutely worth it! Also, we worked off all the calories we ate in town between the corundas, charales, and nieve!!
We climbed down from the statue plaza and enjoyed elote in a cup. Elote is boiled corn on the cob served (off the cob) with water, cream, cheese, and hot sauce. Yum. Yum!!
As we climbed back down the mountainside, we discovered a tree growing out of the mountain that had homes, storefronts, and restaurants built around to make it part of the architecture. I love that in many parts of Michoacán, folks choose to keep nature in their building plans. Can you picture yourself on the balcony? I can!
We returned to the dock to board the ferry to the mainland Patzcuaro. A local band joined us on the ferry to our delight! We enjoyed a relaxing boat ride with live music. When you visit Morelia, check out Patzcuaro!!
Visit here to see the Danza de los Viejitos!