Michoacan, Mexico, by reading Expect the Unexpected in
Michoacan, Mexico by Sandy Zimmerman, Travel Writer and fellow
WTA member. It features a mini, but thorough tour of the
destination, plus all you'll need to know to plan your trip
including getting there, objective information on places to stay
and eat, and things to do. At the end of the article, we've
provided a summary of the contact information for your easy
Unexpected in Michoacan, Mexico
by Sandy Zimmerman, Travel Writer and WTA Member
One of the historic churches in Michoacan
Unique…Exotic….Extraordinary….Your journey through the state of
Michoacan is not the usual Mexican trip. This is the real Mexico.
Located between Guadalahara and Mexico City, Michoacan is not as well
known as some of the other areas of Mexico.
Michoacan is different. You experience the difference when you walk
around the cities, dine in their restaurants, and stay in the hotels.
The strong Spanish influence is everywhere; buildings dating from the
1500s-1600s still stand to echo their stories of the past. UNESCO
(United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) named
the entire capitol city of Morelia a world heritage artistic site - an
outdoor museum. Preserving these beautiful historic buildings creates
the feeling that you are on a movie set of another era.
There are over 1,113
historic buildings throughout Morelia’s downtown and aqueduct districts.
The ornate baroque architecture offers opportunities for photos during
the day, but when the historic buildings are lit at night, they seem to
Take a stroll across this historic courtyard
Here’s a sample of some
of the historic sites to visit:
The Aqueduct built in 1795.
The Clavijero Palace, built in the 17th century, was originally
the headquarters of the Jesuit School of San Francisco Javier. It is
now the home of the Congress of Michoacan government offices.
The Cathedraldates back to 1660. It took 84 years to be built. Inside, don’t miss
the silver showcase and silver neoclassical baptismal font from the
18th century. The 4,600-pipe organ was a later addition in the 20th
Church and Convent of San Francisco(1531) is now the House of Handicrafts.
The Church and former Convent of Carmen dates back to 1593 and
continued to be built throughout the 17th, 18th, and 19th
In the Government Palace (1760 - took 10 years to build), three
murals portray different periods in the history of Mexico. It is now
the seat of the state government.
Los Rosas Conservatory of Music, Saint Rose Church(18th century) This building houses the Boy’s Choir of Morelia and the
School of Music.
In the Market of Sweets and Handicrafts, sample the candies
made from dried fruit, Rompope (similar to eggnog), coated fruit,
Morelianas, and Charamuscas.
Municipal Palace(18th century) offers an impressive octagonal patio.
Maximiliano de Hapsburgo stayed at the Museum of Michoacan
(1772) when he visited Morelia in 1864. This is one of the oldest
museums in Mexico.
Public Library(17th century).
The Palace of Justice (1884) is the site of the Judicial
Department of the state of Michoacan. It has a French-style facade and
pre-Hispanic decorative elements.
Plaza de los Martires
Located across from the Conservatory of Music is the State Museum
built in the 18th century. It is divided into three sections -
Archaeology, History, and Ethnology. It also features furniture and
fixtures from a pharmacy dating from 1868.
San Nicolas de Hidalgo School is home of a preparatory school of the University of Michoacan. It has
a Neoclassical facade.
Temple of our Our Lady of Mercy is a monastery dating back to 1604. It was later converted into a
And your Morelia
adventure continues with each meal. Stepping into the past, the Hotel
Villa Montana is part of the beauty and history of Morelia. The elegance
of the Montana, their incredible gourmet delights, and the love story of
the owners are the makings of a Hollywood script.
Statuary and stonework motifs decorate
the paths of the Hotel Villa Montana
French Count Nicolas de
Reiset saw the Villa Montana 30 years ago and fell in love with it. Much
later Ava, an attractive Parisian femme, visited Morelia and fate
brought her to stay at his hotel. They married and still enjoy being
around the hotel and greeting their guests. The Montana is truly a
romantic setting high in the mountains with breathtaking views of the
city. Tyrone Power and Ava Gardner spent time here during the shooting
of the film “The Sun Also Rises.”
When you drive through
the wrought iron gate and enter the grounds, you are suddenly
transported to a 50 year old, historic mansion. Paths take you around
four acres of sculptures, gardens, terraces, and private patios.
Experience the feeling of
fine dining where you are surrounded by expensive museum-quality
paintings, antiques, and intricate carvings. While being entertained by
a pianist, choose from French, International, or Mexican cuisine. This
is a meal to remember!
Many of Morelia’s
restaurants are as unique as the state. The owner of the Restaurante San
Miguelito has a sense of humor and is not afraid to be different. His
understanding about combining fine food with unusual decor makes this a
The Bar Taurino’s lounge
and stage are decorated like a small bullring. Each table in the dining
room is different with its own-style of crystal, settings, tableware,
El Rincon de las
Solteronas (Spinster’s Corner) is dedicated to Saint Anthony. Women pray
to Saint Anthony to intervene and help them find a special man and make
their dreams come true. During the ceremony, they light a candle, donate
13 coins, and circle the altar 13 times. Each woman places a statue of
the saint upside down, to be turned over when she gets her man. There
are around 250 statues hanging upside down around the wall, which means
250 women are waiting. Sit near the saint’s room and watch the
activities or go in and try your luck!
The food is tantalizingly
delicious with an interesting mix of flavors - beef tenderloin tequila
with red pepper and orange sauce ($9.90), breast of chicken topped with
a fruity sweet and sour sauce ($9.50), Yucatan-style trout served with
achiote sauce and red onions ($9.50), chili with poblano green peppers,
cheese and shrimp ($9.90), and fish wrapped in a banana leaf with
mushrooms, butter, onion and herbs ($9.90).
Atop one of the oldest
buildings in Morelia, La Casa del Portal Restaurant provides wonderful
views of the Zocalo (city square). Unique merchandise, folk art, and
antiques surround you. Everything in each room is for sale, perhaps even
the chair in which you are sitting!
It serves Mexican and
American breakfasts - Corundas ($5.00), banana crepes ($6.00), omelets
($5.20), eggs Rancheros ($4.20), hot cakes ($4.20), and more. They also
serve lunch and dinner.
Dine in a 17th century
pink sandstone building converted into the Restaurante Los Mirasoles for
international specialties of Mexico, Italy and Argentina. You have your
pick of fifty different martinis, a choice of five salmon entrees
($9.50), six different pastas ($7.50), and chicken Milanesa ($10.00).
Each hotel has it’s own
colorful personality. One benefit of staying at the Hotel Juanino is
being near all of the downtown attractions. Their La Azotea rooftop
restaurant’s outside terrace offers wonderful views of the cathedral and
other historic buildings. It serves contemporary Mexican cuisine.
This older hotel that
dates back to the 17th century, is called a “balcony to
history” because some rooms have balconies facing the cathedral and a
number of historic buildings. Wide hallways and stained glass windows
are the norm at Hotel Juanino.
Hotel Casa de la Loma
offers a more modern design than the other buildings in Morelia. Guests
receive an all-you-can eat complimentary breakfast that includes yogurt,
danish, cereal, fresh fruit, orange juice, and coffee.
La Casa de las Rosas
Hotel’s stylish modern decor is a surprising contrast to its historic
attractions have that extra flair to them. The Museo del Dulce is more
than just a candy store; they showcase candy with pizazz.
If you can, try to plan
your trip to Michoacan during the International Musical Festival of
Morelia. It was created in 1989 and is named after Mexico’s famous
composer, Miguel Bernal Jimenez. This annual festival features
performances by musicians from all over the world and takes place in
beautiful settings throughout Morelia.
There is so much to see
that you will want to spend several days in Morelia, and if you have
time, experience the “total difference” by touring other exciting areas
of Michoacan. Watch for Part 2 of the Treasures of Michoacan to learn
From Las Vegas, flights leave daily at 7:45 a.m. If you fly
from Tijuana, catch one of their 1 a.m. flights daily. The Los
Angeles schedule offers a daily 7:30 a.m. flight with a short stop
in Mexico City, reaching Morelia at 4:10 p.m. Nonstop flights from
Boston land in Mexico City with connections to Morelia. You can
also combine your Morelia vacation with a few nights in Mexico
City. Aero Mexico has special rates for eight or more people
Airlines - (800)-525-0280;
http://www.continentalairlines.com, Las Vegas - 11:38
a.m. daily. Los Angeles –11:40 a.m. daily.
Where to Stay
Hotel Villa Montana - Patzimba
#201, Colonia Vista Bella, 58090. 314-0231.
http://www.villamontana.com.mx, Standard - $160; Junior Suite
- $220; Master Suite/1 bedroom - $270, Master Suite/2 bedroom -
$350; Presidential Suite -$375. Offer rates for one or two
persons. Private meeting rooms accommodate parties up to 160
Hotel Los Juaninos
- Av. Morelos Sur 39, Centro Historico C.P. 58000, 312-0036. Standard - $150; Junior Suite
-$180; Master Suite - $260. Offers meeting rooms.
Hotel Casa de la
Loma - Mozart # 380, Col. La Loma. 324-8901;
http://www.casadelaloma.com, Standard - $138; Standard
Superior - $144; Junior Suite - $170; Master Suite - $253.
La Casa de las
Rosas Hotel - Guillermo Prieto
#125, Centro Historico.
When calling Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico, from the U.S., dial (01)
(52) (443) then the number.
Where to Eat
Hotel Villa Montana - See
information under hotels.
La Casa del Portal
Restaurant - Guillermo Prieto #30, Centro Historico, Int. 3, P.
Alta; 317-4217/317-4899. Contempory Mexican cuisine.
Restaurante - Av. Camelinas s/n
Contraesquina del Centro de Convenciones, Fracc. La Loma. 324-2300/ 324-4411;
Mirasoles - Av. Madero Poniente # 549, Esquina Leon Guzman, Centro
historico. 317- 5775/317- 5777.
Onyx Restaurant &
Bar - Portal Hidalgo #261,
Centro Historico 317-8290/1.
International, regional, and exotic cuisine - scorpion ($18.00),
Arabian ostrich ($15.00), crocodile ($28.00), Australian deer
($29.00), Canadian buffalo ($22.00), and Somali wild boar
Historic Buildings - Pick up
your free city map at the Michoacan Tourist Promotion Office and
choose from four self-guided walking tours around the downtown
historic district and aqueduct.
Zoological Park - largest collection of birds in Latin America.
Candy Museum &
Factory - Museo del Dulce, Av. Madero Ote. #440, Centro Historico,
Morelia. 312-8157. Free tours.
Dhadu Disco - Av. Camelinas,
#58, Col. Lomas de Santa Maria. 340-5621.
Nox Disco - Av.
Camelinas, #534, Fracc. Bosques de Camelinas. 324-7445.
Sr. Frog’s Disco
- Av. Camelinas, #1194, Fracc. La Loma. 315-3731.
Trolley cars are great for
reasonable tours of the downtown historic district. You can get
off and catch the next trolley for a set fee.
Hospital Memorial - Perlferico
Paseo de la republica, #2111, Col. Camelinas. 315-7594/95.
Star Medica -
Virrey de Mendoza, #2000, Col. Felix Ireta. 322-7700/emergencies
Benedicto Lopez, #65, Centro Historico District.
of the hotels have their own doctors on call.
State of Michoacan Tourist Promotion - Av. Camelinas #676-A Fracc.
La Loma. 340-1101 (800)-44-MEXICO.
Notice: This information is current as of April 2004. It is recommended
that you contact the numbers, and/or visit the websites above to
determine any changes to the information.