San Miguel and Michoacan..general questions

Old Dec 4th, 2015, 07:12 AM
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San Miguel and Michoacan..general questions

I am planning a stay in San Miguel (house exchange) for late February. I hope to (will look at flights this weekend) fly from Miami into Leon, via DF, and return from Morelia to Miami.

After our 10 days in SMA, we are planning a visit to Morelia and Patzcuaro for about a week, staying in both locations for a few days. (Total trip will be about two weeks) I've been to these locations in the past (not the butterfly reserves, though) but my last visits were decades ago.

A day trip to one of the butterfly reserves is probable, from Morelia. We will rent a car in Morelia for that portion of the trip, and we will stay at hotels with secure parking in both Morelia and Patzcuaro. (Hotel Casino in Morelia and La Casa Encantada in Patzcuaro)

Just curious about the butterfly reserves..for those who have visited, were you positive on the experience? Our visit would be during the first days of March.

For late February in San Miguel, should I plan on cotton shirts for daytime with a fleece jacket for at night?

Side trips by bus from SMA: Guanajuato?

What else do I need to think about? Anyone have any tips for restaurants or markets? I'd love comments from those who have visited the area recently.

I know about safety warnings for Michoacan but if anyone has any advice on particulars, do let me know, please. We will not drive at night and we will ask locals for current information.
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Old Dec 4th, 2015, 12:15 PM
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It was almost 15 years ago that we visited the butterfly reserve - can't believe that it was so long ago. We really enjoyed the day. It was amazing to see all the orange covering the trees! I also appreciated that Canada and Mexico "share" the monarchs. It was a wonderful day. We took a tour from Morelia, and I'm thinking it would likely have been in February or March.
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Old Dec 4th, 2015, 05:39 PM
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Michoacan is one of the states hardest hit by drug cartel violence. Is it wise for you to be driving there?
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Old Dec 5th, 2015, 05:31 AM
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Thanks for your concern, Jeff.

The area we will be covering is touted as "safe" from cartel activity. As I mentioned, will seek local advice on driving routes once we pick up the car. One of our trio of females has lived in Mexico for decades, and is a former resident of Morelia. To take this a bit further than you intended, I think that as a tourist, I have more of a chance being involved in an auto accident than being involved with the Knights T, or whichever group is now in power in those parts. But good to stay alert, as always.
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Old Dec 5th, 2015, 08:10 PM
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Haven't done the butterflies yet, but after 5 years in Mexico I think this is the year. It's been our BL for a while now.
In general, the tourist routes are quite safe and I agree that your biggest risk in an accident. We travel in Michoacan often enough, and the advice of locals is always more timely than the State Dept warnings which unfortunately are reactive rather than proactive. Curiously, Guanajuato State this year (so far) and last had more violent crime/homicides than Michoacan, more in fact than all of the border states, 2nd only behind Mexico and Guerrero. Yet, no warnings. But Guanajuato is generally considered safe. Recently, there have been some (8) drug related killings in San Miguel, for which the Knights Templar took credit on Facebook as a "necessary evil".
San Miguel restaurants to not be missed are La Posadita, rooftop dining right behind the Parroquia. Hecho En Mexico, Fridays and Saturdays live music with Pedro Cartas; google him. No cover, $150 peso minimum. Sunset/cocktails @ Luna bar, rooftop at the Rosewood hotel. Breakfast; La Parroquia on Jesus just off the jardin.
A really fantastic place to have dinner in (or near) Patz is the http://www.haciendaucazanaztacua.com/inindex.html It's like a 15-20 minute drive from Patz, but it's arguably the best hotel in this part of Mexico and the setting can't be beat, even if you don't stay there.
Day trips from San Miguel of course would include Queretaro; if you're there after dark a taxi ride around the acueducto is a must. One of Mexico's larger historic centers. Restaurant 1810 on Plaza de Armas is always good. Also, Mineral De Pozos is of interest but you'd need a car, or driver. Lunch at Posada de Las Minas. If your budget allows, the day trip to Guanajuato could be done through Dolores, then over the mountains to Guanajuato with a stop in Santa Rosa that takes in the Mayolica pottery factory; it's more like an art gallery. Their stuff is far superior to the junk found in Dolores. But it's best done by car. Dolores itself is worth about an hour. Not that interesting, IMO. If you do drive that route, you don't have to navigate the tunnels. San Miguel markets are kinda limited. The Tuesday tianguis is noisy & busy, but mostly consists of used clothes, tools, appliance parts, fruits & veggies, and a few guys offering miracle cures. For the tourist, the food stalls are plentiful and the most interesting. Then there is the Artisan's market that has pewter & cheap silver and a few stalls selling authentic Oaxacan rugs. It extends for like 3 blocks and is open every day.
Weather-wise, yeah you're right on. You can figure on some mid-high 30's (F) for nightly lows, and daily highs in the mid-upper 70's, maybe an 80 or 2. Here's a good link to weather history: http://mapaverdesanmiguel.org/weathe...NOAA&month=feb
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Old Dec 6th, 2015, 08:04 AM
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For my money Guanajuato is not to be missed -- it's an exceptionally beautiful city.
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Old Dec 6th, 2015, 10:44 AM
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We will surely visit Guanajuato, where I have not been since I went to summer school in Guadalajara many, many, many years ago!

Baldone, thanks so much for taking all that time to write. I probably would have spent more time wandering around the area than in San Miguel proper, but my friend's offer to share her house exchange was an offer "too good to refuse!" Your mention of the rugs from Oaxaca reminded me that I actually have room for a couple now, so I will see about finding some.

I narrowed down some "craft villages" in the Patzcuaro area that sound interesting; have any of you visited these and if so, comments (?) ( know there are others but these seem to specialize in work that interests me)

Sta Clara del Cobre (copper)
Cochuco ("burnt" pottery)
Erongaricuaro (painted furniture)
Ihuatzio (woven straw, etc)
Tzintzuntan
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Old Dec 7th, 2015, 06:09 AM
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ekscrunchy--

I spent 3 weeks in Queretaro going to a language school this summer and I'd definitely second the recommendation of the city as a day trip. The city is an important spot in Mexican history; the Museo Regional de Queretaro is fantastic, as is the museum at the Cerro de las Campanas. The plazas are lovely with entertainment going on. It's an easy day trip from SMA (I did the trip in reverse) and the ETN buses amongst others are frequent between the two.

The Peña de Bernal, Tequis(quiapan) and Guanajuato were among my favorite day trips out of Queretaro.

I know you're going to have a blast. There's so much music, art, not to mention an omnipresent smell of corn tortillas in beautiful San Miguel de Allende.

Best wishes, Daniel
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Old Dec 7th, 2015, 12:02 PM
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We also went to Sta Clara del Cobre and picked up some copper pieces there. I still love them.
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Old Dec 11th, 2015, 07:49 PM
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Many of the shops in Sta Clara are just resellers of others shops, or sadly, but expected, of Chinese trinkets. But they're pretty easy to identify. We bought sinks and other fixtures for our house here:http://www.cobreelporton.com/index.htm
And the shop next door and across the street has quality stuff, too. El Porton and the latter give the demonstration of heating/hammering the copper for tips; worth a watch.
Quiroga has some leather goods (but not as nice as you'll find in Leon) but the real treat is sampling carnitas.
Uruapan may be worthy of a visit for the park and falls. Not to mention the trout and macadamia treats and liquors.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barr..._National_Park
https://www.zonaturistica.com/en/tou...s-uruapan.html
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Old Dec 12th, 2015, 06:41 AM
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The little shopping area at the Starbucks in SM El Central normally has a guy selling "Oaxaca" rugs that look authentic. I spent 5 weeks in Oaxaca a couple of years ago making friends with a rug weaver there, visiting his shop & his home so somewhat experienced,
Did not price the ones in SM but a fair selection.
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Old Dec 12th, 2015, 08:24 AM
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I stayed in Guanajuato last year and really liked it more than San Miguel, to be honest, but if you've been there you know it is a good side trip. I really liked Dolores Hidalgo, also, which is just a bit north of San Miguel up highway 51. I visited it as a day trip from Guanajuato (along with San Miguel).

http://www.visitmexico.com/en/magica...olores-hidalgo

They have a good museum there, and it's a pleasant and attractive city.
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Old Dec 12th, 2015, 12:02 PM
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Agree the Museum is very interesting & the Central Plaza at Delores are very pleasant & worth a day IMO. Of course I am in the area for about 3 months each year so have lots of time.
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Old Dec 12th, 2015, 04:31 PM
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Thanks all! I have strong interest in Jose Alfredo Ji
imenez and his music...have to look up if there is are any related sights in his "pueblo natal," Dolores h.

Cristina I only wish the exchange was in Guanajuato but will advocate for at least a day trip to that city..
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