Lake Patzcuaro, Mexico

Also known as:  Lago de Patzcuaro

Lake Patzcuaro, in the State of Michoacan in Central Mexico plays a key role in the history of Michoacan and indeed all of Mexico. The large volcanic lake has been a center of the native Purhepecha people, called by the Spanish invaders the Tarascan Indians, since well before the arrival of the Spanish. The town of Patzcuaro was founded in 1324 by the king Curatame and reconstructed in 1372 by – READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Lake Patzcuaro! Article topics include:

Looking for Lake Patzcuaro cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore more of our favorite travel partners.

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Lake Patzcuaro! Article topics include:

Looking for Lake Patzcuaro cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore more of our favorite travel partners.

All About Lake Patzcuaro

Lake Locations: Mexico - Central Mexico -

Lake Patzcuaro, in the State of Michoacan in Central Mexico plays a key role in the history of Michoacan and indeed all of Mexico. The large volcanic lake has been a center of the native Purhepecha people, called by the Spanish invaders the Tarascan Indians, since well before the arrival of the Spanish. The town of Patzcuaro was founded in 1324 by the king Curatame and reconstructed in 1372 by his descendant Tariacuri. During the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the Purhepecha empire was a powerful and prosperous civilization whose influence spread as far as what now are the states of Jalisco, Guanajuato, Colima and Guerrero. The Purhepechas had already discovered iron and they were the only people that the Aztecs or Mexicas were unable to defeat in the many battles they fought. By 1528, the Perhepechas were overrun by Spanish forces led by Nunio de Guzman, their temples destroyed and those remaining alive dispersed into the surrounding mountains.

The history of the Purhepechas at Lake Patzcuaro might have ended there except for the wise management of Don Vasco de Quiroga. In 1531, at the age of 60, Vasco de Quiroga was sent to become administrator of the Michoacan area and set about repairing as much as possible the ravages brought upon the native people by Nuno de Guzman. He established hospitals, facilities and systems to care for the poor and boarding houses for traveling friars. At Patzcuaro, he helped set up villages around the lake organized as collectives and dedicated to the manufacture of crafts and skilled work, each village assigned its own specialty. From this stable base, the Purhepechas could again fish the waters of Lake Patzcuaro using cotton butterfly nets of ancient design. Their skilled craftsmen, now generational businesses, are still one of the most powerful drawing cards for visitors to the lake. According to the people here, the spirit of “tata” Vasco still inhabits the lakes, valleys and mountains of this earth that he loved so much.

Lake Patzcuaro lies in a large shallow basin and is dotted with several fair-sized islands. The shoreline is primarily wetlands which help to filter sediments washed down from farming and logging. Larger islands support villages who have for generations thrived on fishing the lake as a form of livelihood. A recent government estimate suggests the lake supports around 800 fishermen who fish for black sea bass, Patzcuaro chub, trout, perch and white fish or blanco – a fish in the sardine family. There is no true tourist fishery, although visitors occasionally try their luck. Due to sedimentation and drought, the lake is losing an estimated 173 acres annually. The blanco are becoming scarce. International efforts are aimed at encouraging better land use practices to alleviate the problem.

A visitor to Lake Patzcuaro, located 35 miles west of Morelia and 200 miles west of Mexico City by improved road, usually comes by bus or private car. The nearest airport is located at Morelia. Thousands of visitors come here for festivals such as the Day of the Dead in November, Christmas and Holy Week. Each village holds its own celebration of these holidays. One of the best attended is usually the one held on the island of Janitzio. This colorful island sports a giant statue of one of the initiators of the Mexican War of Independence; Jose Morelos. The Janitzio village Day of the Dead celebration – not nearly the morose and morbid affair the uninitiated might expect – is so popular that people wait in line for hours to take the ferry to the island.

Lake Patzcuaro isn’t the kind of lake where people come to engage in major water sports. The Patzcuaro region is noted for it’s beautiful buildings dating to the time of the Spanish Conquest, its plentiful birds, wildlife, handicrafts and history. Here, visitors can find vacation rentals in the form of villas equipped with every amenity, lodgings in small hotels and cottages and modern motels. Some of the nearby villages have lodging facilities also. There are a couple of campgrounds near the village. The city of 70,000 has the feel of a small village, with two plazas, excellently preserved Spanish architecture, many small restaurants and handicraft establishments.

Most tourists visit the Museo de Artes Populares to orient themselves to the different villages and their unique handicrafts. Buildings a visitor absolutely must see are the The Basilica, Old College of San Nicolas (now the Museum of Crafts and Folk Artists), Convento Dominico De Santa Catarina (or House of the 11 Courts-which now contains artisan’s shops) and the House of the Giant, among others. Also nearby are the ruins of the old Tarascan capital at Tzinzuntzan with yacatas (pyramids) and an old monastery built in 1533. The olive trees – still producing – are said to have been planted by Vasco de Quiroga himself. A wildlife sanctuary is nearby which provides nesting grounds for a variety of native and migratory birds.

Both in Patzcuaro and in the 26 villages on the islands and around the shore of Lake Patzcuaro, handicrafts are king. There is wood working – from toys, to laquerware, to furniture such as chairs, tables, doors and carved trunks, and everything in between. Also, there are wrought iron, tin, paper mache, and wool – woven and knitted sweaters, zarapes and rugs with characteristic designs. Of equal beauty are products made with reeds that grow around the lake, and with henequen, brought from outside Patzcuaro and used to make small carpets, pouches, tablecloths and other things. As for jewelry, the traditional Purhepecha style consists mainly of designs that mix silver and red coral,or red porcelain. A primary manufactured commodity in the city is pure cotton fabric (and large tablecloths), dyed in bright and contrasting colors. Cut-work embroidery, stitchery, and clothing characteristic of the region, such as hand woven shirts, shawls and other items customary to the Purhepecha way of dressing are also available for sale.

Cruise boats, much like water taxis take visitors to the different villages and islands. There is a modern road around the lake which connects with the road to Guadalajara. A nearby town, Paracho, is noted for fine handcrafted guitars and well worth a visit for music lovers. The scenic “C”-shaped Lake Patzcuaro, nestled beneath the 11,000 foot high pine-covered peaks of the Tarascan Sierra is serene and beautiful to behold – a calming respite from a busy world. Immediately to the west of the Lake Patzcuaro, the slopes of the central plateau abruptly end, and plunge into the humid tropics.

Here at Patzcuaro, life slows to an idyllic holiday interlude far from the cares of the work-a-day world. For this reason, ex-pats have often selected Patzcuaro as prime real estate for a retirement home. They are careful not to try to ‘modernize’ Lake Patzcuaro though as to do so would take away its special charm. Come to Lake Patzcuaro for a visit. You may find yourself scheming to join them!

Things to Do at Lake Patzcuaro

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • Museum
  • Ruins

Fish Species Found at Lake Patzcuaro

  • Bass
  • Carp
  • Perch
  • Trout

All About Lake Patzcuaro

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Lake Patzcuaro

The Lake Patzcuaro map shown above is a simple and stress-free way to search for trip accommodations. But if you want to take a deeper dive to find the ideal waterfront home, cabin, condo, hotel or resort, visit our favorite lodging partners by clicking the buttons below.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.


More Ways to Book a Lake Patzcuaro Vacation

While our interactive map above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME rental homes (with VRBO) and nearby hotels (with Booking.com), there might be times when you need to expand your search with a different type of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you might want to explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our full disclosure policy here.


More Sites to Book a Lake Patzcuaro Vacation

Our interactive lodging map shown above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME VRBO rental homes and nearby Booking.com hotels, there are times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you can explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our disclosure policy here.


More Sites to Book a Lake Patzcuaro Vacation

Our interactive lodging map shown above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME VRBO rental homes and nearby Booking.com hotels, there are times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you can explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our disclosure policy here.


Recommended Sites to Book a Lake Patzcuaro Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Lake Patzcuaro lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • Booking.com – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, Booking.com connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • Hotels.com – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, Hotels.com is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.
ALL TRAVEL RESOURCES

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

[get-post-images]

divider

Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 32,123 acres

Shoreline Length: 31 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 699 feet

Water Volume: 22,699,969 acre-feet

Trophic State: Eutrophic

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

More Lake Patzcuaro news from LakeLubbers.com

  • Advertise your vacation rental property or local business: DETAILS HERE
  • The Lake Patzcuaro forum has been discontinued: HERE’S WHY
  • New Lake Patzcuaro photos coming soon!
  • You’re invited to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook and Instagram!
  • Share this Lake Patzcuaro article with your fellow LakeLubbers:

Do you have a vacation rental property at Lake Patzcuaro? Coming in 2022, LakeLubbers will have an opportunity for you to showcase your listing and put it in front of thousands of lake lovers searching our site for homes, condos or townhomes to rent for their upcoming lake trip this season.

Please get in touch with our advertising team HERE and we’ll provide you more details on this upcoming advertising opportunity.

divider

Looking for the Lake Patzcuaro forum?

LakeLubbers previously offered visitors the ability to create accounts and participate in lake forums. When we overhauled the site’s content management system in 2021 we had to disable those features. We’re evaluating options and welcome your comments and feedback here.

We also encourage you to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook and Instagram!

Click here to advertise your Lake Patzcuaro vacation rental or local business.

The former Lake Patzcuaro forum is closed. Find out why here.

New Lake Patzcuaro photo gallery is coming soon.

Please share this article with your fellow lake lovers!

Spread the word! Share our Lake Patzcuaro article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!

Explore local Lake Patzcuaro vacation rentals and hotel accommodations using our interactive map. Clicking on listings below will allow you to compare nearby properties, best rates and availability for your dates.

Looking for the old Lake Patzcuaro forum group? Click Here

New Lake Patzcuaro photos coming soon!

Vacation Home Name

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nam consequat a neque id hendrerit. Mauris ut commodo erat. Praesent at fermentum sem. Vivamus dui turpis, posuere sed auctor a, luctus semper nibh. Etiam quis neque vehicula, finibus sem sit amet, condimentum turpis….

  • 2 bedrooms
  • 2 bathrooms
  • hot tub
  • wifi