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Trip Features

The great Easter market of Uruapan

Delicate clay skeletons dressed as Victorian Mademoiselles
Hammered copper
Diabolic mask carvers
Purepecha reed weavers
400-year old churches and painted chapels
The Purepecha carnival festival
A whole town of guitar makers
The Place of Hummingbirds
Grand and elegant colonial Morelia
Peaceful and ancient Patzcuaro
Uruapan, the avocado capital of the world
Churripo, Corundas and Charanda

Michoacán Arts and the Great Easter Market
TM1204-TA
March 26-April 4, 2012
(For tour price and other information, please see the Trip Details sidebar on this page)


Into the marvelous, but seldom visited Purepecha highlands of Michoacán for the Easter folkart market, largest in the country, plus visits to potters, coppersmiths, mask carvers, reed weavers, beautiful colonial cities, markets and rural churches.

 

A sweeper tidies a park in Morelia, Michoacan - Traditions Mexico Tours
A sweeper tidies a park in Morelia

Broad lakes surrounded by small villages, rich fields dotted with volcanic cinder cones, elegant colonial cities, lush forests, and village after village of traditional artisans, Michoacán is one of Mexico’s loveliest and most interesting states to visit. Yet it remains little known to outsiders. Perhaps even less known to outsiders is the great Easter folkart market of Uruapan. Artisans from the entire state of Michoacán converge here for over a week of selling their best wares. There is no other event like it in the country and for folkart lovers, it is a must. This tour opens this world to you from the inside. We stay in Michaocan’s most lovely towns; Morelia, Patzcuaro and Uruapan, and visit her potters, coppersmiths, mask carvers and reed weavers. We take a peek at some of the gems of colonial architecture in rural Michoacán, and through these building's stories and our visits with artisans, we learn the story of Michoacán, the Purepecha Indians, the Spanish Conquest and Michoacan today. Our guide, Miguelangel Nuñez, is a long time resident of the state, an anthropologist, professor and guide and is uniquely able to provide us with a rare peek into this yet undiscovered world of deep roots and living history.

Lake Patzcuaro
Trip
Details
Where The highlands of the Mexican State of Michoacán based out of Morelia, Patzcuaro and Uruapan
When Mar. 26-Apr. 4, 2012
Duration Ten days
Size 6 to 10 participants
Cost Trip price of $1,980 includes all lodging (double occupancy), most meals, all local transport in private van, entry fees, two guides. Single supplement $300.
Trip Guides Miguel Angel Nuñez and Nansee New

ITINERARY
B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner included in trip cost

Day 1, Monday, April 11 (D). We will have our first meeting this evening at our hotel in Morelia to meet, ask questions about the trip and enjoy dinner. Morelia has an international airport. Evening in Morelia.

Day 2, Tuesday, April 12 (B,L). Morelia was one of Mexico’s first Spanish cities, founded in 1541, and was and is a prosperous center of trade. The colonial heart of this city is elegant and fabulously well preserved. We will enjoy a walking tour of the city in the morning soaking in the grand beauty of the plazas, parks and cathedrals. Then we climb into the van and travel on to the pottery village of Capula, which is one of Michoacan’s largest pottery centers. The village is famous for its decorative glaze work and clay skeletons. Then we head to the beautiful and very ancient feeling Spanish town of Patzcuaro that will serve as our base camp for the next four nights. Evening in Patzcuaro.

Day 3, Wednesday, April 13 (L,D). This morning we visit Santa Clara del Cobre where the pounding of hammers on copper resonates throughout the village. There are dozens of copper workshops in this town producing beautiful wares. We’ll visit a couple of the masters and learn how this metal is turned into works of art. Then we return to Patzcuaro to take some time to explore the town and learn a bit about its long history. Evening in Patzcuaro.

Zinapecuaro pottery, Michoacan - Traditions Mexico Tours
Zinapecuaro pottery

Day 4, Thursday, April 14 (B,L).Today we explore villages along the shores of Lake Patzcuaro. We begin our day in the village of Tócuaro, famed for its mask makers and dances. We will visit with two excellent mask makers. Then we head down the road to the lakeside village of Puácuaro and will visit a cooperative of artisans who work with the cattail reeds that grow in lakes of the region. Traditionally woven into sleeping pads, fans and tortilla baskets, the artisans now create all sorts of wonderful things from the reeds. We’ll also visit with some hatmakers and a distiller that makes the best firewater on the lake.  We’ll have lunch at a small restaurant with a sweeping view of Lake Patzcuaro and its islands and enjoy local fish, avocados and cold beer. Evening in Patzcuaro.

Copper artisan, Michoacan - Traditions Mexico Tours
The pounding of hammers on copper resonates throughout the village of Santa Clara del Cobre

Day 5, Friday, April 15 (B,L).We will visit the recently restored chapel of Tupátaro with its rare example of a painted wood ceiling dating back 1700s. Then we travel on to the village of Tzintzuntzan, The Place of the Hummingbirds, which was the capital of the Purepecha nation at the time of the Spanish conquest in 1522. We will visit the remains of pre-Colombian temples above the village as well as visit the ancient Convent of San Francisco that has olive trees in the courtyard that are thought to be the oldest olive trees in the Americans. There are skilled potters in this town and we will visit a couple of workshops and we’ll take time to explore the town’s folkart market. Evening in Patzcuaro.

Day 6, Saturday, April 16 (L).We travel on from Patzcuaro today and deeper into the land of the Purepecha people. Our first visit will be to the village of Paracho, which is a town filled with guitar makers. Almost all the guitars used in Mexico come from here. If you are thinking of picking up a 6-string, 12 string, lute, violin, etc. save your cents for Paracho. If you already have your string needs met, it is still a lovely town to visit and see how guitars are handcrafted. We then visit a nearby village and the household of women who weave very fine rebosos, or traditional shawls. Then we head to town of Uruapan where we will stay for two nights. Our hotel is in the peaceful countryside on the outskirts of town and surrounded by avocado orchards. This town calls itself the avocado capital of the world, and there will be no shortage of guacamole while we are staying here. Evening in Uruapan.

Purepecha women - Traditions Mexico Tours
Purepecha women

Day 7, Sunday, April 17 (B,L). We travel even deeper into Purepecha land today, through valleys of corn and wheat surrounded by pine clad volcanoes and edged by small Purepecha villages. We will visit several indigenous towns today. In Cocucho we’ll meet with potters who create some of the largest vessels in Mexico. In Nurio we’ll see an outstanding example of a colonial, painted chapel with a beautiful, carved wooden ceiling. We’ll visit the important and lovely town of Charapan with its shaded plaza, time weathered buildings and large church built upon a Purepecha pyramid. Evening in Uruapan.

Tocuaro devil mask - Traditions Mexico Tours
Tocuaro devil mask

Day 8, Monday April 18 (B,L,D). Today we venture into the heart of Uruapan for one of the biggest market days of the year- actually, this amazing market goes on for 2 weeks, but today is the first day! If we time it right we’ll be able to see the cream of the cream at the annual market folk art competition, and then we will explore this market, which highlights the best of Michoacán’s artisans. We may even see some familiar faces in the form of artisans we’ve met in our travels.  Once satiated with the market we will climb in the van and return to Morelia and relax for a bit.   Evening in Morelia.

Catrina figurines, Michoacan - Traditions Mexico Tours
Catrina figurines-Photo by Sean Shanahan

Day 9, Tuesday, April 19 (B,D). Today, having traveled far and seen much, we take it slow. In the morning we will visit a few places of interest with Miguel…museums, folkart shops, churches, galleries…we’ll decide together what we want to do. After lunch the afternoon is yours to fill with rest, exploring on your own, last minute shopping, people watching…Tonight we’ll have our final group dinner at a nice, local restaurant.

Day 10, Wednesday, April 20 (B). This morning we share one last breakfast together and then head out via plane, bus or donkey.

 

All itineraries subject to change without notice.
Patzcuaro church - Traditions Mexico Tours
A large mural covers the nave of this church building which has been converted into a public library in Patzcuaro
Courtyard in Patzcuaro - Traditions Mexico Tours
An arched corridor surrounds a quiet courtyard in Patzcuaro
Dinner in Morelia with Traditions Mexico Tours
A Traditions Mexico group enjoys dinner in Morelia

 

 

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