I’ve written about the merits of Morelia before. It’s a great city that offers an abundance of options for many. But Morelia gets a bit of a bad rap as a tourist destination with “guilt by association,” being the capital of the state of Michoacan where cartel activity has been reported in the surrounding countryside. Even the scariest piece of non-fiction you will ever read, the US State Department travel warning excludes the city of Morelia from its state-wide Michoacan warning. So worrying about being targeted as a tourist by cartels in the historic centro is like my worrying about getting tetanus from a scraped elbow. Could it happen? Yes. But not likely.
The historic centro is where the charm is, and taxis are regulated to get you there. You buy a ticket at a fixed price in the bus station. So no worries about being “taken for a ride.” The heart of the city is very walkable, even after dark. No more precautions required here than would be in any large US city. As always is the case, situation awareness is everything.
The city stands alone on its own merit as a destination, with its architectural beauty, open air Tramvia tour, and quaint, affordable inns. And what’s not to love about a town that has an entire museum dedicated to sweets?
It’s also a great destination for fine dining. When I was there in 2013, I had a fabulous meal at the centro restaurant “Lu,” at which time I said I’d go back for the warm orange sponge cake alone. And that, I did…every bit as heavenly as I remembered it to be.
I’ve also written about how Morelia serves as a good base to visit nearby attractions, such as the Pueblo Magico, or Magic Town of Patzcuaro. But none so worthy of another mention as the gateway to the monarch butterfly reserve, Sierra Chincua. I had the good fortune to visit this reserve not once but twice. Of all my travels in Mexico, none have moved me like seeing (and hearing!) hundreds of thousands of monarch butterflies, all fluttering their wings in one forest grove.
But this time Morelia serves another purpose, as a stopover. We are headed to the beach! This route is served by the luxury bus lines, which offer double-decker buses with reclining comfort. But the ride to the coast requires a change of buses anyway, so it only makes sense to stop over for a weekend visit…