Outside of Europe, Mexico has arguably the greatest collection of cities anywhere in the world. Many of the grand colonial cities are well-known, like San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Oaxaca and Puebla. However, My favorite colonial city turned out to be lesser known Morelia, capital city of Michoacan about four hours northwest of Mexico City.
Morelia is a friendly, unpretentious city that sees fewer visitors than its famous neighbors. In the central park, a group of students doing a class project approached me with a set of questions about their city. The last question was this: “What can be done to improve the overall experience for tourists and get more visitors?” I had nothing to offer. It is a lively city with great parks, an abundance of bars, restaurants and cafes and has excellent transportation links. During our stay the city was abuzz with a music festival and Morelia hosts a film festival every October. In addition, it lies an hour by bus from enchanting Patzcuaro Lake and is a within striking distance of the ethereal Monarch Butterfly Reserve.
The only thing it lacks is tourists. How do they get them? I have no idea, but I assume the word is getting out. It is too great of a city to remain overlooked.
Our last night in town, a man approached us while we were eating dinner. He said that he’d been sitting by us and overheard us speaking English and knew we were from the USA. “Thank you for visiting Morelia and seeing the real Mexico,” he said. “There are so many negative things in the media about our country and it scares a lot of people off. Thanks for coming to get to know it.”
I didn’t know what to say. The pleasure was all mine.
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