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.
Morelia, Mexico: Photo Essay
I am enjoying your Mexico posts so much – and today’s let me with a few favorite images – like the balloon girl with he brick wall and splash of graffiti ! Social stuff with layers! Each were gems, but the other really big fav was the window with reflection of dude – I was looking for a hint of maybe the photographer too – but the whole street is neat!
And I live unpretentious anything – but sadly that might be why tourists don’t come – so many travelers want the fluff and hype – and sadly that is what attracts many – not all – but many!
Thank you for the kind words and I am glad that you are enjoying these posts. It is always fun to look back through photos of a trip and relive it a bit through blogging.
I looked at that last photo again and saw my left arm in it – hadn’t noticed that yet. It is always a challenge to not put yourself in a reflection shot. I wish I’d have had more patience and waited for a stylish woman dressed like the mannequin to walk by.
People tend to follow the hype when traveling. Some places are famous for a reason, of course, but there are places like Morelia that have slipped under the radar for some reason. I guess that is nice for those of us who make it there.
Yes – it is nice for those who also do not like the hype- and actually the photo would not have been the same to me with a fancy dressed lady – well it would have been nice and all – but it would be different – the beauty here is the contrast – and this very casual real life feel (and more) – also – just an idea – but you need to sneak into a few shots – just for fun/ I guess I have been thinking of some artists who have shared a few self takes and it does have value – but I get tired of the ones that do too many- hm
well, if it’s not the greatest city…it certainly is one of the huggiest cities–practically every shot has a hug. The lady with the doberman and the macho dude with a pink bag and Chihuahua…my favorite. I like to think they were not together, not another couple about to hug???
There is a lot of hugging going on, as you mention. It is a passionate city in a passionate country! Let’s go with the assumption that the lady with the big dog and the man with the small dog had a “meet cute” in the park that day, and hitherto that moment had never met.
Jeff, I think Mexico’s tourism authority should pay you for all these fabulous posts. It’s interesting that you say Morelia lacks tourists. Part of me hopes the city can stay under the radar, although it sounds like the locals clearly want to reap the benefits of the trade. I’d better get there before it becomes too popular! As for Badfish’s observation, did you two get a hug from the students and the friendly man at the restaurant?
No, I don’t recall anyone giving me a hug. Next time I’ll just go up and hug people – I think I’ll be okay.
Yes, they are clearly trying to attract more tourists. The music and film festival are seemingly big events and I know nearby Lake Patzcuaro is a top choice for the day of the dead. The state suffers from drug violence but Morelia was extremely safe and secure. In fairness, there are so many great colonial cities in the area that some are bound to get overlooked.
I’ll write the tourism authority and ask for payment. I’ll say you said so.
Someone might want to tell them, “Be careful what you wish for”. A huge influx of tourist might ruin the charm.
Very true. Tourists have a way of destroying things. Morelia is home to about a million people though so it can handle an influx of people. It will be interesting to see if it catches on.
Agreed with Touring NH.. SO amazing pics ,,,
Thank you very much.
I always enjoy reading your blog and viewing your photography! Great pictures 🙂
Thank you very much!
I think I am beginning to see a pattern here. Wherever you go seems to be an amazing place with great photos.
Thanks Lyle. I’ll purposely seek out a few crappy places to visit to give some balance. 🙂
Favourite photos – girl with pink top and chihuahua, and the almost kissing couple. And the one looking upwards at the church. Nicely done. Morelia looks lovely. Maybe we’ll visit when we’re done with resting in SMA.
You should visit and do the Monarch butterfly tour on the same trip.
The girl with the Chihuahua was my first photo in Morelia. I walked out the hotel that morning and there she was!
I’ve been seeing the monarch tour advertised from SMA. I’d like to do it when we’re ready to start moving again. I’d better check what time of the year they here.
February and March are two of the best months. I’d recommend staying the night in Angangeou and not going all the way from Morelia or SMA.
Is it weird that I feel that in all your photos the words, “Ola, Chica” comes to my head? HAHA! I would love to visit Morelia someday and snap these awesome photos. Favourite photo – the four girls and the girl on the second right just screams Ola Chica! 😀
That is a funny photo to me too. Those four girls were going to cross the road and they all just sort of paused like that for a second so I snapped the photo. It almost feels posed but it isn’t.
Spanish cities always takes my attention. I’ve never heard Morelia before, but from your pictures, it seems a beautiful yet peaceful city 🙂
Thank you for sharing.
Agreed. Colonial cities are so beautiful and interesting. Morelia is great – one of many gems in Mexico!
Pingback: Should You Ditch Your DSLR and Use a Compact Camera for Travel Photography? | Planet Bell
Pingback: My Favorite Places in Mexico – An Awards Show | Planet Bell
Pingback: Street Photography Reaction Rating System | Planet Bell