Over the past 20 months, we have been to many towns / cities that are gorgeous – right on the beach, next to spectacular mountains, or have a world famous attraction. But while all of these cities are incredible, and we are fortunate that we have been able to see so many of them, most of them are not cities where we would want to live.
But a few times during our travels we have stumbled upon cities / towns where the feel has been right – a buen onda as we Spanish speakers (right!) would say. Cities such as Tarija and Sucre, Bolivia, Arequipa, Peru, Mendoza, Argentina, Alamos and La Penita, Mexico, and now Patzcuaro, another one of Mexico’s Pueblo Magicos. These are cities where we sit at the plaza – odds are good that there is a cerveza in hand – look around, and say: “You know, we could live here”.
Sitting on one of the two main squares in Patzcuaro, that is what we said to each other. Not real sure what it is that makes for the buen onda. Some of it I’m sure derives from where and how we are staying in the particular town – having a great campground makes “la onda” much better. And the campground (RV park is too strong of a phrase), Villa Patzcuaro, is a delight. It has a narrow access road, which in turn makes it very difficult for large RVs to enter the grounds. And we have found that folks who travel in smaller RVs tend to be part of a self-selecting crowd: a little quirkier; and it is easier to get to know folks as smaller RVs make it harder to isolate yourself inside.
The campground is small and only accommodates ten vehicles, the bathrooms are clean, the showers are great, there is a small pool, the lavanderia (laundry shop) is right across the street, the super mercado is a five minute walk, and it is a pleasant 30 minute walk into town, just perfect for our daily exercise.
Patzcuaro is centered on two squares which are two blocks apart. The squares are clean and tidy, appropriately bustling, one of the squares has a market, and both squares have a plethora of restaurants and cafes surrounding them. The architecture of the houses downtown is interesting, often colonial, and many of the houses are in great shape. And located on one of the squares is a rockin’ library.
Everyday, the market has fantastic street food, a beautiful vegetable and fruit “street”, and on Fridays, the weekly market is rather big.
Patzcuaro is the centerpoint for a region which has a significant indigenous population so there a plenty of folks in traditional dress on the streets, and the arts and crafts on display are traditional as well. And if that isn’t enough, there are numerous villages close by that specialize in various arts and crafts.
One of the villages is Janitzio, located in Lake Patzcuaro which is located just outside town. Janitzio is famous as the place to be in Mexico for Day of the Dead festivities, and for the the “butterfly net” fishermen who fish the lake.
Beautiful town, nice walking, great food, culture and history, in an interesting region, and, so far, few gringos. My guess is that this will change in the next ten years.