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Morelia and Pátzcuaro as expat alternatives

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Morelia and Pátzcuaro as expat alternatives

Post by coffeeguy on Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:49 am

We were just up in Morelia for a few days that just happened to include the city's single biggest celebration - the birthday of Morelos on September 30th. We have good friends who live in Pátzcuaro so have spent much more time there than in the big city over the years.

For starters, a visit to Morelia will certainly cure you of the idea that Lakeside traffic is bad. Bumper-to-bumper is the rule rather than the exception on the arterials and through much of centro day and night. I remember saying that San Miguel de Allende is a city of 150,000 with the traffic of an American city of a couple million, so the Morelia version is a city of less than a million with traffic that is easily as bad as Guadalajara's.

That said, for those who (unlike me) are big city people the art, architecture and cuisine in Morelia are just phenomenal. It is such an incredibly sophisticated and cultured place; Lakeside and even Guadalajara are podunk by comparison. Paraphrasing long-time Morelia resident Cristina Potters (of "Mexico Cooks" fame), the "expat" community there consists of professors, artists and musicians from all over the world, with those from the U.S. being only a tiny minority. Moreloanos seem to be cordial and welcoming across the board, and their pride in their city was certainly a joy to experience during this past weekend's fiesta.

For my taste and priorities the lifestyle our Pátzcuaro friends have devised seems like the best of both worlds. They enjoy clean air, great hiking and a mellow day-to-day pace in a community whose relatively few expats are, pretty much across the board, very progressive and seriously into Mexican culture and learning Spanish, while they alco come into Morelia frequently for classical music, fine dining, the phenomenal movie scene and of course Costco runs and world-class medical facilities. I suspect the main things that have kept Pátzcuaro from being as over-run as Lakeside are its distance from a major airport and the cold weather in winter. Our friends don't mind the airport issue as they have decent access to both Mexico City and Guad. by deluxe bus and love the fact that the cold and need to speak Spanish keeps the gated-community-loving, Super Lake "needing" riff-raff out.

Not ready to throw in the towel on life at "Lago de Geriatrica" (thanks Bubba!) myself but good to keep those alternatives in mind.


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Re: Morelia and Pátzcuaro as expat alternatives

Post by CanuckBob on Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:31 am

If you are looking for alternative "lake life" near a big city also check out Valle de Bravo which is fairly close to CDMX. The lake is clean, deep and beautiful (or at least in the pictures). It's on our list to check out.

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Re: Morelia and Pátzcuaro as expat alternatives

Post by esga on Tue Oct 03, 2017 6:24 pm

Glad to see this. My husband and I are planning to move in the spring, initially to Chapala, but for the long run my mind is open. We already have friends lakeside, but we are going to be renters possibly forever, and I can see that inflation fueled by housing costs will be a concern, as well as traffic and what looks to me like dangerous development and potential for environmental disaster. I think Patzcuaro will be too remote for us , but will definitely look at Morelia. Also Tequisquiapan, though I can see that weekenders from Mexico City are driving prices up there. Had not heard of Valle de Bravo, will add that to the list.

While I'm at it, apart from Jocotepec and Ixtlahuacan as sort of suburbs to gringo life lakeside, what about Lake Cajititlan? All I can find out indicates it is becoming a big weekend destination for folks from Guadalajara, and I suspect there's a rather rustic village, and the antiseptic new developments.

While we were visiting, my husband and I realized we are really urban, not village, people. And a colonial city with good connections to the US, or a pueblo magico near a colonial city, really has appeal.

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Re: Morelia and Pátzcuaro as expat alternatives

Post by CanuckBob on Tue Oct 03, 2017 6:38 pm

Check out Guanajuato too. It is amazing.

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Re: Morelia and Pátzcuaro as expat alternatives

Post by coffeeguy on Tue Oct 03, 2017 6:51 pm

Might want to add Puebla to the list. It's as exotic culturally and culinarily as Oaxaca (and more so than Morelia) but unlike Oaxaca has good infrastructure and isn't plagued by the constant water shortages and blockades that make the latter a nice place to visit (only) in my book. When visiting Puebla I recommend spending a goodly bit of time in Cholula, which in terms of livability and pace is to Puebla what Pátzcuaro is to Morelia but with much easier access. I could definitely envision living there.

Thanks CanuckBob for the reminder about Valle del Bravo as well. I'm overdue to visit the area. Only concern is it sounds even more over-run with tourists than Lakeside!

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Re: Morelia and Pátzcuaro as expat alternatives

Post by CanuckBob on Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:09 am

I understand Valle de Bravo is quite busy on the weekends and quite dead during the week. It certainly isn't cheap there though. Like most "destination" towns.....

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Re: Morelia and Pátzcuaro as expat alternatives

Post by brigitte on Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:14 am

Valle de Bravo is the place of the rich and famous and week-enders from Mexico city. It is deader than a doornail during the week in the slow season  and way too crowded on week-end.. Nice place to visit.. it is more like  large village than a city.
I do not know if it is still true but there were running out of water on weekends as well so get a very large aljibe.. Very Happy


Last edited by brigitte on Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:23 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Morelia and Pátzcuaro as expat alternatives

Post by David on Wed Oct 04, 2017 2:32 pm

IMHO, the problem w/ Morelia is that it's too far from an Int'l airport. Shopping may be a challenge too. Is there a Costco and/or Home Depot there? I love visiting Morelia but living here.
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Re: Morelia and Pátzcuaro as expat alternatives

Post by coffeeguy on Wed Oct 04, 2017 3:08 pm

Morelia does have a decent airport itself and our friends who live in Pátzcuaro have flown nonstop to Texas with no issues. More often they either fly out of Mexico City or Guad. and there's a deluxe bus that arrives at Guad. in the early morning in time for a.m. flights everyday. Of course it's nowhere near as easy as here, but by far the best selection of flights and fares in the country is found when flying out of Mexico City and folks who live there often enjoy the excuse to visit museums and restaurants there.

Costco and Home Depot are indeed in Morelia along with pretty much everything else one would need and despite the traffic I think it's still easier to get around than Guad. due to the much smaller size.

I don't have any strong desire to live there myself but it sure is a great place to visit.

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Re: Morelia and Pátzcuaro as expat alternatives

Post by CanuckBob on Wed Oct 04, 2017 5:37 pm

I like Morelia too but also wouldn't want to live there.

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Re: Morelia and Pátzcuaro as expat alternatives

Post by bimini6 on Thu Oct 05, 2017 9:32 pm

Just got back from a trip to Morelia, and loved it there, but not for me to live. I do not want to live in a city. The food is great, the city is clean and beautiful but traffic abounds and like I said, just can't live in a city. Love going to all the pueblos around the lake and enjoyed eating my way around the lake. Had a great time, highly recommend for a long weekend.

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Re: Morelia and Pátzcuaro as expat alternatives

Post by borderreiver on Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:39 pm

I Like Morelia. Great food and nightlife close to the plaza. Really good accommodation close to and around the plaza. Around $C60 gets you really nice digs. The plus is it's the jump off town to go see the Monarch Butterflies in season. The authorities rotate mariposa reserves for viewing to lessen pressure and probably spread tourist wealth. Costs are fixed for entry, etc. The fluff is quality of ride and the time they get you there. The Mariposas will lift off to fly and feed if they warm up. They need sunshine. Early March is good. Research. Take a lot of pesos. Some of the local crafts available up there are awesome. Pine needle woven baskets, etc. Should have bought ten. The Senoras are cooking up real local food with hand made blue corn tortillas. Awesome food. They get us. Just be Nice. They have a window to make $ during the Mariposa season. They build the school year around it. Those waifs are grinding you. If they do well Daddy doesn't have to leave his family and go work construction in Guad or CDMX.

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Re: Morelia and Pátzcuaro as expat alternatives

Post by brigitte on Fri Oct 06, 2017 10:16 am

went there during a holiday and hated it.. I is sad how the butterflies get handled and trampled by the people when they are half asleep.. The crowd was overwhelming and you can find the artesania outside of the sanctuary cheaper.
Morelia is a ways from there .

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