MORELIA TRAVEL GUIDE
...the candy market! Just a few blocks northwest of the main plaza on Calle Valentín Gómez Farías at Santiago Tapia, el Mercado de Dulces has a phenomenal inventory of regional candies as well as inexpensive trinkets that make great souvenirs.
Tres Marias Golf Course (tel. 443/340-4949) is about 30 minutes from Morelia on the highway to Mexico City. The 27-hole course was designed by Jack Nicklaus.
Cantalagua Country Club (Ave. Cantalagua s/n, Contepec, , tel. 447/478-5353, www.haciendacantalagua.com) is an 18-hole course about an hour from Morelia, also en route to Mexico City.
The spa at hotel Villa Montana (Calle Patzimbo 201, Col. Bella Vista, tel. 443/314-0179, www.villamontana.com.mx) offers facials, 10 types of massage and several body treatments.
None of Morelia’s museums has true star power. Among the most interesting is Museo Regional Michoacana (Calle Ignacio Allende 305, centro, tel. 443/312-0407, admission) has a small but interesting collection of pre-Hispanic and colonial items in a restored colonial building. Near the aqueduct and Guadalupe church, el Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (Ave. Acueducto 18, Bosque Cuauhtémoc, tel 443/312-5404, free admission) has contemporary art, mainly by Mexican painters. Both are closed Mondays.
Morelia is the place to visit beautiful colonial-era churches; listed below are just a few highlights. Get a map from the tourism office to visit all of Morelia’s notables.
Definitely worth a visit is el Santuario de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, dedicated to Mexico’s patron saint. The facade is restrained plateresque, but inside it’s an over-the-top pink floral surprise. Closer to the main plaza, el Templo de las Rosas has an interesting history. The church was originally attached to a cloistered Dominican convent (now a music conservatory). The novice nuns celebrated their holy vows here, and after the ceremony, entered the convent through the door at the right side of a grill-work wall. They only ever left the closed convent, however, upon their death, when they exited through the door to the left. In the interim, contact with the outside world was limited to the priest, who heard confession through the small grill in the plaster wall, surrounded now with faded frescoes.
Tourist Information |
Get helpful tourism information---including a booklet with map of downtown churches, museums, and historical sites---at one of these downtown Morelia offices, open 9 to 2 and 4 to 6.
Palacio de Gobierno (Calle Morelos s/n, across from the cathedral, tel. 443/317-2371 or 443/317-7805); Palacio Municipal (Calle Allende 403, no phone); or the Secretaría de Turismo del Estado (Ave. Tata Vasco 80, Colonia Vasco de Quiroga, 443/317-8052 or 443/317-8054).
Morelia Dining - Click here for price key
Restaurant-Bar San Miguelito ($$$; Avenida Camelinas s/n, by the Convention Center, tel. 443/324-2399, www.sanmiguelito.com.mx) is very popular with locals as well as visitors for upscale dining. Several pretty dining rooms are decorated with lace curtains, fireplaces and other cozy features. The upscale Mexican food is very good. Try the house dessert, pan de elote, a moist, smooth cornbread-cake hybrid. If you’re single (or just like far-out iconography), ask for a room in el Rincón de las Solteronas (Old Maids’ Corner), with hundreds of images of Saint Anthony of Padua. Mexican tradition suggests that women seeking a mate say their prayers to the image of the saint placed boca abajo, or upside down. This corner nook has hundreds of upside down St. Anthonys as well as a book for writing your prayer.
Stop in at Gaspachos La Merced ($; see Morelia Meal Deal) or another gaspacho joint (nothing to do with cold Spanish soup) for a refreshing picnic pick-up.
Morelia Hotel Recommendations - Click here for price key
Morelia is a popular weekend retreat from Mexico City. As such, lots of area hotels have a semi-country feel to encourage getting away from it all. Many combine Wi-Fi and other conveniences with creature comforts like fireplaces and massage service. Overlooking the city but just minutes away from downtown Morelia are three such venues, all part of the Tesoros de Michoacán group: Casa de la Loma ($$; www.casadelaloma.com), Villa Montana ($$$$; www.villamontana.com.mx), and Villa San José ($$$; www.villasanjose.com.mx).
Properties in the heart of the historical center include Hotel de la Soledad ($$; www.hsoledad.com), a restored mansion whose grandeur stops short at the more recently added, hodge-podgy guest rooms. Still, its location a block from the main plaza and Los Portales cafes is ideal. Plus, it’s said to be haunted. Cool!
Overlooking the main plaza is Virrey de Mendoza ($$$; www.hotelvirrey.com), whose period furnishings (and replicas) are sometimes more interesting than they are comfortable. Each room is unique; some have tiny balconies overlooking the square or street. Much too fussy for some tastes, though.
Less expensive options in the historical center include Hotel Concordia ($; Calle Valentín Gómez Farías 328, Centro Histórico, tel. 443/312-3052, www.hotelconcordiamorelia.com.mx), with a restaurant, internet, and parking as well as Hotel Florida ($ for one; $$ for two people; Ave. Morelos Sur 161, Centro Histórico, tel. 443/312-1038 or 443/312-1819), with a restaurant-bar. Two more option are Hotel Qualitel ($; Calle Eduardo Ruiz 531, Centro, tel. 443/312-4649, /) and Posada del Cortijo ($; Eduardo Ruiz No. 673, Centro, tel. 443/312-9642 or 443/312-9697); the latter offers parking.
Getting There & Away
By car. Morelia is 3.5 hours west of Mexico City and 3.5 southeast of Guadalajara. The new toll highway, Carretera Siglo XXI, connects Morelia to the coast, leading to both Lázaro Cárdenas (Mexico’s most important Pacific port) and Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo. The drive to either (the highway splits near the coast) takes about 4 to 4.5 hours.
By bus. Several bus lines depart Morelia’s Central Camionera, on Periférico República s/n. Flecha Amarilla and Primera Plus lines (tel. 443/334-1081) generally heads north and west to destinations that include Aguascalientes, Colima, León, Manzanillo, Querétaro and Patzcuaro. ETN (tel. 443/313-2414) serves Mexico City as well as Guadalajara, Colima, Manzanillo and Querétaro. Parhikuni (tel. 443/313-9919) serves Michoacán destinations including Uruapan, Patzcuaro Tacambaro the coast at Lázaro Cárdenas.
By plane. Morelia’s international airport has flights to major Mexican and U.S. airports as well as puddle-jumper flights to Mexico City.