Michoacán is a scenic state bordered by mountains to the east and the shores of the Pacific to the west. Explore its interior, a rich agricultural region known for its tropical fruits and livestock industries. Go to the historic heart of the Purépecha culture and find tranquil lakes, lush woodlands and volcanic peaks. One of the biggest draws to the region is the annual winter butterfly migration, when millions of fluttering monarch butterflies congregate in the state’s forested mountains.
The capital city of Morelia has an elegant historic downtown speckled with beautiful examples of colonial architecture. Admire the Morelia Cathedral and scour the stalls of the Casa de las Artesanías craft market. See yet more charming architecture in the city of Uruapan, which is at the center of Mexico’s avocado growing region. Wander the orderly grid-style colonial streets and make the 15-minute walk from the town center to the Parque Nacional Barranca del Cupatitzio to see waterfalls, tropical plants and birds and butterflies.
For some beach time, don your swimsuit and venture to the state’s Pacific coast. Lázaro Cárdenas and San Juan de Alima both have pleasant stretches of sand.
Learn more about ancient Purépecha culture in the pretty Pátzcuaro region, which is centered on a lake of the same name. Learn about the indigenous cultures and languages in the towns that surround the lake shores and in the forested mountains.
Zitacuaro contains a vast conifer forest and is part of the wintering ground for the magnificent monarch butterfly. Come here between October and March to see some of the estimated 20 million butterflies that arrive here from North America. During the peak of this migration, the green vegetation is all but obscured by the vibrating black-and-orange wings of the insects. One of the best places to see the butterflies is at the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve.
Reach Michoacán by flying into General Francisco J. Mujica International Airport or via regional buses. Taxis are easily found in the urban centers of the state. Arrange your visit for the beginning of November to take part in Noche de Muertos (Night of the Dead) festivities in the Lake Pátzcuaro region.