Sunday, May 12, 2013

I Left My Heart In Michoacán



Mis amigas Patzcuarenses


Last Wednesday my good friend Alejandra was having lunch for some ladies at her beautiful home on Lake Zirahuén. I was invited, as this was the same group of women with whom I had had lunch every Tuesday in Patzcuaro for several years. Initially I thought, that’s kind of a long way to go for lunch, as Zirahuén is about three and a half to four hours from San Miguel, in the state of Michoacán.

Then Alejandra and her husband Enrique said that I could stay in their casita. Well that clinched it. I was off to Zirahuén for lunch. Alejandra and Enrique bought their little house about two years ago and since then have renovated the once sad little cabin-like abode into a thing of rare beauty.






The house overlooks the lake. The WHOLE lake. The property is just outside the little pueblo of Copandaro and sits high on a hill with a breathtaking view of the lake and surrounding area. The pristine lake is usually clear blue, although it can change colour with the weather and it’s mood, sometimes appearing gray or even emerald green.



Lake Zirahuén, Michoacán


The town of  Zirahuén is in the Municipality of Santa Clara del Cobre, about 20 to 30 minutes by car from Patzcuaro, and is largely overlooked by tourists. It is quaint, rustic and home to about 2,500 people, most of whom have lived there all of their lives, as did their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. Unlike most of the other small towns in the lake Patzcuaro area, Zirahuén did not develop a craft unique unto itself. They do make wooden toys, spoons, trays and colourful tablecloths, but most people consider the music of 20 plus bands that exist in the area to be their special craft.

The property called “El Alto Lucero”, The High Bright Star, was large enough that when Alejandra and Enrique were renovating their house, they decided to add a casita as well. It is separated from the main house by a high hedge offering complete privacy and a spectacular view. The front of the casita, like the main house, is all glass opening onto a lovely terrace above a small yard with a built-in brightly tiled barbecue.





Night-time on the Casita patio


As you can imagine from seeing the pictures, one day wasn’t enough, and at Alejandra’s kind offer I decided to stay another night. Although once I was at El Alto Lucero I didn’t really want to leave, we did do a little driving around the lake to the home of another friend, Debbie, who also lives in Zirahuén. Debbie made us a wonderful brunch and we all spent a very pleasant afternoon together catching up.


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Ale, enjoying Debbie’s hospitality


I really am enjoying living in San Miguel, and I also still have a lot of travelling to do before I have seen all of Mexico, but I think a little piece of my heart will always be in Michoacán. The mountains and pine forests are very reminiscent of my youth in North Vancouver. Perhaps that has something to do with it, although I believe there are many reasons why Michoacán captured my heart.


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A new addition to Copandaro


All of the house, casita and lake photos are compliments of Enrique and Alejandra, as I was having too much fun to take many pictures. The photo above is the only one that is mine and it’s blurry. In my defense, it was taken from the car and the burros were a long way away.

I am adding a link to the website for “El Alto Lucero", and anyone who would like a truly wonderful vacation in the casita, or is looking for a home to rent in the Zirahuen area should contact Alejandra or Enrique there.


  1. I have been considering a stay there. You have made it that much more attractive to me.

    1. I'm sure you will love it Steve. I think Jennifer stayed there, you could ask her what she thought of it too. I can't really imagine anyone not liking it though.

  2. What a lovely place. Have a great day.

  3. Shannon your pictures are evocative of North Vancouver... many years ago. I visited Michoacan about 30 years ago and I've never forgotten how beautiful it is. Time for another trip, eh?

    1. Joanna, I know you also grew up in North Vancouver and a visit to the mountains of Michoacán is like being transported back in time to the place of our youth. The lifestyle is also similar to the relaxed days of the late 50's and early 60's when we were children. If you decide to make another trip, let me know and I will join you there!

  4. We need to get out to Lake Zirahúen more often. Usually, we just see it in the distance below while on our way to Uruapan and Zihuatanejo.

    Thanks for the link to Alto Lucero.

    Don Cuevas

  5. Oh my, it's so beautiful that it is really worth the while to spend an afternoon in town or having lunch in one of the restaurants around the lake. There are a couple that I hear pretty good.