Plaza Vasco de Quiroga
A good way to make sure you do not miss any of the architectural splendors of Pátzcuaro is to take a ride on the tourist tram. The Dirección de Turismo Municipal can be found in the Plaza Vasco de Quiroga. If you prefer to walk, there is a tour that you can easily do at your own pace in a morning or an afternoon. As you leave the Dirección de Turismo in the Plaza Vasco de Quiroga, take a moment to admire the city’s typical architecture.
La Casa del Naranjo
Walk among the shops and restaurants in the arcades and you will see that no two building facades are alike. They each have their own style. The Palacio de Huitzimengari, the last Tarascan king can be seen in the plaza, although the Casa del Gigante, with its pillars and sculpted motifs, is the most impressive building of all. There are some shops in this plaza that are worth allowing yourself to be tempted to enter. Do not miss the curious collection of handicrafts in La Casa del Naranjo. Another place you will find fascinating is the fabric shop belonging to the Adámez’s in the arcade.
Plazuela de San Francisco
Almost on the corner of the plaza, further along Calle Romero you come across the Templo y Hospital de San Juan de Dios. If you turn the corner and walk one block away from the plaza, you will come to an interesting point in Calle Codallos, where you will be able to appreciate the Franciscan concept of work, community and healthcare shared with the Indians, as introduced by Don Vasco. Next to the Templo de San Francisco you will find the Hospitalito, a small church built by the Indians. Both churches have figures of Christ made out of cane pulp, an ancient Purépecha technique. Opposite the churches you will see the Plazuela de San Francisco. where you will be fascinated by the barter market. Indians come here from their nearby villages to exchange merchandise, just as they have done for centuries.
Plaza de Gertrudis Bocanegra
Continuing along Calle Collados, past the Plazuela de San Francisco, you will be able to spot the belfry on top of the neoclassical façade of the Santuario de Guadalupe, two blocks further on. On the corner of Calle Libertad, take a right to get to the busy Plaza de Gertrudis Bocanegra.
Biblioteca de Gestrudis Bocanegra
In this tree-lined plaza, you will find the public library, housed in an old Augustinian church. Do not miss the Juan O’Gorman mural inside depicting the whole history of the region. On one side of the plaza, there is the market, always full of all sorts of activity.
Basílica de Nuestra Señora de la Salud
As you leave the Plaza de Gertrudis Bocanegra on the opposite corner, walking along Calle Conejo and then taking Buena Vista, you will reach the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de la Salud. Take a moment to admire this church from the little plaza before you go inside. This basilica is most characteristic of the work of Vasco de Quiroga, who wanted to build a real cathedral in Pátzcuaro. It is also the location of the cemetery. Do not miss the magnificently decorated 16th century cane paste image of the Virgen de la Salud, and if you want to try something different, the nuns in the cathedral make delicious achoque syrup and quince paste.
Museo de Artes e Industrias Populares
We still have to see what is probably one of the most interesting museums in the state of Michoacán, the Museo de Artes e Industrias Populares that you will find by going left as you come out of the cathedral. With its magnificent collection of handicrafts comprising both ancient objects as well as the work of present day artisans, you will be able to appreciate the quality, diversity and originality of the local artists.
Templo de la Compañía de Jesús
Moving on, in Calle Ensenañza, you will come across the Templo de la Compañía de Jesús y el antiguo Hospital de Santa María. If you need to recharge your batteries or simply have a sweet tooth, it will be worth your while to pay Doña Joaquinita, a visit at number 38 Calle Enseñanza. You can enjoy a delicious hot chocolate here and see how it is crushed using a traditional flat grinding stone.
Casa de los 11 patios
We finish out tour at a unique architectural complex filled with temptation, namely, the Casa de los 11 Patios that you can find simply by crossing the street from the Templo de la Compañía. It features a series of patios where you will be able to see how artisans work each of their particular trades. This is an excellent place to buy souvenirs of your trip. Opposite the main entrance you can see other art galleries displaying objects from all over Mexico, and you will find you’re only short distance from where you started, the Plaza Don Vasco de Quiroga.