Mexico’s Hidden Gems: Michoacan and Morelia Are Central Mexico’s Finest

Mexico has many wonderful places that almost everyone knows about – like Cancun, the Riviera Maya and Puerto Vallarta. Yet, there are also dozens upon dozens of “hidden gems” and “best kept secrets” that if you were to visit, you would swear that some mistake had been made in the international travel agencies.


Morelia, the beautiful colonial city, and the state of Michoacan of which it is the capital in central Mexico, are two examples that we’ve written about before.  But to give you a glimpse of how people react to their first vist, I just found this great blog post called “The Best Place You Have Never Heard Of;” this place is – you guessed it – Michoacan.


He starts of:

“I don’t know why the state of Michoacan in Mexico isn’t more popular – well yeah, I guess I do know. American’s get 5 vacation days a year and want to spend them blitzed on a beach, while the Euros are busy dancing to terrible electronic music mixed by some greasy hipster wearing skinny jeans in Ibiza, but regardless – the Michoacan is way underrated. And by underrated, I mean it isn’t rated at all.”

Now, if that rings a bell with you already, you can guess that Morelia and Michoacan are probably your kind of place.  He then continues:

The Michoacan state really has it all, from untapped colonials cities to ancient P’urhépechan Ruins (kind of like the Aztecas) resting on hilltops revealing panoramic views of lakes. Most of the Monarch Butterflies migrate to the reserves throughout the state because it is obviously the perfect place to make love for days on end. And when the hunger sets in from that marathon, Michocan’s city of Uruapan happens to be the capital of California’s most ubiquitous beloved vegetable – the Avocado. Lastly, and most notably, the Michoacan is missing the tourist attraction I hate the most: other white tourists. I spent over 10 days in the state and didn’t see a single other white person, which for me, is like a warm bubble bath while listening to Kenny G- because traveling these days requires wading through a swath of tourist-villes. But there is plenty of love to go around in the state of Michoacan – not only from the butterfly mating but all of these happenings are spread across mountains, beaches, lakes, and most importantly, areas that harvest Mezcal


So, you can tell that Turner (the writer) isn’t a big fan of finding other tourists! I certainly have nothing against being with other tourists, and I love talking to and learning the stories of my fellow expats, the point is this; Michoacan is off the radar, despite being a very beautiful and interesting part of Mexico.


Read the entire honest and entertaining account here.


-by Thomas Lloyd


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Travel Tip – The City of Oaxaca Reflects Mexico’s Colonial Beauty

Whether you’re looking for a less-known choice for retirement in Mexico or not, it’s always good to get a glimpse of some of the beautiful locations throughout Mexico; the travel options never run short here in Mexico, and if you’re looking for something new, you’ll always find it!

At a blog called, I found this great post about Oaxaca.  Take a look at some of the pictures:

We’ve written about the Oaxaca culture fair in Playa del Carmen, but going there directly is, of course, always the best way to go!

The city of Oaxaca is yet another colonial gem, again with its own regional variation, distinct from what you’ll find in central Mexico, or on the Yucatan Peninsula, for instance.  Here’s an excerpt from the story:

“Oaxaca’s historic city center is a photographer’s dream. Colorfully painted Spanish colonial buildings and churches line the narrow stone streets.

“Like Mexico City and Puebla, it’s compact enough to walk, yet it can take days to fully appreciate all the details and nuances. One need only pick a direction, and wander, eyes wide open, to find interesting angles.

“The center, along with the nearby archaeological site of Monte Albán, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.

“Landmarks not to miss include the Former Monastery of Santo Domingo, with its gilded interior, the adjacent Cultural Museum of Oaxaca next door, which features a fabulous turquoise-covered human skull, and Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption, located in the Zocalo (main plaza).”

(Read the rest here.)

The state of Oaxaca is also the most famous area for production of mescal, a stronger-flavored sister to the world famous tequila.

The city is in the interior of the state, but the Pacific beaches are only a few hours away.  They are fairly undiscovered and offer a quiet getaway off the beaten track – especially off the “international” beaten track.

-by Bea Lozano

Mexico Insurance Kit

Oaxaca Comes to Playa del Carmen with Delicous Food!

As I’ve said before, Mexico is actually a combination of various distinct regions each with its own culture, customs and traditions.  One of the benefits of Playa del Carmen is that throughout the year there are culture fairs where artists and vendors from various regions will sell food, handicrafts, artwork and clothing among other items, as well as have presentations of music and dance.


This week, one such culture fair is taking place in the city square presenting the culture of Oaxaca, pronounced “Wa-HA-ca.”  Oaxaca is a region which has gained little attention internationally but is fairly well recognized within Mexico as a distinct culture.  It is the southern most state on the Pacific Coast, bordering Guatemala.


Over the next few days, I’m going to share pictures of the various items which artisans and vendors were selling.  Today, I’ll start with the big #1 – food!


First of all, one of the items that makes a fair like this very difficult for me is the bread – which is almost too good to resist!  It is freshly baked, on site, and the smell of fresh, sweet bread fills the air:




Here, you can see the bakers at work:


Mexico retirement - traditional food


Next, take a look at all the different ice cream flavors – it includes some normal ones like walnut and strawberry, but also some more exotic flavors like tequila and cheese. One is “A Oaxacan Kiss” (Beso Oaxaceno). I wonder what that flavor would be!


Mexico retirement - traditional food


The candies – SO MANY delicious candies:


Mexico retirement - traditional food


Mexico retirement - traditional food


Mexico retirement - traditional food




As you can see, the sweets are my favorites! But, moving to the savory flavors, here are some curious items. This next pictures shows “chapulines” which are roasted grasshoppers. Surprisingly, they’re quite tasty! People eat them like you would roasted peanuts (which were being sold in the bin next to it):


Now, these next two pictures are seasonings and sauces made with the same roasted grasshoppers as a key ingredient:


Mexico retirement - traditional food


Mexico retirement - traditional food

And now, one of my favorites – mole! I don’t think we’ve written about this before; it’s a thick, rich, somewhat spicy sauce that is usually served over chicken. As in traditional markets, a fair like this offers many varieties of different colors and sweetnesses:








You’ll notice that this last picture is of “pepian” which is a similar enough, that for the sake of this post, we’ll just categorize as “mole.” In the future I hop to dedicate an entire post to mole.


You’ll also notice that many of the mole stands sell round disks of chocolate. Chocolate is actually one of the key ingredients in mole. Oaxaca is known for its chocolate. These disks are melted into hot milk to make hot chocolate.


Finally, there were a few booths of mezcal, the liquor for which Oaxaca is famous. You’ll notice the packets tied to the tops of the bottles, which have salt mixed with ground up worms – as in the kind you find in tequila:


Mexico retirement - traditional food


One Monday, we’ll see some pictures of traditional toys, followed by other handicrafts.


-by Bea Lozano


Mexico Real Estate Testimonials

Meet Tequila’s Older Sister, Mezcal

Retirement living MexicoWhen the Spaniards arrived in Mexico, they discovered fermented drinks the Aztecs and other indigenous people drank, notably “pulque,” a thick, sourish drink made from the agave cactus plant.


The Spaniards, familiar with the process of making liquor by distilling, soon discovered how to produce a stronger distilled liquor from the same plant, specifically the maguey agave; the Aztecs gave the drink the name “mezcal.”


Retirement living MexicoOver the next few centuries, an important region emerged in the production of mezcal, made from the blue agave instead of the maguey, with a cleaner, easier flavor.  This newer, distinct form of mezcal was given the name of the valley in the state of Jalisco where it was invented and is still is primarily produced to this day: “tequila.(Jalisco is the state where Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta are located.)


The Differences

While it was the tequila variety of mezcal that gained the most popularity throughout Mexico and the world,Retirement living Mexico other forms of mezcal continue to be produced on a large scale.  The most significant region for production of the older form of mezcal is Oaxaca.


Even though they are simply two forms of the same drink, people simply call the older form “mezcal” and the one from Jalisco “tequila.”


Anyone who has had tequila will also notice the difference in flavor as well.  Mezcal has a fuller, smoky flavor.  People say it’s stronger, this refers only to the robust flavor; commercially produced mezcal and tequila have the same alcohol content.  Some varieties are sweetish.


Retirement living MexicoTypically, from what people have told me, those who enjoy whiskey will usually enjoy mezcal.


The Worm

In the U.S. and Canada, people often associate the worm in the bottle with tequila.  In reality, this custom was started in the 1940s as a marketing gimmick for mezcal, and not tequila.


Mezcal, however, goes a few steps further, and you can find bottles being sold with a scorpion in it!  Now, they say you’re supposed to drink the worm – but what about the scorpion?!?


If you like hard liquors, especially stronger-flavored ones, I recommend trying mezcal.  It’s not very common north of the Rio Grande, but it’s becoming easier to find.  Here in Mexico, you can find it in most liquor stores and souvenir shops.  In places like Playa del Carmen, they also have some mezcal bars, right on the main strip so they’re easy to find.

-by Thomas Lloyd


Mexico Real Estate Testimonials