All praise the thundering, proud Río Cupatitzio. Because if it weren’t for this impressive river that begins life underground and then rises sensationally to the surface – feeding a subtropical garden of palms, orchids and massive shade trees in downtown Uruapan’s Parque Nacional Barranca del Cupatitzio, this city would not exist. When the Spanish monk Fray Juan de San Miguel arrived here in 1533 he was so taken with it that he gave the area the Purépecha name, Uruapan (oo-roo-ah-pahn), which roughly translates into ‘Eternal Spring.’ Fray Juan designed a large market square – still a hit with area families on weekends, built a hospital and chapel and arranged streets into an orderly grid that survives today.
Uruapan quickly grew into a productive agricultural center renowned for high-quality aguacates (avocados) and still holds the title ‘Capital Mundial del Aguacate’. The avocado fair in November underlines that point.
Avocados may pay the bills, but the river is king. The city’s nicest neighborhoods kiss the riverside. The national park, a 15-minute walk from the city center, is a rush of waterfalls and trickling streams that wind through thick vegetation; and one of the coolest clubs in Mexico, Bar Rio, is housed in an old underground waterworks, within earshot of the rumbling Cupatitzio.
Uruapan is 500m lower than Pátzcuaro and is much warmer. Don’t miss the remarkable volcano Paricutín, 35km to the west.
Last updated: Mar 2, 2009
Bags feeling light?
Coffee table looking bare?
Get your guidebooks, travel goods, even individual chapters, right here.
(3 star Hotel)
From US$82.28 per night
(2 star Hotel)
From US$98.21 per night