Replies: 17 - Last Post: Nov 17, 2013 1:36 PM Last Post By: lunamai
Jul 24, 2013 9:43 PM
Jul 25, 2013 1:44 AM
1Pátzcuaro seems safe enough. (We live about 7 miles outside of Pátzcuaro and go there about twice a week.)
So is Morelia .
At the present time, I suggest avoiding travel to the south, beyond Uruapan to the coast, due to several extremely violent confrontations between criminal groups and the constituted authorities.
For details and updates, please read local news websites, such as Quadratin.com.mx or La Voz de Michoacán.
It appears that the situation in the town of Los Reyes, scene of much of the action, has returned to normal. La Voz article
Separately, there appears to have been an attempted attack last night, using Molotov cocktails, at the Casino Yak, located in the Plaza Morelia shopping center. (I'm not sure what the Casino Yak is, but I think it may be a game room. We have been in Plaza Morelia on several occasions, but I don't specifically recall this business.) Reports are that no one was hurt, and the alleged perps fled when police arrived.) Plaza Morelia is located outside the Centro, on Avenida Camelinas, in the southeastern part of the city.
Jul 25, 2013 4:03 AM
2I had a great time there staying at Posada Mandala. It's an extremely safe and laid back town, and the violence that is happening in Michoacan is pretty much exclusively between criminal elements (in fact, at least one faction goes so far as to swear some kind of an oath to leave innocents out of it... for whatever that's worth).
Make sure you get over to Isla Janitzio and clamber up into the arm of the statue. The other little islands in the lake are also beautiful and worth visiting.
La Surtidora is a neat, very historical bar/restaurant on the main park with good wi-fi and coffee. That became a regular hangout for me during my weeks there.
I also really liked Zirahuén closeby... took a taxi there and a bus back. Great, peaceful, low-key small lake.
Enjoy the region, now seems like a great time to go. I was there in December, beautiful, sunny cool days but the nights got quite cold and that had a chilling effect on the amount of people out after 8.
Jul 25, 2013 5:07 AM
I agree. You just don't want to get caught in the midst of a confrontation. So a certain degree of awareness and alertness is prudent.
Not worth much, IMO. That is expats' wishful thinking.
Jul 25, 2013 6:15 AM
4the violence that is happening in Michoacan is pretty much exclusively between criminal elements
According to the Mexican media, the incident that seems to have set off this latest round of violence was the ambush of a Federal Police patrol by one of the cartels. But that was in the southwest coastal region of the state, quite a distance from the area the OP is asking about.
Jul 25, 2013 6:24 AM
5Not worth much, IMO.
...Michoacan is unique in that it seems to have the most "special" criminals of all. They call themselves night, behead with one hand on the bible, and claim to sell vast quantities of meth for Jeebus.
Some of these folks do have a supposed "no hurting innocents" in their code, but it probably wouldn't do you much good if you really got in between them and something they wanted. It's also a bit of an oversimplification for me to say that the violence is only between criminal elements as there have also been innocent people attacked in villages for not complying with their demands... NOT tourists, though.
For what it's worth, though, I felt less of a threat of petty crimes in this state than I did in, say, SLP or Veracruz (that's just a subjective feeling). Had some fantastic late-nights wandering around Uruapan, one which culminated in a nice chat right on the roundabout where the widely-reported chair murders happened a few months later. Moral of the story, if you see some guys pulling up in a truck with duct tape, lawn chairs, and blindfolded passengers, it may be time to move on.
Jul 25, 2013 6:49 AM
6I agree with the above comments on this thread. Patzcuaro is a safe, wonderful place to visit. One comment about Posada Mandala - they are now making pizzas. Their pizzas are thin crusted, with a rich oregano sauce and unique toppings. And, conveniently located at the top of Once Patios.
Hope you are planning to be there long enough to squeeze Morelia into your schedule. The Dance Festival is currently grabbing everyone's attention. Paracho's guitar festival is around the corner and Dia de Muertos is a few months away. It's difficult to be in Michoacan when there are not Fiestas and Festivals, but hotels are often booked months in advance. One word of advice: make reservations now.
Jul 25, 2013 6:51 AM
7"Traveling to, in and around Michocan generally safe for tourists/travelers?"
From the U.S. Department of State, issued July 13, 2013:
"Michoacán: Morelia is a major city/travel destination in Michoacán - see map to identify exact locations: You should defer non-essential travel to the state of Michoacán except the cities of Morelia and Lázaro Cardenas where you should exercise caution. Flying into Morelia and Lázaro Cardenas is the recommended method of travel. Attacks on Mexican government officials, law enforcement and military personnel, and other incidents of TCO-related violence, have occurred throughout Michoacán. In the northwestern portion of the state, self-defense groups operate independently of the government. Armed members of the groups frequently maintain roadblocks, and although not considered hostile to foreigners or tourists, are suspicious of outsiders and should be considered volatile and unpredictable. Groups in Michoacan are reputed to be linked to TCOs." ( Source: http://tinyurl.com/muoyreq )
Traveling 'off the beaten path', independently to areas outside of the most popular/populated tourist destinations probably poses the greatest risk. The level of terrorism in Michoacan has been elevated for some time and though persons not directly engaged in illegal activities (i.e., drug trade) are not specifically targeted, 'innocent bystanders' are oftentimes threatened by these activities or their travel is interrupted. Each of us has a personal level of comfort when away from home and the more information we have before traveling into conflict zones the better our trips/safety will be.
Read more about current events in Michoacan: http://tinyurl.com/mlydqxt
The U.S. Department of State Travel Warning for Mexico link I provided earlier in this response also provides information regarding other areas on your itinerary.
When is the trip planned for? I stopped in Guadalajara last September. Here is a link to the trip reports I posted here on TTMB at that time:
Best wishes for a great trip!
Jul 25, 2013 7:02 AM
8Paracho's guitar festival is around the corner
Excellent reminder... makes me want to up and get over there. Have owned a couple of guitars from this town and always wanted to go. It's happening Aug 7-9th.
(though I'm guessing that hotels in the town will be hard to come by)
Jul 25, 2013 9:13 AM
9I travel Via Bus in/Through/Around Michoacan every year for the last ten. I have yet to have a problem.
I Summer in Trinity County, Ca where wouldn't you know it vast tracks of our National Forest have been converted into Pot Fields by the same gang that grows in Michoacan. Neither place have I been bothered although invariably when caught the growers in California are deported back to Michoacan.
Jul 25, 2013 2:38 PM
10You'd have to really really try to get into trouble in Michoacan. From Morelia, up to Paracho, is safe but westward rural areas from there over to the coast needs to be avoided including Mex 37 to La Mira. Mex 14-D the toll road from Patzcuaro is safe. Any city of a half million has trouble spots. Going along Mex 15 to the butterfly sanctuary is safe, but rural areas away from carratera mil cumbres aren't. Zirahuen, Sta Clara del Cobre (Villa Escalantes) is safe, but south of there isn't for the full east west width of the state.
Mex 200 from the bridge over the Rio Balsas to Cerro de Ortega is safe (meaning the full length of the coast. Avoid camping solo outside of organized campgrounds outside towns and villages. Downtown Lazaro, Playa Azul, La Mira, Caleta de Campos is safe. So is Marahuata. The X villages have cranky indigenous, not smart to camp in this area. Cerro de Ortega is not a safe area off of the highway.
For a normal tourist wanting to see Morelia, Patzcuaro, Sta Clara del Cobre, Zirahuen, the butterflies, Paricutin, and the coast, shine all the state department warnings on. If it were up to them, they'd have a drone circling every American tourist.
Edited by: michoacan
Jul 25, 2013 3:28 PM
11Ive found it best to just not read state department travel warnings. too full of misinformation and misleading warnings (i know that from many first hand experiences). the shame is that so many people rely on what they say and are scared off from traveling. as someone pointed out on another thread their mission is not to help travelers, but to cover their ass in case something bad actually happens.
Jul 26, 2013 7:30 AM
12Click on the link which follows and scroll down through the news article and you will find a graphic / map illustraing the state of Michoacan and the parts of the state which are said to be high-risk. You might want to make a copy and use it as a guide if traveling through different parts of the state. Areas affected by the war and related violence often change (additions, subtractions), but parts of Michoacan have been very violent for a long time. The President had previously deployed a heavy military contingent to this conflict zone, which he has just announced will be increased and supplemented by federal police units.
Jul 26, 2013 7:40 AM
13Interesting but not terribly practical map. The "risk" in question still doesn't apply to tourists or people moving through (which any but the most experienced would be unlikely to be doing in these areas). What the article states is that reinforcements are being sent to these zones, which is what resulted in the recent attack against the Federales. No common tourists areas are included, though designation of the entire coast as a danger zone is a bit vague and exaggerated.
Travel from Uruapan to the coast and Zihuatenajo is also shouldn't be construed as risky or problematic due to the above information.
Jul 26, 2013 10:13 AM
Bags feeling light?
Coffee table looking bare?
Get your guidebooks, travel goods, even individual chapters, right here.
(5 star Hotel)
From US$283.00 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$116.00 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$104.76 per night