Planning a trip to Zitacuaro to see the monarchs at the cerro pelan reserve,
Is it safe to travel there?
The monarchs think so! :-)
I had no safety concerns when I returned to Michoacán to visit the Cerro Pelon butterflies in Nov 2014. Nor did I have any concerns when I visited and toured the area for 10 days in 2013. Take advantage of horses to make the ascent -- it starts at 8500 ft in elevation and climbs from there. (The saddles are wooden, something to cushion your posterior is well advised.)
Zitacuaro is a "working town", the regional city (population 80,000) for the surrounding farming/ranching area. If you are there before Christmas you will find hundreds of acres of Pointsettas in greenhouses under cultivation. Later in the year it is Easter Lilies.
There are several small interesting towns to see in the area -- google Pueblos Magico and spend a couple extra days exploring.
There are no recognizable NA franchise businesses to be found (McDonalds, Walgreens, Esso, Holiday Inn, etc.) that, once I realized it, was my only source of discomfort.
It is an easy bus ride from Mexico City to Zitacuaro and Zitacuaro is in the center of the surrounding butterfly reserves.
I love your post ,very helpful .
One thing stuck out to me, you mentioned you felt uncomfortable that there were no McDonald's, Walgreens or holiday inn in the town. most he would say that would make us feel MORE comfortable. ;-)
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Pre-Columbian Zitacuaro was controlled by the Purpecha Indians. They were based in Michoacán and had communities as far north as the state of Jalisco. The Purpecha were never conquered by the much larger and aggressive Aztecs. This was largely because the Purpecha lived in mountainous Michoacán, found and successfully developed mines, had developed metallurgical skills and thereby had weapons superior to the Aztecs. Michoacán is still well known for the metal working (copper - Santa Clara de Cobre), stone sculpture and glass work (Tlalapahauja), and wooden instrument and furniture making (Patzcuaro area) of its artisans.
Zitacuaro has a Purpecha pyramid site that is worth the visit. It commands a spectacular view of the valley.
And, yes after travelling for 8-10 weeks I sometimes would appreciate the "comfort" and known convenience of a recognizable North American business franchise (Nationwide business franchises are not yet common in Mexico -- City Express, XOXXO, Comex, Pemex, Soriano, being a few of the exceptions.) McDonald's, Holiday Inn etc for their readily available wifi and sometimes, I even have a craving for French fries.
Just a bit of a correction about Tlalpujahua located on the other side of the Monarch Sanctuary: it too was supported by the mines. When the mines ran out, they switched to the production of blown glass Christmas ornaments and now export over 5 million glass ornaments to the US, Canada and Europe. We were just there on Oct 27th and visited their annual Estafes (ornaments) Festival & Market:
I don't know about accomodations in Zitacuaro but have checked out the limited otions in Tlalpujahua and we weren't impressed. However, we did stay at a very nice place in Contepec:
The location gives one pause to wonder why? But this conversion of an old hacienda is well done and very comfortable. I do know that people visiting the sanctuaries do stay there.
'Nationwide business franchises are not yet common in Mexico'
Pemex is not a franchise.
Then there's Chucky Cheese, Crapplebees, Pizza Hut, Domino's, Tony Roma, PF Chang's, California Pizza Kitchen, Chili's, Buffalo Wild Wings, Carl's Jr, Burger King, Subway, Starbucks, Dairy Queen, Quizno's, Sbarro, KFC, Krispy Kreme, Dunkin Donuts, Little Caesar's. Woolworths, Sears, Radio Shack, Sally's Beauty, America Eagle, Crate & Barrel, Williams-Sonoma, Aeropostale, Tommy. Ramada, Hyatt, Best Western, Howard Johnson, Westin. Costco, Sam's, Home Depot, Office Depot, Office Max, Lowe's, HEB. Just to name a few off the top of my bald head.
I do love me an Egg McMuffin every now and then.
And I'd love to see a BJ's Brewhouse. Dream on, baldy.
Actually Pemex does operate franchises -- I investigated buying one in Jalisco.
C'mon Baldone, the post is about Zitacuaro and you have not posted anything relevant to that city. The nationwide businesses that I saw were limited to GM, Ford, Volkswagen car dealerships and a Bodega Aurrerá (opposite the bus station) which is a minibox store chain owned by Walmart Mexico. There was not even a Kiosko, Coppel store or Farmacias Guadalajara to be found. (I think you must visit too many gringo vacation spots.)
@2, @5 & @8:
And just how do you travel Mexico? Since I know BaldOne and his activities, I would venture a guess that he has far more miles driving their personal vehicle to non Gringo resorts that you imagine. Good generalization though, as many so-called resident Gringos tend not to wander out of their safe zones! BaldOne and his wife definitely do not fit the stereotype!
Yes, I'm aware that Pemex sells franchises. But to try to explain the Mexican retail gasoline market to someone who's perplexed as to why they didn't see an Esso brand would be wasted on someone who doesn't even realize Mexico is part of North America. And true, the thread is on safety. But it was you who, for some bizarre and uniformed reason, claimed that Mexico has a dearth of US franchises. Funny how you want to play the gringo card, when the lack of NOB/gringo franchises was distressing to you. I was just trying to point out that, perhaps on your next visit, you wouldn't need to have such discomfort. Funny #2 is a gringo card played by someone who speaks no Spanish. Of course, that is the quintessential gringo 'tell'.