Morelia to Patzcuaro - Morelia Cathedral and the Templo del Sagrario

Morelia to Pátzcuaro: 5 Best Ways to Travel [2024]

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Wondering how to get from Morelia to Pátzcuaro?

Most people would immediately think of renting a car or taking the bus, but there are actually several options available to you.

The best way for you will depend on your budget, how long you’d like to spend in Pátzcuaro, and what you’re planning to do while you’re there.

I’ve set out below a comprehensive guide that has helped loads of people find out how to get from Morelia to Pátzcuaro simply and safely in five fantastic different ways.

Ready to go? Let’s get right into it.

How to Get From Morelia to Pátzcuaro

Why Should You Visit Morelia?

Morelia is a large city of over one million people and is the capital of the state of Michoacán, Mexico. It was founded in 1542 and is known for having some of the most beautiful colonial architecture in Mexico.

Its architectural beauty comes at least in part from the very distinctive rose-colored stone called cantera used in many of its buildings. The pink stone was quarried locally and was easily cut and shaped, and historically it was often used as a building material in the city as a result.

The imposing Morelia Cathedral is the best example of both the colonial architecture and the beauty of the cantera stone. The cathedral was constructed during the late 16th and early 17th centuries and is a wonderful example of the Spanish baroque architectural style.

Another beautiful example of architecture in the city is the 18th century Morelia aqueduct. It runs for over a mile through the historic center and features 253 graceful arches and two square tower-like structures known as “water boxes”.

Beyond its architectural beauty, Morelia is also known as the food capital of Michoacán. Typical dishes that you can find in Morelia include uchepos, a type of very sweet, creamy tamales; corundas, which are cheesy triangular tamales; and gazpacho, which is a wild combination of chopped fruit, cheese and chili.

And if you want to explore a little farther afield, some of Michoacán’s “magic towns” (pueblos mágicos) like Pátzcuaro are within easy reach and make a great day trip from the city.

Before we jump into getting from Morelia to Pátzcuaro, let’s look at why you should consider visiting Pátzcuaro in the first place.

How to Get From Morelia to Pátzcuaro

Why Should You Visit Pátzcuaro?

Pátzcuaro is a beautiful Mexican town filled with Spanish colonial architecture, history, archaeological sites, and unique islands in nearby Lake Pátzcuaro.

The town was founded around 1320. Prior to the arrival of the Spanish, it was the center of the Purépecha Empire, also known as the Tarascan Empire. The Purépecha people were a distinct group from the Aztec civilisation. They were frequently at war with the Aztecs and stopped the Aztecs from expanding farther to the west.

Following the arrival of the Spanish, Pátzcuaro eventually became an important settlement and even competed to be the capital of Michoacán before ultimately losing to Morelia. Despite this, it has preserved much of its colonial charm and was named one of Michoacán’s pueblos mágicos in 2002.

Even though the town itself is quite small, there are plenty of things for you to see and do. The beautiful Plaza Grande is the center of the town and has a bronze statue of Don Vasco de Quiroga, the town’s bishop during the 16th century. The Templo del Sagrario (pictured above) was constructed over a period of 200 years and is beautiful both by night and day.

You can also you can walk along the cobblestoned streets to the House of the Eleven Courtyards (Casa de los Once Patios), an 18th century nunnery now used as a market where you can buy local arts and crafts.

Outside of the town, you can visit Lake Pátzcuaro, an immense volcanic lake right outside the town. You can also take a tour of some of the unique islands on the lake such as Janitizio, which is known for its 130 ft tall statue of José María Morelos, an important figure in Mexico’s war for independence.

Best of all, the town is only 35 miles from Morelia, so you can easily visit it as a day-trip if you don’t want to spend the night.

So let’s look at how to get from Morelia to Pátzcuaro and the different options available to you.

How to Get From Morelia to Pátzcuaro

1. Rental Car To Pátzcuaro

Renting a car to go from Morelia to Pátzcuaro is a great option that offers you the freedom to explore at your own pace.

There’s nothing quite like the open road.

Fast Facts: Rental Car From Morelia to Pátzcuaro

  • Starts at about US$60 plus gas
  • Travel time is about 1 hour
  • Morelia (various locations)
  • Morelia (same as the pick-up location)

Tip: Gas in Mexico will probably cost you around US$5 per gallon, and you’ll need about 1 to 2 gallons to get to Pátzcuaro and back.

How Do I Find A Rental Car?

I recommend using DiscoverCars to book the best deal available ahead of your arrival.

If you’re planning on driving the car back to Morelia on the same day, then you’ll pay around US$60 per day plus gas. The price increases to about US$75 plus gas if you decided to spend the night in Pátzcuaro and drive it back the next day.

What Is The Best Route From Morelia to Pátzcuaro?

The route from Morelia to Pátzcuaro starts by taking highway 14 south-west out of the city.

After about 25 miles, highway 14 becomes 14D and takes you the last few miles into Pátzcuaro from the south.

What’s Great About Driving to Pátzcuaro?

There are some great advantages to renting a car and driving to Pátzcuaro.

1. Freedom

Of all of the options, driving literally and figuratively puts you in the driver’s seat.

You get to choose every aspect of your journey, from departure time to the speed you travel to how often and where you stop.

2. Privacy

One of the best things about driving is that you don’t have to share your journey unless you want to.

If you’re traveling as a family, driving also means that you can have your familial privacy whilst you travel.

3. Convenience

Driving is the ultimate convenience. All you’ll need to do is book the car and pick it up whenever you’re ready to go.

This is particularly helpful if you have a family and it might take a little longer than expected to get everyone ready.

FAQs: Rental Car From Morelia to Pátzcuaro

We’ve set out below some frequently asked questions and answers about how to get from Morelia to Pátzcuaro by rental car.

How Much Does It Cost To Drive From Morelia to Pátzcuaro?

If you’re planning on driving the car back to Morelia on the same day, then you’ll pay around US$60 per day plus gas. If you spend the night in Pátzcuaro, the price increases to about US$75 plus gas.

Most providers don’t charge you per mile travelled, but make sure you check before you sign on the dotted line.

What is the Route From Morelia to Pátzcuaro?

The route from Morelia to Pátzcuaro follows highway 14 south-west for most of the way, becoming highway 14D a few miles outside of Pátzcuaro.

What is the Travel Time?

You’ll be driving for around 1 hour, assuming you drive straight through without stopping.

What is the Distance From Morelia to Pátzcuaro?

The total distance is approximately 36 miles (58 km) from Morelia to Pátzcuaro.

Where Do I Rent A Car In Morelia?

There are several places in Morelia where you can rent a car, including on Guillermo Prieto in the historic center and at Morelia International Airport.

Are The Rental Cars Comfortable?

The short answer is yes, you will be able to rent a comfortable modern vehicle in Morelia. However, the level of luxury that you enjoy depends very much on your budget.

The car rental providers in Morelia have a range of vehicles that you can choose from, ranging from compacts up to luxury limousines.

Is It Safe To Travel By Car?

Yes, it is safe to travel by car provided you take basis precautions such as wearing your seatbelts, traveling with the doors locked and not driving unsafely.

What do I need to rent a car?

You’ll need to be at least 21 years old and you’ll need to have held your driver’s licence for at least a year before you rent a car.

You’ll also need to bring a credit card in your own name and your passport.

Will I have Any Liability?

If you book through DiscoverCars, the deductible on the included insurance is usually zero for damages to bodywork from a collision.

However, sometimes not all parts of the car are covered, so check the terms of the policy before you book and consider upgrading the insurance package for greater peace of mind.

How to Get From Morelia to Pátzcuaro

2. Bus To Pátzcuaro

Internal bus seating, similar to on a trip from Morelia to Pátzcuaro

If you can’t or don’t want to fly and don’t want to drive yourself from Morelia to Pátzcuaro, the bus is a great option for you.

Fast Facts: Bus From Morelia to Pátzcuaro

  • Starting at around 150 Mexican pesos (US$7.50)
  • Travel time is just over an 1 hour
  • Multiple trips per day
  • Terminal de Autobuses, Morelia
  • Pátzcuaro Erendira, Pátzcuaro

Where Can I Book A Bus From Morelia to Pátzcuaro?

The biggest provider of bus routes from Morelia to Pátzcuaro is Autovías.

Tip: there’s no WiFi in the bus, so download anything you need at the hotel. You might also want to bring a neck pillow to help you sleep and Benadryl or Dramamine if you get carsick.

What’s Great About Taking The Bus?

Okay, so it’s not a private jet and never will be. Still, there are some positives to taking the bus.

1. The Bus Is Cheaper

Taking the bus will usually work out to be one of the cheapest options.

It’s definitely the best choice if you’re working with a tight budget.

2. quick Journey

In light of the short distance that you need to travel, the travel time won’t be much slower than if you took a rental car.

The rental car will be a little quicker, but the difference isn’t really all that great.

3. Local Experience

The bus is the most authentic Mexican method of travel, used by Mexicans all across the country.

If you’re looking to try to get the local experience, taking the bus is the way to do it.

FAQs: Taking The Bus From Morelia to Pátzcuaro

I’ve set out below some frequently asked questions and answers about how to get from Morelia to Pátzcuaro by bus.

How Much Is The Bus From Morelia to Pátzcuaro?

A round trip on the bus starts at around 150 Mexican pesos (US$7.50) per person per trip.

Which Buses Run From Morelia to Pátzcuaro?

The biggest provider of bus routes from Morelia to Pátzcuaro is Autovías.

Is There a direct Bus from Morelia to Pátzcuaro?

Yes, there is a bus service that can take you the whole way from Morelia to Pátzcuaro without a stop in between.

What is the Travel Time?

Travel time is just over 1 hour, depending on the time of day you’re traveling.

What is the Distance From Morelia to Pátzcuaro?

The bus route is approximately 36 miles (58 km) long.

Which Bus Stations Do I Use?

In Morelia, the pick-up point is Terminal de Autobuses Morelia, just a few miles south-east of the historic center.

In Pátzcuaro, the drop-off point is Pátzcuaro Erendira, just to the north of the historic center.

Are The Buses Comfortable?

The buses are modern and air-conditioned, and the seats are comfortable semi-recliners.

There is no WiFi, though, so download everything you need before you leave the hotel.

Is It Safe To Travel By Bus?

You will be perfectly safe provided you take basic precautions.

Most importantly, keep your belongings with you at all times and keep your valuables out of sight.

How to Get From Morelia to Pátzcuaro

3. Carshare To Pátzcuaro

Another option you can use to get from Morelia to Pátzcuaro is a carshare.

Car-sharing is very popular on the Morelia to Pátzcuaro route and it’s a great cheap way to travel while getting to know new people.

Fast Facts: Carshare From Morelia to Pátzcuaro

  • Starts at around 65 Mexican pesos (US$3.50) per person
  • Travel time is around 1 hour
  • Pick-up depends on trip
  • Drop-off depends on trip

Where Can You Book A Carshare From Morelia to Pátzcuaro?

The easiest way to find a reputable carshare service is on BlaBlaCar.

There are different options available and you can choose a ride with a verified driver with lots of positive reviews.

What’s Great About A Carshare?

Although you won’t be able to take full control like you could with a rental car, there are some benefits of using a carshare rather than driving yourself.

1. Cheap Way to Travel

Car-sharing is often much cheaper than any other option.

Similar to Uber, the car-sharing model is unregulated and costs are lower than the taxi as a result.

2. Easy to Organize

Arranging a car-share is very easy through online platforms like BlaBlaCar.

You’ll be able to see the pick-up and drop-off points at the time of booking and you’ll then pay when you’re picked up.

3. No Responsibility for the Vehicle

Similar to the other options where you’re being chauffeured, you won’t be responsible for what happens to the car while you’re on the road.

You’ll only be responsible for paying the agreed price and your liability ends there.

FAQs: Carshare From Morelia to Pátzcuaro

We’ve set out below some frequently asked questions and answers about how to get from Morelia to Pátzcuaro by carshare.

How Much Does It Cost To Drive From Morelia to Pátzcuaro?

A carshare starts at around 65 Mexican pesos (US$3.50) per trip for one person.

Most services cap the number of passengers, so make sure you check this before you book.

What is the Route From Morelia to Pátzcuaro?

The route from Morelia to Pátzcuaro using a carshare will follow the same route as you would take if you rented a car.

What is the Travel Time?

You’ll be driving for around 1 hour.

What is the Distance From Morelia to Pátzcuaro?

The total distance is approximately 36 miles (58 km).

Are The Carshare Cars Comfortable?

Drivers with good reviews will have comfortable vehicles. Contact the driver ahead of agreeing to a carshare ride to confirm.

Is It Safe To Travel By Carshare?

Yes, but you should be aware that some people may try to use the platforms to run scams.

You should be able to easily avoid this by choosing drivers who have verified profiles and lots of positive reviews.

How to Get From Morelia to Pátzcuaro

4. Travel To Pátzcuaro With A Tour

If you’re only intending to visit Pátzcuaro for the day, you could book a tour rather than booking your own transport.

For day-trippers, this is a great way to outsource the trip-planning.

Fast Facts: Tour From Morelia to Pátzcuaro

  • Start at around US$90 per person
  • One full day
  • Hotel pick-up
  • Hotel drop-off

Where Can I Book A Tour To Pátzcuaro?

There are a few different sites that you can take a look at to book a tour.

I recommend checking out Viator, which has a few different tours from Morelia to Pátzcuaro.

What’s Great About doing a Tour?

If you’re only planning on doing a day-trip to Pátzcuaro, there are a few great reasons that you should consider doing a tour.

1. No Planning Required

I think the best thing about booking a tour is that you don’t need to worry about planning the trip, the transport and the destinations. All of that is done for you by the tour organizers.

You can think of part of the price of the tour as an exchange for saving all that time in planning.

2. Focus On Enjoying The Trip

If you go with a tour, you can let go of the wheel and just enjoy the trip.

That’s particularly helpful when you’re traveling with your family or with a group and you’d rather not be distracted.

3. Local Knowledge

Another benefit of having a tour take you to Pátzcuaro is that you’ll visit places that you might have missed if you’d planned your own trip.

That inside knowledge can be priceless if you end up having an amazing experience.

How to Get From Morelia to Pátzcuaro

FAQs: Tours to Pátzcuaro

If you still have questions about taking a tour from Morelia to Pátzcuaro, take a look at the FAQs and responses below.

How Much Is A Tour From Morelia to Pátzcuaro?

Tours vary in price but start at around US$90 per person.

What is the Travel Time?

The tours are full-day tours that start early in the morning and you’ll be dropped off back at your hotel in the evening.

How Do I find Tours?

Check out sites like Viator, which has a few different tours from Morelia to Pátzcuaro and its surrounds.

Is It Safe To Book A Tour In Pátzcuaro?

Yes, platforms like Viator carefully check each of the guides advertising on their sites to ensure that they are appropriately licensed.

How to Get From MOrelia to Pátzcuaro

5. Taxi To Pátzcuaro

Another option to mention is the good old taxi.

There are better options available, but if you’re in a hurry or you haven’t had time to plan, they’re a great option.

Fast Facts: Taxi From Morelia to Pátzcuaro

  • Negotiable, but likely around US$25 to US$30
  • Travel time is around 1 hour
  • Hotel pick-up
  • Hotel drop-off

Tip: Make sure that you agree the price with the driver before setting off so that there are no misunderstandings.

Where Can You Book A Taxi From Morelia to Pátzcuaro?

If you want to book a taxi, you’d ideally try to find a reliable driver. The simplest way to do that is to get a recommendation from your hotel.

If you don’t get a recommendation, you can also hire a taxi from the street. In either case, make sure that you agree the fare before you set off.

How to Get From Morelia to Pátzcuaro

FAQs: Taxi From Morelia to Pátzcuaro

We’ve set out below some frequently asked questions and answers about how to get from Morelia to Pátzcuaro by taxi.

How Much Does It Cost To Drive From Morelia to Pátzcuaro?

You’ll need to negotiate your fare, and you should always do this upfront.

You can expect to pay around US$25 to US$30, depending on how much the driver wants the fare.

What is the Route From Morelia to Pátzcuaro?

The route from Morelia to Pátzcuaro should be the same as you would take if you rented a car or booked a carshare.

However, you should confirm the route with the driver before you set off.

What is the Travel Time?

You’ll be driving for around 1 hour, depending on how often you want to stop.

What is the Distance From Morelia to Pátzcuaro?

The total distance is approximately 36 miles (58 km).

Are The Taxis Comfortable?

Yes, you’ll be able to rent a comfortable taxi for the hour-long journey to Pátzcuaro.

Is It Safe To Travel By Taxi?

In all likelihood, you will be safe enough traveling by taxi from Morelia to Pátzcuaro. This is particularly the case if you are traveling in a group.

How to Get From Morelia to Pátzcuaro

What Are The Best Things To Do In Pátzcuaro?

There are plenty of things to do in Pátzcuaro during a day-trip from Morelia.

You can start your explorations in the town’s central park, the Plaza Vasco de Quiroga, often called simply the Plaza Grande. The park is named after the town’s bishop during the 16th century, and there is a bronze statue of him in the center of a lovely fountain in the park .

Somewhat unusually, the town’s main church, the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de la Salud, is not opposite the central town square. Instead, it’s a short walk to the east. Constructed in the 16th century, it served as Michoacán’s cathedral until 1850, when that role was allocated to the Morelia Cathedral.

Another activity that should be on your list is a visit to the House of the Eleven Courtyards (Casa de los Once Patios). It was originally constructed in the 18th century as a nunnery for Dominican nuns, and it expanded over the years until it reached 11 courtyards, hence its name. In modern times, it has been converted into a market for local arts and crafts and it’s a great place for you to find a local souvenir.

Once you’ve wandered around the city’s beautifully cobblestoned streets, you can visit Lake Pátzcuaro, which is a huge volcanic lake right just to the north of the town. The lake is home to several populated islands, the most well-known of which is Janitizio. It’s known for its 130 ft tall statue of José María Morelos, an important figure in Mexico’s war for independence.

And while a visit to Pátzcuaro is great all year around, the town is known for really coming alive during the Day of the Dead festival from 31 October to 2 November. The entrance to the town’s churches are decorated with Mexican marigold arches and vigils are held in local cemeteries to honor dead relatives. Children also collect ears of corn that are then brought back to the town center to be cooked and offered to the community.

All in all, Pátzcuaro is loaded with great things to do and you can easily keep yourself entertained for a day or two.

How to Get From Morelia to Pátzcuaro

Where Are The Best Places To Stay In Pátzcuaro?

Image credit: Expedia.com

If you decide that you want to spend more than one day in Pátzcuaro, the obvious question will be where do you stay?

The good news is that for a relatively small town, there are actually a lot of great options.

Within the historic center, Hotel Casa del Naranjo is a beautiful luxury option right opposite the Plaza Grande. It’s homely decorated in a traditional Mexican style with colorful patterned tiles, locally made textiles and even fireplaces in some of the rooms.

Another central option is Hotel Pueblo Mágico, which is beautifully designed in a leafy, wood theme and boasts a beautiful internal courtyard.

If you’re looking for a cheaper option, the Hotel Posada La Basilica is located right next to the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de la Salud. Although it’s not quite as luxurious, it has lovely open terraces as well as leafy garden areas where you can relax in the sun.

And if you’re really looking to economize, OYO Posada De Los Angeles is great value. The rooms are spacious and clean and the hotel is located close to the center of town.

There are enough great options that you should certainly consider taking it a bit slower and staying the night, so that you don’t have to rush back to Morelia in the evening after a long day spent exploring.

How to Get From Morelia to Pátzcuaro

When is the Best Time to Visit Pátzcuaro?

If you live in northern latitudes, you’re probably used to four defined seasons.  However, the more equatorial parts of the world like Pátzcuaro don’t really follow this model. 

Instead, in Pátzcuaro, there are really only two distinctive seasons, which are a dry season and a rainy season. The dry season runs from November to the end of April with cooler days except for March and April, where the maximum temperature can reach 77°F (25°C). The rainy season runs from May through to October, which starts warm and cools off as the year progresses.

Pátzcuaro also has an altitude of 7,020 ft (2,140 m), which is higher than Denver, Colorado. Its climate is a subtropical highland climate, and because of the high altitude, its temperature can fluctuate daily by more than 25.2°F (14°C). You’ll get cold nights and warm days, with the extremes in the temperature depending on part of the season in which you’re visiting.

The dry season is the most popular time for tourists, although there are also some spikes at other times such as the end of October during the Day of the Dead festival. The greater demand during the tourist season means that prices of flights and hotels increase as well.

The rainy season typically has fewer tourists, meaning that prices are lower, so its definitely the time to travel if you’re on a budget. Most of the time, it only rains in the afternoons, so if you plan to explore in the mornings, you can still have a great trip during the rainy season. 

How to Get From Morelia to Pátzcuaro

What Should I Pack To Go To Pátzcuaro?

Woman sitting on a pink suitcase in an airport

Pátzcuaro is at a high altitude, which means that the temperature fluctuates quite a lot throughout the day.

In Pátzcuaro, people deal with this by dressing in layers and progressively stripping layers off as the temperature increases throughout the day. What you pack for both cities depends a little on when you’re expecting to visit.

During the cooler dry season months of November to March, temperatures are cool enough that you might want a warm jacket in the evenings. At its coolest in January, the temperature in Pátzcuaro will fall as low as 45°F (7.2°C) in the evenings and then get up to 67°F (20°C) during the day.

The wet season months are generally warmer. In April, which is the warmest month of the year, it gets up to 77°F (25°C) during the day and only falls to 52°F (11°C) in the evenings. You’ll still need warm clothes in the evening, but you can get away with warm jumpers rather than needing coats.

If you travel during the rainy season, you’ll want to bring a light, waterproof jacket or buy a fold-up umbrella when you arrive.  The run isn’t usually too extreme, but you should also have a few more changes of clothes in case you get caught in a downpour.

You’ll do a lot of walking in Pátzcuaro, so bring or buy a comfortable pair of walking shoes. A hat for protection against the sun is also a good idea if you’re visiting in the late part of the dry season or in the wet season. 

How to Get From Morelia to Pátzcuaro

Final Thoughts

Thanks for reading, and I hope I’ve been able to help you with some ideas for traveling from Morelia to Pátzcuaro beyond just renting a car or taking the bus.

There’s obviously nothing wrong with those options, and frankly they’re probably your best bet most of the time. But I think it’s helpful to understand the other options so that you don’t miss out on a great experience you wish you’d had.

Your options to get from Morelia to Pátzcuaro are many, and all of them are great. Choose the one that most takes your fancy, and have an amazing time in Pátzcuaro!

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