History and Location
- Founded in 1534 by Franciscan monk Juan de San Miguel, Uruapan is the second-largest city in Michoacán. The name comes from a word meaning "the flowering and bearing fruit of a plant at the same time" and has been translated as "place where everything blooms." The rainforest in which the city is situated makes it ideal for growing tropical fruit and flowers. Called the Avocado Capital of the World, Uruapan also produces oranges, bananas and coconuts.
- Uruapan is divided into nine neighborhoods, or barrios, each of which has its own local character and customs. Barrio festivals and street fairs take place from February through November. The highlight is the all-city Semana Santa arts festival in March and April, at which local crafts, folk art and food are for sale to tourists who travel hundreds of miles for the event.
- In Uruapan, sites that shouldn't be missed include the Franciscan Parish Church, built in the 1600s; the Huatapera, established as a hospital but is today a museum of local culture and the Municipal Museum "Eduardo Ruiz," which offers exhibitions on pre-Hispanic settlements in the area as well as local historical information. Other sites of interest include the National Park "Eduardo Ruiz," which boasts the Cupatitzio River and is famous for the beauty of its flora and clear waters.
- Uruapan has folk-art shops open year-round. The Regional House of the Tourist offers the lacquer work for which the city is most famous, along with textiles. The Handcraft Market "offers a variety of lacquered wooden objects, regional basketwork, and a lot of other handicrafts from nearby towns, such as decorative objects, textiles and musical instruments, including the renowned guitars of Paracho." The San Pedro textile factory, built in the 19th century, still produces regionally distinctive fabrics.
Getting There, Hotel and Dining Information
- Flights arrive at the Uruapan airport daily from Mexico City. You can also drive to Uruapan, which is about 60 miles from Morelia and 200 miles from Mexico City. Hotels include the four-star Hotel Mansión del Cupatitzio and Hotel Mi Solar as well as several other three- and four-star hotels. The website Michoacán Travel recommends several restaurants in the city, among them La Mansion Restaurant Bar, Camelinas and the Concordia Restaurant.