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Living, Working and Retirement in Patzcuaro
Research and assess Patzcuaro as a location for living, working or retirement in Mexico.
Patzcuaro ("Pahtz-Kuah-Ro") is a charming town with a mixed colonial and indigenous feel, located just 45 minutes from Morelia, the State Capital of Michoacan. Michoacan's people are some of the friendliest and most welcoming in Mexico.
51,000 (2005 Census)
7,130 feet above sea-level
32F/0C (Nocturnal, Winter), 82F/27C (Daytime, Summer). Year-Round Average 72F/21C.
Patzcuaro's rainy season runs from late May to October each year.
Patzcuaro is inland and not subject to hurricanes; however Pacific hurricanes can affect Patzcuaro's climate
Tourism, agriculture, and artisan crafts
Cost of Living
*Relative to other foreign expat communities in Mexico
During the last decade, an increasing number of foreign visitors have discovered the town's charm and ambience and are returning here not only during the holidays, but also for extended stays - and often as part of their retirement plans.
Morelia, some 40km (28 miles) away, is an 'aristocratic colonial city', whereas Patzcuaro is a colonial town which still remains true to its indigenous (Purepecha or Tarasco) heritage. The town has successfully blended its indigenous and colonial roots and provides an excellent hub from which to explore the other towns and villages in the area.
The central area of Patzcuaro and its immediate surroundings are the most attractive areas to be in, featuring colonial buildings, mansions and courtyards built around the fine and elegant main square, the Plaza de Quiroga, also called the Plaza Grande as well as a smaller, but no less attractive Plaza de Gertrudis Bocanegra, also known as the Plaza Chica.
This ancient highland town has an authentic character and charm, clean and crisp mountain air, surrounded by forests and lakes and set against the backdrop of azure-blue skies.
Patzcuaro offers foreign residents an opportunity to live and integrate within an authentic Mexican town: one that a decade ago was barely known, and today is being discovered and settled by increasing numbers of foreign expatriates who want to live in a mountain environment, close to modern amenities, and far enough away from the commercial landscapes that tend to engulf them.
Affordable Living in Patzcuaro
Basic living costs are much lower in Mexico's provinces than in the U.S.A., Canada and Western Europe; within Mexico, Patzcuaro offers one of the lowest living costs of Mexico's colonial towns and cities, and lower still than most coastal towns and resorts.
There are a couple of mini-marts in Patzcuaro, and dozens of small, independently-owned stores and specialist food outlets. There is a daily street market selling a plentiful supply of fresh fruits and vegetables, meats and poultry as well spices, condiments and other basic household goods. The outdoor market also has a cooked foods section, where you can purchase food to take away or eat at the market proper. The prices at the street market for food and other basic comestibles are exceptionally low.
Highland Town with a Quiet and Serene Environment
Patzcuaro is a quiet, low-key town set in the western highlands of Mexico, some four-and-a-half hours by road from two of Mexico's biggest cities: Guadalajara and Mexico City. The closest 'big' town in Morelia, the capital of Michoacan, and the place where most of the expatriates living in Patzcuaro go to procure foods, goods and items that are not available in Patzcuaro.
Artists, writers, sculptors and those seeking peace and tranquility as well as magnificent natural environments find Patzcuaro suits their needs perfectly: they are away from the 'madding crowd'; yet close enough to make use of modern amenities and get efficient connections to the nation's capital as well an international airport with direct flights to the United States. Although it is a small, semi-remote, mountain town, Patzcuaro offers high-speed internet connections via phone line and via cable: a dual option not offered even in most of the bigger towns across Mexico.
Already, there exists a small contingent of foreign expatriates living in Patzcuaro; full or part-time. This community is growing and will likely continue to grow as more visit this picturesque and charming town and, like others before them, choose to settle here.
The cost of living in Mexico is typically lower in Mexico than it is the USA, Canada and Western Europe, although precise costs depend upon where you live and your lifestyle choices.
Cost of Living Report
To learn more about the cost of living in Mexico, connect to the Mexico Cost of Living page on Mexperience.
Regional and geographical cost variations do exist, and this part of the guide shows you how some goods and services at Patzcuaro vary from the average.
Information about the real estate market in Patzcuaro.
Real Estate Market in Patzcuaro
An influx of foreign investors during the mid-to-late-90's saw property prices boom in Patzcuaro. Patzcuaro's economy, that relies principally upon tourism and some agriculture, does not support jobs or earnings which realistically support the prices of high-end property purchases or rentals; it is the influx of foreign investment -- particularly retirees and foreigners seeking second homes -- that has driven the market in recent years. Higher-end property rentals are also tailored to foreign visitors using hard currency for the transactions; local rents bear no resemblance to vacation rental rents: however, the homes being rented for vacation purposes are of considerably higher caliber than those being rented exclusively to the local market.
Land prices in the villages and hamlets outside of Patzcuaro are very, very low; however, investors will need to deal with matters such as getting utility, water and sewerage services to the property, obtain building permits (which may or may not be straightforward to acquire) and be prepared to live quite remotely.
Most real estate is sold through local realty agents who know the area and the surrounding region, as well as directly with owners advertising their properties on the internet, or in local coffee shops, internet cafe's etc.
Real estate types include land (in the outlying areas), derelict colonial properties requiring total restoration, older colonial properties requiring some restoration, totally restored colonial properties, and homes in the residential neighborhoods surrounding the town center. Property is available for sale on some islands, most notably, Janitzio, but most foreigners stay on the mainland. Many desirable properties proffer views over the town with its red-tiled roofs and/or the lake; colonial properties in the middle of the town forsake the views in lieu of the convenience of being situated right in the middle of the beautifully-kept historic center.
Most foreign expats who move to Patzcuaro seek to purchase land, a property to renovate, or a property that has been renovated and is ready to move into. All these property types are available in Patzcuaro. The location provides a tremendous investment opportunity for people who want to make a long term commitment to the area whether inside Patzcuaro itself, or in one of the surrounding Villages around lake Patzcuaro.
Rentals Market in Patzcuaro
Most rental properties in Patzcuaro are offered through local realty agents or by individual property owners listing properties on the Internet or signs posted at restaurants, cafes and bars near the vicinity where the rentals are situated.
Rental prices for basic, local, houses are very cheap; vacation rental homes (often rented by foreign owners) are also available and provide a higher standard of accommodation, often fully equipped, albeit for a higher cost. This latter option is ideal for an extended visit to the town (periods exceeding a month or more).
Rental prices for vacation homes soar during Day of the Dead week (the weekends before, during and after Oct 31 through Nov 2 each year. Patzcuaro is one of the most visited towns in Mexico during this time; hotels fill up (advance bookings are essential) and many people who wait until the last minute end up having to bring a tent and camp at one of the local campsites, as fixed abodes simply sell out every year.
See Blog: A Month in Patzcuaro - Property
In addition to Mexico's state sponsored healthcare provided via the country's national health service IMSS, good quality healthcare services offered through private clinics with US -standard healthcare services exist in Patzcuaro. The privately-run out patient clinics available locally are ideal for day-to-day ailments, sprains, broken bones and other health matters which would normally be diagnosed and treated by a General Practitioner of medicine.
Patzcuaro enjoys a yearly average temperature of 72F/21C. Winter months can be cooler and drop to freezing 28F/0C at night; summer months may reach highs of 90F/28C in June, July and August.
January through March are the coolest months. Temperatures can range from 28F/0C to 79F/24C in the day.
April through June are warmer months in Patzcuaro with temperatures ranging from 50F/10C overnight to 88F/29C in the daytime.
July through September are the hottest months, with temperature ranging from 60F/16C overnight, to 90F/28C in the daytime. Temperatures and humidity reach their peak in July and August.
Temperatures moderate again starting late September as daytime temperatures climb down from their summer highs. Temperatures in the autumn months range from 40F/13C overnight to 80F/24C in the daytime.
Patzcuaro's rainy season runs from May to October, with most of the rain falling in July and August. Torrential afternoon rains may be experienced several days a week especially in July and August, the wettest months of the year.
Hurricanes do not affect Patzcuaro directly, but the town's weather can be adversely affected (with heavy rains, or a spell of gray, damp and wet weather) if a hurricane lands on the Pacific Coast areas situated less than two hundred miles west of the town.
This section contains links to guides where you can learn more about living in Patzcuaro.