Also Read: About Patzcuaro’s Lakeside Villages
Jaracuaro is credited with the creation of the Baile de los Viejitos (Dance of the Old Men) which is a masked-dance mocking the weak (and white) conquistadors. Usually performed by children, it is danced at least once an hour by small troupes in the Plaza Grande in Patzcuaro.
Jaracuaro, which is a 25-minute drive around the lakeside (clockwise) from Patzcuaro, used to be an island, but is now a narrow peninsula whose streets were not built for cars, let alone two-way traffic. We recommend parking your car at your first stop and then walking for the rest of your visit.
We also recommend that you take a tour of the local sombrero making facilities in town, and try on some of their products. The hand-made hats you’ll find in this village are some of the finest in all of Mexico and are very reasonably priced.
Browse: Jaracuaro Picture Gallery
Every day of the year is a great opportunity to see traditional sombrero making. As you head into town, bear right at the fork in the road and head towards the middle school. Park near the school (or anywhere else where you see other cars and people) and head straight up the hill on your left towards the church.
Erasmo Bautista Antonio (Tel: +52 434 542-0049) has an unmarked shop in the second or third house on your left as you head up the hill.
Erasmo gives a great tour of the entire sombrero-making process— from braiding the palm leaves, to sewing the braids together, to pressing specific designs into the hats. He and his family make a variety of types of hats—including children’s hats and high-end “Jaracuaro Sombreros”
Erasmo speaks a small amount of English (and understands quite a bit) and his daughters sing beautifully in Purepecha, the local indigenous language.
Pedro Gabriel Reyes (Tel: +52 434 542-0179) also offers tours. His home is at the top of the hill, right before the church, on the left-hand side. Pedro speaks a bit of English and his wife makes extremely tasty corundas (pyramid-shaped tamales).
A hand-crafted sombrero can cost anywhere from $8 USD to $80 USD and is a beautiful and practical souvenir.
Pedro or Erasmo can also take you to the local church and/or the local chapel, both of which are used today for a variety of life-cycle ceremonies as well as daily prayer.
Day of the Dead in Jaracuaro
The plaza in front of main church in Jaracuaro is a wonderful place to spend Day of the Dead. Starting around 9 pm on November 1st, the entire town of Jaracuaro gathers for mass and then sticks around for a night of cultural performances. Each act is introduced in both Spanish and Purepecha and the singers, dancers and musicians are truly incredible. The food sold in the booths around the plaza is quite tasty as well.
Jaracuaro’s climate is similar to nearby Patzcuaro. The village is quite high up in the mountains (just under 7,200 ft) so it can get chilly in the mornings and evenings of the cooler months between October and April; bring warm clothing with you during these months. Most of the time, this region enjoys a warm, and at times wet, spring-like climate.
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