With a consistent colonial-style throughout, Morelia is one of the most beautiful cities in Mexico. It is not really on the well-trodden path of the leisure tourists and so you can walk around in comfort without fear of the bermuda shorts crowds. Morelia is the capital of the state of Michoacan in Mexico and it is a registered UNESCO World Heritage site. There are at least two "information" booths in the area of the square. They are staffed with multilingual students who are very helpful
Morelia is the capital city of Michoacan. It serves government and many students attending school there. The central business district is very clean with plenty of places to eat and shop. Tourists are not as common here as some other areas of Mexico. You may want to load up on pesos before ordering food or trying to make a purchase, as foreign currency is not widely accepted. There are money changer stalls on the side streets off of the square.
It has a decent climate, nice parks to relax in, lots of places to get stuff, and very nice place over all. If you stay downtown, most of the attrations like the Cathederal, the square, museums, and shoppng, are all pretty much within walking distance. Due to Morelia's location, being a college town and center of State Government, tourist are not as common as some other areas of Mexico. The People are very friendly. In the central business district, drivers use their horns 24 hours a day to excess, prodding other drivers and to give notice at the numerous blind intersections. You will get used to it, but request a room away from the street.
Morelia is more than just the Centro Historico. Its outlying areas feature modern housing developments, shopping centers and parks. Tres Marias and Bosque Monarcas are ultra-modern new cities adjacent to Morelia.
Deluxe buses serve Morelia from all parts of the Republic, and Morelia's state-of-the-art bus station, located in the northern part of the city. The bus station consists of separate terminals for first-class and second-class buses. It is easy to reach Morelia from either Mexico City or Guadalajara. The bus trip from Guadalajara is about 3-1/2 hours. From Mexico City, depending on the company, the trip can take up to six hours. You can also reach Morelia from the United States by way of Greyhound.
Morelia is accessible by a modern toll road, and is located equidistant from Guadalajara and Mexico City. There are plenty of newer Pemex stations along the way, with restrooms and food. Be prepared with change/pesos to pay tolls. It is a very scenic trip, to say the least.
Morelia has a relatively new, modern airport at the edge of town. A taxi into the city costs US$10-15 (2006), and takes roughly 40 minutes. Make sure to double-check the fare before getting into the cab.
There are daily International flights from LAX, IAH and ORD and scheduled flights from SFO, SJC, SFM, which lead to MLM, Morelia's international airport, as do commuter flights from GDL, MEX, BJX and TIJ.
Buses, combis and taxis form Morelia’s public transport.
Combis are a good way to see the smaller roads and street in the city. Various destinations are usually indicated on the windshield of these mini-vans. As of November 2010 a ride within the city costs 5 pesos. Get in, grab a handle and sit down before the driver speeds off, and then give your money directly to the driver, or to someone else to pass to the driver for you (you can ask the person “Si no le molesta, por favor”, basically, “thanks, if you don’t mind”). Above your head you will find a buzzer to get out at the next corner, or you can simply ask “en la próxima izquina, por favor” (next corner please). It is very common for people to greet other passengers when boarding, according to the time of day (“Buenos días”, “buenos tardes” or “buenas noches”).
Taxis are also plentiful and inexpensive, operating on zone fares. As elsewhere in Mexico, make sure to determine the price before getting into the taxi.
Driving in the City is not easy, but with patience you can. Drivers use their horns to excess, to prod others and at the numerous blind intersections. The Centro Histórico is plagued by lack of parking. Driving in and around Morelia differs little from driving in any urban area. However, there is an “uno y uno” protocol in place. Drivers are actually quite respectful and obey this “one and one” rule, where — in stark contrast to Mexico City — at an intersection, you do not simply charge into any space larger than 5 cm, but fall into line, with one vehicule at a time from each direction driving through the intersection.
There are a lot of interesting and beautiful colonial buildings to see in Morelia, most of them are open to the public for at least part of the day. Highlights of a Morelia city tour will include:
Casa de Artesanias is located on Plaza San Francisco. Reserve your shoppng until you vist there, this is where the local artists display their wares.
The Mercado de Dulces was created about thirty years ago, and it features candy as well as inexpensive souvenirs. The Museo de Dulces, located on Av. Madero between the Cathedral and the Tarascan Fountain is definitely worth a stop. More than just a museum, it contains a coffee shop and offers the widest variety of candies as well as demonstrations of candy-making.
Morelia is one of the most exciting places in Mexico for innovative yet traditionally based cuisine. Avoid chain restaurants in Morelia because the wealth of outstanding restaurants not only offer unique regional flavors found nowhere else in Mexico, they are shockingly affordable for the quality they deliver.
Regional dishes unique to Morelia and surrounding Michoacan include:
Some chains like Subway and Burger King are present on the square, for those who lack adventure. The dining room on the 3rd floor above the department store on the square is interesting to visit and has very good food. In the tourist and historic centre, many restaurants may have an English menu available. Be prepared to pay in pesos.
As usual, to get the best authentic Mexican food at authentic prices, you will need to leave the core centre. Here are a few good taquerías that are well known to locals.
Taquería del Infierno offers fantastic food with very rapid service. Many plates come with a roasted onion, but if your doesn’t, make sure to ask for an order. Av. Lázaro Cárdenas No. 2630. Chapultepec Sur. http://www.moreliainvita.com/infierno/index.php?id=170
Tacopolis La Huerta is in the south end of the city, on La Huerta (the road leading to Patzcuaro), shortly before you get to the mall area (Walmart, Office Depot, Home Depot, Cinépolis). They offer a great range of salsas to accompany your quesadillas, tacos, alambra (massive meat overdose for the hardcore travellers only!). Their chipotle and avocado salsas are excellent. Here they serve flour, not corn, tortillas.
Outdoor patio dining under the city’s historic portals is casual, fun and affordable. The dining room of the Best Western is good and a bit cheaper than the more sophisticated fare outside the Hotel Virrey de Mendoza.
There are several bars in the city center that come to life starting around 11pm.
Nude table dance bars cluster on the outskirts of the city along the Perinorte.
Buy a Telemex Ladatel prepaid calling card. They are available in many places, including convenience stores and bus station kiosks, and can be used in pay phones throughout Mexico. Using the cards can result in substantial savings, and is a sure way to prevent overcharging that can occur with collect or credit card calls. Ladatel cards are available many places on the square.
Morelia is an excellent gateway city for cultural and outdoor adventures throughout the state of Michoacan.