Apart from the beautiful town itself, Pátzcuaro’s other great attraction is Lago de Pátzcuaro. The lake was once a major thoroughfare, but that role has declined since the completion of roads linking the lakeside villages a few years back. Most locals now take the bus rather than paddle around the water in canoes, but there is still a fair amount of traffic and regular trips out to the closest island, Janitzio. The lake’s other draw is the chance to see and photograph the famous butterfly nets wielded by indigenous fishermen in tiny dug-out canoes. It is a long time since this was considered a viable means of gaining food, but a handful of nets are maintained to catch tourists. Occasionally a group of locals lurking in readiness on the far side of Janitzio will paddle into camera range when a sufficiently large collection of money has been taken. Finally, no visit to Pátzcuaro is complete without an excursion to the small lakeside villages, which, thanks to Vasco de Quiroga, each specialize in different artesanía.

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