> IF YOU GO

Toronto Star - - TRAVEL -

The charm­ing rooms at the Ho­tel Man­sión de Cu­patitzio are a per­fect jump­ing-off point for walks into the Bar­ran­cas de Cu­patitzio Na­tional Park and start at 1,700 Mex­i­can pe­sos ($97) dur­ing the high sea­son around Holy Week.

Just a few blocks from Uru­a­pan’s cen­tral square, the Ho­tel Mi So­lar oc­cu­pies a late-19th-cen­tury man­sion that was re­mod­elled as a ho­tel in 1943 (stan­dard rooms from 1,232 pe­sos dur­ing Holy Week).

Cocina M of­fers the most in­ter­est­ing food in town. A din­ner for two, in­clud­ing starters, mains and a glass of wine, should run about 1,100 pe­sos.

An­other lo­cal favourite, fa­mous for serv­ing tra­di­tional cook­ing from the Tierra Caliente re­gion of the state, is Rincón de Aguililla, where a fill­ing meal for two will cost roughly 350 pe­sos.

The best op­tion for vis­its to Par­i­cutín is an overnight stay at the com­mu­nity-run Cen­tro Turís­tico An­gahuan, where a sim­ple cabin with a work­ing fire­place starts at 500 pe­sos. Guides of­ten wait at the en­trance to the ho­tel and the staff can help plan ex­cur­sions, which usually start at 1,200 pe­sos for two peo­ple.

Most of the ar­ti­san towns have many fam­i­lies ded­i­cated to craft but lit­tle in­fra­struc­ture to help find their stu­dios. A good start­ing point is the Casa de las Arte­sanías in More­lia, where the knowl­edge­able staff can help guide you. The own­ers at some of the more es­tab­lished gal­leries in Pátzcuaro are even greater fonts of knowl­edge about the re­gion.

Once in the craft vil­lages, you can ask for ar­ti­sans by name. As you leave one work­shop, it’s al­ways worth ask­ing for that ar­ti­san’s rec­om­men­da­tions for stu­dios. Oth­er­wise, just stop in the cen­tral plazas of a vil­lage to ask for arte­sanía; this will al­most al­ways bring you to some­one’s home stu­dio.

Prices can vary dra­mat­i­cally. Small pineap­ples in San José de Gracía may cost no more than a few dol­lars, while more elab­o­rately worked ob­jects can eas­ily run hun­dreds of dol­lars, if not more. Bar­ter­ing is frowned upon, un­less you’re in a large mar­ket and buying in bulk. Keep in mind that what­ever you’re be­ing asked to pay is al­most cer­tainly a mod­est price for the work in­volved.

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