Travel between the major cities of Michoacán takes only an hour or two at most, and public transportation is frequent. You should plan 3 days in Morelia (more if you intend to see the butterflies) and a minimum of 3 days in Pátzcuaro, but more like a week if you're interested in taking day trips to the lakes and the villages in the region and want to look into the local handicrafts. Uruapan, another important town, is an easy day trip from either city, although you may want to stay longer to visit El Paricutín volcano. During Easter week or Day of the Dead observances (Nov 1-2), the Plazas Grandes in Pátzcuaro and Uruapan overflow with regional crafts. Reserve rooms in advance for these holidays. With the highway from Ixtapa, it's possible to plan a vacation that combines the colonial cities of Michoacán with quality beach time.
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