Morelia is a hill city situated beneath the southern end of the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range. Morelia is nestled in the Guayangareo Valley, near Lake Cuitzeo. Don’t let the fact it’s in the valley give you the wrong impression. The city is still more than 6,000 feet above sea level.
The region’s name of Michoacan derives from the Nahuatl terms michin (fish), hua (those who have) and can (place). All together the word means “fishermen’s place.” Not surprising, then, that fish is often the best thing on the menu. Whitefish is a particular favorite. Other local meals include traditional bean soup and chamarro (pork rubbed with chili and cooked in a clay pot).
Walking around in Morelia it can feel like you’ve somehow travelled back in time. Horses are still a mode of travel and vendors still sell freshly-killed chickens and orchids. Many of them using trailers hitched to the back of a donkey. There is an affluent air to the place, the grand buildings, and especially the cathedral, point to an illustrious past.
But Morelia is not a heritage museum. It’s also firmly established in the 21st century, with broadband internet, and big convenience stores such as Wal-Mart. The 17th and 18th century buildings dominate the landscape, but inside them modern life is the same as anywhere else in the world.
The cost of living is certainly lower than the U.S., but expats living in Mexico tend to exaggerate the savings they make. That said, real estate, medical care and house hold help are all far cheaper than in the States. Groceries and going out for food and drink also come at a big discount.
Electrical items and U.S. brand goods tend to cost a lot more in Mexico. Bring as many of these things with you as you can. Gasoline also costs more in Mexico, as do books. It’s all about finding the balance.
Morelia is a pedestrian-friendly city. The community are proud of this and have resisted any plans to redevelop into a more car-focused city. Stats recorded in 2018 showed that more people in Morelia use public transport than cars to get around town.
Morelia has in international airport, you can fly in from the States, as well as fly internally from within Mexico. There are solid road links between Mexico City and Guadalajara so it’s easy to drive here. There is a regular bus service between Morelia and Mexico City.
Morelia is high-altitude and has hilly terrain. You need a degree of physical fitness to live here. If you’re not happy walking then you might prefer to live somewhere else.
The weather is warm throughout the year, but the altitude keeps the temperatures from getting too high. Spring-like is the best way to describe the climate which makes it perfect for all the walking you will be doing.
The rainy season runs from April until November. During these months can expect a heavy downpour a few days per week. You can usually rely on the timing to stay constant. Expect rain during the window between midday and 3pm.
The weather gets a bit cooler during November to January, especially at night. The temperatures can fall into the 40s when the sun goes down. During the day you can still expect temperatures in the high 60s and low 70s.
The best weather is from February to June. This is the dry season and the weather gets up into the high 80s most days.
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