Morelia Mexico Retire Cheap in Paradise

Morelia Mexico Low Cost of Living
Morelia Mexico Retire Cheap in Paradise
-Best Morelia Free Old Town Walking Tour and Map
-Best Day Tours
-Best Nightlife
-Best Restaurants
-Best (and) Cheap Hotels
-Best Flights, Buses, Trains
Best Travel or Retire Cheap to Paradise Locations in the World

Morelia Mexico Retire Cheap in Paradise

[kkstarratings]  This is Dan from Vagabond Buddha. This is my Morelia Mexico Retire Cheap in Paradise Guide. I am traveling the world discovering the best retire cheap in paradise destinations. My search began in 2007–65 countries so far. The last 6 weeks I have been finding cheap paradise locations in Mexico. This week I am in Morelia Mexico checking into retire cheap prices and things to do. Please subscribe at or on our Youtube Channel if you want to learn the best travel or retire cheap to paradise locations in the world.

Fun Facts about Morelia Mexico

Here are some fun Morelia Mexico facts I found on Wikipedia:

  1. This area of Mexico has been inhabited by humans since 700 BC.
  2. Spanish Conquistadors and priests showed up here 1525 AD.
  3. Most of the structures you see were built in the colonial-era between 1630 and 1790.
  4. Initially, Spain named the city Valladolid. But Mexico later renamed it Morelia in 1828 to honor a local man named Morelos who helped Mexico win Independence from Spain.
  5. Morelia Mexico was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1991.

Best Morelia Free Old Town Walking Tour and Map

Here is the Youtube video of our Morelia Free Old Town Walking Tour. You can watch this video when you take the tour and it will explain the significance of each stop. Click the Google Map link below this Youtube video so it can direct you to each destination on the tour, as you listen to this video.

Every visit to a colonial-era town in Mexico should include the main square and church. So we start this Morelia free old town walking tour at the Cathedral. Click the Google Map of our Best Morelia Free Old Town Walking Tour to get started:

Click ==>>this link<<== on your smartphone to get started on your free Google Maps walking tour of old town Morelia, Mexico. At the first stop, there are four places of historical significance. Those four include the Morelia Cathedral, and the three plazas surrounding it–Plaza de Armas, Plaza Juarez, and Melchor Ocampo Plaza.

Morelia Cathedral: Construction began in 1660 and was completed 84 years later. One of the largest pipe organs was installed in 1905 with 4600 pipes. Most cathedrals in Mexico face the rising sun to accommodate beliefs of indigenous people, that you should be buried facing east so you are facing the sun god when you are born into the next life. But here, the cathedral faces north. The cathedral is the cultural center of Morelia including both religious and cultural activities, such as international music festivals. The following plazas surround the Cathedral.

Plaza de Armas: This is the large tree-lined plaza on the west side of the cathedral. It is also known as the Plaza of the Martyrs in honor of brave Mexicans executed by Spain in the plaza during Mexico’s war of independence.

Juarez Plaza: This is the plaza between the Cathedral and Plaza de Armas. It honors president Juarez, the only Mexican president that was the descendants of indigenous Mexicans. Juarez is celebrated for winning the Reform War in Mexico. The Reform War in Mexico separated religion from government.

Melchor Ocampo Plaza: Melchor Ocampo was a mestizo (mixed race) baby abandoned at the door of a wealthy woman. She raised and educated him as her own. He became a politician and lawyer who argued that the Roman Catholic Church was taking all of the poor (indigenous) people’s money. They couldn’t afford to feed or educate their families. Ocampo explained how one poor hungry man could not even afford to feed his family. The poor man did not have the exorbitant superficial burial fees a Catholic priest demanded to allow his dead infant son into heaven. The hungry poor man cried and asked, “What should I do with my dead son?” The priest said, “Salt him and eat him.” Ocampo fought for separation of church and state. Ocampo fought for free public education for the poor, tolerance of all religious beliefs, and elimination of privileges granted only to the elite (which he was). Ocampo was able to get many of his ideas into President Juarez’s Reform Laws before he was murdered by religious conservative fanatics.

Palacio de Justicia: Stop by this beautiful structure and view the mural of José María Morelos. He was a founding father of independent Mexico. He helped extricate the plague of Spanish oppression from much of Mexico. He also authored Mexico’s Magna Carta which grants inalienable rights and responsibilities to all no matter their title, status, or wealth in society. Morelia was named after Morelos. You can learn more about Morelos at the free Casa Natal de Morelos Museum.

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University of Michoacan Public Library: This 17th-century structure, formerly the Church of the Fellowship of Jesus, was annexed into the university library in 1940. As you walk from Plaza de Armas to this corner on my Google Maps walking Tour, make sure to look to your right about 50 meters before you turn right and see this. There is a great University Courtyard there with a statue of Hidalgo. Don’t miss it!

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Centro Cultural Clavijero: This public cultural center presents temporary art exhibits both public and private collections. The construction of the temple started in 1660 and was completed 100 years later. This center receives its name from the Jesuit Francisco Javier Clavijero. He is honored throughout Mexico as one of the first Mexican born intellectuals who not only defended but counter-attacked uninformed Europeans. Clavijero told the truth about the original people and their culture. He helped shed light in international communities that the colonizers truly acted like animals in the new world, and that the original people were honorable.

Garden Temple and Music Academy of Las Rosas: The above picture is the garden park right in front of the academy. This academy was originally the Dominican Convent of Santa Catalina founded in 1595. Now it is a school that specializes in the arts, mainly in music. It is the home of the internationally known Young Art Festival and is home to the famous Choir of the Singing Children of Morelia.

The House of Culture of Morelia: In this one square block area there is a cultural center, an old Catholic church, an ex-Convent of Carmen, and the Plaza of Carmen. In 1593, Carmelite monks showed up from Spain and began building this compound. In 1809, prisoners of a conspiracy for independence from Spain were kept in the cultural center area. The monks were kicked out in 1857 when the reform laws were activated. The church has maintained its religious function. The community cultural center now focuses on artistic workshops, concerts, exhibits, and cultural events.

Templo de San Francisco: This was the first church built in this city. The first version built at another site was constructed using adobe with a straw roof in 1531. This second version of the Franciscan Temple was built in the 17th century. The tower was added until 1948. The friars taught the indigenous people how to read and write in addition to performing religious services. Plaza Valladolid surrounds the church. Make sure to visit Artisan Institute Michoacano (Casa de las Artesanías). It is just to the right of the front door to the temple. Many consider this artist enclave the highest quality and creativity in the state of Michoacan.

Museo del Dulce De La Calle Real: Part of discovering any culture should involve food, and what better place to start the inquiry than at a candy or sweets museum. Here you will find the regional favorites along with the history of how sweets evolved in this part of Mexico. 25 Pesos $1.25 USD, 11 AM to 7:30 PM, 7 Days per week.

Tarascas Fountain: This is the most famous water fountain in Morelia Mexico. The three beautiful women are indigenous princesses Atzimba, Erendira, and Tzetzangari. Nudity was a social norm. The first version was completed in 1931 but removed 30 years later by a prudish politician. This current version, by Jose Luis Padilla Retana, was installed in 1984. The following Aqueduct is visible from this fountain.

Aqueduct of Morelia: The Morelia area has had a challenge providing enough water to the citizens since colonial times. The first version of Aqueduct of Morelia was built in 1549 using large canoes of wood but this rudimentary construction required constant repairs. The current manifestation was completed in 1730, collapsed and completed again in 1785. That version lasted until 1910. It was restored again in 1998 as a beautiful example of colonial-era works.

Alley of Romance: This is visually the most romantic street in Morelia. I read online that there are many romances that originated here. But I have not found a story that I can share with you. If you find a love story I can share here, please share it in the comments below and let me know if I can add it to this post. This completes our free old town walking tour of Morelia Mexico. In the next section, we consider the best day tours in and around Morelia Mexico.

If you book my recommended flights, tours (Viator Tours, Get Your Guide Tours) or accommodations, you will pay nothing extra, but we will earn a small commission.

Best Day Tours and Map of Morelia

Guided Tours

I usually suggest a Viator Tours and Get Your Guide Tours for the best deals on guided day tours around the world. However, neither had many options in Morelia on the week I was here. Plus, click both links when you are here to see if things have improved (Viator Tours, Get Your Guide Tours) If you know of a great tour operator around Morelia that I can suggest, please let me know below in the notes.

Self-Guided (Cheap Bastard) Tours

Here are a few free self-guided day tours around Morelia, in case you are cheap like me.

Best (and Cheap) Michoacán’s Monarch Migration Tour

This tour is a must see if you are here when the Monarch butterflies are here. Technically you could come to see the butterflies as early as November. However, the best time is between late January and the end of March. Before late January, the butterflies don’t flutter their wings as much. The way to get the cheapest price on this tour is to shop the tour sellers around the Cathedral in Morelia when you are on my above old town walking tour. Talk to a few before making up your mind. Booking online before your arrival with a ‘special’ tour guide can easily be double the price you will be quoted on the ground here where there is competition.

Best (and Cheap) Day Tour From Morelia: Patzcuaro and Nearby Villages (Janitzio Island, Tzintzuntzan, Quiroga, and Capula)

Here is the Youtube video of our Best (and Cheap) Day Tour From Morelia to Patzcuaro, Janitzio Island, Quiroga, Tzintzuntzan, and Capula. You can watch the following video and it will explain the significance of each stop. Click the Google Map link below the Youtube video so it can direct you to each destination on the tour, as you listen to this video. This tour requires you to have access to a vehicle. If you do not have access to a vehicle, you can purchase a roundtrip bus tour package for about 580 Pesos ($29 USD) per person. Just look for the tour operators around Morelia Cathedral.

Every visit to Morelia Mexico should include the nearby villages of Patzcuaro, Janitzio Island, Quiroga, Tzintzuntzan, and Capula. Click the Google Map or the link below the map to begin your self-directed tour.

Click ==>this link<== to begin your tour.

Capula: This village is known for the intricate day of the dead figurines you find all over Mexico. Make sure to visit the Artisan Cooperative, but also walk around the village and visit other studios.

Quiroga: The town is named after Bishop Vasco de Quiroga. Bishop Quiroga was sent to heal the gratuitous murder (by fire), torture, enslavement, and rape by Conquistador Guzman. Bishop Quiroga set up schools to teach the indigenous people how to read and write. His leadership also encouraged the artisan cooperatives around Patzcuaro Lake so the locals could trade with other communities. Enjoy the lovely artisan shops and local street food. There is a great Saturday market here. Quiroga is famous for the street vendors selling pork tacos called carnitas.

Tzintzuntzan: In 1530, Spanish Conquistador Guzman was greeted in peace here by Tangáxuan, the king of the Purépecha people who built the pyramids over the city. Tangáxuan greeted Guzman with gifts of gold and silver. Guzman responded by torturing Tangáxuan to the edge of death trying to get all the gold. Then Guzman burned Tangáxuan to death. There was no more gold or silver. Make sure to visit the Ex-Convent of San Francisco here that date back to 1540. There is a great museum in the convent. Make sure to notice the indigenous symbolism the Franciscans used to try to attract the indigenous population to join the church. Also, walk around and check out the works of the local artisans. The Franciscan monks built the convent by destroying much of a sacred indigenous Tarascan temple. Make sure to visit the Tarascan ruins of Tzintzuntzan, Michoacan, Mexico.

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Tarascan Ruins: These massive ceremonial structures were built by the Purépecha. The Purépecha controlled a territory in size second only to the Aztecs. The Purépecha kingdom originated in about 1325, but the capital was moved here to Tzintzuntzan in about 1450. These ruins are about 500 years old. Excavation started in 1992 found a room dedicated to storing the heads of enemies killed in battle. An on-site museum includes artifacts found during excavation.

Isla Janitzio: Make sure to take a boat to visit this small island in Patzcuaro lake. Walk to the top where there is a statue of Jose Maria Morelos, the Mexican Independence hero. Make sure to wander around a bit outside the marked tourist paths. This island with its purely indigenous population has no cars. Along those pathways, there are stands for souvenirs and restaurants. In whole – this is a very colorful and dazzling little island.

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Patzcuaro: This city once competed with Morelia to be the capital of Michoacán. Because it lost the competition, it remains smaller and less modernized. Some believe it is more beautiful and representative of days gone by. It is also a much cheaper place to live than Morelia. It is a colonial-era city with plazas and cobbled streets. There are more expats living here per capita than in Morelia. Make sure to visit Plaza Grande (Plaza Vasco de Quiroga) and Plaza Chica (Plaza Gertrudis Bocanegra), and of course, The Basilica. Do not miss Casa de Los Once Patios. It was formerly a Dominican convent and now houses regional artists shops.

Best Nightlife Walking Tour: Map of Morelia (Bar Hopping)

Here is a free Google Map of our Morelia Mexico Bar Hopping Tour. Just click ==>this link<== on your smartphone to start your tour.

We actually walked this whole route on a Saturday starting at about 10:30 PM and took a taxi back from the last stop at 1:30 AM. We never saw or felt anything that seemed to be a threat to our safety. It was just normal everyday people having fun on a Saturday night. As we walked, we stopped inside the bars that were playing music we liked. I have posted a picture below for each one that we went inside to have a drink.

Best High-End Karaoke Bar: Zacarias Karaoke This Karaoke bar (above picture) had a few different rooms. In this room, the singers got up on stage and sang. There was also a larger room behind it where people sat in their seats and sang, in case you are a little shy.

Best Live Reggaeton: Zacarias Live

Only Pool (Billiards) Hall in Historical Morelia: Bicho’s

Best Live Rock: Rock Paraiso Bar They were between sets when we walked by this one so we decided to come back later and see if we liked the band. We never made it back.

Best Gay Bar: Sak Bar There was a line to get in and a cover here so we decided to skip this one. But you can see from the street that they have a great rooftop bar.

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Best Jazz Club: AMATI Restaurant & Jazz Club. We went inside this one and would have stayed for a drink, but there was nowhere to sit. Not even at the bar. It was a nice crowd and many of the patrons had instruments at their table. So it might be a nice jazz club for improvisation. Please let me know if you confirm that. 🙂

Best Cheap Karaoke Bar: Bar Ciao The above photo is of Bar Ciao. Qiang had her favorite chicken wings so far in Mexico at Ciao. There were some really good singers here.

Best Pop/Rock Dance Club: La Taberna Everyone was singing along and many were dancing here also. Mexicans know how to have a great time.

If you book my recommended flights, tours (Viator Tours, Get Your Guide Tours) or accommodations, you will pay nothing extra, but we will earn a small commission.

Best Restaurants in Morelia

Restaurante Caracuaro: This was our favorite meal in Morelia. High quality and reasonable prices. 225 Pesos, $11 USD.

Tata Mezcalería + Cocina de Autor: This is one of the highest rated restaurants in town. I had a portobello mushroom burger ad Qiang had a glazed lamb. The food was good. This was our most expensive meal in Morelia, 450 Pesos, $22 USD.

Cafe Loto: The menu here is all vegetarian. I am a vegetarian and there were so many choices here it was hard to decide. But I ended up having enchiladas which were delicious.

La Casona de las Rosas: This is in a sidewalk cafe in a beautiful park we discovered during our old town walking tour of Morelia Mexico. I had a delicious primavera pasta that was reasonably priced. Qiang Hui loved her soup here also.

Vagabond Buddha’s Kitchen: I love to cook. Plus I am a vegetarian. We bought groceries here and cooked at least one meal at home per day. Our Airbnb was $19 USD per night and it had a functional kitchen. The link to our Airbnb apartment is below.

If you would like to learn how to make money online, or how to live internationally possibly with less money than you spend at home, please subscribe to Vagabond Buddha or get a free copy of my Ebook.

If you book my recommended flights, tours (Viator Tours, Get Your Guide Tours) or accommodations, you will pay nothing extra, but we will earn a small commission.

Best (and) Cheap Hotels in Morelia

I recommend staying in the old own area of Morelia. Then you can focus on the colonial-era charm and experience Mexican culture and life. Plus you can enjoy walking around without having to get in a Taxi to see everything. Here is a Google Map of the area you should try to stay within or as close as possible based upon your budget.

The following are a few great places that you should consider depending on your budget. They go from most to least expensive, and then I show you where we stayed.

Hotel De La Soledad: (2100 Pesos, $105 USD, per night) These gorgeous colonial-era courtyards and luxury will take you back to charms of old. You will feel like a King or Queen. The location is amazing and everything is at your doorstep. Check out the pictures and reviews and prices. It was about $105 USD per night on the day we searched.

Hosting House Congreso: (925 Pesos, $47 USD) Hard to imagine that you can get such a beautiful place for so little. Check out the pictures, reviews. This was $47 USD per night on the date we searched. The location is perfect.

Hotel & Suites Galeria: (550 Pesos, $28 USD) This decoration seem odd for a colonial-era centrally located hotel, but the price speaks for itself. Check out the reviews, the pictures, and the price. Hard to beat this price at $28 USD per night on the day we searched.

The Only Backpackers Morelia: (500 Pesos, $25 USD) The name says it all. This is a great location. For a few bucks more you can get the above hotel room. But you may be craving the social aspects of a hostel. This is your best bet then. Check out the reviews and pictures. It was $25 per night on the day we searched.

The below picture is where we stayed for $19 USD per night.

Airbnb House Share: The above picture is the courtyard in the house where Qiang and I stayed for a week at about $19 USD per night. It is a large colonial-era home with the courtyard in the center. Maria and her husband Louis were our hosts and they are the kindest sweetest people you will ever meet. And they have a cute little cocker spaniel dog that will greet you when you come home each day. Maria had a birthday party for her husband Louis while we were here. She invited us to the party so we got to enjoy her family and friends along with traditional family recipes and drinks. One of her good friends played the guitar and everyone sang traditional Mexican folk songs so it was super fun. Plus they made me sing Yesterday by the Beatles with everyone singing along with me. So we got to enjoy what it feels like to be part of a Mexican family for a week. The pictures are exactly what this place looks like. Maria has a well-equipped kitchen so we were able to shop in the local market and cook some very nice meals. The WIFI works great and she has hot showers with great water pressure. Maria’s house is just a block from the Romance Alley I show you in the above old town walking tour. I would stay here again without hesitation. (If you are new to Airbnb, use this code for a big discount).

I started living internationally over 11 years ago. If you would like to learn how to make money online, or how to live internationally possibly with less money than you spend at home, please subscribe to Vagabond Buddha or get a free copy of my Ebook.

Click here for recommended flights, tours (Viator Tours, Get Your Guide Tours) or accommodations.

Best Flights, Buses, Trains

I am in Morelia Mexico today. We have been traveling around Mexico for 6 weeks. We have been to Mexico City, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Guadalajara, Chapala, Ajijic, and Puerto Vallarta befo0re coming to Morelia. We were also in Playa del Carmen and Tulum for 6 weeks last year.

I have been exploring the world since 2007, 65 countries so far.

We took the ETN Bus from Purto Vallarta to Morelia. Skip this paragraph unless you are coming from Puerto Vallarta to Morelia. It takes about 10 hours to get to Morelia and costs 1365 Pesos or $68 USD per person. We checked three large bags for no extra fees.

Buses: We have taken both ETN and Primera between various cities in Mexico. You will need to check their web page to see if they have a bus from your city to Morelia. You can visit the English ETN website. You can also right click any web page in your Google Chrome browser. That will translate any website into English (or whatever language you speak). Before selecting a bus route, check flights on (Skyscanner). Sometimes flying is cheap in Mexico and it might save you some time.

Uber: I use Uber to go from the bus station to my accommodations when I am in Mexico. I like the International record of who picked me up and who dropped me, and where. Plus, I know the license plate number when they arrive. Plus, I don’t have to negotiate price or destination in Spanish.

Morelia International Airport (MLM): You can fly into Morelia International Airport (General Francisco Mujica International Airport). You can try to use Uber to get to your accommodations so you don’t have to negotiate directly with drivers. An Uber to Morelia Centro is about 250 Pesos, $25 USD. Honestly, that seems a bit high since it is only 30 minutes to Morelia. Check the Taxi stand inside the airport to see if you can beat that price.

Mexico City International Airport (MEX): You can fly into Mexico City and take a bus to Morelia. The bus to Morelia from Mexico City takes around 4 to 5 hours. You will need to transfer from the Mexico City International airport to the bus station in Mexico City. I recommend using Uber for that for that transfer. Check at the above buses link (ETN and Primera) for prices and schedules for buses from Mexico City to Morelia.

International Flights: The cheapest flights usually depart on Tuesday and Wednesday. Skyscanner finds the cheapest flight no matter where I am going in the world. Get a Mexican SIM card for your smartphone when you land in Mexico City. You will need a SIM to order your Uber rides, check bus schedules, and use my Google Map walking tours. Get your phone unlocked before you leave your home country.

National Flights: If you are flying from somewhere in Mexico to Morelia, get your ticket on Skyscanner. They find the cheapest flights every time for me. But check bus prices first if you are only 6 hours or less from Morelia by bus. It can be faster and cheaper to take the bus in some cases because of waiting times at the airport. Plus, you can see Mexico from a bus.

Train: There is just one passenger train still running in Mexico and it does not go to Morelia.

Click here for our recommended flights, tours (Viator Tours, Get Your Guide Tours) or accommodations, you will pay nothing extra, but we will earn a small commission.

If you would like to live cheap or retire early in paradise, learn how to make money online, or how to live internationally possibly with less money than you spend at home, please subscribe to Vagabond Buddha or get a free copy of my Ebook.

Thank you for stopping by Vagabond Buddha, Dan

Warning: I am not offering you these prices.  These are just my notes and estimates from the time of my visit and this post.  Your costs will likely be drastically different if significant inflation or deflation occurs or the market changes after this post.  I will not update these numbers until I am on the ground again here, if ever.   

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