Rainbow Trout and Macadamia Nuts – We love Uruapan!

All of our Mexican friends told us adamantly not to miss a visit to Uruapan. Escaping bad weather on the coast, we headed back inland and up into the mountains to reach the city in the central part of Michoacán. We ended up “camping” in the parking lot of Hotel Mansion del Cupatitzio, the fanciest hotel in town according to our Lonely Planet travel guide. It’s located right next to the beautiful national park complete with waterfalls and lush tropical vegetation. I was worried about the hotel not permitting overnight parking, but the night watchman assured us it was a safe place to park and nobody would bother us. In fact, he asked us to move our spot slightly so it would be easier for him to keep an eye on our bicycles hanging on the front of the truck! The hospitality south of the border never fails to amaze me when I think of the countless “no overnight parking” and “no camping” signs dotting the coastline in California.

Since we parked for free for three nights, we felt it was the right thing to do to dine in the hotel’s restaurant each night. Prices were surprisingly reasonable for the level of service and quality of the food. I can’t tell you the last time a waiter handed me a steaming towel to clean my hands and placed the napkin in my lap for me. We loved the Rainbow Trout with Macadamia nuts so much that we ate it two nights in a row. There is nearly a whole page of the menu devoted to trout, and they even do the work of removing those pesky bones. For dessert, try the flan. A fine meal for two at Mansion del Cuptatitzio, including wine, runs $30-$40 USD including a tip. Quite a deal when you consider it includes a night of sleeping peacefully to the rushing sound of the waterfall below.

Besides the great tasting meals at the hotel, it was one of the first times we’d seen local food promoted on a menu. The trout comes from a farm right next to the park, using fresh water diverted from the river. Macadamia nuts also grow here, in addition to coffee and avocados. The regional liquor, a type of rum called Charanda, is made from Uruapan-grown sugar cane. Apparently everything delicious can be found in Michoacán.

The next morning we strolled through the Parque Nacional Eduardo Ruiz. For 12 pesos ($1) you can enjoy a clear, blue spring (named the Devil’s Knee), rushing waterfalls, bird songs, orchids, giant banana trees and ferns; not to mention the craziest caterpillars we have ever seen. Any fan of intricate hardscape (rockwork in the landscape) must visit this park. The creators of this park took an arroyo that bisects their city and made it into a unique attraction enjoyed by both visitors and locals. Besides the lush flora and diverse fauna, we were most impressed by the manipulation of the flow of water through the park. It begins at the spring at the top of the park. From here the water has been diverted into a multitude of channels, which run along the stone foot paths. These channels deliver the water to rock gardens, fountains, a trout farm, and back into waterfalls and rapids at the bottom of the arroyo. The entire park is irrigated without use of pumps or electricity – all gravity flow!

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