Day 172 Saturday 18th Jan. 15k’s short of Angahuan to Tzintzuntzan. Michoacan Province

Our camp last night was in the woods. Only 80m from a dusty track but fortunately there were not too many passing vehicles. 

It was a lovely cool night. The duvet came out for the first time in ages. Mind you we are at 2300m.

This morning it was only a short 12k trip to our objective. The town, San Juan Parangaricutiro, was completely overcome by a giant lava flow in 1943. Paracutin suddenly appeared in a field and grew to a height of 422m before erupting, The only remaining evidence of a town is the spire and a couple of solid corners of a formerly huge church.

It’s before my time so though I have no recollection of it. I am sure the ‘Evening Post’ would have had pictures of the event?  Climbing over the lava rock to get to the church is quite a challenge. The lava fields are massive in area, 145sq/k’s. Lonely Planet tells us very little about the event. What it does tell us is that the nearby volcano continued to spew out lava for the next 8 years after the initial eruption. Nobody was killed in the eruption, or by flowing lava, but three people were, by a lightning strike, associated with the eruption.

Enterprising young guys are trying to persuade us to mount horses and ride with them to the volcano source, for a mere P450 each. 5 hours in the saddle did not appeal, so we respectfully declined their offer. The horses are sturdy looking beasts. The saddles and bridles are works of art. 

After clambering over lava rocks, stalls clustered around the track to the church are offering all sorts of fare. Blue coloured quesadillas made from blue corn but stuffed with interesting ingredients. Very tasty. We also purchased our first mangoes.

The road out of the zone, opposite to the entry, was the most torturous we have driven on. The valley is covered in Avocado trees. We pass a colourful gathering on one of the farms. It’s Saturday and festivities are in full swing. Music and just as we pass, an almighty explosion, I suspect a shotgun discharge? It might have been something more substantial? We had heard others explosions during the morning. Perhaps they are to deter birds from attacking the fruit. 

A couple of trees overhang the narrow track away from the village and the extra height of the Mercedes Camper, allow some gathering of fruit.  

Later on, after leaving the 9k’s of dirt tracks and rejoining the main road a constant stream of utilities pass us with long aluminium poles strapped to the roofs and structures. There seem to be pouches of some kind at one end of the pole. Perhaps the poles are used for picking Avocado from the upper reaches of the trees?


Our destination this evening is the town of Tzintzuntzan which has ancient ruins of the once mighty indigenous race of Tarascan Indians.

While setting up camp in the car park, I heard the call, “which one’s the Kiwi”? Four young people came to chat. One of them, Natalia, had only recently visited NZ. She has a friend in Tauranga. They met in Thailand and they have been firm friends since. Natalia had visited Rotorua.

All the group spoke excellent English and are fine, well educated young Mexicans. It was a joy talking with them. Natalia is a lawyer and her boyfriend Alejandro (Alex) an engineer. Alex’s younger brother Mauricio and girlfriend Ainara, are still studying. Later they were joined by Alex’s Mum, Dad and sisters, who had been chatting with Tim & Sarah and photos taken.

Alejandro (Alex), Mauricio, Ainara & Natalia

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