Any time a country or region imposes any sort of visa stipulation - even if it’s a waiver - the travel industry sighs a collective groan, knowing the obstacles and headaches to come.
TORONTO — Visitors to Mexico interested in handicrafts should make their way to the state of Michoacan, one of biggest producers (along with the state of Oaxaca) of handicrafts in the country.
Speaking at a luncheon event for travel agents in Toronto, Mexican tour guide Deborah Lopez Garcia held up an example of one of the hammered copper vessels made in the town of Santa Clara del Cobre, a former copper mining town that is home to several workshops specializing in copperware.
“Michoacan also produces beautiful pottery, feather art, lacquer products, textiles, masks, and wooden carvings – some of them are still made using pre-Hispanic techniques,” she said.
Many of handicraft workshops can be found in the villages around Patzcuaro, a “magical town”, which is also the site of one of the most famous Day of the Dead observances in the country.
Lopez said Michoacan, located on the south west coast, has important archaeological sites, colonial towns, indigenous culture and six UNESCO sites. Among them: Day of the Dead observances (intangible heritage), the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve (thousands of the butterflies migrate here every year between November and March), and the historic centre of Morelia, the state capital, which poet Pablo Neruda once called the Pink Stone City because of the colour of its buildings.
Lopez said Morelia has many streets lined with colonial structures, plus a baroque style cathedral, a 16th century convent and a 256-arce aqueduct. She said the city is a good base from which to explore the surrounding region.
Guacamole lovers shouldn’t miss a side trip to Uruapan, the world capital of avocado production.
Mexico Tourism Board spokeswoman, Susana Moreno, told the gathering the official travel agent resource centre and Mexico specialist certification course can be found online at VisitMexicoUniversity.com. The site also contains sales support, planning resources and tools and information on the sales incentive program.