Our expat hometown series rolls on this month with our article, “High on Life in the Mountains of Michoacán,” Victoria Ryan’s take on living along Lake Pátzcuaro.
Victoria has lived in Pátzcuaro for nearly 20 years and owns and operates a very successful B&B hotel and several long-term rental apartments.
She was born in Australia, raised in New Mexico, lived in the eastern United States for a while and then moved back to Santa Fe, New Mexico where she settled into real estate sales. Along the way, she married twice, divorced twice and had two girls.
Her father was born in the northern Mexico state of Chihuahua and took the family to the western coast of Mexico on vacations from their home in Albuquerque, which kindled Victoria’s long-time love affair with Mexico.
In 1992, Ryan decided to spend some time in San Miguel de Allende to take Spanish lessons and study watercolor painting. One weekend a friend suggested they go to Pátzcuaro for the weekend.
“The first time I set eyes on it,” she said, “was in the winter of 1992 and I fell in love with Pátzcuaro immediately. When I got out of the car I was bewitched. I really fell hard for it.”
High in the mountains of Michoacán, Pátzcuaro lies about 7,200 feet in elevation on the shore of Lake Pátzcuaro, which is a natural lake over 30-miles long.
“It’s an old 16th century colonial city about halfway between Mexico City and Guadalajara,” she said. “With such a high elevation, the area looks a lot like the Sierra Nevada in California or the mountains of Oregon and has lots of pine trees. May is the warmest month of the year here and the rest of the time it’s kind of like eternal fall. I love the climate here.”
After spending winters in Pátzcuaro for several years she began looking at real estate for a pied-à-terre to purchase. Instead, she became the owner of an old colonial building that was built in 1784 in the orchard of the sisters of Catherine de Sienna. She became its second owner and began two years of construction to turn her new property into a B&B hotel. Hotel Casa Encantada opened for business in 1999 and is now Trip Advisor’s #1 rated hotel in the area.
When she is not taking care of daily business, Victoria spends time painting and sculpting. She works in fiberglass and bronze and is currently working on a bronze deer dancer similar to what you might see at the ballet folkloric.
We think you’ll get a real flavor of what it is like to live in Pátzcuaro by reading Victoria’s story. You can also get see a 15-minute video excerpt of the interview on our YouTube channel.
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