The town of Janitzio, which means "where it rains", is located atop the hill. Janitzio can only be reached by boats which run regularly back and forth from about 7:30 am to 6 pm, accessible from Pátzcuaro's pier (embarcadero). These boats can be hired to take visitors around other parts of the lake. The town is famous for the butterfly fishermen who are skilled at lowering their butterfly-shaped nets to catch the local famous cuisine "pescado blanco". The butterfly fisherman were also located on the back of the 50 peso Mexican banknote.
Statue of José Maria Morelos
A 40-meter statue of José María Morelos, a great hero of Mexico's independence, started in 1933, is found on the island's highest point. Visitors can climb to the top of the statue by way of a staircase that spirals up the inside. Along the interior walls, the life of Morelos is depicted in murals painted by Ramón Alba de la Canal and other great Mexican muralists. Although the steep stairway can become congested and distract one's attention, it is a good Mexican history lesson. At the top, one can peer through peepholes in the giant raised fist of Morelos, giving a spectacular view of the island, lake and surroundings.
Some of the people of Janitzio and the towns surrounding Lake Pátzcuaro are of indigenous descent and are known as Purepecha (Tarascans). Available in Janitzio are regional handicrafts. A variety of handmade textiles and artwork are sold.
Its main festivity is "El Día de los Muertos" or Day of the Dead. As part of this festivity, candle-lit boat processions make their way to the island and then to Janitzio's Church and graveyard, remaining there for the night for a large festive vigil with much imbibing involved.
Mild, spring-like temperatures prevail most of the year in the North Central Highlands of central Mexico. The highlands have a climate that is described as a "mild, dry climate." The area around Janitzio rarely sees temperatures that go above 80 degrees, even in summer. Daytime temperatures remain fairly consistent year round, however, it can become quite cold at night from November through March. The rainy season runs from May through October, with July and August generally being the wettest months. Quick moving thunderstorms can be expected over the summer months, June to September. The rest of the year remains quite dry.
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Media related to Janitzio Island, Michoacán at Wikimedia Commons
- Day of the Dead Celebration in Janitzio: cultural article about this amazing celebration. Educational video available