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A jaunt to Janitzio

We interrupt the regularly scheduled food posts for a purely travel-related one.  It’s a dreary Monday and I have spent a lot of my weekend working on getting myself organised so that I will be able to complete the seemingly insurmountable amount of work I have to do this term (PhD classes, a paper to present in New Orleans in March, tons of projects to wrap up with my students etc…) . Let’s just say it involved a lot of Post Its ;-)

As I am wont to do, I was perusing my iPhoto albums and came across some that I wanted to share with you today to hopefully brighten this last day of January.  You might remember the story of how I discovered Sopa Tarasca in Pátzcuaro last week… well later that day, we headed down to the embarcadero de Pátzcuaro to see if there might be any boats leaving for la Isla de Janitzio.

As it has been a terrible year for tourism, our guide, Carlos, told us that if there weren’t enough people to fill a boat, the boats just wait until there are.  We didn’t particularly want to spend hours waiting for boats to fill but so he went ahead to check out the situation.

(not very reassuring, huh?)

Luckily for us, there were a number of locals taking day trips out to the island so we didn’t wait long at all.  Oh, all that green stuff in the water (yes, there is water under there)?  They are water hyacinths.

According to MexConnect, masses of water hyacinth have many effects. They block canals, ditches and pipes used for agriculture, recreation or hydro-electric power, increasing the potential flood risk. Their proliferation reduces water movement, and the penetration of sunlight, and decreases the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water, endangering phytoplankton and fish stocks. The dense mats of hyacinth create ideal microhabitats for various undesirable organisms such as mosquito larvae (malarial included). They are, indeed, everywhere.

The short (20 minute) trip takes you to the tiny island, whose name means “where it rains” and whose town is precariously located literally atop a hill.  At the very top is a giant statue of José María Morelos, a great hero of Mexico’s independence – it’s visible from most places on the island.

As you approach, it becomes even more formidable…

You know what’s coming next, right?

Of COURSE you can climb all the way up to the top – all 40 metres!

Inside the statue, you’ll find a mural depicting the life of Morelos which tells a great story in a lot of detail.  We were lucky that we were there when it was not busy because we were afforded a great view – I can imagine if it were much more crowded, it would be hard to take it all in – the stairs are also pretty precarious, you kind of have to focus on those as well!

The view is breathtaking, though it was so windy and such a tiny space that I did not get my camera out.

Janitizio is a gorgeous little town and definitely worth the visit if there is  boat leaving.  And trust me, you won’t have to go to the gym for days. If you’re like me, you also might not be able to walk properly for days. It was STEEP climbing!

Bonus? On the way back you get to feed the seagulls (everyone brought back some kind of food to throw out the boat!).  It’s quite the dramatic exit!

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28 Responses to A jaunt to Janitzio

  1. Corinne @ Gourmantic January 31, 2011 at 05:47 #

    That’s stunning!! I never would have imagined it would have those colourful murals inside. Definitely worth the hike!

  2. Lora January 31, 2011 at 08:19 #

    What a great travel tip. Love the pictures. They make me want to go there. Now.

  3. Lael Hazan @educatedpalate January 31, 2011 at 08:51 #

    What a great post with fab pictures. The picture of inside the monument was incredible and actually made me a bit wobbly! The name of the boat is too funny! Great fun

  4. Belinda @zomppa January 31, 2011 at 09:49 #

    Take me away! Stunning photos.

  5. KA B L O O E Y January 31, 2011 at 11:50 #

    Beautiful shots, and what an imposing statue. And what a precarious little town. The picture of the street with the red steps reminded me of a town in Guatemala on Lake Atitlan. Haven’t thought about that for years, but your photos impelled me to Google some images, so thanks for the inspiration.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite February 4, 2011 at 18:31 #

      Panajáchel, perhaps? We spent some time on Lake Atitlán a few years ago and loved it also :-)

  6. Jen @ keepitsimplefoods January 31, 2011 at 12:08 #

    Gorgeous pics! Sounds like an amazing adventure.

  7. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction January 31, 2011 at 14:54 #

    Such great photos! Sounds like such a great trip.

  8. Brian @ A Thought For Food January 31, 2011 at 16:57 #

    I definitely needed that! Thanks for sharing your travels with us!

  9. Tiny Urban Kitchen January 31, 2011 at 17:44 #

    Those are absolutely beautiful pictures, Mardi! I love the look of the island from afar, and the pictures with the seagulls? Priceless. :)

  10. Barbara | VinoLuciStyle January 31, 2011 at 21:30 #

    I simply could not get over the water hyacinths. I’ve heard they can be a huge problem but guess I never equated how they fill up my little pond each year with something like what is in your photo!

    Lovely little town; thanks for sharing. My travels have been, should we say…a bit limited?

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite February 4, 2011 at 18:28 #

      Well I am glad I could whisk you away on a virtual tour Barb. And yes, those hyacinths are lovely in a small batch but when you see them choking up the waterways it’s a completely different kettle of fish…

  11. Daydreamer Desserts January 31, 2011 at 22:08 #

    Wow Mardi… looks like you’ve seen more of Mexico than I have. :) What a fantastic trip!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite February 4, 2011 at 18:28 #

      It’s often the way that people who visit our home countries have seen more than us – I know that’s definitely the case for me re: Australia!

  12. Beth February 1, 2011 at 21:38 #

    What a wonderful post! I love reading about new places, and this was completely new to me.

  13. Martha February 1, 2011 at 23:37 #

    Loved reading this blog entry!

  14. The Housewife February 2, 2011 at 02:59 #

    Love your pictures! Everything looks so colorful and exotic! Sigh… now I need to plan an imaginary vacay! :P

  15. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen February 2, 2011 at 07:33 #

    Thanks for sharing your vacation pictures with us Mardi, it’s always fun to travel virtually through other peoples pictures and stories. I love that last picture with the sea gulls!

  16. cat February 17, 2011 at 22:58 #

    that first photo is a great image with the statue rising from the top of the island. looked like something from Lost. ;)

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