If you are looking for bright, colorful, painted furniture, visit Cuanajo, which is midway between Morelia and Patzcuaro. Coming from Morelia, look for the sign, a few kilometers past Huiramba, make a U-turn at the next opportunity and head for the hills. En route is Tupataro, which is worth stopping at to gaze at the church ceiling. Cuanajo is less than five minutes beyond that.
From Patzcuaro, take the road to Santa Clara and watch for turn-off.
Cuanajo, an entirely Purhépecha village, is a small mountain town known for its carving of pine and cedar furniture, picture frames and other wooden household items. The Purhépecha of Cuanajo began carving wood when Don Vasco de Quiroga, the first bishop of Michoacán, brought Spanish artisans to teach their methods. For generations, the residents of Cuanajo have been making rustic and utilitarian pieces to satisfy the basic needs of the community.
Some of the carvers have gone further by putting their own interpretation into the pieces they make.
The Feast of the Nativity of Mary, or the Birth of the Virgin Mary, is the feast day for Cuanajo on Sept. 8. The village is full of fun and festivities.