Cuitzeo comes from the P'urhepecha word "cuiseo" which means "place of water containers," in reference to the large, shallow, spring-fed lake. Along with the P'urhepecha Empire, this site was also influenced by the Toltecs and Nahua groups, including those from Tula and Teotihuacan. When the Spanish arrived, Cuitzeo was under P'urhepecha rule.

The first Evangelists to arrive in the area were the Augustinians under Francisco de Villafuerte and Miguel de Alvarado. Construction of the Santa Maria Magdalena Monastery began in 1550, which is the year given for Cuitzeo del Porvenir's official founding.

Today, with a population under 9,000, Cuitzeo del Porvenir is a small, quaint and quiet town with narrow streets. The main activities here include agriculture and fishing.


The Santa Maria Magdalena Monastery is located on one end of the main plaza,. The complex includes a church, garden, open chapel and cloister. The church here shows a fusion of indigenous symbolism with Augustinian beliefs - something that was quite common in Latin America. As was also common in this part of the world, the Monastery was built from the ruins of a P'urhepecha temple dedicated to the sun god Curicaueri.

The Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia opened "The Museum of the Stamp" in the Santa Maria Magdalena Monastery complex, with a collection from many famous Mexican artists. There are also rooms filled with excellent examples of P'urhepecha and religious artifacts. The top floor of the cloister houses an antique library of monastery books number over one thousand. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 9-5. Entrance fee is 40 pesos per person.

If you are interested in archaeology, there are some very small sites near Cuitzeo del Povenir that can be incorporated into your visit to this wonderful Pueblo Magico.


Lake Cuitzeo is located outside of Morelia on the highway heading for Guanajuato State. with an area of 300-400 square kilometers, Cuitzeo is the second largest freshwater lake in Mexic, though the western side of the lake has a higher salinity, and even sustains a clam shrimp fishery.


Though the lake does not drain into the sea, it does have an outflow canal that was constructed to deal with high water levels. Sadly today, the lake is quickly disappearing.


The western part of the lake was divided into two sections due to highway construction. If you are driving to San Miguel de Allende or Guanajuato from Morelia, you will pass over this highway.


The three main inflows are the Viejo de Morelia, Grande de Morelia and the Querendaro rivers. The lake helps to sustain agricultural fields, with major crops including coffee, cotton and maize.


Location:  Cuitzeo del Porvenir, Michoacan Mexico

Founded:  1550

Population: 28, 227 (2010 Census),

Altitude: 1,837 Meters (6027 Feet)

Climate:  Warm & Temperate

Known For:  Santa Maria Magdalena Monastery, Lake Cuitzeo



If you are travelling between Patzcuaro or Morelia and Guanajuato State, we recommend stopping in the Pueblo Magico Cuitzeo del Porvenir.  This lovely and quaint village is home to Santa Maria Magdalena Monastery, and is close to Huandacero Hot Springs!   





Embark on a day trip from Morelia or Patzcuaro along La Ruta Don Vasco - including Cuitzeo!


$2400 MX

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