Lago de Camécuaro Michoacan: Mexico National Park

Are you planning to visit Lake Camecuaro Michoacan?

El Parque Nacional Lago de Camécuaro is one of my favorite natural places to visit in Michoacan Mexico.

I fell in love with the park for its Montezuma cypress whose roots shallowly crisscross the land that encompasses the lake.

Plus the water color is gorgeous. Locals affectionately call Lago de Camecuaro “Blue Sky Underwater,” because of its color.

When I was planning to visit Lake Camecuaro, I couldn’t find a lot of information with the details I wanted to know about the lake, including what city to stay (the answer is Zamora).

So I wrote this guide which includes information about Lago de Camecuaro hotels and how to get there from Zamora. I’ve also included more details such as the best time to visit and things to do in Lago de Camecuaro Parque Nacional.

Lake Camecuaro is a magical spot, surrounded by incredible trees. It’s definitely worth going out of your way to visit.

Let’s discover everything you need to know to plan a trip.

A small part of the Lago de Camecuaro, Michoacan, surrounded by huge cypress trees with their large roots visible above the water.

What to Do at Lago de Camécuaro

Without a doubt, Lago de Camécuaro National Park is a gorgeous setting all on its own. I found its natural beauty to be similar to Huasteca Potosina, a region full of waterfalls and rivers near San Luis Potosí Mexico. 

And the vibrant Mexican party atmosphere reminded me of riding the trajineras in Xochimilco near Mexico City. Mix them together and in my opinion Lake Camecuaro melds into a fabulous, fun-filled Sunday afternoon.

So let’s look at the activities in Parque Nacional Lago de Camécuaro.

1. Take a Boat Ride

Lago Camecuaro, Michoacan with cypress trees on the side and a red and yellow wooden boat with a group of people.

Probably the most popular thing to do in Lago de Camecuaro National Park is to take a boat ride. The medium sized red and yellow boats have shaded bench seating for about 10 people. The boat ride is led by a guide and a rower paddles from the back of the boat.

2. Ride Bikes Around the National Park

Green, blue, red and yellow bicyle carts with shades on top for two bikers and 2 kids with orange helmets on the seats in Lago de Camecuaro.

In addition to a children’s play area, there is a place to rent bikes inside the National Park. 

The bikes are family style with space for two adults in the back and two kids in the front. The rental includes helmets for each person. It’s a fun way to see the lake.

3. Go Swimming

The spring filled lake is great to refresh on a hot day. Although the water was a bit cold for me when I visited in early November, just after experiencing Day of the Dead in Michoacan.

A bird signage stating that the water is 3.5 meters deep in front of a cypress tree in Lago Camecuaro, Michoacan.

But that didn’t stop many young kids from swimming and jumping off platforms into the lake. I recommend bringing your bathing suit so you can decide once you are there.

There are changing areas and restrooms around the lake and I noticed a few lifeguards when I visited on a Sunday.

4. Admire the Trees in Parque Nacional Lago de Camécuaro

One of the most beautiful aspects of Lago de Camecuaro National Park are the trees. I noticed two species – a type of willow and Montezuma cypress.

A cypress tree with big roots in front of Camecuaro Lake in Michoacan.

Fun Fact – The Montezuma Cypress was named the national tree of Mexico in 1921.

The Montezuma cypress was considered sacred in Mesoamerica and it’s believed that its Nahuatl name, Ahuehuete, loosely translates to “old water tree.” I found myself admiring its web of roots grow near the surface as much as the leafy part of the tree.

Cypress tree with huge roots at Lago Camecuaro in Michoacan, Mexico.

I read on one of the plaques at the lake that the Willow tree attracts lightning. Something to keep in mind if you visit during the rainy season.

5. Drink a Piña Loca

Towards the end of my afternoon at the lake, I wandered over to one of the stands and ordered a piña loca (crazy pineapple).

Different fruits sticking out of a pineapple, also known as pina loca with the lake in the background at Camecuaro, Michoacan.

It’s a fun drink served in a pineapple with your choice of liquor (rum or tequila) blended with pineapple juice. What makes it crazy? All the snacks on top – pieces of pineapple, watermelon, jicama, and gummy worms were speared on toothpicks and sticking out of the top of the cocktail.

6. Hire a Mariachi Band to Play a Few Songs

If you’re visiting Lake Camecuaro Michoacan on a weekend, there may be a mariachi band or two wandering around. If so, you can ask them to play a song. 

I didn’t think to ask the rate when I was there, but I know mariachi in Mexico City goes for about 100-150 pesos per song. Although the rate is likely a bit lower at the lake.

Where to Stay to Visit Lake Camecuaro

I chose to book a hotel in Zamora because there were more options. It was a good decision because staying in the center of town meant I had more restaurant options within walking distance.

It also allowed me to walk around the city to visit the square and see the stunning stained glass windows at the Zamora Cathedral.

Interior of church Zamora in Michoacan, depicting different statues at the walls.

Tip: Visit the church in the late afternoon when the sun streams through the stained glass and reflects on the stone walls of the church.

There is a hotel with a swimming pool located next to Lago de Camecuaro National Park. However, unless you have a car I think it feels a bit remote to stay there.

Restaurants in Zamora Michoacan

Since I mentioned being within walking distance to restaurants while staying in Zamora, I wanted to highlight a couple that I found.

If you want to try the food of Michoacan and specifically Zamora, The Pink Panther (maps) is a good option. For dinner I ordered the dish their signature dish, carne en su jugo (carne in its juices). And for dessert, chongos zamoranos.

If you’re craving something with more vegetables, La Zanahoria del Sol (maps) caught my eye. It’s available for breakfast and lunch.

How to Get to Lake Camécuaro from Zamora

There are a few options to get to Camécuaro Lake from Zamora. If you have a car the easiest way is to drive about 20 minutes to Lago de Camécuaro and pay 20 pesos to park for the day.

An exterior view of Church Zamora in Michoacan on a sunny day.

You can also take a taxi to Camécuaro Lake from Zamora. My hotel in the center of town said it was about 170 pesos. If you are with a group this would be a great option because you can share the cost.

Bus to Lago de Camécuaro from Zamora

If you’re traveling solo like me, the most affordable way to get to Lago de Camécuaro is by public transportation. Buses to Tangancicuaro leave from the Central bus station in Zamora (maps). 

Tell the bus driver you’re going to Lago de Camécuaro and they will drop you off along the highway. Then it’s a 10 minute walk to the entrance of the national park.

Tip: A taxi from Zamora centro to the bus station costs about 70 pesos. Alternatively you can take a red and white colectivo van from this spot on maps to the bus station for 10 pesos. 

A white van waiting for passengers going to Camecuaro Lake in Michoacan with a sign saying "central directo".
The colectivo from Zamora centro to the bus station.

Food at Lake Camecuaro

I fully expected to order food at Lake Camecuaro. I assumed it would probably be just okay and a little expensive. But when I got off the bus, the smell of grilled chicken stopped me in my tracks.

Street Camecuaro Lake, Michoacan with food stalls, signages and people walking.

Between the road to the lake and the Oxxo at the corner, I met Oscar who sets up his grill around 7 am and sells chicken until he runs out. He also runs the afternoon cantina familiar behind his grill spot.

Even though I was ready to order, Osar insisted I try his homemade crema de coco, which adds a slight sweetness to the grilled chicken. He then suggested I buy drinks at the Oxxo nearby and I took him up on the offer while he prepared the half chicken.

Close up of a man grilling chicken at Lago Camecuaro in Michoacan.

I highly recommend you seek out Oscar’s chicken, which is served with tortillas and salsa. But if you want something different, there are a handful of restaurants as well as a small convenience store selling drinks and beer at the entrance to Lago de Camecuaro. 

You can also order food and drinks inside the lake grounds. In fact I thoroughly enjoyed a piña loca drink.

Best Time to Visit Lake Camecuaro Mexico

I think the best time to visit Lake Camecuaro is in the Fall. But to be honest, Lago de Camécuaro National Park is nice to visit any time of year. There are a few weather seasons to keep in mind for your visit.

A big colorful sign of the letters of Camecuaro in Michoacan.

While April and May are the hottest months, the lake is cool and refreshing. You may want to avoid visiting during Mexico’s rainy season (June-September). Although typically the rainy season only brings afternoon showers.

As far as the time of day, I recommend visiting Lago de Camecuaro in the morning so that you can decide how long you want to stay before the park closes at 5 pm.

If you want to take pictures of the lake while it’s calm and possibly with mist rising from the water, you will need to arrive soon after they open.

Should You Visit Lake Camecuaro on a Weekday or Weekend?

The best day of the week to visit Lake Camecuaro in Mexico depends on what you’re looking for. Since I was traveling solo, I visited Lake Camecuaro on a Sunday. 

A cypress tree and a boat with people in Camecuaro Lake, Michoacan.

I knew it would be full of Mexican families enjoying the day around the lake with food and drinks, which really added to the atmosphere for me. Plus there were the mariachi bands!

I made the same decision when I visited the blue pools near Taxco. While sometimes it’s best to avoid weekends, sometimes in Mexico it’s the best day.

Although if you’re looking for a more peaceful day at the lake, you should visit during the week when there are fewer people. Saturdays are likely less busy than Sundays but still full of activity.

Keep in mind, Lago de Camecuaro National Park is closed on Mondays.

Tip: If you visit during the week there may be less food and drink options near the park.

Final Thoughts about Lago de Camécuaro

I thoroughly enjoyed spending the day at Lago de Camécuaro. It’s truly one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen in Mexico.

If you have the time while exploring the state of Michoacan, I highly recommend adding Parque Nacional Lago de Camécuaro to your list of places to visit.

Questions About Visiting Lake Camecuaro

Where is Lake Camecuaro?

Lake Camecuaro is located in the state of Michoacán near the town of Tangancícuaro de Arista. Although many people opt to visit Lake Camecuaro from Zamora Michoacán which is about 25 minutes away.

What time does Lago de Camécuaro open?

Lago de Camécuaro opens at 9 am. The National Park is open Tuesday – Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm.

What is the legend of Lago de Camécuaro?

The legend of Lago de Camécuaro tells the story of Huanita, a Purepecha princess, who was kidnapped by a priest. The legend says that she cried so much that her tears formed Lake Camécuaro which means “Place of Hidden Bitterness.”