Getting there: Mexicana Airlines has direct flights daily from LAX to Morelia (one stop, no plane change), and United and Aeromexico offer connecting flights to Mexico City, where you change to a Regional Airlines plane. Round-trip fares begin at $430.
From Morelia you can continue to Pátzcuaro by bus or rental car. (Or you can fly to Uruapan and continue to Pátzcuaro.)
Telephones: To call the numbers below from the U.S., dial 011 (international dialing code), 52 (country code for Mexico), 434 (area code for Pátzcuaro) and the local number.
Where to stay: Posada de la Basílica, 6 Arciga; 342-1108, fax 342-0659, e-mail email@example.com, is a 17th century inn with great views and 11 rooms, most with fireplaces; an in-house restaurant serves breakfast and lunch. Rates vary seasonally, but double rooms are usually about $77.
Mansión Iturbe, 59 Portal Morelos; 342-0368, fax 313-4593, http://www.mexonline.com/iturbe.htm, is a 14-room bed-and-breakfast on Pátzcuaro's main plaza. Rates also vary by season, but double rooms usually are about $95.
Where to eat: El Primer Piso, 29 Plaza Vasco de Quiroga, 342-0122, is a sophisticated upstairs dining room offering Mexican, Italian and French dishes. Main courses up to $10. Closed Tuesdays.
Inside the Mansión Iturbe (see above), breakfast and lunch are served at Doña Paca restaurant, with lunch entrees up to $12. (Tuesdays through Saturdays, dinner is available at El Viejo Gaucho, also part of the hotel.)
Los Escudos, 73 Portal Hidalgo, 342-0138, is a budget hotel, but its ground floor has a restaurant of the same name that's known for its hearty Tarascan soup; entrees up to $6. There is often an organ player in the corner.
For more information: Mexican Government Tourism Office, Mexican Consulate, 2401 W. 6th St., 5th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90057; (213) 351-2069, fax (213) 351-2074, http://www.visit mexico.com. Also see http://www.mexonline.com/patzcuaroaccommodations.htm.