Santa Clara del Cobre is a cute little town and, like the name implies, they specialize in all things copper. Although no longer active, this town had working copper mines starting in 1553. Nowadays the main attraction is the over 50 workshops dealing with the production of copper items. From key chains and mini pots to huge statues and home decorating items. This town is absolutely copper crazy.
The inhabitants here evidently take great pride in their copper heritage. Witness this pick up truck.
And the town square.
We actually got a tour of one of the smaller workshops. We were graciously and expertly shown the entire process of raw copper melting, firing and molding of the finished product. They actually handed us the hammer and let us pound away on a piece. Good stuff.
Our guide for this process was all of 19 years old and told us that he had been working in this particular shop for four years! I'm not sure how much he got paid but he undoubtedly spent the majority of his income on hair gel! We left a 20 peso tip and about 10 minutes after leaving the shop we saw our guide returning to the shop carrying four Cokes. We supposed that they used our tip money to buy refreshments. Another example of how close to the bone most Mexicans live.
We found a nice little street side restaurant and had BBQ chicken for lunch.
Although I would highly recommend a visit to Santa Clare del Cobre, I would not recommend you take the time or trouble to visit our next stop, Lake Zirahuen. Advertised as a clean, clear, deep lake, it was anything but. There are no beaches to speak of and it is crowded with small resorts right to the waters edge. And the road to get there is weird.
At one point, the paved road stops and we were detoured around the side of a hill on a poorly made emergency dirt road. Not fun.
We eventually got back around to the good road and drove until it ended. We walked to the waters' edge, yawned, got back in the car and returned to Patzcuaro.