Viveros, Pátzcuaro, Mich., Mexico
Patzcuaro LakeThe guide book called Patzcuaro Lake "impossibly blue", but I found it rather brown. It's badly polluted because none of the little towns that surround it have sewage systems. That is changing however, the Mexican government is slowly installing sewage processing plants. The lake is rich in nutrients and grows many varieties of floating and anchored water plants, so much so that special machines are used to suck the plants off the surface and dump the greenery onto barges. Overhead water dense clouds give a marvelous backdrop to colorful resorts and charming indigenous villages. In the center of the lake is Janitzio Island with an enormous statue of Morelos with his fist raised in defiance. For a small fee you can climb all the way up into the fist for a 360 degree view of the lake and surrounding countryside. The town is built on all sides of the steep island, with staircases instead of streets. There are no motorized vehicles, it is accessible only by boat. At night Janitzio glitters like a cone shaped crown in the middle of the lake.