The town of Janitzio, which means "where it rains", sits atop the hill. It is the largest of five islands in Lake Pátczuaro.
The town is known for the butterfly fishermen who are skilled at lowering their butterfly-shaped nets to catch the local cuisine "pescado blanco". These fisherman were at one time depicted on the reverse of the 50-peso banknote.
Mild, spring-like temperatures prevail most of the year in the North Central Highlands of central Mexico. The highlands have a climate that is mild and dry. The area around Janitzio rarely sees temperatures that go above 27 °C, even in summer. Daytime temperatures remain fairly consistent year round, however, it can become quite cold at night from November through March. The rainy season runs from May through October, with July and August generally being the wettest months. Quickmoving thunderstorms can be expected over the summer months, June to September. The rest of the year remains quite dry.
Janitzio can only be reached by boats which run regularly back and forth from about 07:30 to 18:00, accessible from Pátzcuaro's pier (embarcadero). These boats can be hired to take visitors around other parts of the lake. The boats are pretty regular and takes approximately 25 minutes to reach the island.
Walking is the only way to get around on the island, which consists of steep cobblestone streets and a lot of stairs.
A 40-meter statue of José María Morelos, a great hero of Mexico's independence, started in 1933, is found on the island's highest point. You can see the statue of Morelos from the boat, when arriving. Visitors can climb to the top of the statue by way of a staircase that spirals up the inside.
Along the interior walls, the life of Morelos is depicted in murals painted by Ramón Alba de la Canal and other Mexican muralists. At the top, visitors can look through peepholes in the giant raised fist of Morelos, with views of the island, lake and surroundings.
Day of the Dead - Every year on November 1, the island of Janitzio fills with visitors coming to see Mexico's most famous Day of the Dead celebration. Purhepecha legend has it that on the Night of the dead, spirits living in the lake will hear the church bells toll on the island, and they will make their way up the hill to the cemetery. During the night it is customary to bring offerings to the dead. There is a procession illuminated with candles and animated with religious songs. The entire island glows with lights and torches.
Small shops line the narrow streets leading up the hill.