Don't get your reference to 11/20? Dia de los Muertos isn't on 11/20?
As for your question about safety of the drive, when leaving the Guadalajara airport, you will get on the autopista that connects to the cuota (toll road) 15D that connects to another cuota 14D that exits at Patzcuaro. Easy drive once one leaves Guadalajara proper but don't feel unnerved by the number of Federales or military you might see along the way:
We did this exact trip last year (2016) and through the years have spent over 60+ nights in Patzcuaro. I refuse to spout a Polyanna attitude and say "don't worry, be happy" because Americans and other fair skinned folks are immune to the violence that has periodically flared up in the State of Michoacan! We have drive around Lake Patzcuaro visiting the smaller towns and villages too many times to count and the same goes for the many interesting towns and villages in the area surrounding Patzcuaro. Never had a problem but we do our homework on current events.
Patzcuaro for Dia de los Muertos is a once in a lifetime event in our opinion and even though we spent years visiting the area and studying up - we were not fully prepared for this experience! For a bit of background info, the street in front of our favorite hotel was "cut flowers centro" where people purchased their flowers for decorating the altars:
The Dia de los Muertos Tianguis (market) is huge and magnificent:
We would highly recommend the experience and should you have specific questions, please feel free to message me!
11/2017= November 2017.......
OOPS! For some reason, I was reading 11/20/17 in my haste?
I was hoping others would post about security for the area during this time frame. Anyone else care to chime in?
I would bet there are many reservations for hotels in the area that were made a year in advance, it sounds like by your post you have not made any hotel reservations yet, hope all works out for you......suerte.
Through the years, we have stayed in Patzcuaro over 60 nights and stayed 6 nights during the 2016 Dia de los Muertos time period. While we HAVE NEVER had a security issue in Patzcuaro, we have chosen to stay away from certain towns or villages in the area because of incidents I have found when researching using local media. For that reason, I refuse to make a blanket "all is safe declaration". One needs to do their own research and make their own determinations on the risk factor and not "homers" who often live in denial. One of the best experiences of my life was when we finally managed to attend Dia de los Muertos in November of 2016!!!!!
A Mexico resident friend who happens to live in Queretaro came up with an appropriate statement:
"You are perfectly safe until YOU ARE NOT"! And that works anywhere in the world?
what local media should one consult?
I made reservations for a hotel in Morelia, which is an hour away and will be using it as a base for Patzcuaro and the surrounding towns for 6 days (I have my own car). Nevertheless, I have no intention of driving around there on Dia de los Muertos. I will cab it from Morelia, which will cost about MXN 500. Be aware what it is you want to see: the islands in the lake have, to a part, become very commercialized, touristy, and has more of a party attitude than a solemn event. You can either consider the next best place (Oaxaca) or keep yourself to the villages around the lake if you don't want to be inundated with tourists and kitchiness