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Cotija de la Paz

Cotija de la Paz is a town located in the state of Michoacán, Mexico.

Cotija de la Paz is the municipal seat of the municipality of Cotija located in the Mexican state of Michoacán. The municipality has an area of 504.05 sq km and a population of 18,207 inhabitants according to the 2005 census.

Situated in the western part of the country, Cotija de la Paz is known for its rich history, cultural heritage, and picturesque landscapes. Let’s delve into its location, geography, things to see and do, as well as its history.

Cotija de la Paz is situated approximately 185 km northwest of the state capital, Morelia. It is nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range, offering stunning views and a pleasant climate.

The town is surrounded by rolling hills, lush vegetation, and agricultural fields that contribute to its serene and inviting ambiance.

Cotija de la Paz offers a blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Its charming architecture and serene landscapes make it a unique destination for travelers interested in exploring the cultural richness of Mexico’s colonial towns.

Cotija municipality is the birthplace of several religious figures, including Saint Rafael Guízar Valencia and Father Marcial Maciel. The economy of the municipality is mostly based on agriculture and ranching.

Cotija cheese is named after the city. A salty and crumbly cheese that originated in the region. The cheese-making tradition has deep historical roots and is still an integral part of the local economy and culture.

Things to do in Cotija de la Paz

Parroquia de San José: The town’s main church, Parroquia de San José, is a prominent landmark known for its colonial architecture and ornate details. It’s a great place to appreciate the religious and architectural heritage of the region.

Main Plaza (Zócalo): The central plaza is a hub of activity and a great place to soak in the local culture. You can relax on benches, enjoy the shade of trees, and observe daily life as it unfolds.

Cultural Events: Depending on the time of year, you might have the chance to experience local festivals and events. These celebrations often involve traditional music, dance, and food, providing a glimpse into the area’s cultural traditions.

Exploring the Countryside: The surrounding countryside offers opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking, horseback riding, and birdwatching. The scenic landscapes make for a peaceful and enjoyable experience.


Cotija de la Paz has a rich historical background that dates back to pre-Hispanic times when it was inhabited by indigenous groups. The town gained significance during the colonial period as a mission center established by the Spanish.

Over the years, it became an important agricultural and trade hub.

Versions differ regarding the founding date of Cotija.

The Reverend Jose Romero places the founding between 1575 and 1576, in a site called Cotixa, which was situated near the Rio Claro (Clear River), Mr. Melchor Manzo de Corona built what became the first Spanish settlement in the region.

From 1581 to 1595, 11 other Spanish colonists joined Corona in Cotixa. Some built their houses, and they attempted to make a living by raising cattle. Other Spanish families arrived.

At the time, this Spanish settlement was known as the Rincon de Cotixa (Cotixa Nook) and Mr. Melchor Manzo’s hacienda was considered the heart of the settlement.

A primitive chapel was constructed in honor of Our Lady of the Pópolo, where a flea market was held on Sundays. By 1730, the chapel of the Rincon de Cotixa had a standing priest, but baptisms, marriages, and burials were not allowed.

Therefore, traveling to the town of Tinguidin for those religious affairs was necessary.

This situation was not remedied until November 1740, when the Bishop of Michoacán, Fr. Marks Ramirez of the Prado, gave permission to the chapel of the Rincon de Cotixa to perform ecclesiastical burials.

Between August 2 and 5, 1759, Francisco Antonio de Echavarri decreed that the Rincon de Cotixa and the Llano of Titiacoro would be united and officially renamed the Congregation of Cotija.

In 1790, Cotija was reclassified as a city by Michoacán governor, Aristeo Mercado.

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