Uruapan is a city and municipality in the west-central part of the Mexican state of Michoacán. The city is the municipal seat of the municipality. The town and surroundings are world famous for the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary nearby. Uruapan is in the crossroads of Michoacan, and is the middle city anywhere in Michoacan in part because of the great quantity of avocado farming and packaging, exported in large parts to the United States, Japan and other countries.
Uruapan is one of the oldest cities in Mexico. Its main natural attraction is the Cupatitzio River (dubbed "the river that sings"), because along its flow are tourist attractions. The National Park, Eduardo Ruiz, is home of "La Rodilla del Diablo", the source of the river which courses through the city and out toward "La Tzaráracua" and "La Tzararacuita", waterfalls on the southern outskirts of the city. It flows into the Presa Infernillo and eventually the Pacific Ocean. Paricutín volcano emerged in the vicinity in 1943, scaring away much of the population. As of the 2010 census, the population of the municipality was 315,379. The municipality has an area of 954.17 km² (368.4 sq mi). The city and the municipality are both the second-largest in the state, behind only the state capital of Morelia.
Uruapan is served by Uruapan International Airport. Uruapan has a sister city: Culver City, California, and the street where the National Park is has that name (Culver City Street). Also, the firefighters of Uruapan received personal equipment and vehicles from Culver City a few years ago to do a better job; they also received equipment from the Kansas City Fire Department. Large numbers of residents live in Mexican communities throughout Southern California, such as Culver City, Coachella, and Los Angeles, where some local businesses carry the name "Uruapan", along with other Michoacanos from the towns of Jiquilpan, Sahuayo and Jucutacato.
The word Uruapan comes from the Purépecha word ulhupani, meaning "place of eternal formation and fertility of flower buds." Uruapan, "place where the god-prince of flowers is revered, was established before the arrival of the Spaniards and was an exuberant paradise and a peaceful chiefdom corresponding to the Purépecha King." Reséndiz 1991 said there are various interpretations of the meaning of Uruapan, for some meaning "water jug," for others it means "where the trees always give fruit." Others have determined it comes from the word urhuapani, meaning "blooming" or "sprouting." The place where everything flowers also translates to "where the hearts of plants bloom like the flowers and enjoy a perpetual spring."