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12 Nights in Veracruz City and Xalapa!


Dec 31, 2009, 11:56 AM

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12 Nights in Veracruz City and Xalapa!

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I’m excited to be taking my first ever trip to Veracruz state, and to these cities in particular. Assuming VivaAerobus cooperates, I’ll be there for twelve days starting next week. The trip is strategically designed as two long weekends in the cities, and some middle-week days either somewhere else, or doing day-trips outside.

Mostly I’m looking to enjoy an urban experience. (We live in Ajijic and I’m bored. I need the opposite of where we live. Something completely different from what I see day in and day out. Restaurants. Theatre. Music. Bookstores. Coffee-shops. Nightlife. All that jazz…..a city fix.

So. Where do the cool kids hang out?

Since they’re both largish cities, which neighborhoods in these cities would be most interesting and be the best to hang my hat for a few nights? Any recommendation for mid-price accomodations? (I’m traveling solo and don’t need fancy…..maybe say $400 pesos/night range? Can spend more if I need to, particularly for the first few nights.)

And before anybody jumps down my tourista throat, I will undoubtedly take in some of the major sites, museums, bla-bla-blah’s and etceteras. I can find those in guide books and on websites, like the spectacular one at

Daytrip ideas also appreciated. Coatepec looks pretty obviously easy from Xalapa. From Veracruz…..? Getting to Tlacotalpan and, maybe Lago Catemaco, sound too ambitious for a day trip. Maybe worth overnighting…..or not. The lake, frankly, sounds a bit too much like where we live from the little I’ve read. But maybe I'm wrong. Tlacotalpan sounds like an interesting place to see and photograph, but other than that sounds eerily dead. I dunno. Open to suggestions!

Thanks for any tips or leads. I only bought my ticket this morning - the fare dropped $1000 pesos today….yeah! - so haven’t researched it at all. Leaving in less than a week and very excited. Happy New Year, indeed!

Hound Dog

Dec 31, 2009, 10:18 PM

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Re: [tashby] 12 Nights in Veracruz City and Xalapa!

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(We live in Ajijic and I’m bored. I need the opposite of where we live.

Boy, I sure understand that Tashby. We leave shortly for Chiapas and happiness is Lakeside in the rear view mirror. Unfortunately, I am not familiar with accomodations in the neighborhood of $400 Pesos a night in Veracruz City but you should have no problem findng a lodging at that level if you look around. Xalapa and Veracruz City are not that close to each other so if I were you I would choose Veracruz near the plaza for good times. Coatepec is nice but Lake Catemaco may disappoint you. I love that area and hope you enjoy one of the nicest areas in Mexico. We will be staying in Fortin de Las Flores, Veracruz - one of our favorite towns in the counry - on our way to San Cristóbal but that is not very close to your destination or we would buy you a beer.


Jan 1, 2010, 8:23 AM

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Re: [tashby] 12 Nights in Veracruz City and Xalapa!

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Be sure to visit the CENTRO of Boca del Rio--not just the highrise hotel/shopping center part. There is a great fish restaurant there--el Bulevard--under the palapa. The Voladores de Papantla perform there every day.

Hang out every evening in the plaza principal in Veracruz for music, dancing, drinking, etc. Great people watching and danzon all around.

Tlacotalpan is worth a visit--make the effort--it is a unique experience and unlike anywhere else in Mexico. According to a veracruzano friend, the entire centro of Veracruz used to look like Tlacotalpan.

Xalapa is pleasant, but cold/rainy weather prevents it from being wonderful (for me). The archeological museum is really great--best one on the Olmecas including several giant head-sculptures.


Jan 1, 2010, 11:47 AM

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Re: [tashby] 12 Nights in Veracruz City and Xalapa!

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You probably already know about this guy's website/blog but if not he has a tremendous amount of info about Veracruz City/State.

Enjoy your trip and report back (please). I may be heading that way in about a month.


Jan 1, 2010, 1:24 PM

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Re: [tashby] 12 Nights in Veracruz City and Xalapa!

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Hi Tashby, I strongly second the recommendation for the link to John Todd's web site. It's a wealth of information about Veracruz and includes a number of self-guided walking tours and other "things to do".

I made my first trip to Veracruz in Feb. 2009 and am already plotting a return trip. I was there during Carnaval, which turned out to be both a blessing and a curse. It's a fun time and the city is alive. On the other hand, our hotel was staging central for all the entertainment acts in the Zocalo. We had ringside seats for all the parades and a birds-eye view of the headliners (Alejandro Fernandez, for example), but were pretty much stuck in the hotel once festivities started for the night. You couldn't get in, nor could you get out. The hotel I stayed in was the Gran Hotel Diligencia, which faces out onto the Zocalo. IIRC, it's above your price range, but there are several other hotels in the general vicinity that might work for your budget. They didn't do it during Carnaval, but usually there is Danzon in the evenings in the Zocalo. If you haven't seen danzon, you should plan to drop by one evening and check it out. The Zocalo is ringed on virtually all sides with cafes of various types, all of which seem to have more than ample outdoor seating. (I was in Oaxaca last month and they do Danzon in the Zocalo there every Wednesday night. It's charming and a great way to meet and mix with locals. They invited everyone to dance)

The old fish market was justly famous, but was (forceably) moved a few years ago. If you like fresh seafood, there are tons of fondas and market stalls from which to choose. Another place for the obligatory stop is La Parrochia down by the malecon. They make a great production out of their coffee service. It's actually rather fun and the coffee isn't half bad. They've got large (possibly Italian) coffee brewers making copious amounts of coffee. They bring you a tall glass, you tap on it with your knife and the waiter comes over and pours coffee and milk from an altitude of about 3 feet into the glass. They'll refill as many times as you want. I had breakfast there a couple times and was one of only a handful of non-Mexicans in the place. It's a tourist attraction, to be sure, but still worth trying at least once.

I didn't spend much time (unfortunately) in Xalapa, but did visit the Museo de Antropologia there. All I can say is WOW!. After that visit I certainly understand why many people say the only museum in Mexico that exceeds it is the Mueso de Antropologia in D.F. It is truly beautiful and the collection of Olmec heads, Totonac and other pre-Colombian artifacts is stunning. The setting is very serene. Even for people that aren't normally "museum" people or interested in this kind of stuff, it warrants a visit.

Coatepec is a lovely little town. The people were very friendly and helpful. There are several shops around the Zocalo selling bulk coffee. I purchased beans from La Onza and La Estancia and both have been delicious. The coffee I purchased from La Onza were more robust and the ones from La Estancia fruiter. If you're a coffee drinker, this may be the stop for you.

An easy day trip from either Xalapa or Coatepec is Xico. Frankly, I was a little disappointed in Xico. I'd heard how peaceful and beautiful it was. I thought it was a little on the seedy side, though, admittedly my time there was limited to an afternoon. Xico is famous for it's mole - which contains a great deal more fruits, and often more nuts, than many other varieities of mole. It's readily available jarred or in paste form all over town, as are the local fruit liquors. Even people that aren't fans of mole seem to like mole de Xico. The local fruit liquors always seem to taste better there than at home ;-).

In addition to John Todd's web site, you might also check out Trip Advisor. Have a great trip, but above all just have fun :-)


Jan 2, 2010, 2:36 PM

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Re: [Gayla] 12 Nights in Veracruz City and Xalapa!

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Thanks for the replies everybody!

Haha, Houndog: "Happiness is Lakeside in the rearview mirror". I may just have a bumper sticker made out of that. It would be too great to drive around town with that on the back of the car. (It's a nice place to live folks, don't get me just sometimes feels like living on a morphine drip. And there's the other bumper sticker. BaddaBing!)

I'm almost certain I'll get to Tlacotalpan, but probably not Lago Catemaco which I'm sure is nice, but sounds a bit like Chapala East. Since I'm solo, and will be traveling by bus once I'm there, it might make more sense to overnight in Tlacotalpan rather than trying to do it in a day-trip.

Gpkisner, thanks for the tip on the CENTRO of Boca del Rio, which otherwise probably wasn't an area I'd bother with. I thought it was just a "hotel zone", more or less. I suspect the restaurant you mention is better with a group of people -- "Table for one???" -- but whatever. Maybe I'll make some friends.

Definitely will be spending at least 4 days in Xalapa, so I'm sure I'll get to the museum, etc. Thanks for the info on Coatepec and Xico Gayla. I'm also certain I'll be getting to both since they're so close.

Also, lucky me, a friend called me on New Years eve from.....Veracruz City! Ha. I told him to scout for nice cheap accomodations. Already found one on the internet that looks perfect: Hotel Meson del Mar. Close to the plaza principal but not directly on it, which I always find a good thing.

Yes, I know about John Todd's website, thanks. Very excited!


Jan 6, 2010, 8:01 AM

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Re: [Hound Dog] 12 Nights in Veracruz City and Xalapa!

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Is Cordoba/Fortin worth getting to on this trip? I keep looking at a map and it makes a nice, logical little triangle.

Veracruz ->Cordoba-> Xalapa -> Veracruz (for return flight). I'm hoping Tlacotalpan is easy enough to do as a daytrip from Veracruz as it keeps nagging at me that it's "in the wrong direction" since I'm definitely getting myself from Veracruz to Xalapa.

From a visitors perspective, is it worth making the effort to include that area, or is it more just a nice place to "be"? That area could easily be mid mid-week pitstop between Veracruz and Xalapa. I'll be spending my two weekends in the cities.

P.S.: WHOOPS! Never mind. It doesn't look like there's easy transit/bus service between Xalapa and Cordoba anyway. I be winging it when I'm there.

(This post was edited by tashby on Jan 6, 2010, 8:13 AM)


Jan 6, 2010, 8:21 AM

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Re: [tashby] 12 Nights in Veracruz City and Xalapa!

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Tlacotalpan is just a day trip. Also, unless I missed something when I visiited there, 4 days in Xalapa are too many--IMO--unless you will be traveling outside the city. I think it is probably a wonderful place to live--but not to visit for so long.

Hound Dog

Jan 6, 2010, 10:15 AM

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Re: [gpkisner] 12 Nights in Veracruz City and Xalapa!

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Xalapa, spelled less romantically but more correctly in the modern age as "Jalapa". is the capital of Veracruz State and a sophisticated town but it is not particularly attractive and is a noisy, congested, architecturally indistinguished conglomeration of inauspicious and unattractive barrios of no note criss-crossed by congested boulevards filled with locals racing about to get nowhere in particular and the climate is marginal at best with cool, foggy drizzles known locally as "chipi-chipi" providing a depressing monotonous overcast depressing landscape inducing suicidal urges. Better to head down to raucous Veracruz City and enjoy your last hours drinking yourself to death in the colorful precincts of that misbegotten city ingesting rum and dark, rich coffee and seafood worthy of your exit from the planet. We all have to go so go out with style.


Jan 6, 2010, 1:13 PM

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Re: [Hound Dog] 12 Nights in Veracruz City and Xalapa!

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The beauty of traveling without hotel reservations or deposits, etc., as I do, is being able to play it by ear and change course when the mood strikes. Xalapa may not be "worth" four days to some, but keep in mind that I'm coming from Ajijic. It won't take much to keep me entertained or interested.

Good to hear Tlacotalpan is easily doable as a day trip. Leaving for the airport in about an hour. Here's hoping VivaAerobus doesn't pull a stunt and cancel the flight!

Hound Dog

Jan 6, 2010, 3:23 PM

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Re: [tashby] 12 Nights in Veracruz City and Xalapa!

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Xalapa may not be "worth" four days to some, but keep in mind that I'm coming from Ajijic. It won't take much to keep me entertained or interested.

Hey, Tashby, mi amigo; unlike Jalapa, which is a vibrant if somewhat unattractive urban zone, Ajijic is a small town overrun with way too many foreign geezers who find traditional sliced spam with catsup too spicy. If you get to Jalapa, never look back.


Jan 20, 2010, 6:23 PM

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Re: [RickS] 12 Nights in Veracruz City and Xalapa!

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So. I got back the other night.

First let me say this: I had absolutely horrible weather during (almost) my entire trip. The benignly-named "frente frio numero 22" that swept over Mexico did not ignore Veracruz. Shortly after that one, number 23 followed. I probably had two really nice days the entire trip, weather-wise. I did the first 5 nights in Veracruz City, taking me through the first weekend. (I wore my Xalapa clothes in Veracruz.....had to scramble for a lavanderia.) Cold, rainy and windy (80 kilometer/hour gusts windy.....they closed the port). Then I headed up to Xalapa where I froze for three nights. Then back down to Veracruz to close it out over the second weekend. The weather had improved somewhat by then, but it still wasn't any great shakes. That said...

I had a fine time.

The music is spectacular. All different kinds performed live indoors and out, and not just along restaurant row on the plaza principal. (Though watching those guys jockey among restaurant tables is a fun activity in itself.) If you like to dance, go. If you like to watch people dance, go. If you like to listen to music and imagine you can dance, go. You will be given every opportunity to participate. I humiliated myself once. That was enough.

Because of the shite weather, I'm certain I didn't experience the essence of the City fully, but I still managed to get a taste. Veracruz City is a fantastic, swirling, sloppy, sexy frenzy of a mess. And it's hella lot of fun. I don't think you can know it unless you completely recalibrate your clock and stay up late. REALLY late. One night I left a nightclub and walked by a restaurant I'd eaten in a few times. It was absolutely packed, tables full, with a band 4:00 a.m. It's a completely different clock, different rhythm.

There's also a grit to it, and a special type of decay that only happens in tropical climates. The influences of it being a true port city, including the good and bad and the all over the map, cannot be understated. I've heard it described as the "New Orleans of Mexico". Somehow I've never made it to New Orleans, so I don't know about that, but I can see the comparison based on what I've read.

What I do know is that Xalapa is without question the "Seattle of Mexico". Xalapa IS Seattle. The number of similarities astounded me. Of course, the weather is almost identical, but I knew that. But also--

Hilly terrain--twisty streets--URBAN--but with beautiful parks and "lakes" right in the city--Traffic Gridlock--Major University right in the city--Coffee spots/cafe culture every 10 meters--all the other influences of the University--the "center city" of the state with all that brings--Spectacularly good food--hipsters and drifters and feaux--if it's something that happens indoors, they know how to do it well--the basic energy of the city---even some architecture, buildings from the early 1900's that would look at home in Pioneer Square in Seattle--- book stores everywhere....well, Seattle used to have bookstores. Anyway, the list went on and on.

Go to Xalapa in the summer.

Coldest hotel room I've ever stayed in my life. Honest to God, I left beer in the room without refrigerator or ice and it was a nice drinkable temperature 24 hours later. I'm not kidding and I'm not exaggerating. I think it was 6 degrees Celsius when I was in town. And of course rainy to warm things up. Otherwise, highly recommend economical Posada del Cafeto. Well-located, comfortable, spotlessly clean--and I mean NAZI clean. Really quiet. And a short and easy walk to Parque Juarez, etc.

Went to Coatepec and it was cute enough, Maybe I'm running out of gas on the cute Mexico Pueblo thing......again though, this trip was for a city fix so maybe I just wasn't in the mood. Back in Xalapa: all the raves have been written about the Archeological Museum and it lives up to every one. Don't miss it. It's about as perfect as museum design/display can get. Also, fascinating to remain in Veracruz for several more days afterward and to see the current manifestations of regions history in the people, the faces, designs, motifs, etc.

On my last day in Xalapa, it dawned beautifully clear and sunny and Mt. Orizaba was cut like a diamond on the horizon. (It had previously been invisible in the cloudy/rainy weather.) Again, the EXACT same thing happens in Seattle when snow-covered Mt. Rainier drops like a bomb from a clear blue sky. In Seattle there's a saying on those all-too-infrequent fantastically clear days: "The Mountain is Out Today".

I bet they have a similar phrase in Xalapa.

Great trip.

Hound Dog

Jan 20, 2010, 8:05 PM

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Re: [tashby] 12 Nights in Veracruz City and Xalapa!

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Well put, Tashby:

Our drive down to San Cristóbal de Las Casas from Lake Chapala coincided with your trip to Veracruz and the drive from the Puebla high plain down through the urban valley of Orizaba/Fortin/Cordoba in Veracruz all the way to Minatitlan was marked by chilly drizzle until we drove up the mountain to the Jovel Valley in Chiapas and encountered, much to our surprise, splendid warm and sunny weather.

Between Puebla City and the descent into Veracruz State the imposing visage of Pico Orizaba was splendid and enchanting. A dream. Indescribable.

(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Jan 20, 2010, 8:06 PM)


Jan 22, 2010, 9:03 AM

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Re: [tashby] 12 Nights in Veracruz City and Xalapa!

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What bad luck about the weather.It was truly horrible, 5 degree centigrade in Orizaba, foggy and rainy at 9am. I took a major tumble on wet tiles on the veranda of the hotel and hurt my back. I could not believe that nasty weather all the way to Tuxtla. Tuxtla was warmer but was cloudy as well.
You will have to go back at a different time of the year. Jalapa is much warmer than Seattle and is not always under fog or rain. The countryside is beautiful but difficult to see and enjoy with the weather we had so you have to go back to enjoy Vera Cruz as a tropical city rather than a noisy fridge!


Jan 22, 2010, 5:30 PM

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Re: [Vichil] 12 Nights in Veracruz City and Xalapa!

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Thanks. Yes, the weather blew (literally) and put a damper (ouch! pun!) on the trip but I still managed to have a good time. I know I didn't see the "real" Veracruz because of it, only got a taste. I also didn't see much of the countryside around Xalapa because....I literally COULDN'T SEE due to the clouds and rain. It's why I didn't make it to Tlacotalpan for a day trip. But anyway. I've traveled enough and know how to recalibrate what to do with myself so as to have a nice trip. I was pretty damn happy when the clouds parted in Xalapa and I at least got to see Orizaba from a distance in the perfectly clear blue.

A couple other pieces of info, just data, in case they help others going here in the future.


Definitely recommend Meson del Mar for a budget hotel in Veracruz City. Well-located about 3 blocks from the zocalo and same to the Malecon. On the corner of E. Morales and the very noisy Zaragosa, but the room I was in had double doors leading to the little terraza so when closed they quieted the room thoroughly. For a budget place - I paid 350 pesos/night for a single - it is much better appointed than you'd expect. Lovely staff in Jan. '10. I can't imagine anything better at this (current) price in Veracruz and I CAN imagine much worse. Noisy Zaragosa also has all the busses on it so you can easily get anywhere from there. Look at various rooms before selecting one, for sure, as they vary greatly. I wouldn't want to stay in a downstairs room, but maybe that's just me.

(Alternatively, if you want a view of the water in a nice, if sterile, brand-new businessy type hotel, look hard at NovoMar. It would be completely comfortable, away from el centro, but only by minutes and not all that expensive.)

Cafe del Portal is definitely a touristy kind of restaurant, but I have to say the food I had there was very good. Bit spendy but it's a superb location and a beautiful room with great history. The outside tables under the portales are great for people-watching, too. So what if it's touristy. It's damn pleasant.

The Gran Cafe de la Parrochia down on the Malecon is also worth doing for the Lechero thing. Why the hell not? It's tradition! And it's packed with people doing the traditional thing! Good bisquet (whatever the thing was) with my fruit plate and *ding*ding*ding* lechero.

Enjoyed several meals at La Gaviota, which is on one of the Cajellones just a block off the zocalo.

Never ate on the Plaza Principal itself but did enjoy sitting there for a few beers and watching the action. The protocol between the various bands stationed at the different restaurants is a symphony in itself. As soon as one band (of whatever variety) finishes their song next door, the band at your restaurant fires up without skipping a beat. Just to have a Marimba band, a Mariachi, a Norteno, a Jarocha, a free-style accordianist, and another this or that bounce off each other is entertaining.

(BTW, Never, NEVER, turn down a shoe-shine, even if you're wearing white tennis shoes. They look brand new for 20 pesos!)

Can't remember the rest of the other nameless places I ate, but in general the food in Veracruz was delicious and made me a bit bitter about the restaurant food I find locally.

Went out to Boca del Rio on Sunday afternoon, and that's worth doing. Ate at a place called "El Bayo" which was good. For a Sunday afternoon, the area wasn't anywhere near as busy as it would have been during better weather or during a busier time of year. (The trip was mid-January....all the holiday travelers had gone back to work.)

The Acuario in Veracruz is nice enough and worth doing if you need an indoor thing. The ruins at San Juan de Ulua are an interesting walk-around. Plan on paying about 200 pesos in taxis busses out there. For whatever reason it was, maybe, 130 to get out there and 70 on return. (Except for that one, taxis are cheap in Veracruz.) I had to kill an hour on my last day when the weather had finally got decent so did the boat-harbor tour. You get to see the city from the perspective of the water but other than that, I'd skip it.

Oh! Also, there is an ADO booth right at the airport in Veracruz. If you go to their website, I assume they'll list schedules of busses that leave from the airport. I noticed on the night of my flight out, they had one heading to Xalapa, for example.

The main bus station in town is a bit sloppy. Imagine a full city block and split it in half. ADO is on one side....they own the area. If you need a secondary line, you have to walk around the block to get to them. No big deal at all, but you can't get from one to the other without walking around the block. (And don't count on the Tourism Office for good info.) I was told twice, for instance, that to get to Tlacotalpan I had to get to the "other", non-ADO side. That may be. But you buy your ticket (currently) ON the ADO side to take the TRV bus. Which I never did. Leaves hourly on the hour, anyway. Window #15 to buy tickets! Bah.


Posada del Cafeto in Xalapa also recommend. Slightly more than MdM, but included a meager breakfast, better bedding, larger room.

The food I had in Xalapa was even better than Veracruz. I enjoyed Casona de Beatrio (?) a couple of times. Can't remember where else I ate, but I remember being very happily fed.

Taxis in Xalapa are REALLY cheap within the center. Don't feel like walking the hill, then don't bother. By zone, super cheap. Even getting out to a fancy suburban mall to see Avatar one rainy night, probably at least 15-20 minute drive was only 30 pesos.

It's easy to get to Coatepec by bus if you walk about ten minutes west of Parque Juarez to the Mercado de Sauces. (I'm not kdding. Which reminds me, what's with all the English I'm seeing, lately?)

The walk around the lake district is pleasant enough. And there's a park I can't remember the name of, starts with a "T", that's pleasant stroll-through (one of the places that most reminded me of Seattle). It was a 17 peso cab from the very center. The park with moving water.....errr....can't remember the name.

In Veracruz, I was asked repeatedly if I was coming back for Carnaval. It's a darn fun town and they want you to have a good time. I'll be back....probably not during Carnaval but definitely during better weather!

ASIDE: VivaAerobus was fine. Only slightly more miserable than every other airline, but significantly less expensive in this instance. For 1900 pesos roundtrip, non-stop from GDL, all taxes/fees, with their most expensive luggage allowance and VIP seating at the gate, I'll take it! Mexicana was almost double. (You need to be able to read Spanish to navigate the VivaAerobus website....and do be careful for the nick-on charges!)

(This post was edited by tashby on Jan 22, 2010, 5:46 PM)


Jan 22, 2010, 5:52 PM

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Re: [tashby] 12 Nights in Veracruz City and Xalapa!

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Parque Tecajetes. Actually it's a 10 minute walk from Parque Juarez. It has walking/jogging trails, waterfalls, pool with fish and turtles, flowers, shrubs, trees, futbol rapido court, small theater, and a childrens area.
My desire to be well-informed is currently at odds with my desire to remain sane.


Jan 22, 2010, 6:28 PM

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Re: [joaquinx] 12 Nights in Veracruz City and Xalapa!

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That's it....Parque Tecajetes. Thanks for the help!


Jan 30, 2010, 5:01 PM

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Re: [tashby] 12 Nights in Veracruz City and Xalapa!

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Tashby wrote: Veracruz City is a fantastic, swirling, sloppy, sexy frenzy of a mess. And it's hella lot of fun.

Sounds like my kind of town!

Thanks so much for this GREAT review! I'll likely refer to this several times before I make my first trip to Vera Cruz -- which (hopefully) will be soon!


Jan 31, 2010, 8:33 AM

Views: 25068

Re: [TigerTonio] 12 Nights in Veracruz City and Xalapa!

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Hey! Glad you found it useful. (I have tons of notes squirreled away from Copper Canyon thread you started a couple years ago....a trip I'll be taking in the not-too-distant. So there we go!)

Don Gringo

Feb 8, 2010, 12:49 PM

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Re: [tashby] 12 Nights in Veracruz City and Xalapa!

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I always used UNO, or ADO-GL. Pricey, but I don't care for chicken buses. Good taco stands next to the bus station in VC though. I could travel all over Veracruz on tacos al pastor. Never get sick from those...
I hope that I never see Jalapa again.
VC and Boca are ok, but damned difficult for us to see much of anything with a toddler in tow, much less any sort of nightlife.
Hope you had a good time though.
Lived for 35 months in Mexico. I feel like I paid my dues...


Feb 28, 2010, 6:45 PM

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Re: [Hound Dog] 12 Nights in Veracruz City and Xalapa!

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Hound Dog,
I know you are an authority on all things Mexico, but I respectively disagree about Catemaco. It is one one the real jewels of Mexico. At about about 4000 feet, it maintains almost a constant climate year round without the chilly mornings of the highlands.