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Amazing324

Aug 5, 2003, 7:20 PM

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Mexico City to Veracruz

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I am planning to visit Mexico for the first time in late September or early October. I will be in Mexico City for a couple of days and then plan to head by bus for Veracruz. From what I've read I'm interested in Pueblo, Xalapa, Catemaco. I am very interested in the ancient history & ruins but even more I want to see and learn about Mexico and the people who live there. Unfortunately I am just a beginner in Spanish.

I'd love to hear any recommendations for places to go & things to see either in these towns or towns I don't know of yet.



lunes

Aug 5, 2003, 8:10 PM

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Re: [Amazing324] Mexico City to Veracruz

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I did the same trip a couple of years ago. I loved it!

I went from Mexico City to Veracruz by bus. Toured the town for a couple of days, then, rented a car and went all over Veracruz state.

In Veracruz, don't miss the malecon on a Saturday night. Even at midnight, I felt perfectly safe. The zocalo is a must any night, ahhh, the music.

I loved the fort in the harbor, the house of Cortez a bit north.

I would not miss the 'flyers of Papantla' in the northern part of the state.

And, an early morning cup of coffee at the "GRAND CAFE DE PARROUQIA".

In the north, there are many lakes, rivers, and waterfalls. such as Catemaco.

I loved the Cuban influence in Veracruz. And, I thought Xalapa was maybe the most bueatiful.



Go for it, Enjoy. It is hard not to enjoy such a place.

Dennis


Amazing324

Aug 6, 2003, 3:32 AM

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Re: [lunes] Mexico City to Veracruz

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Dennis,

Thank you so much. That is just the kind of information I'm looking for. Now I just have to find out what Malecon, Zocalo, flyers of Papantla are and where the Grand Cafe de Parrouquia is :>}

Seriously, to me the research before the trip is half of the fun. Bring it on, I'm eager to hear all about it.

Grace


raferguson


Aug 6, 2003, 10:19 AM

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Re: [Amazing324] Mexico City to Veracruz

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Puebla is a nice town, if you are interested in history, the Cinco de Mayo fort is worth a visit, where the Mexican's defeated the French.

Xalapa (Jalapa) has an excellent archeology museum, one of the best in Mexico. Xalapa is pleasant university town.

Veracruz has dances in the squares, not just on the malecon (dock), the danzon is worth seeing, I would take it up if I lived there. The people there are the friendliest in Mexico, which is saying something.


http://www.fergusonsculpture.com


jrice

Aug 14, 2003, 11:12 AM

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Re: [Amazing324] Mexico City to Veracruz

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There are lots of interesting places in the area you are headed.

Puebla is now a big city with a lovely central plaza area, quite a bit of artesania (handicrafts) and some of the most famous food in Mexico (notably mole poblano). The plaza area is an enjoyable place to stroll about.

Jalapa (or Xalapa) is a very agreeable town with, as somebody mentioned, a good museum. Nearby are two other worthwhile visits: Coatepec, the center of the Veracruz coffee industry, and Xico, which is a nice village with a couple of very good little restaurants. It's also famed for its mole.

The area around Catemaco and Las Tuxtlas also is beautiful, catering more to local than to foreign tourism. As a city, Catemaco is not terribly special, but you can rent boats - hire tours, etc - of the lake area.

If you're down that far, the gorgeous Mayan ruins at Palenque are not too far away. Return from there to Mexico City can be quick, if not glamorous, on expressways that run all the way from Villahermosa to the capital.

Another interesting village, Cuetzalan, is perhaps a bit out of the way, up north of Puebla. It doesn't look too far from Jalapa on the map, but it is so, by road. Beautiful mountain town with nice marketplaces.


Guapo Gabacho


Aug 16, 2003, 6:12 AM

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Re: [Amazing324] Mexico City to Veracruz

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To me Xalapa (Jalapa) really sucks and I now have a problem with anyone that tries to persuade others to visit the place. I can't believe after 25 years of never visiting the place and not knowing one person that had I was lured to going there by an ex-pat American that is promoting the wretched place. Misery does like company.

When visiting Veracruz remember that it doesn't get cranking until after 10 PM and "Güero" is the word for white people. The aquarium is a bust and only will get you mad at the Mexican attitude toward creatures without souls.

North of Veracruz is the city of Villa Rica (The first city named Vera Cruz), just past the nuclear plant. It is where Cortez started his incursion into Mexico. If you can’t get a room at the local B&B the next town north has hotels. Across the highway from Villa Rica are the most fascinating ruins I have ever visited. Quiahuitzlan “The place where it always rains” was a Totonac burial ground made up of crypts laid out to form a miniature Zempoala, the Totonac capital. It is at the base of a basalt column where the lines that are formed by the backdrop resemble a rainstorm.

On your way back, just before the tollbooth north of Veracruz, two Km west, is the village of La Antigua (The second city named Vera Cruz). It was the hometown of Cortez when he lived there. The ruin of his house still stands. The people live in some kind of dream like state there and the pace is slower than anywhere I have ever visited.

To the south of Veracruz, on your way to Catemaco, just past Alvarado, 15 km west, is the city of Tlacotalpan. The most beautiful place in Mexico that is not in the mountains I have visited. After seeing all the trash strewn roads and villages, it is nice to go where littering is a major offense. The streets are wide, clean, well maintained, and the buildings are as colorful as those in Guanajuato. This town is used as a filming location for the Mexican soap operas because of its beauty and the reputation it has for being the place to take your mistress to for a getaway. It is also the place in Mexico where they run the bulls once a year like in Pamplona Spain.

Stop and visit Santiago Tuxtla, 20 km before Catemaco, and visit their small museum. This colonial city is quite unique for the region and you may find the stares from the indigenous residents a bit intense but worth the experience.

Catemaco is a place to relax and the center of one of the most bio-diverse places in the world, but the locals are really low class, rude, noisy, and incredibly lazy. Ignore all the many street hustlers. Visit Nancyaga, a private nature reserve, where you can see how it was before the cattlemen of Mexico raped the rain forest. You can visit it without going on one of those boats that take you there via the island of the monkeys. They are typical of the Mexican tradition of making a disgrace a tourist attraction (like the mummies of Guanajuato). They were abandon there by a movie company and are Asian types and quite obese from the boat operators throwing food to them to show their passengers. Take a colectivo, know as a pirata to Nancyaga.

The other fabulous things to visit are on the road to Monte Pio and the piratas will take you there. If you like isolation and rustic nature, this is the place. See the following for more info: http://www.mexconnected.com/mex_/travel/wdevlin/wdlakecatemacoveracruz.html


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.

(This post was edited by Guapo Gabacho on Aug 16, 2003, 6:19 AM)


jrice

Aug 16, 2003, 10:37 AM

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Re: [Guapo Gabacho] Mexico City to Veracruz

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Odd about Jalapa. I know lots of folks who have lived in and visited the place -- I've probably been there 10 times for either work or vacation -- and while it's not a spectacular tourist magnet like Guanajuato, most find it at least agreeable -- once you've found a parking place, at least. There are several great parks in which my kid had fun, some pretty good restaurants and shops and little nooks and crannies. It had something of an American community a few years ago, at least. Maybe it has to do with having had good experiences there. The surrounding countryside is also quite nice. En route from the west is Perote -- an ugly place by anybody's standards, but it might pay to stop briefly to buy embutidos. The place has several of Mexico's best Spanish-style ham and sausage making establishments (one of which, at least, exports across the country). The dusty outskirts of Perote housed a prison camp for Germans during part of World War II.

My wife really likes Tlacotalpan, but I found it sort of boring and hot. Then again, it was one of the few places in Mexico where I've gotten a raging case of the trots, so I wasn't in the best of moods. Tlacotalpan does have a reputation as a center of Jarocho music and Agustin Lara claimed (apparently falsely) to have been born there.

We've stayed at Nanciaga three times. The little cabins are very nice, though the "ecological" aspect of the place is pretentious and contrived, particularly the pseudo-indigenous statues.

Another somewhat contrived but even more magical place is the new privately run "eco-tourism" site in Chiapas' Canyon de Sumidero. The boat ride up from Chiapa del Corzo is spectacular -- along with the geology we saw monkeys and crocs in the wild -- and the site way up in the canyon has a huge, split-level swimming pool and paths through the jungles. One attraction is a "zip line" in which you go whizzing along a cable over the trees. It was a lot of fun, though the "eco" aspect was slightly lacking because there was very, very little by way of explanatory material of the sort you see in U.S. National Parks. It's run by the same people who do Xel-Ha.

A very agreeable stop on the route from Palenque to Veracruz (or back to Mexico) was the La Venta museum-park-zoo along the main road through Villahermosa, an otherwise unremarkable city.
 
 
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