Gulf Coast Region

Regions and States

Below are selected articles and recipes from Tabasco, Tamaulipas and Veracruz, the three states that form the Gulf Coast Region of Mexico.

To see ALL articles and recipes related to this region, please use the following individual state links:

The Gulf Coast Region occupies the narrow coastal plain bordering the Gulf of Mexico; inland, this region rises abruptly to Mt. Orizaba, Mexico’s highest peak at 5,610 meters (18,406 ft.).

The area is significant historically as the landing place in the sixteenth century of conquistador Hernán Cortés and his men on their way to claim this land for the Spanish crown. To this day, the area has several large indigenous groups (including the Nahuas, Huastecos, Otomis and Totonacs) and numerous ancient monuments and archeological sites.

From an economic perspective, this region is the center of Mexico’s petroleum and natural gas extraction and refining industry.The coastal lowlands are an important agricultural area for tropical fruits and vegetables.

Major cities in this region include Veracruz, the largest and oldest port on Mexico’s Gulf Coast, as well as the industrial twin cities of Coatzacoalcos and Minatitlán further south. Inland, the colonial city of Xalapa has a particularly attractive setting.

Here are select articles and recipes related to Mexico’s Gulf Coast Region:

 

Oyster mushroom chileatole: Chileatole de setas

Mushrooms proliferate in the mist-covered hills of north central Veracruz, the only place I have ever seen chileatole made with them, in this case with setas or oyster mushrooms. It would probably work with other fresh, wild mushrooms, but for me, the meaty texture of oyster mushrooms is perfect for this soup, which manages to be rustic and elegant […]

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Beef short ribs with pumpkin: Costilla de res con calabaza

The combination of meat and squash is typically West African, combined here with tomatoes, an indigenous Mexican ingredient, and spices introduced by the Spaniards. The original recipe, as presented by Raquel Torres and Dora Elena Carriaga in Recetario Afromestizo de Veracruz leaves out the tomatoes and spices, but nowadays most jarocha cooks use them.   2 tablespoons vegetable oil […]

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Cheese-filled Sweet Potato Patties: Tortitas de Camote

In most of Mexico, these fried patties are made with white potatoes, whereas in Veracruz they are made with sweet potatoes or yucca. This cheese-filled version is more versatile than most, because it can be served as an hors d’oeuvre as well as a side dish. Ingredients: 2 pounds sweet potatoes 1 cup all-purpose flour […]

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Chicken in Tabascan Pipian – Pollo en Chirmol

Chirmol is a thick sauce resembling the pipian rojo of central Mexico. It is served in Tabasco with fish, chicken and pork. Ingredients for the chicken: 1 3 ½-4 pound chicken, cut into serving pieces 2 tablespoons corn oil ½ medium white onion 2 cloves garlic, peeled salt to taste Ingredients for the chirmol: 4 […]

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Papantla style shrimp: Camarones xanath

Shellfish such as river shrimp and crawfish are found in abundance in the many rivers that run through the vanilla growing region of eastern Mexico. Called xanath in the Totonac language, shrimp are particularly delicious when combined with the flavor of vanilla. This recipe calls for vanilla extract, a product prepared by forcing alcohol through […]

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The native Mexican avocado, Peresea drymifolia © Daniel Wheeler, 2009

Mexican cold avocado soup: Sopa fria de aguacate

Originally from the tropical coastal state of Tabasco, where a chilled dish is always welcome, this soup is a perfect first course for a light summer meal, such as grilled chicken or fish. Try adding a tablespoon of sherry for a delicious, unusual twist. Ingredients: 2 tablespoons butter ½ medium onion, chopped fine 2 serrano […]

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Veracruz-style stuffed chiles: Cuaresmeños jarochos

Some of our favorite ways to eat seafood in Veracruz are the cold salads and cocktails featuring shrimp, crab and other local seafood. This recipe for cuaresmeños – large jalapeños – stuffed with crab meat can be made a day ahead and kept in the refrigerator, then served either cold or at room temperature as hors d’ouevres, appetizers or […]

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Chicken in sesame seed, pumpkin seed and chile sauce: Tlatonile de pollo

This sauce originated in Huatusco, in north central Veracruz. Comapeños are very small, dried red chiles abundant in this region. You can substitute chiles de arbol for the comapeños, but I recommend using less, since I find the arbol chiles to be hotter. If you do any traveling around Mexico, look for comapeño chiles in the markets of Orizaba and Cordoba, Veracruz. This recipe is […]

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Mashed plantains with pork rinds: Machuca de platano con chicharrones

This variation on traditional machuca uses crispy chicharrones (pork cracklings), which give a good texture to the dish and impart the taste of pork without having to use the traditional lard. A cousin of the West African fufu, machuca is best made with barely ripe plantains, those that are still mostly yellow. (They can have some black spots but not have […]

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Mexican plantain empanadas with picadillo: Empanadas de platano

This recipe is adapted from Alquímias y Atmósferas del Sabor, by Doña Carmen Titita Ramírez, proprietress of Mexico City’s famed El Bajío restaurant. The plantains should be cooked a day in advance, to give them time to “set” and make the mashed plantains easier to roll, since they are the only ingredient in the empanada “dough.” Mexican […]

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Yam and pineapple dessert: Dulce de camote con piña

This delicious dessert is a perfect example of the Afro-Cuban influence on Gulf coast cooking, combining pineapple, a plantation crop, with yams or sweet potatoes, a West African staple. Ingredients: 2 pounds orange yams, washed, peeled and finely chopped 1 1/2 cups sugar 4 slices fresh pineapple (about 1 1/2″ thick apiece), cored and finely […]

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Vanilla: a Mexican native regains its reputation

Mention vanilla, and people are apt to think of the ice-cream flavor they select when confronted with a mind-boggling choice involving everything from chirimoya to cheesecake: “just plain vanilla.” What started out as one of the most exotic flavors to be introduced to the European palate has come to be equated with blandness. Even more […]

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Fish in red pipian: Pescado en pipian rojo

The mountains of northern Puebla and Veracruz are blessed with an abundance of freshwater fish. The combination of fish and pipian is unusual but delicious, and any firm fleshed white fish can be used in this recipe. Use more or less chile seeds, according to taste. Ingredients For the fish: 2 quarts water 2 pounds firm white […]

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Seafood frittata: Torta de mariscos

This dish takes advantage of Veracruz’ abundant variety of seafood. It is quite adaptable, in that just about any other kind of seafood or fish can be added, including squid, shelled oysters, clams or mussels. The cazón, or baby shark, used in Veracruz can be substituted with any firm-fleshed white fish. Most fish markets in Mexico sell […]

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Mexican enchiladas in peanut sauce from Xico, Veracruz © Karen Hursh Graber, 2014

Mexican enchiladas with peanut sauce: Dobladas de cacahuate

Dobladas means “folded,” and these tortillas can be filled or not before folding into quarters, bathed in peanut sauce, and sprinkled with cheese. Ingredients For the dobladas: Vegetable oil for soft frying tortillas 12 six- to eight-inch corn tortillas ½ pound of chicken or pork, cooked and shredded or an equal amount of shredded cheese, if […]

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Veracruz style empanadas with tuna: Volovanes de Minilla

One of the most famous street snacks of Veracruz, this puff pastry empanada is flavored with the classic Spanish combination of raisins and olives, with the distinctly Veracruz touch of pickled jalapeños. I think of it as a fish picadillo. You can use any leftover cooked fish, flaked, in place of tuna. If you live in a […]

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Veracruz-style Mexican black bean soup with masa balls © Karen Hursh Graber, 2014

Mexican black bean soup with masa balls: Sopa de frijoles negros con bolitas de masa

Mexican black bean soup with masa balls could easily be a whole meal, accompanied by a salad. A nopales salad or a watercress and spinach salad would both be good choices. Ingredients For the soup: 2 tablespoons lard or oil ½ medium onion 1 roma tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped 2 cups cooked black beans […]

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Tabasco style fish empanadas: Empanadas de pescado

Empanadas are different all over México. In many parts of the country, they resemble a filled puff pastry; in Tabasco, they are filled, fried tortillas. There this recipe would invariably be made with the local fish pejelagarto, but any firm-fleshed fish works well. A good idea is to make extra when grilling or poaching fish, […]

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Tamaulipas-Style Fajitas: Fajitas al Sombrero

Driving northward along the Tamaulipas coast, the traveler goes from the tropical region of the Veracruz border to the plains of south Texas. A mid-point on the journey is the small town of San Fernando, which has one of the best norteño beef restaurants around. A specialty there is a dish called Fajitas al Sombrero, the “sombrero” being […]

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Stuffed Fish Filet: Filete De Pescado Relleno

This is a basic coastal recipe, adaptable to several different kinds of fish and shellfish. We first tried it in Boca del Rio, Veracruz, but some version of it is on the menu of nearly every seafood restaurant in the country. The stuffing ingredients are not limited to those listed and any combination of seafood […]

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Mexican cowboy beans: Frijoles charros

A Norteño dish originating in Tamaulipas, this is the classic accompaniment to the grilled beef dishes of northern Mexico. It is an ideal make-ahead dish, especially good with barbeque, improving as the flavors come together. Although the initial cooking of the beans can be done in a pressure cooker, a slow-cooking pot, such as a clay casserole, […]

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A culinary tour of Xalapa: Dining in the home of Jalapeños

When I told Carmen Titita Ramirez, owner of the highly acclaimed El Bajio restaurant in Mexico City, that I would be spending time in Xalapa, she responded with her usual exuberance and proceeded to write a list of regional dishes I had to try and where to try them. Titita was born and raised in […]

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Veracruz guava atole: Atole de guayaba

Fruit atole is a great morning or late night drink. It can be made with several kinds of fruit, but Veracruz guava atole is my hands-down favorite. The easiest way to remove the seeds is to cut the fruit crosswise and scoop them out with a spoon. Ingredients 3 cups water ½ cup piloncillo or dark brown sugar 1 […]

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Veracruz-style picaditas with black beans and salsa: Picaditas veracruzanas

Picaditas are fun to make as well as eat. As each one is baking on the comal, the sides are pinched up, creating perfect little containers to hold the toppings. Veracruz, being a port city, has seafood variations on its picaditas, which are sometimes known locally as pelliscadas. A very attractive presentation for an appetizer or buffet table is to garnish each picadita with […]

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Fish filets in Mexican hoja santa: Filetes de pescado en hoja santa

Fish filets in Mexican hoja santa is a specialty of Veracruz, where hoja santa is often called acuyo. It combines the fresh seafood for which Veracruz is famous with the anise-scented herb that grows abundantly in the warmer areas of Mexico. Ingredients 4 filets (about 1 ½ pounds total) bass, grouper or other firm-fleshed fish juice of 1 lime […]

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Peanut and Chile Salsa: Salsa Macha

After tasting this table salsa in a restaurant in Orizaba, my husband and I went to the market to look for the area’s famous comapeño chiles. We decided to split up and go searching in different directions, and he was the one who finally found them at a booth piled high with several kinds of dried chiles. Comapeños are […]

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Mexican coffee flan: Flan de cafe

Mexican coffee flan comes from the Coatepec region of Veracruz. Instant espresso powder is a boon to the dessert maker, since it dissolves easily and has an intense flavor. Ingredients For the caramel: ¾ cup sugar For the flan: 2 ½ tablespoons instant espresso powder ½ cup boiling water ½ teaspoon vanilla extract ¼ teaspoon […]

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Danza de los Voladores © Tony Burton

Mexico’s Danza de los Voladores – a photo-essay

One of the most spectacular dances in the country — la Danza de Los Voladores, literally the Dance of the Flyers — involves only five participants.In the old days, they first had to find a suitable tree, as far away from women as possible, and then beg its pardon prior to chopping it down (see […]

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Xalapa-style green mole: Mole verde de Xalapa

Puebla and Oaxaca both have their own distinctive versions of green mole, but none is as laden with fresh vegetables as Xalapa’s mole verde. Although I have prepared several meatless pipians and red moles for my vegetarian children, I always make a batch with poultry or meat for the rest of us. Although most people prefer mole with chicken […]

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Seafood Pozole: Pozole con Mariscos

This Gulf Coast version is from Veracruz, but similar seafood pozoles are found along Mexico’s Pacific coasts. Most Mexican seafood stews come with the heads on the shrimp, but if you do not like to serve shrimp this way, leave them off. If, on the other hand, a more intense shrimp taste is desired, save […]

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The Fort of San Juan Ulua was first built as a castle in the 1550s. It is a landmark in the Mexican city of Veracruz. © Roberta Sotonoff, 2009

Veracruz, Mexico: a feast for the senses

Veracruz is unlike any other city in Mexico, with a rhythm all its own. Salsa music, the cry of the street vendor, the bell of a trolley, and the comings and goings of sea vessels all blend together. Marimba bands play into the night and the air is seasoned with the sights and sounds of […]

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Veracruz-style chicken tamales: Tamales rojos veracruzanos con pollo

I first had these many years ago in the main plaza of the port of Veracruz. We’d stayed out so late listening to the wonderful local musicians that it was morning already and we were starving. The only food available was from the early-morning tamal vendor. It might have been because were so hungry, but these tamales tasted heavenly […]

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Fish in spicy tomato sauce: Pescado a la veracruzana

This is one version of the Veracruz classic that is traditionally made with huachinango, red snapper. If snapper is too pricey, I just buy whatever firm fleshed white fish is more reasonable. This has everything you could want in a healthy Mexican dish — bright flavors and lean protein, without sacrificing regional authenticity. It’s fine to use […]

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Spicy seafood soup: Chilpachole

Chilpachole is a specialty of Veracruz, but it is found all over Mexico, especially in Mexico City, where food of every region comes together. It can be made with either shrimp or crabmeat, and the various recipes I have been given for both are remarkably similar, with homemade fish stock and ancho chile being used in […]

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Black beans © Daniel Wheeler, 2010

Veracruz-style black beans: Frijoles negros a la veracruzana

The small, distinctively-flavored black beans of Veracruz which so charmed the tastebuds of the early Spanish settlers are still famous throughout Mexico for their high-quality, tenderness and taste. The method of preparation is typical of the eastern coastal area of the country. Soaking beans in water overnight, and then changing the water before cooking, is […]

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La Bamba

La Bamba explained: the music of Veracruz

Para bailar la bamba Para bailar la bamba Se necesita Una poca de gracia Una poca de gracia Y otra cosita Can you hear Ritchie Valens belting that one out? One of Rock and Roll’s most copied songs (from garage bands, movies, and college marching bands, to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir). La Bamba is an […]

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The church in the Mexican river port town of Tlacotalpan, Veracruz offers a picture postcard photo shot. In 1998, the historical district of Tlacotalpan was declared a World heritage Site by UNESCO. © Roberta Sotonoff, 2009

La Candelaria In Tlacotalpan, Veracruz

In January 1992, looking for the roots of the musical form called son jarocho, I made a pilgrimage to the river port town of Tlacotalpan, Veracruz. At dawn, as I boarded the southbound bus from the port of Veracruz, I was as excited as a child on Christmas morning. Tlacotalpan — the self-proclaimed heart of the […]

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Veracruz for foreigners: an introduction

When we tell people that we go to Mexico often, they always ask “Cancun or Puerto Vallarta?” When we tell them “Veracruz”‘ they always ask, “Where is that?”. The State of Veracruz is on the east coast of Mexico and is a long day’s drive from McAllen or Laredo Texas. You then find yourself in […]

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Did You Know? – Vanilla

Did you know that the vanilla bean is from an aromatic orchid that originally came from Mexico? The Academy of Sciences and Gastronomic Arts in Paris were so taken with the fruit of this orchid, that in 1921 they paid homage to the anonymous Mexican Indians who discovered it and put it to various uses. […]

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The state of Veracruz, Mexico – resource page

MexConnect Staff The Mexican State of Veracruz brings to mind beautiful Gulf of Mexico waters, steamy jungles and mouth-watering ocean-fresh seafood. The State of Veracruz is all this and more. The following articles will introduce you to aspects of this area that will make you add Veracruz to your list of destinations in Mexico. Interactive […]

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Immigrant cooking in Mexico: The Afromestizos of Veracruz

This month we’ll continue to take a look at the cooking of the immigrants who contributed to the modern Mexican culinary repertoire. Unlike other groups discussed previously — including the Mennonites of Chihuahua, the Italians of Chipilo and the Lebanese of Puebla — this group undoubtedly did not come willingly. Their arrival was a product […]

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View across Plaza Norte to Temple One, Comalcalco

Did You Know? Mayan pyramid in Tabasco, Mexico, has possible Roman links

ROMANS in Mexico? I’ve always tried to maintain an open-minded attitude towards history, but even I was incredulous when I first heard this suggestion. And you certainly won’t find it in most history books!  Could it possibly be true? The evidence comes from the Mayan site at Comalcalco, in the swampy Gulf coast state of Tabasco. […]

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Veracruz style seafood cocktail: Vuelve a la vida

This tasty, bracing concoction, one of the signature dishes of Veracruz, is served all over the country. One of the classic Mexican hangover cures, vuelve a la vida seafood cocktail brings back memories of many years ago, when we would take off from Puebla and head for Veracruz on at least three or four long weekends a […]

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Driving from Guadalajara to Laredo and back

I would love to be able to read detailed accounts of how you drive from one place to another in Mexico, with tips on hotels, tolls, pitfalls, choices of routes and all the other things that make a journey easier and help you avoid getting lost. In talking to people I find there’s great interest […]

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The Veracruz Blues by Mark Winegardner

Cogan’s Reviews This is a wonderful mixture of fact and fiction about America, Mexico and baseball. The time of the story is the ‘40s when Mexico had great baseball teams and the Veracruz Blues “was the best ball club that ever was”. The story is about 1946, la temporada de oro, the season of gold. How come […]

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The Girl from Veracruz

The Girl from Veracruz By John Scherber Kindle Edition $6.69 San Miguel Allende Books www.sanmiguelallendebooks.com The Girl from Veracruz is the twelfth and latest novel in John Scherber’s Murder in Mexico mystery series. Like most of the others, it is set largely in San Miguel de Allende (although there is a trip to Veracruz). It features […]

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Brownsville-Matamoros Ferry

The Brownsville-Matamoros Ferry: crossing the Rio Grande from 1818 to 1929

Old is good, especially when it’s a freshly discovered newspaper from April 1929. It’s exciting to read things that happened even before the stock market crash was to occur that coming October, leading America into one of the bleakest periods in our history. That sad period also saw the close of the oldest institution on […]

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Xalapa, Veracruz

Xalapa, Veracruz: city of flowers

Here’s a place for retirees and snowbirds to seriously consider. I previously extolled the charms of Morelia and wondered aloud why there weren’t more ex-pats living there. After continuing our tour of several colonial cities throughout Central Mexico I’m even more puzzled as to why Xalapa hasn’t become more of a permanent residence for Americans […]

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mountaineering expedition on Pico de Orizaba

Mexico mountaineering expedition on Pico de Orizaba (Citlaltepetl)

“The mountain, she is not innocent….” Senor Reyes’ voice trailed off as his words hung in the dry air of the climber’s hostel in Tlachichuca. John and I toned down our giddy anticipation and shifted uncomfortably in the sudden gravity of the moment. Reyes was perfect, exactly the type of mountain man you expected to […]

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Plaza

Laredo and Nuevo Laredo: Four good reasons to visit a border town

Regardless whether you translate la frontera as “border” or “frontier,” the images evoked are often negative: lawlessness, dusty streets, harsh climes, and a general disregard for human life. Even in an historical context, frontier life means living on the edges of civilization. When outsiders first encounter a Texas-Mexico border town, such images are often brutally reinforced. The […]

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Tecolutla_Hotel

In Tecolutla, Veracruz: just like Bogie and Bacall

The small fishing town of Tecolutla straddles the Gulf of Mexico and the Rio Tecolutla in the northern part of Veracruz State. Apart from school vacations and the annual fishing tournament nothing much happens around here – which is why we like it. One has the feeling of being lost in another time and place […]

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Frank Henry, an English silver mining engineer who worked in Mexico during the Revolution of 1910. This is part of a letter written by his wife Edith on December 23rd, 1915, days before he was killed. © Julia Swanson, 2006

Murder in Mexico: an English family during the Revolution

My grandfather, Frank Henry, was an English silver mining engineer in Mexico during the Revolution of 1910-16. This is the story of a family’s harrowing escape from marauding bandits at the height of the Revolution. Sadly, it was without my grandfather, as he had been brutally murdered by the bandits while defending their home from […]

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Successful expansion in a more efficient Port of Veracruz

The privatization of the facilities of the port of Veracruz in 1996 and open competition for market share between the country’s main operators, have led to significant improvements in the port’s overall handling capacity and services, says sources, while major expansion projects are underway to further improve the overall structure of the major deep sea […]

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Escape to Paradise! © Richard Ferguson, 2008

Catemaco and Los Tuxtlas, Veracruz: almost paradise

The arch at the entrance to the city of Catemaco says “Escape to Paradise!”  Catemaco is both a town and a lake in the region known as Los Tuxtlas, in southern Veracruz state. The area is very green and wet, much of it covered by jungle. The Gulf of Mexico is nearby, and the area […]

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Palacio Municipal - At night

Xalapa, Veracruz: My Mexican city of dreams

Originally from Boulder, Colorado, I have lived in Xalapa, Veracruz, for the last 27 years. Xalapa (hah-LAH-pah) is truly the place of my dreams. Nestled in lush coffee growing hills, with a micro climate averaging 68° F (20° C) year-round, it’s the capital of the Gulf of Mexico state of Veracruz. Xalapa comes from the […]

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Navidad Xalapeña Photo: Roy Dudley

Jalapeña Christmas: A holiday in Xalapa

The sights, sounds and smells of Christmas in Mexico are wondrous, and Xalapa is no exception. Sparkling lights, music, cohetes (fireworks) and hot chocolate mix together to fill your senses. All Saints Day (Todos Santos) in early November ushers in the Christmas season and from then on a torrent of events seem to happen at the same […]

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Juanote. Photography by Roy Dudley © 2001

Juanote

Known affectionately as “Juanote” (Big John) to the inhabitants of Xalapa, Juan Herrera Vasquez ( 1924-1989) was a unique personality who was a humble cargador (mover), just as his father was, yet he had a deep passion for classical music. His knowledge of composers and their works were astonishing – as well as his collection of over […]

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Robert Barrett and Richard Nathan: two Englishmen in Xalapa, Veracruz

The first Englishman to set foot in Xalapa was an unfortunate fellow called Robert Barrett. That was back in 1568. Some 432 years later, another Englishman has set foot in this delightful city. But Richard Nathan considers himself a lot more fortunate, even though he arrived here after walking nearly 4,000 miles (6,400 kms). A […]

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Edna Vite photograph

Labor of love: the work of Mexican photographer Edna Vite

Examining the photographs of Edna Vite is much like peering into the very depths of her heart. As Vite herself explains, the photographic artwork that she creates is a declaration of her love. “That is what I want to express – mi amor,” she says, explaining that it is something that she is offering up to […]

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Pescado a la Veracruzana

Esta es una versión del clásico veracruzano que tradicionalmente se hace con huachinngo. Si el huachinango es muy caro, yo compro cualquier pescado de carne firme. Esto tiene todo lo que puede querer en un saludable platillo mexicano, combinando sabores vivos y proteína, sin sacrificar la autenticidad regional. Se pueden utilizar jitomates enlatados si los […]

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Tlatonile de pollo

Esta salsa se originó en Huatusco, en el norte de la parte central de Veracruz. Los chiles comapeños son unos chiles secos, pequeños y rojos que abundan en ésta región. Los puede sustituir con chile de árbol, pero recomiendo que los use en menor cantidad ya que los chiles de árbol son más picantes. Si […]

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Pescado en Pipián Rojo

Las montañas del norte de Puebla y Veracruz están bendecidas con abundantes pescados de agua dulce. La combinacion de pescado y pipián es poco común pero muy deliciosa, y cualquier pescado blanco de carne firme puede ser utilizado para esta receta. La cantidad de semillas de chile va de acuerdo con su gusto individual. Ingredientes […]

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Dressed in tropical white, couples perform the sensuous danzon in the Plaza de Armas in Veracruz City. © Roberta Sotonoff, 2009

There’s a lot to see and do in Veracruz, Mexico

Published or Updated on: December 13, 2009 by Roberta Sotonoff © 2009

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Did You Know? Blacks outnumbered Spaniards until after 1810

By common consent, the history of blacks in Mexico is a long one. The first black slave to set foot in Mexico is thought to have been Juan Cortés. He accompanied the conquistadors in 1519. It has been claimed that some natives thought he must be a god, since they had never seen a black […]

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Mexico’s Pyramid Power – Chichen Itza, El Tajin and Teotihuacan

Consider El Tajin’s famous pyramid of the Niches, built by inheritors of the Olmec culture. Thousands of small stone blocks came together just so, like a Chinese block puzzle, to produce a structure that rises 20 meters in seven tiers. A staircase climbs the eastern face. Curiously, there are 365 square recesses set into the […]

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The Eagle, which became the property of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, is interestingly a sister-ship to the Portuguese Sagres II. Both were built in Germany in the 1930s. Mexico's Cuauhtemoc will host the Vela Sud America regatta in Veracruz and welcome the U.S. Coast Guard Eagle to the festivities. © Thaddeus J. Koza, 2010

Vela Sud America: tall ships sail to Veracruz

Vela Sud Sailing Schedule and Ports of Call 1 Rio de Janeiro Brazil February 2-7 2 Mar de Plata Argentina February 21-26 3 Montevideo Uruguay February 28-March2 4 Buenos Aires Argentina March 4-9 5 Isla de los Estados Argentina March 18 6 Ushuaia Argentina March 19/20-23 7 Cabo de Hornos Chile March 23/24 8 Punta […]

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Barra del Tordo, Tamaulipas is paradise close to home

You can stop looking for paradise. It’s only 5 hours south of the Texas/Mexico border at McAllen or Brownsville. Most guidebooks dismiss the Gulf Coast uninteresting. They couldn’t be more wrong. El Paraiso Resort at Barra del Tordo, Tamaulipas is an ecological cornucopia. To get there, drive down Hwy 97 or 101 to Hwy 180 […]

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The Zacatón Sinkhole

Did you know? Mexico has the deepest water-filled sinkhole in the world, in Tamaulipas

As vertical shafts go, this is a seriously deep one! Long considered to be “bottomless” since no-one had ever managed to find the floor, we now know it is precisely 335 meters (1099 feet) deep, making it the deepest water-filled sinkhole anywhere on the planet. The El Zacatón sinkhole is on El Rancho Azufrosa, near […]

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Did You Know? Vanilla Festival in Papantla, Veracruz

The Vanilla Festival is held in early summer every year in Papantla, Veracruz. The origins of the festival pre-date the Spanish conquest. Its timing is now tied to the Catholic celebration of the Feast of Corpus Christi (Body of Christ), sixty days after Easter. Papantla is the heart of Mexico’s vanilla-growing region. Vanilla, surely one […]

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El Tajin Hotel and RV Park is a perfect camping spot on the Costa Esmeralda of Veracruz in Mexico. The area can serve as a convenient base camp for those exploring Mexico on a budget © William B. Kaliher, 2010

A perfect Mexico camping spot on the Costa Esmeralda of Veracruz

I know better, but can’t help it. Helmet off and strapped to my motorcycle, I’ve gotta feel the breeze as I whiz over the foothills and take the soft curves. The deep green waters of the Gulf of Mexico on my right mesmerizes as I head north. It’s too nice. I may not swim, but […]

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Thatch roof shelters are the perfect pace to socialize at Quinta Alicia Trailer Park on the Emerald Coast of Veracruz. © William B. Kaliher, 2010

Wild Bill discovers Mexico’s Costa Esmeralda — the Emerald Coast of Veracruz

Wild Bill is a seventy-six year-old expatriate enjoying his motor home and life in relative seclusion at Quinta Alicia Trailer Park on the palm covered coast of Costa Esmeralda, Mexico. Retired from both the military and a career in aviation management, Bill is a widower with five grown children. We sat at a concrete picnic […]

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Waiting for Los Abuelos restuarant to open, its waiters befriend the dog. The restaurant in Tecolutla, Mexico, is a 1950s-style hamburger hut. © William B. Kaliher, 2010

Retirement in Paradise: a ’50s burger drive-in on Mexico’s Emerald Coast

Retiring in Mexico means different things for different people. But an American couple in tiny Tecolutla on Mexico’s Emerald Coast have forged a unique and fulfilling lifestyle by taking the road less traveled. I’d been through the area many times before learning of this unlisted, unadvertised restaurant. I’ve enjoyed it over the four years since and hope […]

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Set inside a cavern, the wine bar at La Osteria in Catemaco combines fine wines with fine and authentic Italian food off the beaten tourist track in Mexico. © William B. Kaliher, 2010

Catemaco, Mexico: home to an eclectic group of international expats

The producer of Medicine Man, starring Sean Connery, found Los Tuxtlas, as did Mel Gibson when he filmed Apocalypto. Being the home of the mysterious Olmec civilization, which predated the Mayans, makes it the perfect base for Mexico’s witches and medicine men who still produce curative powders and drinks from native plants based on ancient lore. Beyond historical sites, […]

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A German cigar produced in Mexico: Puros Sihuapan

A German cigar produced in Mexico: Puros Sihuapan

Still cool, in the early tropical morning, I pulled to the curve to savor a coffee at the Fractal to enjoy the early morning activities on the malecón along Laguna Catemaco. The Fractal had been an accidental discovery, but I doubted many tourists worldwide had a better view or more satisfying setting for a morning brew. Entering […]

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Fine Mexican cigars are found in a variety of boxes — what's your favorite? © William B. Kaliher, 2012

Better than a Cuban cigar: Mexico’s Santa Clara Puros

Puros Santa Clara number among the world’s finest cigars. In fact, these fine Mexico cigars rival — and surpass — Cuban cigars in flavor and quality. Many articles cover Mexican tobacco, hand-rolled cigars and the internationally famous owners and growers of the product. But to fully appreciate Puros Santa Clara, its owner and founder Señor […]

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Catemaco biker and popsicle maker, Alex © William B. Kaliher, 2014

Mexican motorcyclists and popsicles in Catemaco

I stepped to the front of the restaurant, near the screen, and turned around. From the darkened room, the worst motorcycle gang in southern Mexico stared back. Then I noticed these rough looking, leather-clad and tattooed hombres were enjoying paletas — Mexico’s fresh fruit popsicles. What one can learn about a product as — well as oneself […]

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Mexican enchiladas with the world famous mole from Xico, Veracruz © Karen Hursh Graber, 2014

Going locavore in the mountains of Veracruz

Although mention of Veracruz usually brings to mind a tropical Gulf Coast climate and an abundance of fish and seafood, the western region of the state is home to a mountain range, a cloud forest, and a huge variety of plant and animal life in one of the most beautiful habitats in Mexico. It is […]

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David Christian Newton at Quinta Tesoro de la Sierra Madre © Marvin West, 2015

Mexico beauty and genius

It has been said that beauty is where you see it and genius is all around, waiting to be identified. Beauty — Quinta Tesoro de la Sierra Madre is an adobe house and little wildlife refuge on the banks of Rio Corona, at the end of the road, 25 or 30 miles from Ciudad Victoria, […]

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The Xalapa Museum, a walk back in time

Mexico is a country rich in creative expression, and its creative roots go far back into the history of its people. In much of the modern work done today, one can still catch a glimpse of the mysterious energy that permeated all pre-Columbian work. In the state of Veracruz, the Xalapa Anthropological Museum houses a […]

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Veracruz-style seafood and rice: Arroz a la tumbada

One of my happiest dining memories is the first time I tried Arroz a la Tumbada at the King of Carnival restaurant in the city of Veracruz, where it is prepared to order for each diner and served in individual clay cazuelas. Ingredients: 2 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons corn oil 1 cup medium grain rice, washed and dried […]

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Spring feeding La Laguna Encantada

Did You Know? An enchanted lake in Veracruz rises every dry season, but falls again during the wet season

Peculiar, but true. There are several lakes named Laguna Encantada (Enchanted Lake) in Mexico, but this one is near Catemaco in the Tuxtlas region of the state of Veracruz. Catemaco is famous for its witches, so perhaps one of them cast a spell on the lake, making it behave perversely, its level changing in opposition […]

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Workers at Mexico's Torrent factory where Te-Amo cigars are produced sort and prepare tobacco leaves. © William B. Kaliher, 2010

Alberto Turrent and Te-Amo: Six generations of Mexican cigars

Mexico’s famous Te-Amo cigar comes from Sihuapan, near Catemaco, Veracruz. The producer — Turrent, Nueva Matacapan Tabacos, S.A. de C.V. — takes its name from the owner, Alberto Turrent, the fifth generation of the cigar manufacturing family. I’m a cigar aficionado myself, and I had the pleasure of talking with Alberto Turrent at length. During […]

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The church faces the plaza in Catemaco, and a bandstand sits beneath palm strees. This town is considered one of the most charming in the Mexican state of Veracruz. © William B. Kaliher, 2010

Tabacalera Alberto: What’s smoking with Mexico’s leading cigar maker?

Driving to Yucatan, I made a wrong turn and wound up in the town of Catemaco. A shady beach drive along a huge lake provided a tranquil setting reminiscent of Hollywood’s 1930s America. I pulled to the curb to enjoy a walk and a cigar. The setting totally captivated me. The delight I discovered from my […]

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Colorful homes in Las Animas, an attractive residential area in the southeast area of Xalapa. © Donald J. MacKay, 2009

Expat living in Mexico: Xalapa vs. Ajijic

Reports written some years ago about Jalapa, (or Xalapa as the locals prefer to spell it) Veracruz in MexConnect caught my eye. These tout the pleasant climate, cultural attractions, the presence of universities, lack of foreigners, and metropolitan character. My wife and I thought it would be a pleasant contrast from Ajijic where we live year-round. In […]

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Fiesta of the Virgin Magdalena in Xico: A village of enchantment in Veraruz

Xico: A village of enchantment in Veracruz

Founded in the year 1313, Xico’s original name was Xico-Chimalco in the Náhuatl (Aztec) language meaning “where there are bee hives of yellow wax.” Located only 20 minutes from Xalapa, Veracruz, it’s a village bound to charms one’s total senses. To get there, you travel southwest through the town of Coatepec, past the ex-hacienda of Zimpizahua, curving […]

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The Cuisine of Tabasco: Heartland Of Pre-Hispanic Cooking

Nestled along the southernmost coast of the Gulf of Mexico is the state of Tabasco, birthplace of the Olmecs, called the “mother culture of Mesoamerica”, and the Chontal Maya, famous as seafaring tradesmen. This impressive heritage, combined with bountiful natural resources, has helped Tabasco preserve significant elements of its ancient cuisine. According to Conaculta’s series […]

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La Bamba explained: the music of Veracruz

Para bailar la bamba Para bailar la bamba Se necesita Una poca de gracia Una poca de gracia Y otra cosita Can you hear Ritchie Valens belting that one out? One of Rock and Roll’s most copied songs (from garage bands, movies, and college marching bands, to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir). La Bamba is an […]

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In Catemaco, Veracruz, sorcerer's ceremonies generally blend indigenous rites and chanted prayers calling upon Catholic saints © Ayuntamiento de Catemaco, 2010 Veracruz town hosts the annual National Congress of Sorcerers: Image 1 of 7

Catemaco: Mexico’s cradle of sorcery and witchcraft

This Veracruz town hosts the annual National Congress of Sorcerers. Magic-filled stories abound in Mexico: curanderos claiming to cure illness with herbs and special oils and sorcerers insisting they can bring back straying spouses or cast evil spells on enemies. A Mexican union leader travelling to Africa to partake in a “black magic” ritual sacrificing a lion […]

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Day of the Dead in Mexico: Altars and ofrendas by Roy Dudley

Day of the Dead in Mexico: Altars and ofrendas – gallery

gallery Published or Updated on: November 1, 2001 by Roy Dudley © 2001

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Papantla: El Tajin archaeological zone

The Tajin belongs to the Totonaca culture. It took shape during the late Classic period and reached its peak development during the transition to the Post-Classic, between 800 and 1150 A.D. The word Tajin means “The Sacred city of the Dead and of the Thunder in Storm”. The city was built in the Papanteca mountain […]

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Map of Tamaulipas

Map of Tamaulipas

Map of Tamaulipas Map of Tamaulipas SCT, 1999.

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Link to clickable interactive map of Veracruz, Mexico

Published or Updated on: January 1, 2004 by Tony Burton © 2009

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Map of El Tajin archeological site

Map of El Tajin archeological site

Map of El Tajin archeological site

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Interactive Map of Tabasco, Mexico

Interactive Map of Tabasco, Mexico

Interactive Map of Tabasco, Mexico The small, low-lying state of Tabasco has a land area of 24,731 km2 (9,549 sq mi) and a population (2015) of 2.4 million. Its economy is based on oil, services and agriculture, especially bananas. The state of Tabasco receives an average rainfall three times higher than Mexico’s national average rainfall, […]

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Interactive Map of Veracruz

Interactive Map of Veracruz

Interactive Map of Veracruz The state of Veracruz is in Mexico’s Gulf Coast Region, along with Tamaulipas and Tabasco. Veracruz occupies a relatively narrow strip of land stretching for 650 kilometers (over 400 miles) along the Gulf of Mexico, with topography ranging from its narrow coastal plain to very high mountains on its western border […]

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Citlaltépetl, as painted by Velasco, 1897

Did you know? An early ascent of Mexico’s highest peak, El Pico de Orizaba

Scientists first explored El Pico de Orizaba, Mexico’s highest peak, as long ago as 1838. El Pico de Orizaba, or Citlaltépetl (= star), is Mexico’s highest peak, with a summit 5,746 meters (18,853 feet) above sea level. The third highest peak in North America, it is also that region’s highest volcano, responsible for major eruptions […]

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Xalapa – A report

Posted by Lee Harrison on Junio 17, 2000 I’ve recently returned from my second trip to Xalapa, and thought I’d share a few thoughts about the area, and my opinion of its suitability as a retirement location. Xalapa is a big place, with over 600,000 folks in residence. It’s pronounced “ha-LA-pa” (sometimes spelled Jalapa) and […]

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The cuisine of Veracruz: a tasty blend of cultures

Exotic-looking even on a map, the Mexican state of Veracruz stretches along the Gulf Coast like the graceful tentacle of a sea creature. Within the boundaries formed by the warm coastal waters to the east and the Sierra Madre Oriental to the west is an enticing pot-pourri of cultures. The indigenous, the Afro-Cuban and the […]

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TAGS – States, Regions, Cities

Aguascalientes, Baja California, Baja California Sur, Campeche, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Colima, Durango, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Jalisco, México (State of), México City, D.F., Michoacán, Morelos, Nayarit, Nuevo León, Oaxaca, Puebla, Queretaro, Quintana Roo, San Luis Potosí, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Tlaxcala, Veracruz, Yucatán, Zacatecas,

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The church faces the plaza in Catemaco, and a bandstand sits beneath palm strees. This town is considered one of the most charming in the Mexican state of Veracruz. © William B. Kaliher, 2010

Laguna Catemaco, Veracruz

The lush green volcanic hills of southern Veracruz permitted only glimpses of the approaching Laguna Catemaco. Small islands hid among swirls of soft grey neblina.(fog) They appeared then disappeared like ancient abandoned castles in the mythical mist. Tantalised by this lovely landscape luring me to the unknown, I turned to my husband Bill, and spoke in […]

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Published or Updated on August 18, 2020 by Tony Burton

 

 

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