Veracruz is a large city in the state of Veracruz in Central Mexico. It is known for perhaps the best nightlife in the state, and its spacious downtown area near the harbor (zocalo) comes alive with music and dancing with a strong Cuban influence. Highlights are the annual carnival celebrations around February when the party atmosphere is particularly raucous and hotel rooms become difficult to find.
Veracruz City has a rich history. It has been the main gate of the country for sae travelers and products since its foundation. In this region the Spanish got in Mexico in the XVI century and remain for three centuries changing for ever all the region that now is Mexico. The San Juan de Ulua fortress located in an Island in from of the city, was the last place where the Spanish were combated in the XIX Century. Veracruz population has been faced four alien invasions, where they defended the city and got for it the title of "Four times Heroic".
There is some pretty architecture in the city, including two historic fortess, several museums as well as those historical building in the "Malecon". A few beaches can be found north of Veracruz but the beaches and water are not very clean; beach lovers might want to go north to Tecolutla or south to Los Tuxtlas.
About 20 km northwest from Veracruz city is the point at which Hernan Cortez originally landed in Mexico. The Port of Veracruz remains the core of its economy. The locals call their city "Puerto" (port) to differentiate the city from the state of Veracruz.
Local language is, of course, Spanish. More than half (but not all) of the hospitality workers we encountered spoke English. Local people is know as "jarochos", this denomination is not only for the people of the city but for the whole region of the State of Veracruz known as "Llanuras de Sotavento". The jarochos are very friendly people that love to be outdoors. Because of the weather, almost between 25 and 32 degree Celsius the people is very social. But in some months between January and March there are high winds from the North up to 120 Km/h, they are known as "nortes".
Veracruz has a little international airport and a bus station. Is is connected with an important road with Mexico City through the Cordoba City and it has other important roads, one cross the Golf of Mexico coast and other one go to Xalapa, the capital of the State.
Only US city to fly direct is from Houston, Tx via Continental Airlines. There are many options from other Mexican cities, most notably Mexico City. The airport is about 10km west of downtown.
Railway is not working for passengers since about 1995.
You can drive with a comfortable bus from the bus hub located at the Metro stop San Lazaro in Mexico City. The trip takes around 5 1/2 hours. You can also take a Bus from Puebla which takes 3-4 hours.
When arriving at the bus station, you can buy a voucher for a taxi which then will drive in front of the bus station. The station is located on "Tuero Molina" street and "20 de Noviembre" avenue. The bus station is located only about 10 blocks (1 km) from one of the main turistical places of the City, "Villa del Mar".
Taxis In relation with developed countries, taxis are very cheap. A journey cost between 2.50 and 5.00 USD according to the zone that you want to go. But you must agree the cost before you get in the taxi. Be sure to take only good condition autos with air condition.
Walking The cheaper way to know the city is walking in the downtown and after that walk to the "Malecon" where several boats, historical buildings as well as tourist facilities and stores are located.
By bus One very interesting possibility is to take the Bus "Boca del Rio", its path almost goes across the Boulevard of the City to the downtown of "Boca del Rio", a city joined in fact with Veracruz that has the better hotels, modern building and beaches of the Region. Almost the other public buses are not recommended for turist, because they are old, in bad conditions and often very crowded and its paths are not easy understandable for new people in the city.
Veracruz brightly painted US school buses are used for city buses. Fares are M$7.50.
Meals depend on where you eat, you can eat great sea food in Boca del Rio and Mandinga and Alvarado (but for this last one you have to travel about 45 minutes). Look for the Palapas (huts) and you can have a great meal for little money.
In Veracruz, as in most Mexican cities, you won't notice much difference in taste between tacos from a fancy restaurant on the plaza and tacos from a street cart, it all more or less tastes fantastic. If you're on a budget, it's best to stay away from restaurants on the plaza, where you'll pay a premium for location. Street carts are definitely the cheapest option, but if you like to sit down and eat, a good compromise that's still dirt-cheap is any of lunch counters at the Mercado Hidalgo.
Night clubs are the most expensive places. They will ask you to buy a bottle (whiskey, rum, vodka, whatever) in order to give you a table to seat. If you don't mind standing you can drink single drinks around 13 USD for a Cosmopolitan, for example. Besides men have to pay at the entrance 5-10 USD, women enter for free.
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The small town Catemaco lies nearby. The bus takes only 2 1/2 hours and you'll find some nice beaches, water activities and more.