Veracruz bleg

by on December 19, 2007 at 8:20 pm in Travels | Permalink

The second part of our Mexico trip will be to Veracruz.  Again your suggestions are most welcome…

1 Dave December 19, 2007 at 8:34 pm

Avoid the fish places with signage warning of the symptoms of cholera. At least that’s what I remember from Veracruz twenty years ago.

Mind you, the food tastes wonderful…

2 mf December 19, 2007 at 9:06 pm

Café de la Parroquia is right by the harbor and it’s one of the most traditional places in town…they have great hot chocolate and coffee of course…definitely cheaper than any starbucks…

Jalapa is indeed a cool town…

3 angus December 19, 2007 at 10:02 pm

T: I have to third Jalapa. Very nice museum there too.

4 ryan michael daza December 20, 2007 at 12:23 am

TOP 5 THINGS TO DO IN VERACRUZ:

1. GET A ‘TIBURONES’ SOCCER JERSY (the sharks, its red)

2. ASK WHERE “MONKEY ISLAND IS” (yes monkeys that actually live on the island)

3. GET A JAROCHO’S SCARF (like those guys have – the ones with the small guitars)

4. LOOK FOR THOSE GIANT OLEMC STONE HEADS

5. PUT MUD ON YOUR FACE & GET BLESSED BY A SHAMAN (in Catemaco – at the Indian ‘ruins’)

[6? visit my family in Minatitlan and tell them Im sorry for not calling them often enough – especially Tia, she can get mean!]

(don’t forget the cuban cigars)

5 J December 20, 2007 at 6:40 am

Tlacotalpan is very pretty. Well worth a visit.

6 Fred December 20, 2007 at 12:59 pm

I know the city of Veracruz well (you didn’t specify whether you meant the state in general or just the city), and would say that there’s plenty of ambience to enjoy in the city:

* The Gran Café de la Parroquia is a traditional stop. Go in the morning and have a lechero (strong coffee with just-off-the-cow steamed milk), tirados (eggs scrambled with black beans, yum!) and a bomba con mantequilla (a sweet bun toasted with fresh butter).

* In the evenings people congregate on the main plaza at Los Portales, a series of bars where all the tables are out on the plaza. There are always marimbas and often there will be dancers doing the traditional danzón on the plaza (I believe Thursdays and Saturdays). This isn’t touristy — it’s something that’s been going on for decades.

* Peanut, guava or lemon ices from the Güero Güero Güera Guëra ice cream shop, either a block east of Los Portales, or along the Boulevard (close to the Aquarium, a more touristy thing to visit).

* The well-preserved ancient Spanish fort of San Juan de Ulúa is lit up at night, and stands in the middle of one of the busiest ports in Mexico.

* La Villa Rica is a traditional restaurant with several locations for delicious seafood with local recipes. The location at Mocambo beach is the most traditional, and quite charming.

* The recommendations for the visits to La Antigua and Xalapa are solid; the Anthropological museum is a must-see, as is the Hacienda Santa Ana. On the same visit, you could go to El Tajín, an amazing archaeological site of a huge Olmec city. These ruins don’t receive nearly the coverage they deserve, and the city is easily on a par with Chichén Itzá or Tulúm in the Yucatan peninsula. The Olmec culture is very well represented at the Xalapa museum.

The drive from Puebla to Veracruz is an easy four-hour drive on a recently-built toll road, so that shouldn’t be a problem for you.

I’ll be there over the holidays, so if you need any more suggestions, shoot me an email.

7 Steve Sailer December 20, 2007 at 7:44 pm

Xalapa, between Puebla and Veracruz, is a lovely hill town on the escarpment between the Central Mexican plateau and the coastal lowlands. There’s a beautiful lake in the middle of town surrounded by a park full of jacaranda trees.

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9 Alejandro Hope December 21, 2007 at 9:53 pm

Tyler,

Here goes a list of my Veracruz favourites:

1. Best seafood: try the stalls at Mandinga, in the town of Boca del Río (right next to the port of Veracruz). Amazing shrimp, great huauchinango a la veracruzana.

2. Most interesting side trip: El Tajín. About two hours north of Veracruz, this is one of the most interesting and unusual archaeological sites in Mesoamerica, a 2,000 year-old remnant of the verypoorly understood Totonac culture. The Totonacs are among other things the producers of one particularly beautiful type of Mesoamerican artifact: the so-called “smiling face” sculptures (can anyone think of any other classical culture where the human smile was so prominently displayed?). To go to El Tajín, you have to go through Papantla, a town known for two things: the “voladores” ritual(i.e., a ceremony of dancers flying down from a high pole with their legs tied to a rope) and the best vanilla you will find anywhere in the world (outside Madagascar). It’s well worth a short stop.

3. A cool historical moment: I wouldn’t go to Jalapa if I were you. It is a nice town, with a great museum,lovely parks , and a good university, but it is rather unispiring and bland. But if you do there stop at Manga de Clavo, a restored hacienda whose most famous previous owner is a character well-known in US history: Antonio L[opez de Santa Anna (yes, the guy from the Alamo). From there, that most bizarre of Mexican historical figures plotted and plotted yet again his way back to power (11 times in total) and planned his less than completely succesful Texas campaign in 1836. A nice site for history buffs.

4. Most interesting architecture and urban setting: Tlacotalpan. This is a lovely town, right down south from Veracruz, on the shore of the Pánuco river. It looks like a giant and surreal wedding cake, all pastel colors in a tropical setting. And of course, Tlacotalpan is renowned for its great musicians, most notable of which was Agustín Lara, composer of some of trhe best, most soulful boleros ever written and an iconic figure of mid-century Mexico.

4. Best book to prepare for a visit to Veracruz: Bernal Diaz del Castillo’s True History of the Conquest of New Spain (I’m sure you have read it, but do reread, particularly the early chapters)

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