According to Wholevehicles, Veracruz stands on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, but this city can be called a beach city very conditionally, it is rather a port. Mostly Mexicans come here to relax, foreigners get there infrequently, so the place is more authentic than touristy. Veracruz differs from most Mexican cities in restraint: there are no bright houses, painted facades, colonial baroque. Outside the center, it looks more like a village.
The city has two tourist seasons: December-March and June-August. In the rest of the months, the sun also shines, but it gets a little cooler, the wind blows, there are rains.
How to get to Veracruz
The city has its own Bahadas airport, where planes from Russia fly, but you will have to fly with two transfers, the journey will take about 20 hours. Cheaper and faster to get through Mexico City, from the Mexican capital to Veracruz – 350 km. They can be overcome by car or bus, which leaves from the bus station and takes 6 hours. Or fly to Veracruz in just an hour. The airport is located 6 km from the city center, it will be most convenient to take a taxi.
Public transport in the city is represented by buses and fixed-route taxis. It is possible to determine where they are going only by the signs on which the final destination is indicated, there are no route numbers here, as well as schedules at stops. The latter can not always be found due to the lack of even shops, you have to focus on people waiting for the bus. A few years ago, a tourist tram appeared in the city, which runs along the Malecon promenade and along the historic streets.
You can rent a bike to ride, for example, to the beach – in the city itself, the coast is dirty. Cycling through Veracruz will also be pleasant, but not during the day when it is hot. If necessary, you can always use a taxi, but it is better to agree on the price of the trip immediately upon boarding – local drivers often overestimate the cost. There is a special tourist taxi (turismo), whose drivers speak English. It can be called from the hotel.
There are many inexpensive hotels in Veracruz where you can rent a double room for 180-300 MXN. They are located mainly in the center, near the waterfront. A more expensive area is Costa de Oro in the southern part of the city, further from the city beach and bustle. Here the prices are higher: 1000-1800 MXN per night. Vacation homes are also rented, on average for 2000-2500 MXN per day. The prices on the page are for December 2021.
Despite the fairly large number of hotels, on the days of the carnival they are all overcrowded – for these dates you need to book accommodation several months in advance.
In the city itself, the beaches are not very beautiful and clean, the proximity of the port affects. Sand and water of a grayish tint do not look “postcard”. But everything you need is there: sun loungers, umbrellas, toilets and changing cabins.
In the suburbs, the beaches are cleaner and prettier, for example, Mocambo in Boca del Rio, which is 10 km from the center of Veracruz. Regular buses with a sign “Boca del Rio” go to it. You can go to the island of Sakrifisios with clean beaches, snorkel and admire the corals. Sunsets are gentle everywhere, but with children it is better to swim on suburban beaches.
Cuisine and restaurants of Veracruz
Veracruz is famous for its delicious coffee, which is offered here at every turn. At least once it is worth drinking it in the most famous old Gran Cafe del Portal near the port, on the territory of an ancient monastery. Here the drink is not only delicious, the presentation itself is unusual. The waiter lifts high the iron teapots of coffee and milk and simultaneously pours them into the cup. After drinking one portion, you can tap the mug with a spoon, and the waiter will fill it again absolutely free of charge.
There are a lot of food in Veracruz, mostly they offer traditional local cuisine, and inexpensively, as they are designed for Mexicans, and not wealthy Europeans or Americans.
The city is a port, so fish and seafood are popular here, they are always the freshest.
The hit of the local restaurants is Pescado a la Veracruzana – fish baked with tomatoes, onions, peppers, capers, olives and oregano. It is served with rice or vegetables. Shrimps and other marine life are most often fried in oil with garlic and spices. A local variety of tamales popular throughout Mexico is sacahuil: pork with corn mass is wrapped in a banana leaf. And of course, everywhere they offer enchiladas, tacos, quesadillas.
Entertainment and attractions
All entertainment is concentrated on the embankment: there are most of all hotels, restaurants, and palm trees and sculptures adorn the promenade, sometimes quite unexpected, for example, a machine gunner or a diver in a spacesuit. There is also an aquarium (Acuario), where you can look at marine life in a huge tank. Not far from the central square of Zocalo there is an ancient castle, two forts and the Cathedral. Forts San Juan de Ulua and Baluarte de Santiago are located opposite each other, museums are now open in each of them.
On the squares of the city in the evenings fun begins: the ceremonial dances of local residents of age and the noisy dances of young people. Clowns walk the streets, mostly women for some reason. People are dancing in cafes and squares, drinking tequila, music is pouring from everywhere. Those who do not want to dance play chess at the tables – no one interferes with anyone.
Immediately behind the oceanarium, there are many people with signs – you can order excursions from them (as well as in any restaurant).
Every year, since 1866, a carnival has been held in Veracruz, the second most important in all of Latin America after the carnival in Rio de Janeiro. During the 9 days before Ash Wednesday (usually in February), city residents in colorful costumes march through the streets, sing, dance, compete in all of the above. Music groups, dance schools from all over the country come together. Stands for spectators are installed along the embankment, entrance by tickets. In the finale, an effigy of Coque, personifying all the bad things, is burned. And have fun again.