East Entrance to the Zocalo in Veracruz

East Entrance to the Zocalo in Veracruz

© Lavafalls

The medium sized port city of Veracruz, with deteriorating city centre, has a charm to it that is hard to miss. Located in the state of Veracruz in Mexico, it seems to lack all the hustle and bustle of the larger and more popular tourist destinations at the same time it does have a certain bit of seediness to it, making it all the more interesting. The city is located right on the water making for fun urban beaches, sadly with the view of container ships and oil rigs off in the distance. Its main claim to fan is being the site of where Cortez landed his first ship in 1519.

In general most of the travellers in Veracruz are middle class Mexicans or business men in the import-export/oil trade making for an interesting place. If looking to break up the long journey from the south to the north Veracruz is a great place to spend 2 nights just to stretch your legs.



Sights and Activities


The Zocalo in Veracruz is small but has lots of charm. The square is lined with the main cathedral, which was built in the 18th century, a few government buildings and some old hotels that are some of the oldest hotels in all of the New World. In the evening the hotels set up cafe's on the square offering good food at an ok price. Musicians also show up in the evening and others set up stalls to sell crafts to locals. This is also a great place to watch local couples enjoy the evening air.


Beach at Veracruz, Playa Mocambo

Beach at Veracruz, Playa Mocambo

© Lavafalls

Although urban beaches lacking the romance and beauty of some of other beaches in Mexico, these beaches do offer a good chance to relax. In general the further south you go the better the beaches will be along the coastline of the city.

  • Playa Mocambo is located in the far south of the city and is a nice beach. During the day several people sell fresh fish and the life guards keep a close watch. It is about a 40 peso cab ride, one way, from the Zocalo.
  • Playa de Hornos and Playa Villa de Mar are smaller urban beaches located near the city centre. They do not have that much charm but it is sand and water, what else do you need?
  • Cancuncito is a sand bar off the coast and the best beach in town. Also in the water is the Isle de Sacrificios, which at one time was an island for human sacrifice during the Totonac times, then turned into a leprosy colony and today is a bio reserve. To get to these places take a launch from the aquarium for 120 pesos.

Other Sights and Activities

  • Waterfront Walk Way is located right on the port and is charming but not so charming. You can watch the ships unload and at the same time look at the anceint fort across the bay. The waterfront walk way is located just north and east of the Zocalo.
  • San Juan De Ulua is the fort that protected Veracruz for several generations. Orginally on an island it is now connected to the land by a causeway. It costs about 50 pesos to take a taxi there or take a boat from malecon for 25 pesos. Admission is 40 pesos, open tuesday to sunday 9:00am to 4:30pm.
  • Acuario De Veracruz is a good aquarium located 2 km from the Zocalo with some nice exhibtis. For an additional 300 pesos for adults, or 150 pesos for children, it is possible to be lowered into a tank of feeding sharks called the Tiburoneria. Admission is 60 pesos for adults and 30 pesos for children. Open everyday of the week 10:00am to 7:00pm



Events and Festivals

Day of the Dead

Although the Day of the Dead is also celebrated in many Latin American countries except Mexico (and also in parts of Europe, Asia and Africa), the Day of the Dead (Spanish: Día de los Muertos) is most intensily celebrated in Mexciowhere where it is equal to a National Holiday. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. The celebration takes place on November 1st and 2nd, in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints' Day (November 1) and All Souls' Day (November 2). Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts. Although it is about the Dead, it is also a celebration where eating and partying both are common as well.

Other Events and Festivals

Grito de la Independencia - September 15th is Mexican Independence Day! A massive celebration involving plenty of singing, dancing and fireworks takes place in the Zócalo. Everyone here awaits an appearance from Mexico's president who rings a bell from a central balcony of the Palacio Nacional overlooking the Zócalo. The president then shouts out the Grito de Dolores, or the Cry of Dolores which was Father Hidalgo's famous call to arms against Spanish rule in 1810.

  • Dia de la Candelaria. Candlemas is held February 2nd and commemorates Jesus being introduced into the temple 40 days after his birth. This nationwide celebration sees many different ways of celebrating and many towns hold processions, bullfights and dances. Of course, plenty of delicious, traditional foods are served during Dia de la Candelaria as well.
  • Carnaval is held in late February or early March throughout all of Mexico. This big party is meant to celebrate the 40 day penance of Lent. Carnaval always takes place during the week or so prior to Ash Wednesday, 46 days before Easter Sunday. Mexicans celebrate this holiday with fireworks, food, dancing, parades, dancing and drinking.
  • Semana Santa, or Holy Week, is a huge celebration which starts on Palm Sunday. This is a very popular time for Mexicans to take a short break; as a result, it seems most of the country is on the move, with buses and hotels often booked out. As for the celebration of Semana Santa, expect colorful processions and many masses at churches everywhere.
  • Día de Nuestra Seňora de Guadalupe, or Day of our Lady of Guadalupe, is held December 12th. There is a week-long build up to this religious celebration in honour of the Virgin who appeared to the indigenous Juan Diego in the year 1531. Since then, the Lady of Guadalupe has been Mexico's religious patron and her veneration is very significant. It is traditional for young boys to be dressed as a Juan Diego and for young girls to be dressed in indigenous garb and brought to a special mass, held at many churches throughout the country.
  • New Year's Eve. Mexicans celebrate New Year's Eve or locally known as Año Nuevo, by downing a grape with each of the twelve chimes of the bell during the midnight countdown, while making a wish with each one. Mexican families decorate homes and parties, during New Year's, with colors such as red, to encourage an overall improvement of lifestyle and love, yellow to encourage blessings of improved employment conditions, green to improve financial circumstances and white to improved health. Mexican sweet bread is baked with a coin or charm hidden in the dough. When the bread is served, the recipient whose slice contains the coin or charm is believed to be blessed with good luck in the new year. One can expect a lot of firecrackers, fireworks and sparklers being fired. At midnight there is a lot of noise and everyone shouts: "Feliz año nuevo!" People embrace, make noise, set off firecrackers, and sing Auld Lang Syne.




Avg Max24.6 °C24.9 °C26.5 °C28.6 °C30.2 °C30.7 °C30.7 °C31.2 °C30.7 °C29.6 °C27.4 °C25.4 °C
Avg Min18.4 °C18.6 °C20.6 °C23 °C24.6 °C24.6 °C23.8 °C24.1 °C23.8 °C22.9 °C21 °C19.1 °C
Rainfall24.124 mm16 mm14.5 mm17.4 mm48.2 mm298.3 mm419.9 mm323.1 mm358.6 mm152.9 mm59.6 mm24.4 mm
Rain Days4.



Getting There

By Plane

General Heriberto Jara International Airport (VER) has flights to/from Mexico City, Mérida, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Dallas, Cancun and Houston.

By Bus

ADO Bus station is located on the edge of town and has service to almost every city and town in the country.




  • Hotel Imperial on the zocalo is a great place to grab a drink in the evenings





  • Hotel Amparo is a nice budget hotel located in the zocalo area. This large hotel offers clean rooms with 24 hot water. It is a great place to leave your bags and hit the town. The hotel is located at Serdan 482. Single rooms: 150, Double Rooms: 220, Triple Rooms: 320.


  • Hotel Imperial is one of the oldest luxury hotels in the new world. Located right on the Zocalo at Calle Miguel Lerdo #153, this hotel has a charm that only the 18th century can bring. The lobby is an amazing elevator, one of the first in Mexico, that truly has style. The cafe the hotel runs on the Zocalo is a great place to grab a late dinner or drinks in the evening. Rooms range from 600 pesos a night for a basic standard to 2,500 pesos for an imperial suite.

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)




Keep Connected


Internet cafe's are widely available and you generally can find one in the direct vicinity. Sometimes photocopy stores or photo processing stores will double as an internet cafe with a couple of computers. Look for signs reading "Acceso a Internet" or "Cibernautica" or "Cibercafe". Charges range from approx. US$1 an hour to US$3 an hour, depending on the location.


See also International Telephone Calls

Phone cards can be purchased anywhere and are needed for the majority of public phones. To call any number outside your region you have to dial 01 then followed by the area code. If calling a cellphone from a normal phone start with with 044. If calling cellphone to cellphone just dial the 10-digit number. To make an international call dial 00 followed by the country code then the local number. To call to Mexico, also dial 00 (most of the times) followed by the national code 52.


The Mexican postal service is operated by Correos de México. The post service in Mexico is pretty good although not very cheap. It is reliable regarding the sending of postcards, but it takes at least a week to send it to other countries (US/Canada), more so if you send it to Europe or Australia. For packages it is better to use international services like FedEx or UPS. If you are sending a package internationally with the Mexican postal service, take the package OPEN to the post office, they may want to inspect it. Seal it up at the post office. Post offices typically open from 8:00am to 6:00pm Monday to Friday, and 9:00am to 1:00pm Saturday. You will find post offices (Oficina de Correos) is almost any town or city in Mexico. To buy stamps it is best to go to the post office, although you can also get them at stamp machines, located outside the post offices, at bus stations, airports and some commercial establishments.

Quick Facts


  • Latitude: 19.184141
  • Longitude: -96.129328

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This is version 14. Last edited at 19:37 on Dec 30, 19 by road to roam. 16 articles link to this page.

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