Appearing positively trendy after Veracruz, Xalapa (which is sometimes spelled ‘Jalapa’ but always pronounced ‘ha-la-pa’) is Mexico in an Afghan coat with a heavy literary tome under its arm. Welcome to the political and cultural capital of Veracruz state, a city as urbane as it is urban where everything seems to be a little ‘cooler’ than it is on the coast, including the climate. While Veracruz enjoys tropical Miami-like weather, Xalapa – on a wet weekend in January – could pass for Seattle.
Sprawled around the verdant skirts of Cofre de Perote, the city juxtaposes its jungle-like environs with a traffic-asphyxiated urban core punctuated – life-savingly – with a smattering of pleasant parks. The state’s most important university resides here, as does a superb anthropological museum that rivals El Tajín as Veracruz state’s top sight. The gargantuan pre-Hispanic relics are supplemented by hip bars, weighty bookstores and enough quality coffee bars to make a caffeine-infused Roman jealous. Reminding you that you’re still in Mexico are narrow colonial streets clogged with traffic and policed by brave whistle-blowing transit cops.
Xalapa destination guides
Xalapa and Coatepec Day Trip from Veracruz Including Anthropology and Coffee Museums
On a day trip from Veracruz, discover Xalapa and Coatepec, two historically and culturally important cities that lie in the lush, mountainous region that produces much of Mexico’s coffee. There’s plenty to see, from beautiful examples of Spanish Colonial architecture to Xalapa’s Museum of Anthropology, one of the biggest museums of its kind in Mexico.
Xalapa, Coatepec and Xico Day Trip from Veracruz
About 60 miles (100 km) northwest of Veracruz lie the three cities of Xalapa, Coatepec and Xico — each full of Mexican history and culture that make for a great day trip from Veracruz.