Welcome to Veracruz


As a destination, it's routinely overlooked by travelers, and while it's true that the beaches are better in the Yucatán and the colonial towns can be more impressive in Mexico's central and western highlands, Veracruz has both, without the hassle. It also lays claim to the World Heritage site of colonial Tlacotalpan, the inspiring Biosphere Reserve of Los Tuxtlas and some gorgeous pueblos mágicos (magical villages), including hilly Papantla, coffee-growing Coscomatepec and smaller, equally appealing Xico.

Its biggest attraction, however, is its quietness. Wherever you go here, you'll find yourself well off the beaten path, with discoveries just waiting to be made.


Top experiences in Veracruz

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Veracruz activities

$36 Cultural & Theme Tours

Chapultepec Castle Early Access, Museum of Anthropology Tour

Start your tour at Chapultepec Park, the largest city park in the world and take a train up to the top of Chapultepec Hill and reach Chapultepec Castle (Castillo de Chapultepec). With this Viator Exclusive, you'll arrive as one of the first visitors of the day to explore the 12 halls of the 18th-century castle and enjoy the rooms and exhibits without being jostled by crowds. During your 2-hour tour, wander through sun-lit halls, up and down marble staircases and into Neoclassical-style apartments. Hear about Chapultepec’s origins as a retreat for Aztec rulers before it was partially destroyed and rebuilt into the home of Emperor Maximilian of Habsburg. It then served as the residence for Mexico’s presidents before most of the castle was converted into the National History Museum. The exhibits trace the country’s history, from the pre-Columbian era through Spanish colonialism, to Mexico’s revolution and its independence.Admire the state carriages of Benito Juárez and Emperor Maximilian, and learn the stories behind the sculptures and busts of historical figures. See the sword wielded by independence fighter José María Morelos and gaze at murals of battles painted by famous artists, including José Clemente Orozco, John O'Gorman and David Alfaro Siqueiros.After the castle, purchase lunch at a local spot offering sandwiches, salads, and traditional dishes like chapatas and chilaquiles, along with coffee and tea.Refueled, head to another section of Chapultepec Park and arrive at the world-class National Museum of Anthropology, the city’s most-visited museum spanning nearly 20 acres (8 hectares). Opened in 1964, the museum houses the largest collection of traditional Mexican art in the world. Over the course of 2.5 hours, your guide takes you on an informative journey through the exhibits, showing you only the most impressive sites. Marvel at the Aztec Stone of the Sun, and the Olmec carved heads, uncovered deep in the jungles of Tabasco and Veracruz. Learn about the different cultural regions and indigenous groups that gave rise to this diverse capital city.
Your 6-hour tour ends in the afternoon so you have the rest of your day to enjoy at your leisure.

$128 Cultural & Theme Tours

El Tajín Ruins and Papantla Day Trip from Veracruz

After pickup at your Veracruz hotel by van, your day trip starts with the 150-mile (240-km) drive north to the ruins of El Tajín, just outside the city of Papantla. The drive — approximately three hours — follows the Gulf of Mexico coast, so enjoy the views or catch a few ZZZs before arriving at El Tajín, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Nicknamed the City of Thunder, the pre-Columbian archaeological site dates back to 600 AD and was one of the largest cities of the Mesoamerican classical era. With your guide, walk around the ruins, checking out the pyramids and plazas. Learn about the ancient game played on the ball courts by the Totanac people, and see the most important structures — the Pyramid of the Niches, the Plaza del Arroyo and the palaces of Tajín Chico. Walk around the ruins to check out the pyramids and plazas with your guide. During your visit, you'll learn about an ancient game that was played on the ball courts by the Totanac people, and see the most important structures: the Pyramid of the Niches, the Plaza del Arroyo and the palaces of Tajín Chico.Back in your van, make the 20-minute drive to the city of Papantla, where you’ll have a break to get lunch on your own (own expense). Then tour the city with your guide, learning about one of its claims to fame: the Danza de los Voladores, or Dance of the Flyers. After ascending a tall pole, the ‘flying men’ release into the air headfirst with ropes wound tightly around their ankles, twirling for onlookers. It's a spectacle that dates back to Mesoamerica.You’ll also hear a bit about another icon of Papantla, vanilla, which has been grown here since the time of the Totanacs. Along the way, see city sights including the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción (Our Lady of the Assumption), built in the late 1500s.Your day trip ends back at your hotel after the 3-hour return drive.

$70 Day Trips & Excursions

Veracruz Combo Tour: La Antigua, San Juan de Ulúa and Veracruz City Sightseeing

Your Veracruz combo tour begins with pickup from your hotel, followed by the drive to La Antigua, about 20 miles (30 km) up the coast.With your guide, tour the small, tree-lined town, learning about its history as the first Spanish settlement in Mexico. See its main attractions such as La Casa del Cabildo (one of the oldest Spanish structures still standing in Mexico), the first Catholic church in the Americas, and the house of the 16th-century Spanish conqueror Hernán Cortés.Back in your minivan, return to Veracruz to visit San Juan de Ulúa, a fortress that dates back to 1565. Situated along a peninsula jutting into the Gulf of Mexico, the complex once served as a prison and then a presidential residence. Today, it's a museum where you can learn about its role in several major events in Mexico’s history.After your tour of San Juan de Ulúa, return once more to your minivan to start your sightseeing tour of Veracruz. You’ll have a break to get lunch (own expense) and then start the panoramic city tour which covers Veracruz’s top landmarks, including the Old Customs Building, Postal and Telegraph buildings, the Santiago Bulwark (defense wall) and the train station.You'll also visit the beautiful Zocalo, Veracruz’s main plaza, home to the Municipal Palace and the city’s 18th-century cathedral. From there, take a walk on the malecón to enjoy views of the Gulf of Mexico, and enjoy a drive through the neighboring port city Boca del Río to see its upscale hotels.You’ll be dropped off at your hotel at the end of the tour.

$14 Sightseeing Tickets & Passes

Skip the Line: National Museum of Anthropology Entrance Ticket

Enjoy the most visited museum in Mexico, at your own pace, without standing in line. Located in the area between Paseo de la Reforma and Mahatma Gandhi Street within Chapultepec Park in Mexico City, the museum contains significant archaeological and anthropological artifacts from Mexico's pre-Columbian heritage, such as the Stone of the Sun (or the Aztec calendar stone) and the Aztec Xochipilli statue.The museum's collections include the Stone of the Sun, giant stone heads of the Olmec civilization that were found in the jungles of Tabasco and Veracruz, treasures recovered from the Mayan civilization, at the Sacred Cenote at Chichen Itza, a replica of the sarcophagal lid from Pacal's tomb at Palenque and ethnological displays of contemporary rural Mexican life. It also has a model of the location and layout of the former Aztec capital Tenochtitlan, the site of which is now occupied by the central area of modern-day Mexico City.The permanent exhibitions on the ground floor cover all pre-Columbian civilizations located on the current territory of Mexico as well as former Mexican territory in what is today the southwestern United States. They are classified as North, West, Mayan, Gulf of Mexico, Oaxaca, Mexico, Toltec, and Teotihuacan. The permanent expositions at the first floor show the culture of Native American population of Mexico since the Spanish colonization. The museum also hosts visiting exhibits, generally focusing on other of the world's great cultures. 

$137.99 Day Trips & Excursions

Xalapa and Coatepec Day Trip from Veracruz Including Anthropology and Coffee Museums

After pickup by van at your Veracruz hotel, your day trip begins with the 1.5-hour drive to Xalapa, nestled about 60 miles (100 km) northwest of Veracruz in the hills of one of Mexico’s biggest coffee-producing regions. Before you reach the city, visit the Lencero Museum (aka Museo de Lencero or Ex-Hacienda de Lencero), a Spanish colonial house that was once the home of Juan Lencero, a soldier who fought with Spanish conqueror Hernán Cortés. Three hundred years later, in the mid-1800s, the house was bought by General Antonio López de Santa Anna, one of Mexico’s former presidents. Enjoy a brief tour of the home, checking out the period furniture and admiring the serene gardens and lake. Then continue into Xalapa, where you’ll see the city’s main attractions with your guide. The political and cultural capital of the state of Veracruz, Xalapa is home to impressive museums, churches, several universities and lovely green spaces. Highlights of your sightseeing tour include the Baroque- and Gothic-style Xalapa Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana), Government Palace (Palacio de Gobierno), the University of Veracruz (Universidad Veracruzana) and the Paseo de los Lagos, a popular park with lakes and leafy walking paths.Next, visit one of Xalapa’s biggest attractions and one of the most important museums in Mexico — the Museum of Anthropology (Museo de Antropología de Xalapa). With your guide, explore its collection of artifacts from pre-Hispanic cultures such as the Olmecs, Totonacs and Huastecs. The thousands of artifacts in the museum date as far back as 1300 BC and are wonderfully displayed in the airy, modern space. Don’t miss the collection's most impressive pieces, the pair of giant Olmec heads.After your museum tour, head to neighboring Coatepec, just 20 minutes away. At 4,100 feet (1,250 meters) above sea level, Coatepec has an ideal climate and elevation for growing coffee beans. The city’s other claim to fame is its designation as a Pueblo Mágico, or Magic Town, a program developed by Mexico’s tourism board to recognize towns that provide a ‘magical’ experience, meaning they offer an authentic Mexican cultural experience or hold an important place in Mexico’s history.See city sights like 18th-century San Jerónimo Church (Iglesia de San Jerónimo), and shop for crafts at the market, if you wish. Then take a break for lunch (own expense); your guide will give you some tips on where to find the best local food.Finally, enjoy your last attraction of the day, the Museo del Café (coffee museum) at El Café-tal Apan, a small coffee plantation just outside Coatepec where you’ll learn about the region's coffee-making process and history. Admire antique tools, watch a demonstration and see the harvest in action, depending on the time of year. Your tour ends with the drive back to Veracruz, where you’ll be dropped off at your hotel.

$107.99 Cultural & Theme Tours

Veracruz Combo Tour: La Antigua, Cempoala and Quiahuiztlan Ruins

Your day trip from Veracruz begins with hotel pickup by minivan for the approximate 45-mile (75-km) drive up the coast to Quiahuiztlan. When you arrive, walk around the archaeological ruins, set on a hill with beautiful views of the Gulf of Mexico. During its time as part of the Tlaxcala confederation, the site was home to Totanac temples, plazas and a ballcourt. See what remains and learn about their significance from your guide.Back in your minivan, head south about 20 miles (30 km) to the archaeological site of Cempoala. Admire its ruins, including the Templo del Dios del Viento y la Cruz (God of Winds Temple and the Cross), Templo Mayor (Major Temple), Templo de las Chimeneas (Temple of the Chimneys) and Circulo de los Gladiadores (Circle of the Gladiators).From your guide, hear about Cempoala's Mesoamerican history — from its time as the capital of the Totanac Empire to its invasion by the Aztecs — and learn about the source of its name, which means ‘twenty waters.’ Then re-board your minivan for the drive to your final stop, La Antigua, about 20 minutes south. When you arrive in La Antigua, the first town the Spanish settled in Mexico, enjoy lunch (own expense) at Las Delicias del Mar, a local eatery. Then wander the small, tree-filled town with your guide, checking out its main attractions like La Casa del Cabildo (one of the oldest Spanish buildings still standing in Mexico); Ermita del Rosario (the first Catholic church in the Americas); and the 16th-century house of Spanish conqueror Hernán Cortés, who led the invasion of the Aztec Empire.Your tour ends with a final drive back to your Veracruz hotel.

Veracruz in detail