Familiar to the world primarily due to the super-hot green chili that was named after it, Xalapa (also spelled Jalapa, but always pronounced ha-la-pa) is actually about as different to the fiery jalapeño pepper as can be – unlike sweaty coastal Veracruz city, Xalapa's highland location makes it temperate and often quite cloudy. Thanks to its alternative vibe and large student population, the city is lively at night and has a thriving cultural scene (it has its own branch of the Hay Festival of Literature & the Arts, for example).

Traffic-choked Xalapa has an alluring center, full of well-kept parks, bustling pedestrian streets and colonial architecture. The superb anthropological museum is the main draw for visitors here, but the gargantuan pre-Hispanic relics are supplemented by hip bars, weighty bookstores and a superb array of quality coffee joints, making this one of Mexico's most enjoyable state capitals.

Explore Xalapa

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Xalapa.


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