Life in Mexico

Veracruz, Off the Beaten Path
Hard to Get To, But It Might Be Worth a Try...

Photographs and Text by John Todd, Jr.

Port Not for the Average
I donīt mean to sound negative, but Veracruz is not for the average traveller. It is off the beaten path.

Flights to get here are expensive. And, it's not that close to anywhere.

A couple of years ago, my sister in Arkansas was thinking about making a visit to Veracruz to visit me.

I promised to show her around and she could stay at my house, but instead she booked a package deal to Puerto Vallarta which was cheaper than coming to Veracruz.

Boats
Plane or Bus
Veracruz is not that easy to get to.

One daily commercial flight from Houston, and innumerable flights, but through Mexico City, which makes a trip here even more expensive.

Or you can fly to Mexico City or Puebla from the US, then take a 4 or 5 hour bus trip to Veracruz.

Even though the toll road is good, it's just too much of a hassle.

The process of getting to Veracruz takes a lot of time.
Portales
No Throngs of Tourists
But, for me, it's kind of nice that way.

No throngs of loud foreign tourists.

Veracruz is special in its own way and has preserved its own easy going way of life in spite of its glorious past and peaceful scenery.

I think thatīs what I like about Veracruz and the area around it. It's kind of like New Orleans.

You "feel" like you are in a foreign country.

San Juan de Ulua
The Fort of San Juan de Ulua
Now, most of the "good" places in Mexico are over developed. Anybody can go to Yucatan, Los Cabos, Acapulco, and even Huatulco, Oaxaca, but still not many people come to Veracruz.

It is still relatively undiscovered by foreign tourists.

In a Historical Setting
At the same time, Veracruz is virtually unknown. And, yet it has more historic places and events than many places in the world.

It's where the Spanish began their conquest of the American continent financed by the fabulous riches of Montezuma's treasure.

Here you can find the pyramids of Cempoala and El Tajín.

For 300 years Veracruz was the target of pirates from all over Europe.

In later years, it's where the Americans and the French both invaded twice, and both left. And each left its own particular cultural flavor on the culture.

Al Mojo de Ajo The Best Seafood in Mexico
In Veracruz, there is a wide variety of seafood.

It is fresh and authentic. At almost any restaurant you can find a wide variety of traditional seafood like a delicious shrimp cocktail, or the exotic: a sea urchin cocktail (wasn't bad).

Seafood grilled in garlic and butter is mouth watering, and when you get back home, seafood won't taste the same anymore.

Music in the Streets
When you walk down the streets in Veracruz there is always the smell of something good cooking and you can always hear music somewhere, even in the poorest barrios. Música tropical, salsa, marimbas, trios, and not much rap down here.

Still Undiscovered
Veracruz is still undiscovered by foreign tourists and, who knows, maybe itīs the kind of place you are looking for, too.