Best Places to Visit in Veracruz (Mexico)

Are you searching for the Best Places to Visit in Veracruz? Are you thinking of a trip to North America and wondering what to explore in Veracruz? We’ve got you covered. Veracruz is a state of the coast situated on the Gulf Coast of Mexico with a distinct history, culture, cuisine.

The numerous Pueblo Magicos, as well as the coastal regions of Veracruz, are an excellent opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the area. Coffee plantations, archaeological sites such as El Tajin, historical buildings like The Casa de Hernan Cortes, popular culture such as those of Dance of the Voladores, and even festivals such as Carnival are just a few of the things you can take part in Veracruz.

Veracruz Aquarium

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Veracruz Aquarium is one of the best places to visit in Veracruz. See exotic fish or dive with sharks, go swimming with dolphins, and then meet tropical birds at this stunning aquarium. Explore The Veracruz Aquarium (Aquaria de Veracruz) to understand life below the world’s oceans. Explore the tanks and glass tunnels to discover aquatic life within the Gulf of Mexico and much further afield.

Face-to-face with vibrant aquatic creatures and dangerous underwater predators, take in acrobatic performances, and participate in educational programs. The aquarium is home to several interconnected exhibits featuring live animals, artifacts, and exciting displays. The tour begins with the recreated version of Mexico’s Los Tuxtlas rainforest, where you will see a boa constrictor, a toucan, a macaw, and turtles.

You can continue to the freshwater aquarium, home to more than 30 species of native fish in the oceans of Amazonia, Asia, Africa, and North America. Watch sharks and rays glide gracefully among the multicolored corals of the vast reef tank.

The next stop is the saltwater region, home to 13 tanks and reptiles and fish all over the Indo-Pacific and the Red Sea. Marvel at sharks while walking in the transparent tunnel. Brave visitors can wear a wetsuit to dip with sharks inside the transparent box for a small fee. Nearby has a tank with mesmerizing jellyfish shaped curiously and interactive kiosks.

Watch manatees slow-moving around their tank and bottlenose dolphins making impressive moves in the Dolphinarium. Have a private meeting with these cute birds of the sea for a small fee, and discover more about their lives. It is also possible to be paid to go swimming with dolphins that have been trained. Only leave with visiting the Humboldt penguin viewing area.

You can find Veracruz Aquarium located at Plaza Aquaria, a retail and entertainment center that is about 10 minutes away from the city’s center. It is open all day long. You can purchase a ticket to the aquarium or a combination ticket that grants access to attractions within the mall, including Veracruz’s Wax Museum of Veracruz and Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium. More information can be found on the aquarium’s official site.

Relive Classic Mesoamerica in El Tajín

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You will only complete your journey to Veracruz by visiting El Tajin’s ruin. The city of ancient times was filled with temples, pyramids, ball courts, and palaces believed to belong to the Mayan tribe. This hidden treasure is a gem for those interested in history to bask in the splendor of the once place of commerce and natural resources at the beginning of the Teotihuacan civilization.

While most establishments are now in disrepair, there are still remnants of the Pyramid of the Niches, with a height of 20 meters. The ruins are enough to bring you back to a time when technology and electricity weren’t invented. However, should you desire to take a more in-depth excursion of this area, guidebooks can provide more details on El Tajin.

San Juan de Ulua Castle

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It was the principal landing point for those new to Spain-ruled Mexico. The fortress of the 16th century is encased in legends of pirates and explorers. Attacks. Hear stories about pirates, colonial treasures, maritime expeditions, and fierce combats in San Juan de Ulua Castle. The impressive castle is situated on an island that shares the same name.

There, it was used as a fortress, a storehouse of gold, and a prison and royal palace for more than 500 years. The castle is worth a visit. San Juan de Ulua Castle to explore its battlements, through bridges, and along its corridors. Explore the exhibits of pre-Hispanic and colonial objects in the San Juan de Ulua Castle Museum.

Discover the history of the castle. The fortress dates to 1565, the year it was constructed to defend Veracruz, the main entry point for a newly colonized Mexico. It was in charge of the export and import trades of New Spain and housed vast sums of treasures of the viceroyalty. It was in 1568 that the castle escaped an attack by An English navy at the Battle of San Juan de Ulua. U.S. troops captured the castle in 1848. It became an institution for notorious Mexican criminals.

An organized tour is the best way to visit the castle and gain insight into its fascinating history. Take the causeway connecting the castle with the mainland and then enter through the northern entrance. Notice the wide 3 feet (1-meter) wall of stone and arches in rows, which were used as storage spaces for silver, gold, and other valuable items. There are cannons lined along the quay, where they loaded galleons and unloaded them.

Find the decaying sentry boxes as well as the circular observation tower. Enter the dungeon to imagine the horrible living conditions criminals had to endure. Take advantage of the remnants of a chapel and an obscure shrine in honor of Our Lady of the Staircase. Ascend the ramparts and admire views of Veracruz’s center city. The museum has a collection of pre-Hispanic ceramics, sculptures, and pottery, as well as information on the castle’s history for a long time.

Get to San Juan de Ulua Castle or take a water taxi to Malecon. It is accessible from Monday until Sunday and is open for admission costs. English-speaking guides are provided for a minimal cost.

Veracruz Cathedral

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See the impressive assortment of sacred art which decorates the cathedral of the 18th century and then relax in the cafes on the sidewalks close by Zocalo. Veracruz Cathedral, officially known as Catedral de Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion, is an impressive landmark located at the edge of Veracruz’s largest square. Marvel in the stunning neoclassical whitewashed exterior and go inside to see an impressive variety of religious art.

This cathedral is a pillar of its surrounding area. It was constructed in the early 1800s and 1700s on the spot of an old parish Catholic church. Place yourself in the street parallel to the building, and gaze at the columns at that central doorway. Look up at the multi-level bell tower that has several arched openings.

Take a stroll outside the building, and you will see an immense dome adorned with vibrant and intricately designed Puebla tiles. You developed the style of tile within The Mexican community of Puebla after its establishment by the Spanish in the 16th century.

The main reason for the beauty of the cathedral is the beauty of its interior. You will notice the frequent use of beautiful archways backed by massive columns and the intricate Baroque decorations on an altar in the center. The interior is also home to many statues and religious icons. Explore the naves as well as the side chapels that are dedicated to saints who are venerated.

One is an impressive chapel dedicated to Guadalupe, the Virgin of Guadalupe, and another that honors St. Charbel, a well-known Lebanese monk credited with being the source of miracles.
Veracruz Cathedral is open daily. Remember that a cathedral is a place of active worship, so dress modestly and be quiet when you visit.

When you’re walking around the neighborhood, make sure to visit The green and palm-coated Zocalo square, also called Plaza de Armas. This is Veracruz’s main square, a popular gathering place and the home of the elegant Palacio Municipal. Be like the locals and eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner in the cafes outside, and watch people while you consume your food. On the weekends, the lively sound of marimba music fills the air as attractive couples dance on the pavement.

Have Coffee at La Parroquía

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Have Coffee at La Parroquía is one of the best places to visit in Veracruz.The roads that run through Veracruz have bars and sidewalk cafes. You can find the oldest café at Café La Parroquia, an iconic Veracruz institution for more than 200 years. The specialty here can be described as “lecher,” coffee served with milk.

Your waiter will serve you a glass and the saucer and fill it about a third with robust black coffee. You can shake your glass with a spoon to notify a waitperson who will bring you a metal kettle to fill your glass up to the top with hot milk. He will then raise the kettle as he pours through a thin stream of milk, creating a lovely layer of foam over the coffee. Delicious!

Laguna Catemaco 

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Laguna Catemaco is a lake located in central Veracruz. Beware! This isn’t your typical lake. It is home to macaques and Shamans.

You can rent the raft and paddle or go on a boat trip similar to what we took. The boat will travel across the lake. You’ll encounter macaques from Asia, which local university researchers maintain to determine if they could be adapted to local conditions. The monkeys are obese since tourists have no limits regarding feeding adorable fluffy animals.

If you’ve had enough big macaques, search for a local Shaman to help eliminate evil spirits. In reality, it’s a mildly soothing neck massage that can ruin your clothes by using extremely high-priced oil. Once you’re in a bind and cannot get out, the Shaman will give you the most expensive talismans and other items. Incredible, isn’t it?

Did the Shaman cleanse my soul? Nope. Did he get me laughing? Absolutely. Particularly after telling the experience to my friends on and off in Czechia. It’s the reason I recommend Veracruz as an experience for everyone to experience in Veracruz.

  • The boats depart: between 7 AM, 6 PM, and 7 AM.
  • Cost (private cruise): around 1,000 Mexican pesos (50 US dollars)
  • address (one of the boat trips companies): 95874 Catemaco, Veracruz, Mexico

I had a similarly excellent experience in Mexico when I went to Lagunas of Montebello in Chiapas. You can find it on my Chiapas itinerary.

Veracruz Harbour

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Be awed by the bustling activity of the sea and admire the grand architecture, and explore a 16th-century Spanish fortress built by colonial forces in this historic port. Veracruz Harbor (Puerto de Veracruz) is an operational harbor and the site of several important city landmarks. Along the Gulf of Mexico coast, Veracruz Harbor was a central trading hub under the Spanish rule over Mexico. Visit a magnificent castle designed to house treasures and ward off pirate attacks.

Experience modern maritime activities as you stroll along the promenade that runs along the waterfront. Begin your visit with a stop at your first stop, the Gran Plaza del Malecon, an enormous square that is surrounded by impressive works of architecture. The monuments are dedicated to the revolutionary leader Venustiano Carranza and his fellow Prussian naturalist Baron Alexander von Humboldt.

Look up on the tall 164-foot (50-meter) tower of the Carranza Lighthouse rising above a Neoclassical-style structure built in the early 20th century. Take note of the modern design for this tower, the Torre de Pemex, an office tower for corporate offices decorated with reliefs created by designer Francisco Zuniga.

Enjoy a popular city pastime, and walk along the water’s edge Malecon (Paseo Insurgents Veracruzanos). Be aware of the various vessels, from fishing trawlers, freighters, naval vessels, and yachts, that are coming and going. Go to the end of the piers to see stunning views from San Juan de Ulua Castle and the Gulf of Mexico. Visit stalls selling handicrafts and see youngsters from the neighborhood having fun jumping into the water surrounding the port.

Get a taxi for San Juan de Ulua Castle, built in 1565 to safeguard the wealth that belonged to the Viceroyalty of New Spain. Discover its function as a warehouse used for shipping and a storehouse for New Spanish’s gold prison, royal palace, and prison. Take a guided tour through the castle’s battlements and prison cells. Listen to stories about raids conducted by Dutch, English, and French pirates.

The port lies east of the historical center of Veracruz. Numerous major tourist sites are just a few minutes from the port. In the Zocalo, the city’s principal plaza, you can watch the crowds at a café terrace and take a trip to Veracruz Cathedral. Explore the centuries-old cannons in the Bastion of Santiago. You can also browse maritime displays in the Naval Historical Museum.

Veracruz Harbor is busiest early in the evening, as residents of the area come out to take a stroll. San Juan de Ulua Castle is open from Tuesday through Sunday and charges an admission cost of $1.

Salto de Eyipantla 

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Salto de Eyipantla is one of the best places to visit in Veracruz. The fifty-meter tall Eyipantla Falls are the top waterfall in Veracruz. It is, according to legend, located in the ancestral home of the god who was the rain goddess, Tlaloc. The waterfall is rumbling and spraying water everywhere the waterfall.

Restaurants and stands for souvenirs are dotted along the way toward the waterfalls, which makes it a popular spot. It is possible to visit the free mirador and view the waterfall from the top or climb more than 250 steps to view the waterfall from below. Try both views.

Children who are skinny and poor often wander around the trail and offer assistance or capture pictures of you. On the other hand, you could accept them and pay them money to help overcome poverty. However, when you do that, you’ll also support child work and agree with children working instead of being educated. It’s your choice.

Tips: Are you fascinated by waterfalls? It would help if you thought about going to Cascada El Aguacero near Tuxtla Gutierrez or Cascada El Chiflon near San Cristobal.

  • Hours of operation: 8 AM – 6 7
  • Price: around 50 pesos (2.5 US dollars)
  • Address: Juan Aldama, La Guadalupe, 95805 Salto de Eyipantla, Ver., Mexico

Carranza Lighthouse

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With a view of the port of Veracruz is a magnificent Neoclassical structure that houses a lighthouse that was once used to guide ships around the bay of Veracruz.

Over the Gran Plaza Malecon is the stunning Carranza Lighthouse (Faro Venustiano Carranza), a whitewashed landmark dating back to 1902. Find out more about the story of the lighthouse, and bring cameras to capture photos of the port and take an excursion along Veracruz’s waterfront promenade starting from here.

The lighthouse was constructed in the works of Mexican designers Salvador Echegaray and Ernesto Lattine and consisted of a neoclassical structure with a high 164 feet (50-meter) large tower. In its long history, the building has served different functions.

It was used as a lighthouse, the administration office of the government of President Venustiano Carranza, and since 1935, it has been the headquarters for the Terceira Zona Naval Militar (Third Naval Military Zone).

Take a look towards the lighthouse. Imagine how it would have appeared as it sent its powerful light to ships at sea. In the past, its beacon was believed to have been strong enough to travel up to 90 miles (145 kilometers). The tower is now used as an alarm tower.

Take a walk in the middle of the building to take in the symmetrical, orderly style of the façade adorned with arched windows and surrounded by elegant balcony structures. The name of former President Venustiano Carranza is carved on the entranceway.

Take a stroll around the square in front of the building to view the massive statue of Venustiano Carranza. The monument is a great place to take photos, with the lighthouse and adjacent buildings visible from the background.

Access to the lighthouse is not permitted, so visitors have to take a look from the outside. When you’re there, you can walk on the Malecon Esplanade, which is part of the Port of Veracruz. Be on the lookout for fishing vessels and other vessels coming and going out of the harbor.

The historic center is located in the area, and Carranza Lighthouse is close to many other important Veracruz tourist attractions. The vibrant Zocalo Square and the Veracruz Cathedral are only 10 minutes on foot. Alternatively, you can visit the historic Bastion in Santiago and learn about Mexico’s maritime heritage by visiting the Naval Historical Museum.

Playa Villa del Mar 

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Playa Villa del Mar is one of the best places to visit in Veracruz. Playa Villa del Mar is one of the most well-known beaches located in Veracruz. It is one of the most popular beaches in Port of Veracruz and is also among the top beach in Veracruz. It is home to more than 20 authentic local restaurants directly on the beach for guests to take advantage of.

Palapas and restaurants are close to the beach, where you can lease tables per person or eat or drink from their menus of classic Veracruz meals. For families looking for water-themed destinations to visit in Veracruz, the following vendors are offering Veracruz tours of sightseeing that take you to Cancuncito (an area just two miles off the coast that is unusually shallow because of an earthquake that hit the area a few years ago).

The name Cancuncito is due to the white sand and clear waters that look similar to Isla Mujeres or the beaches of Cancun. Vendors selling spots on collectives (group excursions) include a tour of the local area and visiting the Isla of the Sacrifices (Sacrifice island).


All destinations are awesome! According to my opinion, Laguna Catemaco  is the best to start. I hope you have enjoyed our list of the Best Places to Visit in Veracruz.

I would be very thankful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to your friends or sharing it on Facebook, Medium, Reddit, Pinterest, Twitter, or Instagram. Thank you!

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Hi! I'm Henry. I'm a best-selling travel writer who has been teaching people how to travel on a budget for sixteen years. 

And I'm here to help you spend less on your next trip.

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