This was my 3rd time living in Mexico, and it was time to visit some exciting new places that I kept hearing about.
Xalapa & Puerto Veracruz
Firstly, Veracruz was where the Spanish empire landed after taking the Caribbean islands, thus beginning their conquest deep into Mexico (which for a while was named New Spain).
But the history didn't end there, because most slaves would be imported into Veracruz, all attempts at rebellion of the Mexican peoples would be repressed by the Spanish Navy through Veracruz, the French empire would try to conquer Mexico through Veracruz (twice), and even the Americans had their control of Veracruz back in the day.
Nonetheless, In this adventure, I bought a bus ticket from Mexico City to the Capital of the state of Veracruz – Xalapa.
Getting To Xalapa & Puerto Veracruz
To get to Xalapa is very easy. Simply visit the Bus terminal in Mexico City (one of 4 major bus terminals in the city), and Xalapa is a quick 4 hour bus ride from Mexico City.
Welcome To Xalapa, Veracruz Mexico
Upon arrival to Xalapa, there are no Ubers (or other variants) as of this writing, so all taxis are owned by the city government and only accept cash. I quickly grabbed a taxi to my hotel to begin my Xalapa adventures.
Xalapa is pronounced “Ha-La-Pa” in English, and the people here are called “Ha-La-Pe-Nios” or Halapeño or Xalapeños.
But you already unknowingly know of this city from the well known “Jalapeños” chilli-pepper. Yes, the jalapeño was originally cultivated here by the indigenous peoples, although I didn't see much emphasis on this in the city.
Despite Xalapa having a smaller population than Puerto Veracruz, Xalapa acts as the Government capital of the State of Veracruz.
Xalapa To Puerto Veracruz
From the bus station in Xalapa, it's a quick 1.5 hour bus ride to the coastal city of Veracruz, also called “Heroica Veracruz” or “Puerto Veracruz”. This is a major port city for importing and exporting from Mexico, but it was also one of the portals of several large invasions into Mexico, as well as the trans-Atlantic African slave trade.
Into the Veracruz Center
A bit further away from the beaches of Veracruz is the actual business port. Here is where many historic moments occurred, along with most shops and restaurants.
Night Time Walk Along the Boardwalk
Along almost the entire length of the city of Veracruz is a pedestrian boardwalk you can walk, run, and skate along. Although it was windy, it was also quite warm, even at night in October.
The following Day
The next day consisted mainly of going out into the waters. Veracruz has a 1 meter deep section in the ocean called “Cancuncito”. It's a few kilometers from the coast, and you can literally stand on it.
Night Time in The Center
As night time settled in, it was time to grab something to eat in the center of the city, and experience the culture. On this sunday, the city center was alive with many visitors and locals who came to buy souvenirs, enjoy the food, and dance to salsa music.
Xalapa & Veracruz Conclusion
Xalapa was a simple, very typical pueblo or town (although on the scale of a city). I can't really recommend visiting here, unless you strictly desire novelty, as there is really not much to do. Perhaps there is more nature on the outskirts, but in the city itself, there were only a few interesting things.
The Port of Veracruz on the otherhand offered nice sunny weather, but in early October, it was extremely windy, and the tides were very strong, so swimming in the ocean was off-limits for relaxation. Furthermore, Veracruz felt like the abandoned, unmaintained brother of Puerto Vallarta & Nuevo Vallarta.
Would I visit again? Unlikely, but would I recommend visiting atleast once? Sure, why not 😉
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