From Quintana Roo I took a bus to Veracruz to visit a friend I knew for years but have never met in person so far. I changed the dates a little bit because of what happened in Playa del Carmen. So in the end, he could not come from Xalapa to Veracruz to have a chat while I was there as it was during the week. Anyway, I came to visit Veracruz. Instead of 21 hours by bus, we were late an hour, as if it was not enough already, due to some technical problems with the bus.
A couchsurfing friend waited for me at the bus station and with him and his German friend we spent following 2 days in Veracruz. As it was Monday, most of the places were closed, as everywhere else in Mexico. So we could not visit the Island, nor the Baluarte, nor any museum, not even some bars. Bad planned. But we had a great time though anyway.
Trying to survive the heat, we visited some places in Veracruz all sweating. It is very hot and humid in there.
Some interesting facts about Veracruz:
- it is the biggest and the most important port in Mexico, together with Acapulco on the Pacific coast.
- it is the capital of the state with the same name, which produces the best coffee in Mexico.
- it is one of the oldest towns in Mexico. The Spaniards with came here with Hernán Cortés in the early 16th ct.
- called 4 times heroic Veracruz because the town managed to win 4 invasions of the foreigners in the 19th and 20th ct.
- the name Vera Cruz comes from Verdadera Cruz which is the day when the Spaniards came here – 22nd April 1519 which was a Good Friday.
- has traditional food which is different from all the other Mexican states; such as torta ahogada (drowned sandwich).
- there is an interesting way of making a coffee – once the coffee is ready, they spill the milk from very high into the cup.
- you have to try typical ice cream – la nieve.
- The most famous restaurant is Gran Café de La Parroquia in the port.
- Mercado de artesanías – the market with handicrafts, souvenirs, food and other amazing stuff is at the pier waiting for your visit.
- the tourist bus which takes you through Veracruz is better to take at night hours. It is much nicer with the lights and you can have fun with Mickey Mouse dancing.
- heroic Veracruz has 2 parts, Veracruz itself and Boca del Río.
- take a walk along the Boulevard, which is the longest one in the world with more than 5 km; and have a swim in the sea when you get too hot.
- we went to the hotel Emporio to have a drink because we were dying of the heat. But life never stops surprising you. We thought it was going to be really expensive, so asked only for water, but in the end they got us 2 l jar of water with lemon and never charged us anything for it. Great! The waiter must have seen my sweating red face. Thanks, you saved me some pesos.
- the traditional music from the area is called Son Jarocho.
- take time to visit the Aquarium like we did. It is only for 100 Mexican pesos. The shame is everything written there about the fish an the aquarium is only in Spanish, not English. And the day we went, the dolphin area on top was closed due to reconstruction, such a bad luck!
- take a boat to Isla de Sacrificios (Sacrifice Island) which used to be a prison, or get kayaks to get there.
- visit Baluarte Santiago, Faro Venustiano Carranza, San Juan de Ulúa and Palacio Municipal.
- the best time to visit Veracruz is during the carnival which is one of the most important ones in the world, takes 9 days at the Boulevard.