Mexican Routes | Free Mexico Travel Guide and Travel Information

Things to do in Veracruz and around

Veracruz is one of the oldest regions of Mexico rich in history and cultural heritage. Veracruz is known for its beaches and vibrant carnivals, attracting travelers with its combination of natural beauty and lively festivities.

Nestled along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, Veracruz is a bustling harbor town. Marked by significant historical events, Veracruz City stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of resilience and transformation.

Today, Veracruz offers an array of attractions for visitors seeking an authentic Mexican experience. With the rhythms of local life and traditions, Veracruz captivates the imagination of all who venture within its borders.

Discover the myriad sights and activities awaiting you in Veracruz, where history, culture, and natural beauty converge to create an unforgettable journey through Mexico’s vibrant tapestry of experiences.

Historical and cultural landmarks in Veracruz City are relatively close to each other, making it a pedestrian-friendly destination. Walking around the city allows visitors to fully immerse themselves in its vibrant atmosphere.

For those who prefer a guided overview or have limited time, the tourist tranvía (trolley bus) is a convenient, quick, and enjoyable way to explore the city of Veracruz and see its main iconic sights, monuments, and places.

Take a look at the things you can see and do in Veracruz.

Things to see and do in Veracruz City

Take a tranvía tour

Start your day with a tour around Veracruz City in a tranvía, which is a replica of those trolley buses from days gone by. The tour takes 30 minutes around the Malecón, Baluarte de Santiago, Zócalo, and other main sights.

The tourist tranvias’ departure point is in the Malecón (boardwalk). Tranvías leave every few minutes. Hop on board and admire the buildings, listen to commentary on historical facts, and enjoy a glimpse of local life.

Walk around downtown

The bustling city center, known as Centro Histórico, stands as a testament to the rich heritage and rapid growth of Old Veracruz. Amidst the evolving skyline, this historic district preserves the essence of bygone eras.

Immerse yourself in the history of Veracruz by exploring its local museums.

At the Museo de la Ciudad, listen to the captivating narrative of the city’s evolution, tracing its journey from a colonial outpost to an actual metropolis. Visit La Fototeca and Casa Principal with masterpieces of regional artistry.

Visit the formidable Baluarte de Santiago, also known as the Gunpowder Bastion. Erected in 1635 to safeguard the city against pirates, this imposing fortress stands as a symbol of Veracruz’s resilience in the face of adversity.

Walk through the enchanting Barrio de la Huaca, where history echoes through the cobblestone streets of this neighborhood, founded by African slaves, where each corner reveals tales of resilience and cultural fusions.

In the Historic Center of Old Veracruz, every step is a journey through time, where the past intertwines with the present, inviting visitors to unearth the treasures of bygone eras while embracing the vibrant pulse of modern life.

San Juan de Ulúa

San Juan de Ulua is a fort built in 1565 to protect boats from strong winds, as well as from attacks by pirates. Over time, San Juan de Ulúa became a prison, as it remained after Mexican independence until the early 1900s.

The walls of San Juan de Ulúa remember the French intervention. Then this fortress served as a strategic stronghold during the Siege of Veracruz in 1862, a key military engagement between French and Mexican defenders.

The fortress San Juan de Ulúa is also a witness of the Spanish-Mexican War of 1829-1830, when fierce battles between Spanish loyalists and Mexican insurgents, shaped the course of Mexican independence and sovereignty.

The walls of San Juan de Ulúa haunting tales of imprisonment and torture. Legends abound of prisoners subjected to gruesome methods of interrogation and punishment, adding layers of mystery to this historic fortress.

Today San Juan de Ulua is a museum visited by tourists from all over the world.

Plaza Acuario and museums

The centerpiece of the Plaza Acuario is a large aquarium showcasing the rich marine life of the Veracruz region. Visitors can marvel at manatees, dolphins, sharks, other exotic fish, and fascinating micro marine life.

Additionally, the aquarium features a section dedicated to the birds and exotic fauna from the Los Tuxtlas jungle, providing a comprehensive glimpse also into the Veracruz region’s rich biodiversity.

After exploring the wonders of the aquarium, head to the Wax Museum with lifelike wax figures of famous personalities from Mexico and around the world, offering a unique opportunity to “meet” iconic figures up close.

Finally, cap off your visit with a trip to the nearby Ripley’s Museum, where you can explore an amazing collection of mind-boggling oddities and curiosities that are sure to intrigue and entertain visitors of all ages.

Boca del Río

Boca del Rio offers a contemporary contrast to the traditional charm of Veracruz.

While Veracruz represents the historic old city, Boca del Río embodies the modern, dynamic side of the region. This area is home to numerous shopping centers, diverse restaurants, lively bars, and upscale neighborhoods.

As evening falls, consider visiting the quaint old town of Boca del Río.

Plaza Banderas is a park known for its festive, family-friendly atmosphere. This lively spot hosts artistic events and street performers, providing a delightful setting for a relaxing and entertaining evening by the sea.

Enjoy the traditional nightlife downtown

A night walk in the downtown offers an experience of the city’s lively atmosphere.

Begin your evening at El Malecón, a scenic coastal park perfect for a leisurely stroll as you enjoy the refreshing sea breeze. For a unique experience, take a moonlit boat tour and soak in the stunning views of the harbor.

Next, head to the Zocalo, the main plaza, where you can savor the sights and sounds of Veracruz’s bustling nightlife. The plaza is a hub of activity, filled with music, dancing, and the joyful energy of locals and visitors alike.

Continue your night on Martí Avenue, lined with cozy cafés, bars, and restaurants. Visit one of the many nightclubs along the boulevard. This vibrant street ensures a memorable night filled with good food and great music.

Day trips from Veracruz


Mandinga is a charming fishing village where you can spend an afternoon immersed in traditions, folklore, and gastronomy. This picturesque place offers a delightful escape into the heart of Veracruz’s cultural heritage.

Start your visit at the restaurants along the shore of the Mandinga Lagoon, where you can savor a delectable fish dish stuffed with an assortment of seafood and topped with a succulent sauce with a refreshing cocktail.

Enjoy the lively music and traditional dances performed by locals in vibrant costumes.

After your meal, take a boat tour of the lagoon to experience the fresh breeze and observe the exotic birds perched on the mangroves. This serene boat ride offers a perfect way to appreciate the natural beauty of Mandinga.

La Antigua

La Antigua is a charming small town situated by the shore of the Huitzilapan River. This historic town was the first village founded in New Spain (Mexico) in the remote 1519 by the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés.

When Hernan Cortés arrived, he found a ghost town, with places for worship and sacrifice, human remains, and books that Cortes deemed satanic. This eerie discovery set the stage for the town’s historical significance.

A visit to La Antigua wouldn’t be complete without seeing Cortés’ house, which served as his main residence. This picturesque house, covered by vines and tree branches, offers a glimpse into the past amidst a natural setting.

Another historical landmark to explore is the first Catholic church built in Mexico.

To round out your visit to La Antigua, try the traditional local cuisine at the seafood restaurants along the shore, where you can enjoy fresh, delicious dishes while taking in the scenic views of the Huitzilapan River.


Besides its rich history, Veracruz also offers exciting opportunities for eco-tourism.

Jalcomulco is a small town renowned for its landscapes and outdoor activities. Whether you’re seeking the thrill of extreme sports or a quiet retreat for self-reflection in the forest, Jalcomulco has something for everyone.

For an immersive experience, consider a backpacking tour or stay at the Eco Park Aldea.

Here, a guide will lead you through various eco-touristic activities such as rafting, rappelling, mountain biking, zip-lining, and trekking. This adventure-packed destination is perfect for nature enthusiasts and thrill-seekers alike.

At night, stay in unique accommodations – a tree house or hanging tent. Enhance your experience with a traditional temazcal ritual, a cleansing and rejuvenating steam bath, and savor the local cuisine at the park’s restaurant.

Jalcomulco’s blend of adventure and tranquility makes it a must-visit destination.

Use these tags to read more related posts and reviews:
Let us know if this article was useful for you