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Catemaco Lake (Laguna Catemaco)
Catemaco Lake (Laguna Catemaco)

Catemaco Lake (Laguna Catemaco)

Sierra de Los Tuxtlas, Veracruz

The Basics

Given its proximity to the nearby Los Tuxtlas Biosphere Reserve, most full-day excursions from Veracruz City combine a boat ride on Lake Catemaco with complementary visits to the Eyipantla waterfall and Nanciyaga Ecological Reserve, with some even incorporating a stop at a local cigar factory. However, boat trips to Monkey Island can also be arranged independently from the town of Catemaco, perhaps best known for its shamanic energy and sleepy appeal.

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Things to Know Before You Go

  • Close to 600 species of bird call Lake Catemaco home, making it an ideal destination for bird watchers.

  • Travelers interested in witchcraft and the occult won’t want to miss Lake Catemaco; the region is associated with shamanic rituals and home to an annual Witchcraft Festival.

  • Be sure to sample the local specialty—freshwater snails (tegogolos)—which are native to Catemaco Lake.

  • Boat rides on Lake Catemaco are rarely fully wheelchair accessible.

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How to Get There

Lake Catemaco is situated just 15 miles (25 kilometers) from San Andrés Tuxtla and 111 miles (180 kilometers) from Veracruz City. While buses run daily to Catemaco from both cities, skip the hassle of time-consuming public transit and opt for a tour which includes round-trip transportation.

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When to Get There

For the most pleasant weather, visit in the hot and dry months of April, May, and June but remember that Lake Catemaco and the surrounds are at their busiest over Easter. Travelers interested in the area’s infamous witchcraft culture should visit on the first Friday of March for the annual Noche de Brujas Festival.

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What to Do in Veracruz

Situated on the east coast of Mexico, Veracruz offers a beguiling combination of relatively under-the-radar stretches of coastline; impressive archaeological ruins, such as El Tajín and Tres Zapotes; and lively cities which come alive for the annual Carnaval festivities. When in Veracruz, don’t skip the Casa de Cortés, one of the Americas’ oldest surviving colonial buildings.

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