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How to Spend 3 Days in Veracruz

How to Spend 3 Days in Veracruz

The port city of Veracruz makes a strategic base for discovering the Gulf of Mexico’s ruins, beaches, and towns. Three days give you ample time to go city sightseeing, experience Veracruz’s nightlife, and take one or two day trips. Here’s how. 

Day 1: Sightseeing in the City

It’s possible to tick off Veracruz’s central sights in just one day; start with a visit to the island fortress of San Juan de Ulúa, which affords panoramic harbor views from its ramparts. Afterward, stroll around the historic center and stop to admire the white-fronted Veracruz Cathedral and the craft markets along the seafront boardwalk. 

In the afternoon, visit Veracruz Aquarium to see giant manta rays, sea turtles, and nurse sharks. Latin America’s largest aquarium does get busy, so book admission tickets in advance to save time. A sunset boat cruise or kayaking tour through the mangroves of the nearby Manginga Lagoon is the perfect way to end the day. If you’ve still got energy to spare, the Zocalo—Veracruz’ central square—is the place to be after dark. Grab a seat at one of the terrace cafés as musicians, dancers, and street entertainers take to the streets to perform.

Day 2: UNESCO Sites and Beaches

Less than a 2-hour drive from Veracruz, you’ll find the city of Tlacotalpan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its colonial-era architecture and plazas. Day trips from Veracruz typically include a walking tour of the historic center—with plenty of stops to photograph the brightly painted buildings—and give you time to glimpse local life in Zaragoza Square. Many Tlacotalpan tours also include a visit to the historic town of Alvarado. 

Alternatively, spend the afternoon exploring Veracruz’s beaches. Just north of Veracruz, Chachalacas Beach is fringed with towering sand dunes; adventurous travelers can go sandboarding and quad biking, while the coast is lined with coral reefs that prove ideal for swimming and snorkelling. 

Day 3: Mexico’s Magic Towns

There are numerous other options for day trips from Veracruz. If you’re a naturist, visit the lakeside city of Catemaco and explore the Los Tuxtlas Biosphere Reserve; to get your history fix, take a day trip the ancient Mesoamerican ruins of Cempoala or the pre-Columbian archeological site of Tajin; or for a relaxed wander, head to the Spanish colonial town of La Antigua. 

If you have to pick one, opt to immerse yourself in Mexican culture in the Magic Towns (Pueblos Magicos) of Xalapa, Xico, and Coatepec. Tours typically stop in the Veracruz capital of Xalapa, where you can visit the excellent Museum of Anthropology and admire views of the Macuiltepetl volcano, and include a coffee tasting session Coatepec, renowned for its coffee production. Finally, Xico is a vibrant cultural hub, where highlights include its cathedral and numerous handicrafts markets.

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6 Tours and Activities

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Tlacotalpan World Heritage Site and Alvarado Day Trip

Tlacotalpan World Heritage Site and Alvarado Day Trip

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Tlacotalpan is a popular Veracruz day trip, and this guided tour offers an easy way to explore the UNESCO World Heritage-listed city in just one day. Along with a guide, learn about the city's Spanish and Caribbean architecture and visit the City Museum, before heading to Alvarado to check out the coastal trading town.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$72.73
From
$72.73
Taking safety measures

Veracruz Combo Tour: La Antigua, San Juan de Ulúa and Veracruz City Sightseeing

Veracruz Combo Tour: La Antigua, San Juan de Ulúa and Veracruz City Sightseeing

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The top sites of Veracruz and surrounding areas are all laid out for you on this guided 5-hour combo tour. Discover San Juan de Ulúa, a fortress dating back to 1565. In the tree-lined town of La Antigua, the first Spanish settlement in Mexico, you’ll see the first Catholic church in the Americas. Pass through Veracruz’s Zocalo, its picturesque main square and drive through the upscale, neighboring city of Boca del Río. Bonus: Round-trip hotel transport included.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$70.00
From
$70.00
Taking safety measures

Catemaco and Los Tuxtlas Natural Adventure Day Trip

Catemaco and Los Tuxtlas Natural Adventure Day Trip

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Venture deep into the great outdoors during this action-packed day trip, which makes it easy to escape the city. You’ll have personalized attention from a private guide as you cover four different stops, from the largest head of the Olmec civilization to a secluded island inhabited by a lively monkey population. You’ll also climb to the top of a stunning waterfall and learn about Mexican biodiversity in an ecological park.
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  • 12 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$93.51
From
$93.51
Taking safety measures

Veracruz City Sightseeing Tour, San Juan de Ulúa Castle & Aquarium

Veracruz City Sightseeing Tour, San Juan de Ulúa Castle & Aquarium

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Spend a pleasant morning getting to know the city of Veracruz on this 3-hour guided tour. Enter San Juan de Ulúa, one of Veracruz’s most popular landmarks, and learn about the 16th-century fortress before it was converted to a presidential home. Stroll along the 'malecón,' or boardwalk, and see city highlights like the Zocalo and the Old Customs building. Wrap up your sightseeing with a drive through the well-heeled district of Boca del Río before being transported back to your hotel.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$70.00
From
$70.00
Taking safety measures

Alvarado and Tlacotalpan Day Trip from Veracruz

Alvarado and Tlacotalpan Day Trip from Veracruz

While in Veracruz, take a guided day trip to the historic towns of Tlacotalpan and Alvarado. Admire the beautiful colonial architecture of Alvarado and at the same time, gain insight into Mexico’s history after the Spanish conquest. In UNESCO-listed Tlacotalpan, see city landmarks and immerse yourself in the local art from the 19th and 20th centuries during visits to two charming museums. Hotel transport included.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$95.00
From
$95.00
Taking safety measures

Coatepec and Xico Magical Towns Plus Xalapa Day Trip from Veracruz

Coatepec and Xico Magical Towns Plus Xalapa Day Trip from Veracruz

Experience Mexico’s coffee tradition and impressive pueblos magicos on this full-day guided tour. Save time with convenient hotel pickup and drop off and travel in a comfortable, climate-controlled minivan. See the hacienda that once belonged to Antonio López de Santa Anna, the notorious former military leader and president, cruise through coffee farms and visit the picturesque colonial towns of Xico and Coatepec, one of the region’s most important coffee producers.
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  • 10 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$83.12
From
$83.12
Taking safety measures