Nicknamed the “Athens of Veracruz,” the Mexican City of Xalapa has gained a reputation for being a hub for art, culture and food on the East Coast of Mexico. From parks to museums to street art and a mountainous terrain, Xalapa may be an overlooked Mexican destination for now, but rest assured, the relatively undiscovered city will soon enough see a rise in tourism. Want to know what to do in Xalapa? Don’t miss out on these 9 activities.
1. Visit the Xalapa Anthropology Museum
Xalapa is undoubtedly a hub for culture, which is prevalent when you visit the Xalapa Anthropology Museum. The museum, which houses the largest collection of artifacts from Mexican Gulf cultures such as the Olmec, Huastec and Totonac, has over 25,000 pieces dating back to 1300 BC as well as a huge garden. History lovers and anyone with a curiosity about ancient Mexican cultures will love this gem in Xalapa.
Xalapa Anthropology Museum
Address: Av. Xalapa, Unidad Magisterial, 91017 Xalapa Enríquez, Ver., Mexico
2. Explore the Parque de los Tecajetes
For those looking for a green oasis within the city of Xalapa, Parque de los Tecajetes is the perfect escape. This jungle-like natural park is full of rustic paths, stone aqueducts and a fresh-water spring. The park is a perfect place to spend a quiet afternoon in Xalapa.
Parque de los Tecajetes
Address: Av. Avila Camacho, 91184 Xalapa, Mexico
3. Check out the Jardin Botanico Francisco Javier Clavijero
Xalapa’s Botanical Garden, Jardin Botanico Francisco Javier Clavijero, is home to nearly 700 species of plants, making it one of the richest and most diverse micro-ecosystems in Mexico. The museum is a showcase to Mexico’s biodiversity, and contains plants found throughout the country. The crown jewel of the Botanical Garden is the picturesque Cycadas Greenhouse, which is a perfect place to snap a photo at the end of your visit.
Jardin Botanico Francisco Javier Clavijero
Address: Carretera antigua a Coatepec Km 2.5 #351, El haya, 91070 Xalapa, Ver., Mexico
4. Visit La Galeria de Arte Contemporaneo
Art enthusiasts can enjoy Xalapa’s many art galleries, especially La Galeria de Arte Contemporaneo, a popular contemporary art gallery that has become an Instagram sensation in Mexico. The museum is part of a large array of museums which make up the Instituto Veracruzano de La Cultura. If you have the time, check them all out, if not, be sure to make a stop at the Galeria de Arte Contemporaneo.
Galeria de Arte Contemporaneo
Address: Xalapeños Ilustres 135, Centro, 91000 Xalapa Enríquez, Ver., Mexico
5. Try some Xalapan jalapeños -- they originated here
Nobody knows how to do jalapeños like Xalapa, where the original jalapeños were cultivated. In Xalapa, jalapeños are stuffed with meat, chicken or fish fillings, including minilla, best described as a savory fish hash. They are also used in a tasty local salsa made by grinding fresh jalapeños with cilantro and garlic. There are plenty of places to try authentic jalapeños in Xalapa, but for some good reccomendations, make sure to check out Trip 101’s article of the best places to eat in Xalapa.
6. Visit the overlook at Parque Juarez
Arguably the most beloved park in Xalapa, Parque Juarez is a great place to relax and enjoy breathtaking views. Visitors who enjoy a stroll through the park are all brought to the southern side of the park, which features an overlook with scenic views of the snowcapped Sierra Madre Oriental Mountains.
Address: Juan de La Luz Enríquez, Centro, 91000 Xalapa Enríquez, Ver., Mexico
7. Check out the Macuiltepec Volcano
For breathtaking city views of Xalapa, an up-close and personal encounter with native Mexican wildlife and a taste of the history and culture of Mexico, The Macuiltepec Volcano is a must-see for those visiting Xalapa. Don’t worry travelers, the volcano is dormant – but this doesn’t stop if from being one of the hottest attractions in Xalapa. Visitors can hike up this volcano to reach the observatory at the top, which includes a historical sundial, observatory, and picture-perfect sunset views.
8. Museo Ex-Hacienda El Lencero
In the 19th-century, this Spanish Colonial building was built as a tribute to Juan Lencero, a soldier of Hernán Cortés in the 19th-century. Since then, it serves as a historic museum which displays furniture, personal goods, and a chapel from that time period. After viewing these relics, be sure to visit the garden outside the museum for a great shot of the beautiful Spanish gardens with the colonial building.
Museo Ex-Hacienda El Lencero
Address: Calle Rafael Murillo Camacho, Centro, 91640 El Lencero, Ver., Mexico
Website: Museo Ex-Hacienda El Lencero
9. Take a trip to nearby Veracruz City
The port city of Veracruz lies on the Gulf of Mexico, and is home to nearly half a million residents. From beaches to fishing to museums and more, the sea fuels the heart of Veracruz, which offers plenty to those looking for an authentic, native Mexican City by the beach. Veracruz City’s castles, aquariums, museums, and a variety of food options make it a perfect getaway destination, and since it’s only an hour and a half from Xalapa, it’s an easy day trip and a great way to see both cities.
Address: Heroica Veracruz, Veracruz, Mexico
Website: Veracruz City
Xalapa: where relaxation meets a coastal city
Unlike beach towns like Puerto Vallarta and Cancun, or big cities like Guadalajara or Mexico City, Xalapa brings a coastal way of life without lacking the authenticity of true Mexico. Here, travelers can enjoy a slower pace of life, that is also met with a bustling coastal city with proximity to many great destinations within the state of Veracruz. Planning a trip to Mexico? Make sure to check out Xalapa and all it has to offer travelers, from parks and art, to food and volcanoes, museums and more!
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