PUEBLOS MÁGICOS OF VERACRUZ
JULY 13-25, 2023
(11 DAYS/10 NIGHTS)
with Jeremy Woodhouse
The cultural, historical, architectural and gastronomic value of Mexico's destinations is as great as its country.
The Pueblo Mágico designation is awarded to those communities that over time have maintained their original architecture, traditions, history and culture, and that have been of great relevance to the history of the country.
The Magic Towns are defined as places with great symbolism and legend, they are towns whose historical importance has been fundamental for the development of history and that enhance national identity. These places have a special magic that connects the visitor with the roots and customs of Mexico.
Currently, throughout Mexico, there are 132 Magic Towns whose attractions delight travellers from around the world.
Pueblos Mágicos of Veracruz
Veracruz hides a treasure trove of culture in its six Pueblos Mágicos. These Magic Towns will will help you to fall in love with Veracruz: Orizaba, Coscomatepec, Xico, Coatepec, Zozocolco, and Papantla must be your next destinations.
Ride the second largest cable car in Mexico, a symbolic attraction of Orizaba that leads to Cerro del Borrego where you will have panoramic views of the Orizaba Valley like few others.
The first Pueblo Mágico in Veracruz located in the heart of the cloud forest in the State Capital region.
Colonial architecture and agro-industry—coffee and orchids.
El Tajín, a site recognized as a World Heritage Site by Unesco for its imposing beauty and historical importance.
…and so much more.
Pre-tour: July 13—Arrive Mexico City
You will arrive during the day and book into the conveniently located airport hotel in Terminal 2 in preparation for our drive to Veracruz the next day.
You are responsible for making your own reservation and the cost of this hotel is not included in the tour fee. If you wish to stay elsewhere in Mexico City, please plan to be in the NH Collection hotel Lobby by 9AM.
O/N NH Collection Mexico City Airport T2
Day 1: July 14—Mexico City/Orizaba (258km, 3hr 23min)
Today we begin or road trip east to the state of Veracruz stopping along the way for any interesting photo opportunities. Highlights in Orizaba include:
Former Convent of San José de Gracia
A historic neoclassical building built in the 16th century and located in the center of Orizaba. Built by Franciscan friars, it functioned as a convent from 1797 to 1860 and closed its doors due to the Reform Laws. Currently, the public has the possibility of getting to know it through tours of one hour and 20 minutes, in which they will see tunnels, a Parish, the Temple of Solitude, paintings and old furniture.
Catedral de San Miguel
It is believed that there were three churches from different periods where the Cathedral is now located. It was built in the Baroque-Corinthian and neoclassical style by order of the Franciscans in 1642 and inside you can admire a clock made in Paris by A. Borrel in 1864, Napoleon III's watchmaker. Also see the crystal chandeliers, as well as altarpieces and paintings by Miguel Cabrera.
On the other hand, the Ex-convent of San Juan de la Cruz is a magnificent Churrigueresque-style building that belonged to the religious order of the Carmelitas Descalzos and was inaugurated on June 28, 1736. It is currently the seat of the Bishopric of Orizaba.
Palacio de Hierro
It was designed by the French engineer Gustave Eiffel, the same one who designed the tower that bears his last name in Paris. It is the only metal art nouveau castle in the world. It was manufactured in Belgium and it was brought by boat to the Port of Veracruz.
Get on the cable car
The Orizaba cable car, 917 meters in length, iss the third longest in Mexico. It connects Plaza Pichucalco with Cerro del Borrego. It has the capacity to transport more than 150 passengers per hour at a speed of 4.5 m/s, so being at the top of Cerro del Borrego only takes five minutes. Once up you will see Orizaba from the viewpoint. You have two hours to board the next cable car and return.
O/N Gamma Orizaba Grand Hotel de France
With Gamma you will enjoy a memorable experience at every moment, in every space, and in every travel destination. Discover the essence and magic of the city by staying at Gamma Orizaba Grand Hotel de France. This city offers a glimpse of México at its most charming, with its unique personality and regional details.
Day 2: July 15—Orizaba
We will spend the day exploring the sights in and around Orizaba
O/N Gamma Orizaba Grand Hotel de France
Day 3: July 16—Orizaba/Coscomatepec (37km, 1hr)
Mid-morning, we will make the short drive to Coscomatepec where we will spend the next 2 nights. This is perhaps one of the most picturesque Magic Towns in Veracruz. Located between two large ravines, it has become the main access to the largest mountain in Mexico, Pico de Orizaba.
Walking through its streets will offer us the opportunity to discover its rich history, including the Museum of Local History, its Central Park, the traditional bakeries, as well as the different places where they make saddlery products. Other attractions include:
Parroquia de San Juan Bautista
Its construction is from the 17th century; inside it shelters one of the three Christs of the Agony that remain in the world. For many, his face is of great beauty and the particularity of his gaze, directed towards the sky, makes him unique. Some say that it is an expression of pain, others of prayer and still others of contemplation.
The Coscomatepec Tourist Office conducts tours of the cigar workshops to learn about the artisan manufacturing process, how tobacco is dried in brandy and vanilla, and how cigars are made by hand. Visit these workshops located inside the homes of the locals of the region.
Puente del Virrey
It was built at the beginning of 1800 as the main passage for Virrey Iturrigaray to reach the state capital. Designed by Luis Martín who took advantage of the river stones for its construction, it is a three stone arches design.
O/N Hotel Plaza Real
Our vision is to be the best hotel in high mountains and to keep our guests happy with our incomparable customer service
Day 4: July 17—Coscomatepec
Today is market day and we will spend time in the center of town photographing the locals and people from surrounding communities
Since 1943, Mondays in Coscomatepec are "plaza"; In the streets of the center around Constitución Municipal Park, settlers from various communities in the area come to sell their produce: legumes, herbs, seeds, chili peppers; animal traders will also be there.
O/N Hotel Plaza Real
Day 4: July 18—Coscomatepec/Xico
Today we drive to Xico where we will spend the next two nights. Follow the tour of the moles (Nahuatl mōlli "sauce") and savor their homemade flavours and walk among coffee plantations.
During our time here we will also visit the Pueble Mágico of Coatepec which is just a few kilometers away. Other things to look out for in Xico include:
Capilla de la Santa Cruz de Llanito
Dedicated to the Holy Cross, its construction dates back to the 17th century and its style is austere baroque. Inside there is a replica of the sculpture of María Magdalena. It also houses the image of the Santo Niño Milagroso del Llanito, well known and adored in the region.
Parroquia de Santa María Magdalene
A 16th century construction that stands out in the town of Xico. The building boasts notable baroque and neoclassical details, and magnificent portals with beautiful gardens. Inside are images of Mary and other virgins sporting natural hair. On the main altar there is a crucified Christ and, at his feet, the reclining sculpture of Mary Magdalene looks up at him.
O/N Hotel Coyopolan
Day 5: July 19—Coatepec/Xico
Today we drive to Coatepec where we will stroll among nurseries full of orchids, visit coffee farms and learn about the coffee-making process, also savouring some of the bread from El Resobado.
Greenhouses and the Orchid Garden
If you are one of those who likes to buy plants, you have arrived in paradise. Its greenhouses are famous, where exotic species and orchids are reproduced. We will visit La Purísima, María Cristina and La Providencia.
The Resobado Bakery
Biscuits, shells, croissants, bolillos, polvorones, teleras, bread stuffed with cottage cheese and many more are part of the delicacies sold in this bakery with more than a hundred years of history. The quality of this artisan bread and the fact that it is baked in a wood-fired oven have made the palates of Coatepecanos fall in love. If you walk through this Magical Town and you fancy a bread from El Resobado, don't pay attention to the time, because it is open 24 hours every day.
To get to know one of the best coffees produced in Mexico, you need to visit the El Café-tal Apan Museum, which is dedicated to spreading the local tradition of this drink. Here you will get to know La Mata, a 19th century European-style construction which it became the largest coffee mill in America. It still retains its original machinery.
We will take the coffee tour at Finca de Don Silvano. Walk in a tree fern nursery, among epiphytic plants, scented herbs and vegetable gardens. Learn about the coffee production process and taste what is made here.
Parroquia de San Jerónimo
The Parroquia de San Jerónimo stands out with its strong bright reds and yellows. Its eclectic style contains a side door topped with an arch of fangs that will remind you of the jaws of a snake.
O/N Hotel Coyopolan
Day 6: July 20—Xico/Zozocolco
Working our way north we arrive at the town of Zozocolco. This Pueblo Mágico is considered to be one the hidden jewels in the state.
Mirador del Curato
After seeing the beautiful Parroquia, be sure to go to the Mirador del Curato to see the town nestled in the Sierra del Totonacapan.
You will see the peaks that surround Zozocolco (La Golondrina, del Pelón and Buena Vista) and the infinite layers of green, gray mountains.
Parroquia de San Miguel Archángel
It was built in 1600 by the Franciscan friars, it is located on the Cerro de las Golondrinas. This church is linked to a legend that narrates how an image of Saint Michael the Archangel forged in gold and silver appeared on a stone located where the enclosure is today. This fact has been interpreted by the inhabitants as the will of the saint to remain in the town with them to protect them. Thus, at the end of each September a great celebration is held in his honor.
O/N Hotel Villas Zozocolco
The establishment has spacious double rooms with views of natural landscapes, all of them fully equipped with a modern and well-cared setting for those who stay in this place. The service is good and the food delicious.
Day 7: July 21—Zozocolco
Today is to relax and spend time exploring what this Pueblo Mágico has to offer
O/N Hotel Villas Zozocolco
Day 8: July 22—Zozocolco/Papantla
Our final Pueblo Mágico in the north of Veracruz is Papantla, home to the famous "Voladores de Papantla" which you can see performing their flying rituals all over Mexico.
Called the Magic Town of Vanilla, Papantla is located in the Totonaca region known as the "land of the three hearts." Here, ancestral cultures is intertwined with tradition and contemporary history in the form of dance, gastronomy, painting and other manifestations.
Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción
Located next to the Mural of the Totonaca Culture, on a small hill, this construction is the most important religious building in Papantla. Although it has a very simple façade, it is known that it was built at the beginning of the 18th century by the Franciscan order. Its borders are decorated with details of the vanilla flower and the symbol of Nahui-Ollin.
Sculptural Mural and Monument to the Flying Man
Mural Escultórico de la Cultura Totonaca and the Monumento al Volador are two works by the sculptor Teodoro Cano. Both were made in homage to the voladoresn who carry out this fertility rite, and to the culture of Papantla.
O/N Victoria Hotel
This 68-room hotel is a good option to consider as accommodation; in addition to the warmth of the staff; its facilities are adapted for families, couples and business people. It is also equipped with rooms for holding all kinds of events.
Day 9: July 23—Papantla
Today we will visit El Tajín, a pre-Columbian archeological site in southern Mexico and is one of the largest and most important cities of the Classic era of Mesoamerica, and a site recognized as a World Heritage Site by Unesco for its imposing beauty and historical importance.
Day 10: July 24—Papantla/Mexico City (304km, 3hr 56min)
Mid-morning we will begin our drive back to Mexico City, as always stopping along the way at any places of interest. We will check into our airport hotel where we will have the chance to get ready for our journey back home.
Meet for dinner in the early evening
O/N NH Collection Mexico City Airport T2
Day 11: July 25—Depart Mexico City
END OF TOUR
The average temperature in Veracruz in July for a typical day ranges from a high of 85°F (30°C) to a low of 78°F (25°C). Some would describe it as pleasantly warm.
For comparison, the hottest month in Veracruz, May, has days with highs of 90°F (32°C) and lows of 77°F (25°C).
6 SPOTS OPEN
11 DAYS/10 NIGHTS
GROUND TRANSPORT INCLUDED
GROUP SIZE: ONLY 6
Tour Price Includes
- Ground Transportation during the trip
- Transfer to the airport at Mexico City at the end of the tour on 25 July, 2023
- Breakfasts where provided by the hotels
- In-Field Photography Instruction
Tour Price Excludes
- Flights to and from Mexico City
- Pre-tour hotel
- Meals and snacks (where not mentioned)
All lodging has been booked and a room will be assigned to you on registration.
Paying by check
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Paying by Wire Transfer
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Dress for the Weather
Personal Gear List
- Sunscreen, sunglasses, sun hat
- Layers for cooler mornings
- Waterproof Shell in case of rain
- Sturdy hiking shoes
Photo Equipment Checklist
- Sturdy tripod and ballhead
- Digital SLR or Mirrorless Camera Body
- Wide angle lens in the 16-35mm range. A mid-range zoom lens in the range of 24-100mm and a longer zoom lens like a 70-200mm or a 100-400mm
- Circular polarizer filters and ND filters for your lenses. If you like shooting with grads, bring them along. A 6 or 10-stop ND filter will be useful for creating very long exposures.
- Backpack to carry your gear
- Extra batteries, memory cards, and cleaning supplies
- Laptop if you wish to backup your photos or follow along during the post-processing instruction.
- Instructors will wear masks while teaching at close range
- Clients are encouraged to wear masks whenever they are at close range
- Where possible, we will practice social distancing. Tripods 6ft apart.
- You are encouraged to wash hands frequently and use hand sanitiser.