Why This Lesser Known Cultural Beach City In Mexico Is | phillipspacc

Why This Lesser Known Cultural Beach City In Mexico Is Surging In Popularity

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Forget Cancun and its overdeveloped Hotel Zone, Tulum and the surging crowds of partygoers, and Playa Del Carmen’s American wellness cults: if you’re keen on a deep Mexico cultural getaway while still having plenty of beach time, Veracruz is where you should be headed.

Located on a quieter stretch of the Gulf of Mexico, away from the hustle and bustle of Yucatán, this charming spot is stealing the hearts of culture buffs lately, having registered a whopping 40% increase for bookings in this category and positioning itself as a most-promising city break.

Whitewashed Colonial Cathedral In Veracruz, A Historic City On The Gulf Of Mexico, Latin America

It is rarely ever mentioned by news outlets amid Mexico’s epic Tourism Reinassance, and it certainly does not feature on most travel guides, so what’s driving this new popularity surge?

Why Is Veracruz Surging In Popularity Right Now?

If you’ve been following travel trends in Mexico lately, you know that cultural activities have become just as important as the well-established all-inclusive resort market.

While it’s true a majority of Americans still want primarily to relax by the beachside, especially if they don’t get a chance to travel as often, a growing number of them are looking to sample some culture, and there’s no better place to have both than lesser-known Veracruz.

Aerial View Of Veracruz, A City On The Gulf Of Mexico, Latin America

Not only is it a coastal resort on the Gulf of Mexico, where beaches are pristine and unruffled, but it happens to be Mexico’s oldest and most important port: it was founded as early as the year 1519 by Spanish settlers, one of the first European-built cities in the Americas.

An Old Port City With A Fascinating Colonial History

At the peak of the Transatlantic Spanish Empire, when Mexico was still under Spanish control, Veracruz grew into a large trading hub, home to a wealthy mercantile class that built a number of colonial mansions and palaces, so ornate and stately they drew the attention of actual pirates.

Veracruz Old Town, Mexico, Latin America

Veracruz and its colorful facades and majestic Christian shrines were under the threat of raids throughout much of the 17th century, leading to the construction of a European-style fort – Fort San Juan de Ulúa – which still stands in perfect shape today.

It is one of the main points of interest in the town, alongside Plaza de Armas, the main square and heart of the walled colonial city, the Baroque Municipal Palace, built in the year 1608, the towering, whitewashed Veracruz Cathedral, and the landmark-packed Old Port.

A Historic Fortress In Veracruz, On The Gulf Of Mexico, Latin America

Two of the main attractions on the waterfront include the Old Lighthouse, where the government of Mexican Revolutionary Venustiano Carranza was based, and the Civil Registry Building, where the first birth certificate issued in Mexico is exhibited.

This same historic center is being rehabilitated to highlight Veracruz’s rich History, with 25 million Mexican pesos (roughly 1.46 million dollars) being invested in restoration works.

The goal is to revive the Old World charm of the zone and make it more tourist-friendly.

Beautiful Gulf Beaches Nearby

Gulf Of Mexico Beach, Mexico, Latin America

On top of the architectural heritage, Veracruz is within short driving distance of a beautiful 23-mile-long stretch of coast aptly-named Costa Esmeralda, where the sands are hugged by emerald waters and tall palms line the shores.

Numerous off-coast islands can also be visited, including Isla del Sacrificios, a paradisaical spot teeming with marine life that is part of the Veracruz Reef System, and the scuba-diving and wild swimming spots of Isla de Enmedio and Isla Verde.

woman relaxing on a palm tree in a Caribbean beach

Now, if you’re budget-conscious, you’ll be glad to know Veracruz is far from being overpriced like Cancun, or much of the Mayan Riviera, mainly because luxury resorts are not at the front of the tourism offer, and despite a growth in international tourism, it’s a place where mostly Mexicans vacation still.

Affordable Stays

Some of the top hotels lining the Malecon – the traditional boardwalk found in every coastal city South of the border – cost as cheap as $64 to book per night, and the average cost of food per day is an acceptable $48.

woman standing in hotel with suitcase

Overall, a one-week trip to Veracruz will cost each person $831, on average, including accommodation, daily expenses with food and transportation, and sightseeing.

It’s Mexico without the Americanized, gourmet eateries and inflated room rates, and we’re here for it.

Connectivity To Veracruz Is Improving

It’s no wonder demand for Veracruz keeps increasing, and the fact that new nonstop flights are launching from the United States is further proof of that.

airplane on runway and looking at airplane in blue sky

As soon as June, American Airlines will begin offering service between Dallas, Texas, and Veracruz.

Dallas will be only the second U.S. city to offer Veracruz flights, following Houston, where United Airlines operates.

Nonstop domestic flights from within Mexico are available from a number of cities Americans typically use as entry points, like Cancun, Mexico City, and Guadalajara.

Connectivity to Veracruz has increased landside as well, as a new train route linking the state to Palenque, the last stop on the hugely-popular Maya Train, inaugurated last December.

Find more off-path gems of Mexico, and start planning your cultural getaway here.

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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com

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