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Attractions in Xalapa, Veracruz

Xalapa, meaning “spring in the sand” in Nahuatl, isn’t only famous for being the source of the name for jalapeño peppers. It has several other nicknames, such as the “City of Flowers,” or the “Athens of Veracruz” due to the strong cultural and folkloric traditions that have stemmed from three universities in the area. Located about two hours away from the city of Veracruz, Xalapa is an amazing cultural endeavor with concerts, museums, and other cultural spectacles that attract the young and old alike.

Museums

Museo de Antropologia

xalapa-museo-de-antropologia-fotosdexalapa A must-see site for history lovers, the Anthropology Museum offers a collection dedicated to Veracruz’s three most influential indigenous cultures: the Huasteca, Totonaca, and Olmeca. This museum is the second largest in the country (the first being that of Mexico City) and features a collection of nearly 30,000 pieces.

Here you will find beautifully carved jaguars, murals, jade masks and an enormous model of the ruins of El Tajín. Another attraction featured here is the collection of massive Olmec heads, the largest over 8 feet high.

Museo Interactivo de Xalapa

If traveling with children, this interactive museum is ideal because it features an IMAX theater and several interactive exhibits. Educational documentaries and other instructive opportunities are found here.

Museo de Sciencia y Tecnologia

With 8 halls of diverse exhibits on science and technology, this is an interesting attraction for those who want to see an international perspective on development and technology. This museum highlights the scientific knowledge evolution and its achievements and gives us a deeper understanding of human progress throughout history.

Pinacoteca Diego Rivera

If you are a fan of beautiful murals representing unique Mexican history, this is the place to go. Featuring several murals and exhibits by Diego Rivera, this experience will leave you breathless.

Parks

Jardin Botanico Francisco Javier Clavijero

rsz_1orchids_randy_son_of_robert This is a beautiful botanical garden displaying more than 1,500 varieties of plants and flowers found throughout the state of Veracruz. It includes a small arboretum, a large pond with aquatic plants and a winding, shady path through an abundance of plants.

Parque Juarez

This is a beautiful park overlooking the city and the Sierra Madre Oriental mountains in the distance. It is said that on clear days, you can also catch a glimpse of snowcapped Pico de Orizaba, a dormant volcano and one of Mexico’s highest mountains.

Surrounding Areas

Museo Invernadero Maria Cristina

This “museum” is actually a greenhouse blooming with orchids and is located about 7 miles south in rural Catepec. Since this place is famous for orchids and coffee beans, it makes sense to go visit if you are a botanist or a flower lover!

Agualegre

Literally meaning “happy water,” this water park is also located just outside Xalapa and offers multiple swimming pools and a water slide for children. You can also hike or take a horseback ride in this 32-acre sized park.

Cascada de Texolo

rsz_cascada_de_texolo_rainy_city Another attraction for outdoor lovers is this amazing waterfall located about 11 miles southwest of Xalapa. You can take a taxi to the small town of Xico and walk about two miles to this 132-foot waterfall. While at the site, enjoy a meal at the restaurant overlooking the impressive gorge.

Hacienda Lencero

This is a 16th century estate once owned by a Spanish conquistador that has been revamped and turned into a museum featuring 19th century furnishings, a small chapel, beautiful gardens and a spring-fed lake.

Photo Credits: 1 fotosdexalapa on Flickr, 2 randy son of robert on Flickr, 3 rainy city on Flickr