AFRICAN ROOTS IN VERACRUZ MEXICO
8 Day/7 Night Tour to Learn about African Influences – From the Spanish Conquest until Present Day
This is an educational tour designed for those who would have an interest in learning about black history in the Americas.
On this fun and informative African Roots in Veracruz México tour, you will journey to the gulf coast state of Veracruz to learn about the history of the African people and how they contributed immensely to the Mexican culture as it relates to food, dance, music, politics, and more.
You will also have the opportunity to visit and talk with Afro-Mexicans who live in a small rural pueblo near to the city of Veracruz. One of the families there will host your group for a simple lunch at their home.
On one of the evenings, your historian guide will give a presentation called, The 3rd Root – African Presence in México.
Quick History Lesson
After the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire in the early 1500s, African and Caribbean enslaved people were brought by ship to the port of Veracruz by the Spaniards who named this new land, Nueva España (New Spain).
These enslaved people were forced to work on the Spanish plantations and in other capacities. You will learn about the lives of these people, how they fared in this new land, where they were forced to work, and how they left their mark on this gulf coast region of México.
We invite you to come and visit the historical port city of Veracruz on the tropical Gulf of México shores and enjoy its Cuban/Caribbean/African influenced music and dance, its delicious seafood, and its friendly people.
• Meet Afro-Mexicans in their Rural Town
• Lunch at a Family’s Home
• First Free Black Town in the Americas
• Learn how Africans Influenced this Region
• Xalapa Anthropology Museum
• City Tour of Veracruz
• Veracruz Coffee Growing Region
- ITINERARY OVERVIEW
- FULL ITINERARY
- DATES & PRICES
- TRIP DETAILS
- MORE OPTIONS
Arrive in the City of Veracruz, Mexico
First Black Free Town in the Americas
San Juan de Ulúa fortress
Shopping in Veracruz city
Lake Mandinga Tropical Boat Ride
Independent Day of Touring
Optional Day Trips Available
Visit a Small Settlement of Afro-Mexicans
Lunch at a Family's Home
Community Historical Museum
Ex-Hacienda El Lencero
Xalapa Anthropology Museum
Presentation: The 3rd Root-African Presence in México
Ex-Hacienda Zimpizahua-Tour & Breakfast
Coatepec – Coffee Growing Region
Travel Day Home
Upon arrival at the Veracruz International Airport (VER) you will be met and welcomed by a tour representative who will accompany you to the Gran Hotel Diligencias. This very nice 4 star hotel is located directly across the street from the main plaza in the center of the city of Veracruz. The rest of the day or evening is yours to explore and/or rest up from your flight.
DAY 2: (B,L)
After breakfast at one of the oldest iconic restaurants in the port city of Veracruz, your group will begin your exploration of African history by traveling to the town of Yanga which is known for being the first freed slave settlement in the Americas. Located less than 1½ hours from Veracruz, this small village was named after a renegade enslaved man by the name of Gaspar Yanga. He is known for being the leader of colonial México’s first slave uprising. It is here that you will visit a small museum which has some excellent murals representing the plight of the Africans and view the statue honoring this man for his heroism as a liberator.
Lunch will be at a local restaurant which specializes in tasty barbeque pork and chicken. After the meal, you will explore the nearby ruins site of an ex-hacienda. At one time this was the home of the owners of a sugar cane growing operation. On these grounds, you will actually have the opportunity to see where their captive workers were housed and learn of how they were treated by the owners. On the way to this ruins site, everyone will make a quick stop to visit a small Catholic chapel which dates back hundreds of years.
Your group will then travel back to the city of Veracruz. Your evening is free to explore, relax, and have dinner on your own. (B,L)
DAY 3: (B,L)
This morning you can start your day with a buffet breakfast at the restaurant located in your hotel. Then everyone will jump in the van for a quick 15 minute ride to explore the harbor fortress called, San Juan de Ulúa. It took several hundred years to complete and is unique in that coral was used as a main material to construct the very thick walls of this massive structure. Your guide will tell you of the history of this fortress as a defender for the city of Veracruz and later how it was used as a prison.
Ok, who likes to shop? Next on your itinerary will be some time to browse the many gift shops found near the downtown area of Veracruz city. If you are thinking of purchasing some souvenirs for yourself or friends back home, this could be the time and place to do it.
Next, everyone will board the tour vehicle to take a ride down the avenue which parallels the Gulf of México as you head south to the town of Mandinga. Along the way, your tour guide will point out some of the major sites in Veracruz and its sister city, Boca del Rio. Lunch will be at a traditional restaurant in Mandinga which is adjacent to a huge lake that flows into the ocean. Most likely during lunch, your group will be serenaded by some of the local musicians. When everyone is finished, you are welcome to board a small motor launch for a tour on the lake. This is an opportunity to enjoy the warm tropical climate, view the interesting gnarled roots from mangrove trees, and spot many local tropical birds.
Later, you will return to the Gran Hotel Diligencias. Dinner will be on your own.
DAY 4: (B)
This morning you can have a leisurely buffet breakfast at your hotel because today is a free day to explore on your own. You will also have the option to sign up for one of the day tours listed below for an additional cost.
Option #1 Birding by Boat & Tour of La Antigua
If you are a hobbyist birder, then definitely bring your binoculars and sign up for this fun early morning adventure to view many local tropical and migrant birds found along the shores of a nearby major river which flows into the gulf. Your vantage point will be from a small motor boat accompanied by an expert bilingual birding guide. As you slowly cruise down the river, your guide will be helping you to spot the different birds found along the way. He knows the names of all of them so if you are lucky, you may be able to add to your “Lifers” birding list. And if you are not a hobbyist birder, you might just want to come along for the ride anyway to enjoy an early morning of “peaceful tropical nature.” Afterwards, you will have breakfast at a local restaurant in the riverside town of La Antigua. Then your guide will give you a tour of this historical town. This is the site of the first coastal village built by the Spaniards in the early 1520’s. Remnants of the original customs house can still be seen and also you can visit one of the first churches ever built in the Americas.
Depart/Return: 6:30am – approx. 1:00pm
Group Size: 2-5
Trip Price: $130 USD per person
Option #2 Waterfalls, Monkeys & Jungle Hiking
One hundred miles south of the city of Veracruz you will explore the tropical rain forests of the Los Tuxtlas region. This trip includes a scenic 3 hour ride to the lakeside town of Catemaco. From there you will travel around the lake to a small jungle village where you will meet your local jungle guide. He does not speak English but your host guide will do the translating for you. This local guide will tell you about the plants and trees found along the way and in many cases, what their medicinal uses are. The duration of the jungle hike will be determined by you and the others in your group. It can take anywhere from 1-3 hours. Along the way, there are beautiful waterfalls where you will have the option take a cool refreshing dip in the crystal clear pools found beneath the falls. Afterwards, you are invited to eat lunch at your local guide’s rustic home in the local jungle village. His wife will do the cooking and you are welcome to watch (or help) her prepare your meal over a wood burning stove in her dirt floor kitchen. Later, your group will take a lake boat ride to view this designated World Biosphere Area from the water. During the ride, you can spot many birds and even monkeys on some of the lake islands. Your host guide will take you on a short walking tour of Catemaco before driving back to your hotel in Veracruz city.
Depart/Return: 7:30am – approx. 9:30pm
Difficulty: Moderate – You will be hiking on uneven pathways in the jungle
Group Size: 2-16
Trip Price: $179 USD (2 people) $135 USD (3-16 people)
Option #3 Whitewater Rafting & Zipline Adventure
The riverside town of Jalcomulco in Veracruz is known as the “Whitewater River Rafting Capital” for all of México. In 2 hours drive time from your hotel, you will be able to experience a fun day of outdoor adventure with a guide from a professional rafting company. The rapids are a doable class 2-3. That means, there are times you may get drenched in roller coaster type rapids and other times, the water will be calm enough to jump in for a quick swim. Afterwards, you will experience a 4 line zipline ride. Two of the lines cross high over the river. Go ahead and yell like Tarzan if you feel the urge. A buffet lunch is included.
Depart/Return: 7:00am – approx. 4:00pm
Group Size: 2-16
Trip Price: $147 USD (2 people) $127 USD (3-16)
DAY 5: (B,L)
This day starts with breakfast at your hotel and then you will be on your way for a most unique cultural interaction. In México, there are cities, towns, and pueblos with the latter being a smaller town. This morning, you will be going to a place which is even smaller than a “Pueblo.” They are called, “Rancerias.” Think small rural settlement or native village.
With the African name, Matamba (named after a large fig tree found in Africa), this out-of-the-way Ranceria is located just a little over an hour away from the city of Veracruz. Here your group will have the privilege to meet some local Afro-Mexicans, including visiting a small museum there. Through your interpreter guide, you will be able to carry on conversations with them and hear the story of their family history, their celebrations, as well as their challenges in being officially recognized in Mexican society. You are also invited to partake in a simple lunch prepared by some of the local women. After a round of good-byes and many hugs, your group will continue on to explore another small history museum with old photos and many “nostalgic items.”
In the late afternoon, you will travel back to your hotel in the port city and have the evening free to relax and enjoy dinner on your own.
DAY 6: (B,L)
After breakfast this morning, everyone will check out of the hotel and travel inland to the capital of the state of Veracruz, the city of Xalapa. This city is at a higher altitude (about 3000’) and so it may be a little cooler as compared to the temperatures found on the gulf coast.
Your first stop will actually be before you reach the capital city. There is a beautiful restored 16th century hacienda (Hacienda El Lencero) with gardens, a reflection pool, and even a fairs-sized chapel. Inside the house, you will be able to view the colonial furnishings which were mostly brought over from Europe. For a time, this house was occupied by Antonio Lopéz de Santa Anna. You might remember him as the general who lead the Mexican army against the men who fought at the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas. He was also the president of México for many years.
Then everyone will travel into the city to the Xalapa Anthropology Museum. This very modern historical museum showcases almost 30 centuries of art and history. The most prominent are the original stone heads sculpted by the oldest known civilization in the Americas; the Olmecs. Their facial features have a striking resemblance to faces of those who live in Africa. You can decide for yourself . . . did people from Africa (Egyptians?) come to the new world and create these massive granite carvings?
Lunch is next on the agenda at a very nice restaurant in the city. You will then check into the Villa Las Margaritas Caxa Hotel which is located near the center of the city. Dinner will be on your own.
Later in the evening, everyone will congregate in one of the conference rooms in the hotel to see a presentation by your historian guide entitled, The 3rd Root – African Presence in México. Through a slide presentation of old colonial paintings and modern day photos, he will talk about the contributions Africans have made to the Méxican culture from the time they arrived on slave ships until present day. He will also tell of their joys and hardships from living in México.
DAY 7: (B,L,D)
The first thing this morning will be to check out of your hotel and then travel a short 15 minutes to another beautiful ex-hacienda, Hacienda Zimpizahua. This place was built in the mid 1500’s and has a mix of old buildings and lush tropical vegetation. Interestingly, there is a huge centuries old aqueduct with a big water wheel which is still operational to this day.
On this morning, you can pretend you are the owner of this huge estate as you will be served a traditional Mexican breakfast (family-style). Sitting outside at a table in the main courtyard, you will have the opportunity to experience how the original owners of this beautiful hacienda were served breakfast each morning.
After a short tour of the property, everyone will travel to the pre-Hispanic Pueblo Mágico town of Coatepec. This town is known for its coffee shops as this it is considered “The Coffee Capital” of Veracruz. This area is in a higher elevation in what is called a “cloud forest” and has all the natural attributes for growing coffee. You will have time to walk around the town square visiting the many boutique shops. And of course, if you would like another cup of coffee, there are plenty of cozy outdoor cafes for sipping and people watching.
You will then travel south to the La Finca Santa Rosa Restaurant which has an excellent birds-eye view of the Texolo (Tey-show-low) waterfalls. If you saw the classic movie, Romancing the Stone (Kathleen Turner & Michael Douglas), then you may remember a tropical scene with a waterfall in the background. This is that waterfall.
After lunch and after taking many scenic photos, your group will head back to the city of Veracruz and check in again at the Gran Hotel Diligencias. Later in the evening, you will all get together for a farewell dinner to enjoy your final night of Mexican hospitality and to share memories of your Journey into México History.
Check out and return to the Veracruz Airport
Travel day home
*2019 Tour Dates
*2020 Tour Dates
April 25-May 2
* Includes day of arrival & departure
If you put together a group of 10-16 people, your tour package is FREE (airfare not included).
Contact us for all details!
– Want to make this a Private Tour for 2-16 people? Please contact us for available dates and tour price.
– Want to Tweak This Tour to fit your vacation schedule & interests? We can help you. Just contact us and let’s get creative!
$1997 USD per person / double
Single: +$290 USD
Tour Price Includes
Airport pick-up & drop-off in Veracruz, all ground transportation, local bilingual historian tour guide, activities per itinerary including entrance fees, 7 nights of hotel lodgings, 6 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 1 dinner, drinking water each day, all taxes
Tour Price Does Not Include
Airfare, additional activities & meals not listed in the trip itinerary, alcoholic drinks, trip interruption insurance, travel medical insurance, tips for guides and for any other helpful people
Activity Level: Easy-Moderate
Group Size: 8-16
Suggested Minimum Age: 12
Arrival & Departure Cities: Veracruz / Veracruz (VER)
*Deposit: $350 USD per person
* Our listed tour prices are subject to change based on rising fuel costs, money exchange rate, and other factors. However, you can lock in the current prices you see listed now by sending in your deposit today.