HISTORY, TRADITIONS & ANCIENT RUINS OF VERACRUZ, MEXICO
A 7 Day/6 Night Journey to Explore the Early Civilizations & History in the State of Veracruz
The cultural blend of Spanish, European, Caribbean, and African influences combined with the customs of the original indigenous people make the state of Veracruz a veritable melting pot rich in history, traditions, music, and dance. Add to this the ancient archaeological ruins sites and artifacts left by the Olmec, Totonac, and Huasteca populations and you will discover a land overflowing with a colorful story of Spanish conquest, human sacrifice, myths, slavery, assimilation, and world trade.
On this fun and informative trip to México’s tropical gulf coast state of Veracruz, your personal local historian guide will be with you each day as you explore 3 archaeological ruins sites to learn about the ancient civilizations who lived here and also hear the accounts of the first interactions between the Spanish explorer, Hernán Cortés and the local people upon his arrival in 1519.
Your history guide will take you to the Xalapa Anthropology Museum where you will be introduced to the oldest known civilization in the americas, the Olmecs.
In addition, you will have the opportunity to tour the historic port city of Veracruz, its massive harbor fortress, the México Naval Museum, the hacienda of the former president and Mexico general, Antonio López de Santa Anna, and the coffee growing region of the state where you will find 2 quaint pre-Hispanic towns which are now designated Pueblo Mágicos / México Magic Towns.
This tour is for those of you who really like to dig into what took place in the past, when it happened, why it happened, and how it has influenced the people living their today.
• Veracruz City Tour
• First Spanish Coastal Settlement
• 3 Archaeological Ruins Sites
• Papantla Fliers Ceremony
• Xalapa Anthropology Museum
• Hacienda El Lencero (Santa Anna’s home)
• 2 Pueblo Mágico Towns
• Coffee Plantation Tour
• Port of Veracruz Harbor Fortress
- ITINERARY OVERVIEW
- FULL ITINERARY
- DATES & PRICES
- TRIP DETAILS
- MORE OPTIONS
Arrive in the City of Veracruz
Quiahuiztlan – Ancient burial site
Villa Rica – Spanish came ashore here
Cempoala – Ancient Totonacan city
La Antigua – First coastal settlement
City of Papantla – Vanilla was discovered here
Papantla Voladores ceremony
El Tajin – Ancient city / UNESCO World Heritage Site
Hacienda El Lencero
Xalapa Anthropology Museum
Coatepec (Pueblo Mágico)
Xico (Pueblo Mágico)
Coffee plantation tour
Texolo waterfall – movie location
San Juan de Ulúa – Harbor fortress
Veracruz city tour
Travel day home
Your bilingual trip guide will be waiting for you upon your arrival at the Veracruz Airport. The rest of the day is free to explore the town and begin to acclimate to the slower-paced life here in Veracruz. Overnight at a hotel in the city.
DAY 2: (B,L)
Today you will travel to the small town of La Antigua where you will see the remains of an administration building built by Cortéz and his soldiers. Your guide will explain the known history of this area as well as give you a tour of how this riverside town was laid out back in the early 1500s. It is also in Antigua that you will see one of the first Catholic churches built in the Americas.
Then you will travel to see the Cempoala Ruins. Back in the 14th and 15th centuries, Cempoala was the capital of the Totonacans as well as the largest city on the Gulf of México with over 30,000 people living there. This is also an important place because Cortéz first struck an alliance with the Totonacan chief to help him defeat the Aztecs who had invaded that area.
You will also visit the ruins of Quiahuiztlan (Key-ah-wheezt-lan). This peaceful remote site is located at a higher elevation with a stunning backdrop of the Gulf of México coastline. One of the more interesting aspects of this site is the 70 small miniature temples or tombs used by the wealthy people as their final resting place.
Just below this burial site, is the small seaside village of Villa Rica. This is where Cortéz and his men came ashore to the New World.
You will overnight at one of the small seaside hotels found in the Costa Esmeralda region of Veracruz.
DAY 3: (B,L)
After breakfast, you will continue your journey to visit the ancient ruins site of El Tajín which is a recognized UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Totonacan people built over 150 structures including 17 ball courts and flourished there between 800 and 1150 A.D. The most famous structure at El Tajin is called, the Pyramid of the Niches. Your group will tour the major structures and learn about its history.
Later, you will have the opportunity to witness the ceremonial flight of the Voladores. Five men (Voladores or fliers) will reenact high above the ground an ancient ritual which was performed by the Totonacs to appease their god of fertility to bless the area with an abundance of food and water.
After lunch, you will get the opportunity to take a tour of the interesting town of Papantla. This northern area of Veracruz is also the place where the Spanish invaders first smelled and tasted a delightful new spice which was growing there. You know it today as vanilla. You will overnight at the same seaside hotel.
DAY 4: (B,L)
This morning you will travel to the bustling city of Xalapa (Ha-la-pah) which is the capital of Veracruz. Just outside of this vibrant town is the beautiful estate called, Hacienda El Lencero. You will visit the main mansion, the gardens, and the chapel which the Mexican General, Santa Anna (Remember the Alamo) constructed specifically for his wedding.
After touring the hacienda, your group will continue to the very modern Anthropology Museum. Here you will find the largest collection of artifacts from the people who once lived in the Mexican gulf coast region. One of the main attractions on display are the huge Olmec stone heads.
After lunch, everyone will travel a short distance to the pre-Hispanic town of Coatepec. The evening is free to stroll around the town square, explore, and have dinner on your own. You will overnight in a local hotel in Coatepec.
DAY 5: (B,L)
The Pueblo Magico town of Coatepec is located in the higher and more temperate altitudes of Veracruz where small organic coffee plantations can be found. You will have the opportunity to learn about the coffee-making process.
Nearby is another pre-Hispanic Pueblo Magico town called, Xico (Hee-coh). It is a cobbled street town with a beautiful church, handicraft shops, and nearby, you will find the waterfall which was used in the classic movie, Romancing the Stone.
You will overnight again in Coatepec.
DAY 6: (B,L,D)
After breakfast, it is time to check out and head back to the city of Veracruz where you will visit San Juan de Ulúa, a massive fortification built in the harbor to protect the city from foreign invaders and pirates. Later it was converted into a prison.
Then your guide will lead you on a walking tour of the main sites of this historical port city. Nearby you will visit the Naval Museum and climb to the top of El Baluarte de Santiago, another fort which at one time was a part of the wall that surrounded the city for protection.
In the evening, everyone will get together for a farewell dinner at a nice restaurant in the city. Everyone will overnight at a hotel in the city of Veracruz.
Travel day home from the Veracruz Airport
March 29-April 4
September 27-October 3
* Includes day of arrival & departure
– Want to make this a Private Tour? We can do that! Contact Us for available dates & pricing.
– Want to Customize this Tour to fit your vacation schedule & interests? Just Contact Us and let’s get creative!
$1747 USD per adult / double
$1147 USD per child (10-17 years)
Single: $295 USD
Tour Price Includes
Airport pickup in Veracruz, all ground transportation, local host guide, activities per itinerary including all entrance fees, 6 nights of hotel lodgings, all taxes, purified drinking water each day, 5 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 1 dinner
Tour Price Does Not Include
Airfare, meals not listed above, alcoholic drinks, transfer to airport on last day, trip travel/medical insurance, tips for your tour guides and any other helpful people
Activity Level: Easy – Moderate (mostly easy walking with some climbing of stairs)
Group Size: 2-16
Suggested Minimum Age: 10 years
Arrival & Departure Cities: Veracruz / Veracruz (VER)
Deposit: $350 USD per person
What to Expect on this Tour:
Your hotel stays during this tour will range from 3-4 stars.
We reccommend you only bring 1 carry-on and 1 backpack per person as you will be responsible for carrying your own luggage.
You will be walking from 2-3 hours each day. Remember, you will be in a warm/hot tropical climate. Drinking water will be availabile onboard your tour vehicle each day. Bring a hat or even an umbrella for shade from the sun. Archaeological sites usually do not have much shade.
Your meals will be at typical small local restaurants. Note that most of your dinners are not included in the tour price.
Only Mexican Pesos will be accepted in all the locations you will visit on this tour. It is advisable to either obtain Mexican Pesos from your home town bank prior to your arrival, use an ATM upon arrival, or bring your currency and exchange it at the airport or exchange place in the city of Veracruz. Also, your credit cards may not always be accepted in all the places you will visit.
FYI - In the state of Veracruz, most of the local people you encounter do not speak English. Your host guide does speak English and will be able to help with translations.