Veracruz Things to Do

  • Inside San Juan de Ulua
    Inside San Juan de Ulua
    by alza
  • Things to Do
    by elgarbo
  • Street party!
    Street party!
    by elgarbo

Most Recent Things to Do in Veracruz

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    Best way to get to San Juan de Ulua

    by alza Written Nov 26, 2005

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    Inside San Juan de Ulua

    TAKE A TAXI from Veracruz Centro, for USD5, to San Juan de Ulua Visitors Centre. Entrance fee USD3. Juice and snacks vendors at the entrance, plus cabs that wait there until closing time, 5 p.m.
    There used to be a bus to the Fortress but nowadays, the bus leaves you on the highway where the dangerous beach starts, stil an hour away. Veracruz is about the hottest place I know. Take a cab.

    In case you wonder where all the water in some pics come from... there was flooding everywhere for a month after Hurricane Stan.

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    San Juan de Ulua

    by alza Written Nov 26, 2005

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    San Juan de Ulua

    San Juan de Ulua is a great old Spanish fortress in Veracruz, just across the water facing the Port. This place transports you back in time somewhat. The film Romancing the Stone was shot here. At time of writing, I am in Panama City where everyone raves about the Old Spanish Fortress at Panama Viejo. Okay, let,s be blunt: Panama Viejo has got nothing on San Juan de Ulua!
    Ask for directions in Veracruz Centro as San Juan de Ulua is very close but what with the Gulf of Mexico and the huge Port getting in the way, it,s a terribly long walk in an area where you,re not really allowed to walk. I walked... along a beach I never knew existed. Squatters live right on that beach, which is covered in detritus. A sign warns that the beach is not maintained for swimming or anything else and is unsafe to your health. A man caught up with me as I untangled myself from some huge cactus and insisted to get me back on the 2-lane road with no sidewalk to the Fortress. The area by the beach is dangerous and the road after that is along a canal where people live in run-down fishing boats. They launch their nets to catch shrimps and maybe even a few pelicans. None of them were too happy to see me on their turf.

    TAKE A TAXI from Veracruz Centro, for USD5, to San Juan de Ulua Visitors Centre. Entrance fee USD3. Juice and snacks vendors at the entrance, plus cabs that wait there until closing time, 5 p.m.

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  • Sit and watch the world go by

    by elgarbo Written Oct 4, 2005

    One of the most enjoyable things to do in Veracruz is to pull up a chair at any one of the many zocalo restaurants and watch as the fun comes to you. Down a couple of beers while people dance, children run and play and musicians wander up to you and offer to play a rendition of timeless Mexican classics.

    The setting is stunningly tropical and the atmosphere so laid back you could imagine you were on vacation...

    Something to remember: the musos don't just play for free, they expect a few pesos for their time. If you don't want to shell out (why wouldn't you though?) just let them know so they don't kick off into song and then get angry when you don't have a cash to spare.

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  • Veracruz Carnaval

    by elgarbo Written Sep 18, 2005

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    Street party!

    What would otherwise be a sleepy seaside village turns into a raging party every year at Carnaval (the dates change every year, but it's tied into the period leading into Easter).

    We were in town for the first three nights, and found ourselves partying hard at a massive concert in the zocalo. Laser lights scanned the skies, speakers blared, and local bars set up stalls out the front of their shops to sell poor travelers like us large plastic cups filled with the local booze.

    We weren't in town to see the giant parade that ends the Carnaval, but as long as you experience a few nights of this massive street party, then it's well worth your time.

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    Palacio Municipal y Zocalo

    by ahoerner Updated May 24, 2005

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    Palacio Municipal in Veracruz

    As we arrived in the plaza, a Mexican band was playing music and lots of people were there simply listening to it or even dancing on the streets.

    Interesting how life seems to be slow sometimes... you can even put some time aside to dance in the middle of the streets.

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    San Juan de Ulua fortress

    by ahoerner Written Jul 24, 2004

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    Me at the fortress.

    This fortress was built between XVI and XVIII centuries on a small isle to protect the harbor, which was attacked by pirates several times.

    The main structure was built with coral stone from the surroundings. The place has been covered by fantastic legends and it was used during the centuries for commercial, military and jail purposes.

    Curiosity: Some scenes of the movie "Romancing the Stone" (Michael Douglas & Kathleen Turner) were shot here; you may remember that.

    Definitely worth a visit for the historical contents...

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    Fort of San Juan de Ulua: Modern Times

    by darthmilmo Updated Feb 27, 2003

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    Fort of San Juan de Ulua

    Today, the Fort of San Juan de Ulua serves as an interesting museum. Take a tour on it's history. This is such a unique place that it's even been shown in the movies. Take a close look and see it shown as a set for the movie Romancing the Stone. Michael Douglas spent 2 months in Veracruz filming that movie. That same movie contains a scene in the Cascadas de Texolo (check out my Xico, Veracruz or Xalapa, Veracruz page for info on that interesting waterfall).

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    • Museum Visits
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    Malecon de Veracruz

    by darthmilmo Written Feb 25, 2003

    Check out the famous Malecon de Veracruz, which encompasses several miles of beach front property. Just stroll around and admire the beauty of it all (try not to melt in the process though...hehehe). I manage to buy a delicious coconut with its juice. I also stoped and ate on one of the waterfront restaurants. It was good, but way overpriced.

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    Museo Naval

    by darthmilmo Written Feb 25, 2003

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    Museo Naval

    The Museo Naval contains exhibits that offer a glimpse on the relationship and history behind humans and their exploration of the sea. There are several interesting models, pictures, diagrams, items, letters, and more. Not only did I saw modern and past naval history of Mexico, but also a history of the first man to use a trunk as means of water transport to ancient civilizations and more.

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    Fort of San Juan de Ulua: the early years

    by darthmilmo Written Feb 25, 2003

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    Prison cell in the Fort of San Jual de Ulua

    I visited the Fort of San Juan de Ulua. This heroic fort was the first of its kind in Mexico. Build in the 1500's by Spain; it serves as a prison for a long time. I took a guide that shows us around all the historic buildings, including the prison where Juarez was sent to by Santa Ana (Political Prison). It first served as a colonial and slave prison for Spain.

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    The Mouth of the River

    by IceBear7 Written Jan 16, 2003

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    A few minutes south of the center of Veracruz lies Boca del Rio – the mouth of the river. The beaches are alright there, although the water is not deep enough to swim. Hardly any people there. They have some very nice seafood restaurants! I had lunch in a very nice place with views to both the river and the gulf of Mexico, great food, more musicians than guests and a lot of pelicans sitting on a boat :-)

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    Malecon

    by mocca Updated Sep 29, 2002

    The Vera Cruz harbour and Malecon are things not to miss. It is relaxing to walk and watch the lively harbour.
    You can buy very tacky souvenirs or just have a coffee at gran cafe de la parroquia and watch the people stroll by.
    It is also a nice walk after dinner, and at times then you will hear a great brass band play and go crazy.

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    The old fortress

    by mocca Written Sep 29, 2002

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    The old fortress of San Juan de Ulua is now a monument. It still is facinating to see the old passageways, prison and small courtyard.
    It is the touristy destination in Vera Cruz, but it is worth a visit. Just make sure you will get there early in the morning to beat the heat and the crowds, and you will be enjoying yourself for a few hours.

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  • darthmilmo's Profile Photo

    Fort of San Juan de Ulua: more on the architecture

    by darthmilmo Written Feb 25, 2003

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    Fort of San Juan de Ulua

    Another interesting thing to notice is the moorich styles of the inner arches. One can definitly see the moorish influence on the Spanish fort.

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    Fort of San Juan de Ulua: the architecture

    by darthmilmo Written Feb 25, 2003

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    Fort of San Juan de Ulua: the architecture

    This is a really impressive fort. It was build using the corral rock nearby. If you take a close look on the walls where you can notice what i'm talking about.

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