The best area to stay in Veracruz Mexico for visitors are the neighborhoods of Old Town (Historic Centre) and Malecon. In this article, I will give an insight into where to stay in Veracruz for first-time tourists and best things to do in each area.
Veracruz, also known as Heroica Veracruz to distinguish it from the state, is a thriving historic city on the east coast of Mexico. With a tropical climate and stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico, this is the perfect location for anyone seeking a vacation in the winter sun.
As Mexico’s oldest port city, Veracruz is a treasure trove of historical sites and architecture. Veracruz is quite a compact city, with many of its sights and attractions within walking distance of one another.
For anyone visiting for the first time, or for a shorter trip that you want to spend squeezing in all the top sights and attractions, the historic city centre is the place for you. Also known as The Old Town, Centro is full of museums and historical architecture, including the 17th-century cathedral and stunning Municipal Palace.
The city centre is also ideal for anyone who wants to spend their vacation hitting the shops. Here you will find plenty of shopping centres and department stores as well as smaller independent boutiques. It’s also great for sampling the local cuisine, with a plethora of both sit-down and take-out options offering a range of Mexican cuisines, or you can indulge in local desserts at one of the independent bakeries or sweet shops.
If sea views and staying close to the waterfront are your top priority, then the portside neighbourhood of Malecon would be ideal. Directly overlooking the harbor, you will be able to watch the ships to and fro to your heart’s content.
Alternatively, if you are looking to actually get into the water, the neighborhood of Ignacio Zaragoza is edged by three of Veracruz’s best beaches. Playa Marti, Playa Hornos, and Playa Villa del Mair are all popular beaches with sun-loungers, water-sports, and plenty of nearby bars and restaurants.
|💖 Best Area for first-timers:||Old Town (Historic Centre)|
|💎 Best luxury hotel:||Emporio Veracruz|
|🏨 Best mid-range hotel:||Gran Hotel Diligencias|
|💰 Best budget hotel:||Oyster Hostel|
📌Where to Stay in Veracruz: Best Areas to Stay in Veracruz
1. Old Town (Historic Centre), where to stay in Veracruz for first-time tourists
As a city with such a long and significant history, the historic old town that forms Veracruz’s city centre is an absolute must-see for anyone traveling to or through the city. It’s full of beautiful historical architecture, dating from various periods since the city’s founding in the 16th century.
The Veracruz Cathedral and the Municipal Palace both date back to the 17th- century and are absolute must sees for anyone who appreciates beautiful buildings. The plaza in front of the municipal palace is worth visiting in its own right.
Known as the Zocalo, it’s a popular public recreational square, surrounded by bars and cafes. Full of locals playing games, street-food vendors, and street performers, it’s the ideal place to experience the vibrant culture and community of Veracruz.
Aside from the history of the area, Veracruz has developed into a thriving modern city. As such, the city centre is a fantastic place for anyone who loves to spend their time shopping. There are plenty of department stores, shopping centres, and smaller boutiques for you to explore. You are sure to find the perfect souvenir, whether it’s a local craft trinket, or a chic new outfit.
This commercial centre isn’t just great for shopping, it’s also ideal for trying completely authentic Mexican cuisine. The city centre is packed with restaurants and street-food stalls offering a variety of both traditional local fare and international cuisine. You won’t need to worry about any fussy eaters in your group, as everyone is sure to find something to their liking.
More landmarks in the Old town are:
- the colonial fortresses of Baluarte de Santiago and Castillo de San Juan de Ulúa
- Assumption Cathedral,
- the Plaza Mayor,
- the Venustiano Carranza Lighthouse
- the Reformation Theater
- Museo de la Ciudad
- Museo Histórico Naval
You should stay in Old Town if You love history and historical architecture; Shopping is a priority for you; You want to try lots of local cuisines.
Best places to stay in Veracruz Old Town (Historic Centre):
- Emporio Veracruz overlooks the historic Fort of San Juan de Ulúa. The hotel offers 3 swimming pools, a spa, 3 restaurants and 24-hour room service. It is a very central location. Located at the boulevard and close to the central square.
- Hotel Veracruz Centro Histórico is set right on Zócalo Square, this hotel offers an outdoor pool and a terrace with views of Veracruz Cathedral. This hotel is within a few blocks of Veracruz Harbour and various museums, shops and bars. Veracruz International Airport is 25 minutes’ drive away.
- Gran Hotel Diligencias is located in the Historic District of Veracruz, this hotel is a 10-minute walk from the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. It offers an outdoor pool and massage center. The hotel hosts a restaurant and bar specializing in seafood.
- Oyster Hostel is set just 300 m from the seafront in Veracruz city, Oyster Hostel offers shared dormitories and private rooms. Free Wi-Fi and a roof terrace with sea views are featured. Veracruz Cathedral is 1.5 km away.
2. Malecon, where to stay in Veracruz close to the waterfront
Malecon, also known as Faros, is the neighborhood of Centro closest to the port and seafront. This area is ideal for anyone who wants to stay as close to the water as possible. Many of the hotels in the area offer sea views and, with a variety of price ranges available, it is definitely worth looking for accommodation in this area if beautiful views are something you appreciate.
You can find the 20th-century building, home to the Faro Venustiano Carranza which is the lighthouse with a good viewpoint.
Despite being a relatively small neighbourhood, you’ll find quite a few interesting museums packed in here. The Museum of the City displays exhibitions on the historical development of Veracruz through to its modern-day arts and culture. The internal courtyard is also used as a venue for live shows and events, so it is worth checking to see if there is anything occurring there during your visit.
The city has also been actively investing in their tourism industry in recent years and one of the principal developments of this is the Veracruz Museum. Located right by the seafront, this modern aquarium boasts a wide variety of marine life on display, from sharks to penguins.
Additionally, the artisan market, a covered shopping centre right by the harbour, is well worth visiting to pick up some unique local crafts and souvenirs.
The Malecon also offers easy access to the beaches such as Costa Verde, Playa Hornos, Villa del Mar.
You should stay here if Staying as close to the sea as possible is a priority; You would like to stay somewhere with an excellent view of the historic and busy port; You love browsing museums.
Best places to stay in Veracruz Malecon:
- DoubleTree by Hilton Veracruz is located on Boulevard Manuel Avila Camacho, 5 minutes’ drive from the Zócalo and Malecón area. It offers an outdoor pool with a poolside bar and free WiFi throughout the property. Veracruz’s World Trade Center is 15 minutes’ drive away, and you can drive to the city’s large aquarium in just 5 minutes. The port is 3 minutes away.
- Hotel Mar y Tierra is located 5 km from downtown Veracruz and 10 km from Boca del Rio. Hotel Mar y Tierra features a rooftop pool and rooms with free Wi-Fi.
- Hotel Delfines is just 300 m from Veracruz Aquarium and 2 beaches. It offers free parking on request. You can find various restaurants and bars within a 5-minute walk.
- Capital O Veracruz Suites Attractively situated in the Malecon district of Veracruz, Capital O Veracruz Suites is situated 800 m from Costa Verde Beach, 3.4 km from Castle of San Juan de Ulúa and 1.3 km from Benito Juarez Arena. Boasting family rooms, this property also provides guests with a terrace.
I will now answer a few of the most frequently asked questions people have about Veracruz, to try and help anyone who still hasn’t settled on a destination come to a decision.
Where is Veracruz?
Veracruz is located close to the central point of the eastern coast of Mexico, in the greater region of Veracruz. It is about 200 miles east of Mexico City.
Several major highways lead into and through the city, including Route 180, which stretches along much of the length of Mexico’s east coast. As such, Veracruz makes a perfect stop for anyone planning a Mexican road-trip, who would appreciate extended views over the Gulf of Mexico.
When is the best time to go to Veracruz?
With a typically tropical climate, Veracruz boasts warm weather throughout the year. However, during the summer months when the temperatures are at their peak, the region also experiences its rainy season. From June through September, the area endures almost daily storms and rainfall, so this is not an ideal location for a summer vacation.
Instead, you should consider heading here during the milder, but still balmy and considerably drier, winter and spring. March and April are popular times to visit, as the temperatures are plenty warm enough for sun-bathing and your vacation is considerably less likely to get rained on.
Where should I stay in Veracruz?
The best place to stay in Veracruz would be the historic city centre, or the neighbourhoods close to the seafront and harbour such as Malecon. Both allow visitors to immerse themselves in the vibrant history and enduring culture of the city.
As a fairly compact city, most of the major attractions are contained within these areas. Staying here means you will be able to comfortably walk between various sites and not have to worry about wasting your precious vacation time on travel or figuring out public transport.
What currency is used in Veracruz?
Like the rest of Mexico, the local currency of Veracruz is the Peso. Being further from the American border, and still a less tourist heavy city, you won’t find many places willing to accept US Dollars or other currencies here. You should definitely make sure to buy a good quantity of Pesos in cash before heading to Veracruz.
Importantly, Veracruz remains a very cash-based city. Many of the smaller shops and street vendors, and even some of the larger stores, may lack the facilities to accept credit or debit cards. Those that do take card may not accept foreign ones. Don’t worry if you discover you haven’t brought enough with you however, as you can exchange or withdraw pesos from currency converters and ATMs in the city.
Is Veracruz safe?
Veracruz is a relatively safe city with no current warnings against travelling to the region. As with any city, you should still remain alert for potential pickpockets and petty criminals. However, as long as you take the usual precautions against opportunistic crime, you have no reason to worry about your safety in Veracruz.
Is Veracruz expensive?
All budgets can be catered for during a trip to Veracruz. Compared to many other developed cities, Veracruz is very affordable. This is true for both accommodation and day to day spending in the area.
One thing worth noting is that it is a very cash-based city, so be sure to purchase some Mexican Pesos for your trip.
What are the best things to do in Veracruz?
Despite its size, Veracruz is full of plenty to keep visitors busy during their trip. Its long history means that the city if full of stunning architecture dating back through the centuries. The cathedral and the municipal palace are both beautiful and date back to the 17th century.
Meanwhile, the city has been actively investing in its tourism industry in recent years. Visitors may enjoy a visit to the impressive Veracruz Aquarium, with is displays of a wide array of marine life.
Alternatively, spend your afternoons exploring the various museums dotted around the harbor. The Museum of the City is particularly interesting for anyone who wants to learn about both the history and modern arts and culture of Veracruz.
Much of Veracruz’s importance throughout history and into the modern day relies on its still thriving port. As such, much of the city’s development is centred around the busy harbour. Visitors should definitely take the time to relax at one of the seafront cafes or restaurants and enjoy the local cuisine as you watch the boats drift to and fro.
Speaking of cuisine, no trip to Mexico would be complete without sampling some authentic Mexican food. Veracruz is especially abundant in this area, being a historical port town there is a particularly diverse blend of cultures that have mixed here throughout the centuries and that is reflected in the variety of local food available.
There are also several popular beaches to relax on, just steps from the city streets. Playa Marti, Playa Hornos, and Playa Villa del Mair are all furnished with sun loungers and offer soft sand for visitors and locals alike to relax and soak up the sun.
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Veracruz is a still up and coming tourist destination with plenty to offer visitors already. It is well worth planning a trip to this charming historical city if you want to experience traditional Mexican life and culture, whilst enjoying the perks of a beachside vacation.
Now as you know where to stay in Veracruz, all you need to do is book your hotels and ready to go!