A day trip leaves enough time to take in Xalapa’s highlights. Start at the city’s most visited attraction, the Xalapa Anthropology Museum (Museo de Antropología de Xalapa), which houses Mexico’s largest collection of items relating to the ancient Olmec, Huastec, and Totonac cultures—more than 25,000 artifacts dating from as early as 1300 BC. Continue exploring the colonial center, where landmarks include Xalapa Cathedral; enjoy views of Mexico’s highest mountain, Pico de Orizaba, from Juárez Park (Parque Juárez); or while away the afternoon at one of the city’s many coffee shops—Veracruz is renowned for its coffee production.
Things to know before you go
- Xalapa is a popular day trip destination from Veracruz and a tour is often combined with the ‘Magic Towns’ (Pueblo Magico) of Coatepec and Xico.
- Foodies won’t want to miss Xalapa’s spicy cuisine—the original jalapeños were made in Xalapa (which is also known as Jalapa) and locals eat them stuffed with meat or fish.
- Xalapa’s highland climate can be temperamental, so pack an umbrella and a light jacket even if the sun is shining.
- Xalapa is easy to explore on foot, although the hilly, cobbled streets can make access tricky for wheelchairs and strollers. Sturdy shoes are a good idea.
How to get there
Xalapa is located about 65 miles (105 kilometers) northwest of Veracruz city. Regular buses run between the two cities and take about two hours. It’s about a 90-minute journey by car.
When to get there
Xalapa stays cool all year round, making it the ideal place to escape the summer heat. The city hosts a number of music and literary festivals from June to September, which draw large crowds—book ahead if visiting during festival time. If visiting on a day trip, note that the Anthropology Museum is closed on Mondays.
Parks and Gardens in Xalapa
Surrounded by volcanoes and cloud forests, Xalapa is known for its many beautiful parks. Admire exotic plants and flowers at the Francisco Javier Clavijero Botanical Garden (Jardín Botánico Francisco Javier Clavijero); take a walk around the Paseo los Lagos with its series of manmade lakes; or explore the tree-lined canals of Los Tecajetes Park (Parque de los Tecajetes). For panoramic views of the city, climb the 5,217-foot (1,590-meter) peak of Mt. Macuiltépec.