How to Spend 1 Day in Veracruz
One day in Veracruz gives you enough time to visit popular attractions including the aquarium and San Juan fort, as well as to relax on the beach and experience the city’s vibrant nightlife. Here’s how to spend one day in Veracruz.
Morning: Historic Veracruz
The highlights of the historic center of Veracruz—Mexico’s oldest port—are best seen on a walking tour. Stop to admire Veracruz Cathedral, with its white Neoclassical facade; stroll along the seafront malecon, or boardwalk, and browse the daily crafts market; and visit the City Museum. Don’t miss a visit to the San Juan de Ulúa fortress, which stands on a small island guarding the northern end of the harbor. Dating back to the 16th century, it was built to protect the city from pirates. You can explore the dungeon and barracks, and take in views from the ramparts.
Afternoon: Marine Life and Mojitos
Veracruz Aquarium is the largest in Latin America, and it’s a popular destination for families, as well as animal lovers of all ages. Book your tickets in advance to avoid the queues and spot marine life including giant manta rays, sea turtles, nurse sharks, and barracudas. Next, walk to the Villa del Mar beach and order a mojito from one of the beach bars and cool off with a swim in the Gulf of Mexico. A tranquil alternative is the Manginga Lagoon, where you can enjoy boat cruises, kayaking, and bird watching in the mangrove forests.
Night: Drinking, Dancing, and Dining
The Zocalo or Plaza de Armas is the main square in Veracruz, and it comes alive at night. Traditional marimba and danzón music fills the square, and local dancers take to the streets to show off their moves. Grab a seat at a terrace cafe for the best views. The modern neighborhood of Boca del Rio is another great spot to while away the evening. Watch the sunset from the beach, and then head to one of the many restaurants to sample local specialties such ascaldo de mariscos (seafood stew) orhuachinango a la veracruzana (red snapper in a spicy tomato sauce).