It’s not often Veracruz comes up in conversation when you’re talking about diving in Mexico but that’s because not too many people actually visit there for diving. If you did then your opinion would change rather quickly!
You can find quite a few dive centres at the port of Veracruz but diving and snorkelling here is not recommended due to the high pollution and sewerage in the water. 20 minutes south of the city and right in front of the National Marine Park is the town of Anton Lizardo and most trips will depart from here or go here by boat from Veracruz. Almost all the sites in the area are accessed by boat. Another great destination about an hour away is the island Isla Sacrificios.
There are approximately 14 dive locations and 2-5 dive sites per location along the coast of Veracruz and something for all certifications levels. There are about seven wrecks in the area but not all are great for diving. Check with the local dive centres about the most interesting wreck dives for your interests.
The calm waters off the Gulf of Mexico offer visibility of about 30 metres and loads of sea life and interesting rock formations. Check out the sites around Isla Verde such as Las Catedrales, La Poza and La Cruz for an abundance of fish and corals. Anegada also has a few interesting sites as well, and for a deep dive check out La Virgen. You’re sure to see every type of reef fish and even turtles and sharks if you’re lucky. Keep an eye out for the fish ‘Gobio Jarocho’, which is only known to be found on the reefs around Veracruz.
Also south of Veracruz is Roca Partida, and there is a relatively unexplored blue hole here that’s worth a look. The best place for snorkelling is Isla Sacraficios. If you dive or snorkel in Veracruz then be sure to let us know your favourite sites to encourage more people to dive in the area.
(by Kelly Luckman)
The state of Veracruz is located in the eastern part of Mexico along the Gulf of Mexico. It has a lot of little beach towns along the coastline with hot, tropical weather or mountainous towns inland where you can relax in the cooler climate. Right in the centre of the state along the coast is the important port and commercial centre town of Veracruz.
About 20 minutes south of Veracruz town is the town of Anton Lizardo, which is nicer than Veracruz itself and better for diving and snorkelling. The port in Veracruz is extremely polluted and it’s not recommended getting in the water there. The 17th century fort of San Juan del Ulua is worth a visit though.
The state capital Xalapa is in the mountains and is rich in architecture and history, and the historical centre is now a world heritage site. Visit Palacio de Gobierno, Palacio Municipal and the Cathedral. It hosts some great music festivals throughout the year as well. The highest mountain in Mexico is in the national park of Pico de Orizaba and here you can do all sorts of activities such as rappelling, hiking or rafting. From Catemaco you can take a boat to the Isla de Los Monos to view the howler monkeys or if ruins are your thing then El Tajin, Cempoala and Quiahuiztlan are your best bet.
Try the delicious coffee the area has to offer, local Mexican food is in abundance and soak up the rich history and culture in this ethnically diverse region of Mexico.
You can fly here via Houston in the US or Mexico City and hire a car to get around the state. Driving here may not be the best idea in the rainy season as flooding can wash away roads and leave you stranded. You can find any sort of accommodation in the state, just be aware that this isn’t the place for pristine, white sandy beaches like on the Caribbean Coast.
(By Kelly Luckman)