The strip running through the center of Veracruz, along the Gulf of Mexico, is called the Emerald Coast and it is one of the major tourist destinations in the region. It consists of 12 miles of golden sand beaches and waters in green shades: hence its name.
The Emerald Coast stretches between the colorful towns of Tecolutla and Nautla. The surf is gentle, perfect for swimming and some water activities such as snorkeling and fishing. Times moves at a slow pace in this place. There is no rush, only enough time to enjoy the warm weather, the ocean breeze and the delicious seafood dishes served on the beach. It is the perfect destination to escape daily routine!
The Emerald Coast is a place for those who enjoy simple pleasures: lie on the sand, drink a cold coconut or a torito on the beach, listen to the chirping of birds, swim until you are tired enough to sleep in a hammock. Among its many advantages is the fact that visiting this place does not cost much: you will find room and board according to varied budgets. You will also find an abundant supply of beach activities: you can rent horses and kayaks or take tours to the estuaries near the Noray Hotel, or relax and enjoy being pampered at the Cabo Alto hotel spa.
For overnight stays, the Emerald Coast offers several lodging options. There are rustic hotels such as cabins or bungalows, close to the lifestyle of the locals. There also are all inclusive hotels and special class hotels, such as the beautiful boutique hotel Azucar, which has 20 completely white villas, with terraces; hammocks, a swimming pool, a reading area are a space for relaxation and healing.
The main beaches on the Emerald Coast are Playa Paraiso, Boca de Lima, Playa Oriente, Cabo Alto, Playa Verde and Miramar. If you want to pamper your palate go to Casitas, where you will find a great choice of restaurants and palapas serving local dishes based on fish and seafood.
If you are visiting the Emerald Coast for the second time, be sure to visit the Jicaltepec, Nautla and San Rafael river towns. The latter received a group of French immigrants in the nineteenth century, whose influence can still be seen in the town’s dishes and architecture. The iconic hotel in San Rafael is the Maison Couturier, an old estate surrounded by banana plantations, citrus groves and tropical vegetation.
Just 198 miles from Mexico City, on federal Highway 180, the Emerald Coast can also be a starting point for other places in Veracruz, such as the El Tajin archaeological site and the Magic Town of Papantla.