Situated in the foothills of Macuiltepetl, 220 miles from Mexico City and surrounded by cloud-covered forests, the capital of Veracruz is an unforgettable place to visit. Xalapa Enriquez (its official name) is perennially draped in mist, giving it an enchanting, mystical atmosphere and inspiring countless legends among the locals. Come and acquaint yourself with Xalapa's unique charm as you explore its winding alleys and historic monuments. Xalapa, known in Mexico as the "Athens of Veracruz," is very much the university town: at the center of its cultural life is the Universidad Veracruzana (Veracruzan University), an important educational center for music, theater, dance, the visual arts and other art forms. Xalapa is also an important culinary center. Strolling along the city's narrow and vibrant streets is a pleasure not only for the eyes: the scent of the high quality coffee produced here wafts continually through the air, along with the gentle melodies of street musicians.
As well as coffee, other typical beverages to be found in the city include torito, a local liquor made from evaporated milk and sugar cane. Xalapa's traditional handmade candies are a treat not to be missed. A favorite pastime of the locals here is savoring the afternoon while sitting in a park or street-side cafe, with a traditional sweet or two accompanying a rich Xalapan coffee. The city is also known for its many gardens and parks, which remain perennially green and vibrant thanks to the area's humidity. Hotels in Xalapa visibly benefit from this weather, their grounds boasting rich and beautiful vegetation all year round.
In colonial times, Xalapa was a key trading post linking Europe, the Caribbean and the empire of New Spain. On top of its colonial significance, the city is simply brimming with traditions and celebrations. The Museo de Antropologia de Xalapa (Xalapa Anthropology Museum) is the second largest of its kind in the country, and from the city you'll have the chance to tour the Haciendas of El Lencero, Coatepec, Xico and Jalcomulco, each offering good food and adventure for all the family. A city with many faces, Xalapa warrants a leisurely-paced visit to ensure you enjoy to the full all it has to offer, whether you prefer going to museums and concerts, or following architectural trails and dropping in on craft markets. During the Spring Festival – held during the last two weeks of April and a great time to visit the city – the town’s floral traditions are on display in their full glory, as regional flower growers compete for the year’s “best flower arrangement” prize. The abundance of orchids, roses and azaleas is a clear reminder of why Xalapa is famed in Mexico as the “City of Flowers.”