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Los Tuxtlas the Switzerland of Veracruz
Las Tuxtlas is a special area containing the most northerly section of high rainforests in North America. Its enormous diversity makes the area unique in the world. The Sierra de los Tuxtlas is a range of volcanic peaks that run right down to the Bay of Campeche on the coast of Veracruz


Tlaloc, the rain god, was said to rule Los Tuxtlas in pre- Hispanic times as a happy realm for the souls of the departed. He still continues to rule, bestowing refreshing rain showers on the volcanic mountain range nearly 300 days per year.

Over 3,000 different plant species and up to 568 bird species by some counts can be found in the region which extends from sea level to 1,700 meters in height.
Los Tuxtlas ('TOOKS-tlahs') mountains
are volcanoes (San Martin last blew in 1793) which create a refreshing microclimate that forms the edge of the 90% destroyed rainforest.
Lake Catemaco is formed from the calderas of several extinct volcanoes

This wide range of geological features, from beach to crater to steep-walled canyons, coupled with the moist, tropical climate leads to a wide range of different habitats  within a small area.

VOLCANO ZONEThe cluster of volcanoes gives the Tuxtlas a unique range of micro climates

Volcán de San Martín is the sacred mountain which the Olmecs believed to be the place where the world was created

The Popocatépetl Volcano, whose Náhuatl name means smoking mountain, has been active for hundreds of years. It is the star of the transverasal Volcanic Sierra which Los Tuxtlas forms the eastern edge too. Volcano: Popocatépetl
Type: Polygenetic (with various eruptive episodes)
Height: 5,452 m
Largest diameter of the crater: 900 m
Depth of the crater: 150 m (from lower lip)
Area covered by the volcano: 500 km²
States: Puebla, Mexico and Morelos
Popocatepetl by volcanolive.com/
DownloadThe region is known as a spiritual center for curanderos (shamans), brujos (sorcerers, witches or folk healers) These traditional healers often speak English and can be quite talented and insightful
"All illness, all accidents, all bad luck and even death are caused by la maldad negra - the black evil. I can take away the black evil by bringing in la poder blanca - the white power - to overtake it. With white prayer, I can unearth what has been buried in the graveyard by black prayer; the white cures the black."
 Witches of Veracruz/Planeta.com

FOODS: Cuisine is marked by Caribbean influences such as the plantain dish called mogo-mogo, yucca in garlic and an indigenous root known as tatabiguiyayo

Acayucan Hotels by zonaturistica Hotels


Los Tuxtlas
Los Tuxtlas


The Bascilia on the Zocolo is one of the most popular pilgrimages in Mexico with hundreds of visitors paying their respects to the above image of the Virgin of Carmen


Magic, Sorcery, Witchcraft and Healing in Mexico in almost all the markets of Mexico there is a section dedicated to magic products. Catemaco hosts annual gatherings of these specialists
Laguna Catemaco by Wendy Devlin for mexconnect.com
"We have to camp by this lake. It looks like an enchantment scene from Camelot!"
To visit the "Tierra de los brujos" Go south from Veracruz on Highway 180 to Catemaco. The lagoon is only 5 minutes from the town and do pay your respects to  the Goddess of the lagoon, "Virgen del Carmen."
Catemaco pop: 25,000 alt: 370 meters
The resort town of Catemaco is on shores of a huge crater lake, the third largest in Mexico. Known for its tranquility and the beauty of its natural landscapes the area has been popular with Mexicans for generations and supports many small hotels. the lake is fed by rain waters from the hill and the Cuetzalapan River. Catemaco and the surrounding region is a famous center of the witchcraft industry. The area has long been popular with Veracruzanos on weekends and has a large lower budget tourist industry. The mysterious

 Black Virgin church, the Basilica de Nuestra Señora del Carmen is well worth approaching with awe, admiration and an open heart as wonders never cease.  The area is home to 556 species of migratory and local birds. In April and May, hundreds of herons nest on the tiny Isla de la Garzas. (Island of the Herons) A thousand types of bromeliad (tropical plants) chose the shores of Laguna Catemaco for their home.

Catemeco by Wendy D for mexconnect.com


  • Basilica of Nuestra Señora del Carmen Virgin of Carmen Sanctuary in the town square with its striking facade of white stone
  • Tegal” where the Virgin Mary appeared
  • BOAT TRIPS: trips last little more than an hour. The "Monkey Download (Tanaxpillo) Island" where a colony of playful monkeys can be seen along the shores. Garza, Macaque and/or Heron Islands  are home to many bird species
  • Hike to the Poza Reyna where a series of crystalline waterfalls cascade down an ancient lava flow through the emerald forest.
  • Nanciyaga” and La Jungla are private ecological reserves that are open to the public. nanciyaga.com
  • Eyipantla waterfalls a cab or bus ride to spectacular falls
  • brujos many visitors are attracted by the ancient magical practices by local "wizards or sorcerers" which are often based upon the use of herbs
  • Spas including mud baths and mineral pools are available from several vendors including nanciyaga.com

Birding in Los Tuxtlas

City & road Map

Places To STAY  
Catemaco Hotels by zonaturistica
Hotel Playa Azul
Carretera a Sontecomapan Km. 2
Catemaco, Veracruz
  on Lake Catemaco; ecologically-run hotel is set  amid beautiful gardens a few miles out of town. The rooms are comfortable and clean though not luxurious.
Telephone (294) 30001, 30042-3057
Los Arcos arcoshotel.com.mx/  
Hotel Finca Real
Carretera Federal
Catemaco, Veracruz
Rate: Sgl/Dbl $900.00 pesos tax inc.
Very beautiful with a nice pool and right at the beach of Lake Catemaco and close to the highway. Long walk to town
Phone: (294) 30-222, 30-322, 30-888, 30-430.
There are many places to stay in this tourist region off the beaten track
Del Brujo ( 2* )
San Francisco ( 2* )
Berthangel ( 3* )
Catemaco ( 3* )
Del Angel ( 3* )
Del Lago ( 3* ) Imalca ( 3* )
Juros ( 3* ) Los Arcos ( 3* )
Playa Cristal ( 3* )
Posada Koniapan ( 3* )

FESTIVALS July 16 dedicated to the Virgin of Carmen and last a week.


Catemaco-Los Tuxtlas foto tour by aventuraextrema.com translated to English by google


Santiago Tuxtlas  pop:11,000 alt: 285 meters) ,  


Places To STAY

Santiago Tuxtla Hotels by zonaturistica

the Tuxtlas Museum located in the central park. W
here you can find the largest known Olmec head and other highlights of the excavation at Tres Zapotes.

“Tres Zapotes”, (tres sah-PO-tes), village (1990 est. pop. 854), SE Veracruz, E Mexico, 15 mi/24 km W of San Andrés Tuxtla, near Cerro de las Mesas on N edge of Tuxtlas Mts. (in former Olmec heartland); 18°30'N 95°30'W. Pre-Maya monument dating from 381 B.C.– 31 B.C. was found here (1939) near a colossal Olmec stone head
Tres Zapotes museum
in the village of Tres Zapotes, 23 km west of SantiagoOlmecs & Mother Africa Tuxtla is open daily till 5pm. Consider taking a taxi


San Andres Tuxtlas (pop: 80,000)  
Situated 245 kilometeres from Xalapa and linked by ferderal highways 140 and 180, San Andres Tuxtlas acts as a gateway to the region as well as its economic center.
Best know for its cigar manufacturing industry which have produced Mexico's best cigars since the XIX century when Cubans arrived.

San Andres Tuxtla fellow traveler tips by virtualtourist.com

Places To STAY

San Andrés Tuxtla Hotels by zonaturistica


  • Architecture: Most of the well-preserved traditional architecture which includes the most outstanding examples of old mansions in southern Veracruz have been painted white
  • Encantada Lagoon (the Enchanted Lagoon) surrounded by wonderful landscapes just 3 kilometers away
  • Cigar factory tour  Santa Clara, El Aroma and Tabamex and “Te Amo” do tours
  • Eyipantla Waterfall located on the road to Catemaco the turnoff is at the Sihuapan village
  • De Montejo and La Esmeralda beaches

15JUL (2 days) Virgin of Carmen Festival Although year round people come from afar to pay their respects to the statue in the church at the center of the town



Google Spotlight
our favorite from page 1

"he tells us of how these volcanic peaks were once covered with rain forests, but agricultural demands reduced the virgin forests to 7%, mostly while he has lived in the area."
 Chapter 5.  Sierra de Los Tuxtlas, Veracruz
© Bert & Shari Frenz, 2001

google.com/search=en= Sontecomapan+veracruz
Look for more by clicking

Sontecamapan is on the coast, overlooking a lagoon. It is 18 kilometers from Catemaco and not very well known to visitors


Boat Trips: Visitors may choose a trip around the lagoon or go out to the sand bar which separates the lagoon from the sea
reached through an unpaved road Hicacal, Escondida and Monte Pio are best known.
Tropical Flora and Wild Fauna Park
maintained by Veracruz University 220 hectares

Chiapas  neighboring southern state

In Chiapas you will find deep cultural roots of the Maya population as manifested in the traditional costumes, ceremonies and celebrations (fiestas). San Cristóbal de Las Casas is home to many colonial monuments. 

Birders often make the road trip from the USA to Veracruz and then on to Oaxaca and Chiapas This trip report by college students from Brownsville recorded over 500 species

 Chiapas > San Cristóbal de las Casas
Casas The City

Just 85km from Tuxtla Gutiérrez, SAN CRISTÓBAL DE LAS CASAS is almost 1700m higher - a cool place with an unrivalled provincial colonial charm. Its low, whitewashed red-tiled houses seem huddled together on the plain as if to keep out enemies; indeed, the town was designed as a Spanish stronghold among an often hostile indigenous population - the attack by Zapatista rebels in January 1994 was the latest in a long series of uprisings
 Listings ||  Eating And Drinking ||  Entertainment ||  Arrival And Information || Explore San Cristóbal De Las Casas||  Hotels in San Cristóbal De Las Casas

San Cristobal de las Casas & Palenque
The excellent archeological site of Palenque and nearby town of same name can be seen in a day. Stay a day or 2, and if you plan on going to Bonampak and/or Yaxchilán the Maya ruins that border Guatemala. 

"San Cristóbal and the nearby villages have so much to offer that I consider 4 days the minimum you should spend there."

Tuxtla Gutierrez  (altitude 557m/1,838 ft. pop. 300,000)
The boomtown business capital of Chiapas and waystation for visitors enroute to the more colorful parts of the area or enroute to Villhermosa on the East Coast.  The zoo is worthwhile and the main attraction nearby is the outstanding Sumidero Canyon.



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