Catemaco is a county and city in Veracruz State, Mexico. The ecotourism is really big in the region around here. Lakes, rivers, waterfalls, Gulf of Mexico, mangroves, birdwatching, all abound and ready for you to enjoy. Take a boat trip on Lake Catemaco or the Laguna de Sontecomapan. Check out the beaches of the gulf with coves and small bays awaiting your discovery.
Catemaco is located on Highway 180, also known as The Gulf Coast Highway, about 3-3 1/2 hours south of Veracruz city, if drive.
- Taxis are numerous and cheap, starting at around M$15 (pesos).
- Local buses run in the town during the day and connect with San Andres Tuxla and other small towns.
- Bike rental: You can rent a bike for some hours and ride around a little. The streets are not too bad for that.
- rural taxis (or 'mixtos') are pickup trucks which operate like collective taxis and can be flagged down at any point. These are good for getting to places not serviced by bus. They are not the most comfortable option but are good value at M$10.
- Huapango. Especially at the weekend you can see this typical traditional dance at the zocalo. As a guitar is being played; someone sings and two people are dancing on a wooden platform. It is very rhythmic and well-known in Catemaco.
- Salto de Eyipantla, West of Catemaco. The big waterfall nearby the city is worth a visit. Take a taxi, or 2 buses, to get there.
- Baños, All over the place. No joke, Catemacos toilets seem to be a bit famous. And, indeed, the bigger, colorful ones are worth a visit.
- See more of Catemaco. Catemaco.info is a wonderful website about Catemaco with hundreds of photos and complete descriptions of all its touristic features.
- Lancha tour, Directly at the waterfront. Take a boat (spanish: "lancha") tour over the Laguna de Catemaco and see monkeys. They offer one-person and group prices.
- Ecobiosfera, KM 10 from Catemaco to Sontecomapan, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Do one of the tours in the great rain forest nearby. There are different kinds of tours, some require heavy preparation, some are just in a 4x4. For example, you can take a bird watch tour or make a half-day walking tour in Sontecomapan. They also offer some longer-lasting activities. For example they offer courses for identification of special tropical birds. To make sure that you'll really come, you have to pay a deposit half of the price.
- Reserva Ecológica Nanciyaga, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Here, in the jungle, you can take some nice activities: Do a walking tour over a hanging bridge which crosses a fresh water spring. You also can make some natural mud masks and spiritual cleanings. In the restaurant the typical food out of the Tuxtla region is served. And, if you don't decide to stay in one of their cabins, you can make a tour with some kayaks and watch the nearby nature.
There are numerous restaurants along the Malecon (lakefront), but be aware that most of them close at 7PM and your options will be somewhat more limited after that.
Try one of the Memelas which are famous in Catemaco. Those really big tortillas are made like a Quesadita. Only that they are bigger and filled with ham and beans or anything the cook has to offer. And they are really big.
- La Ola Restaurant, On the Malecon (lakeside, Malecone central), ☏ . 9AM-9PM. La Ola, one of Catemaco´s older restaurants since 1965. Located on the shore of Lake Catemaco you can enjoy your meal with views of the laguna and its hills.
- La Casita. The La Casita restaurants is a popular restaurant frequented by local inhabitants. One is on Calle Matamoros and the other in Dos de Abril near Monte Pio. There are dozens of restaurants in the vicinity.
- La Rioja. Located in the ground floor of Hotel Catemaco on the Zocalo, it serves very good Spanish food and wine.
Since Catemaco is not that big you can find many of those hotels located at the zocalo. Both bus stations are in walking distance.
- 1 Hotel Acuario, Calle Maria Boettiger Esq (Directly next to the clock at the zocalo), ☏ . Small, neat hotel with nice pricing.
- 2 Hotel Las Brisas, Av. Venustiano Carranza N° 3 (Nxt to the zocalo), ☏ . Here was done some refurbishment. Good for the traveller with less money.
- [dead link] Hotel Catemaco, Downtown across from the park, ☏ . Nice hotel with restaurant. You can sit outside on the sidewalk and watch the world go by.
- 3 Hotel Playa Cristal (About 2 blocks off HWY 180). Very nice hotel on the Malecon, clean and well maintained, with a pool and a view of the lake. Its restaurant, Tierra de Tucanes, serves good local food and is one of the few restaurants on the lakefront which stays open later than 7PM.
- 4 [formerly dead link] Hotel Los Arcos, Calle Francisco I. Madero 7. Nice hotel in a good location.
- 5 La Finca, Carretera Federal 180 KM 147 (outside of town about 1 km.), ☏ . Beautiful grounds and swimming pool area. Expensive: $1350 pesos and up (2010).
You can find small internet cafes located near the Zocalo. Also available are stores for long distance calls.
There are two bus stations which connect Catemaco to bigger Mexican cities. The ADO terminal, which services buses to the city of Veracruz, is located at the Eastern end of the Malecon, and is about 10 minutes' walk from the Zocalo.
- San Andrés Tuxtla - A nice, real Mexican city with less tourism. It can be reached by bus.
In the west you can find a station for the rural taxis or Mixtos. Alternatively you can flag these down at any point along their route. Some of the many destinations are:
- Sontecomapan - This is a village next to a beautiful lagoon about 20 km northeast of Catemaco. It will cost M$10 to get there by rural taxi. Once there you can take a boat (or 'lancha') out to the cost ('la barra') for M$40 each way.
- Montepio - Montepio lies directly at the beach of the Gulf of Mexico. There is no supermarket, Internet or ATM available.