Orizaba is a city in Veracruz, Mexico. The city is very quiet, crossed by many rivers, with many parks and beautiful churches from the 16th to the 18th centuries, monuments and buildings of great history.
Orizaba is one of the main cities of the Mexican State of Veracruz. The city is also known by locals as "Pluviosilla".
It is located in the High Mountains region, and gives its name to the highest peak in the nation, the Pico de Orizaba . Its origin dates back to the 16th century when explorers made their way to the center of the Aztec empire: Tenochtitlan. Later it became a strategic point for trade due to its location between Mexico City and the port of Veracruz.
Its fertile soil and pleasant climate make the area suitable for the production of coffee, sugar cane and beer, the main products of the region.
It's located between Mexico City and the port of Veracruz.
Being a relatively small city by Mexican standards, it is not possible to get to Orizaba in a commercial flight from a major airline. However, it is possible to reach the city flying to Mexico City International airport and taking a bus directly to Orizaba from the airport.
If you know someone or are alone when travelling to Orizaba, it may be more convenient to fly into Veracruz International Airport in the city of Veracruz. The drive to Orizaba is about 3 hours long, but the roads are fairly well maintained. There are numerous car rental companies in Veracruz.
Flying into Veracruz instead of Mexico City may be better because:
- Traffic in Mexico City is notoriously horrible. Veracruz traffic is considerably thinner and easier to manage.
- The mountain overpass between Orizaba and Mexico City is extremely dangerous, with sharp turns and angles of nearly twenty degrees vertical. During the winter it is nearly inaccessible and not recommended for driving.
Getting to Orizaba by car is easy. From Mexico City, take the Mexico-Veracruz highway. Orizaba is about four hours from Mexico's capital.
Major bus companies (ADO, ADO GL, UNO, AU, etc) offer service to Orizaba. Rates vary according to quality service. Resident Seniors with ID have 50% off when traveling by ADO.
- UNO Bus service. High end quality.
- ADO GL Bus service. 1st Class.
- ADO Bus service. Standard service.
In the city:
- 1 The Iron Palace (Palacio de Hierro) (next to the main cathedral), ☏ . Daily 09:00-19:00. Aptly named, this iron building was shipped in pieces from Belgium during the Porfiriato era. The Art Nouveau building was designed by Gustave Eiffel (yes, that Eiffel) and built from 1891 to 1894. Located inside is the tourism information center, so this is a good place to start your visit. Also located here are a Planetarium, science exhibition, museum of beer, and museum of soccer all free of charge.
- 2 Poliforum Mier y Pesado, Ote. 6 1653, Centro (on the main highway a few blocks from the Chedraui), ☏ . Daily 09:00-19:00. This large complex contains several museum exhibitions, a digital library, lots of eateries, and a large park-like grounds. The exhibits close at 19:00, but the rest is open until 22:00. At night the fountain is lit up nicely. This is one of the highlights of Orizaba. free.
- 3 Cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel (Catedral de San Miguel Arcángel), Fco. I. Madero Norte 88, Centro (ZMH "A") (from Calle Oriente 6 or Calle Real take Francisco I. Madero up to where the pedestrian part ends is Parque Castillo and the Cathedral), ☏ . Daily 07:00-20:00. Important historical monument of the city of neoclassical style, dates from the 17th century with chapels and tower built in different historical moments of the city. An authentic Swiss clock stands out on the tower. Free.
- La Alameda. This the central park of Orizaba. Dedicated to Francisco Gabilondo Soler better known as "Cri-Cri" (1907-1990) a popular writer and interpreter of children songs.
- El Palacio Municipal (City Hall). A building dating from 1905 and originally used as public school. Since 1991 this building is the City Hall. The building has a mural by José Clemente Orozco.
- State Art Museum (Museo de Arte del Estado)
- Rio Orizaba (Orizaba stream). A beautiful stream in the middle of the city. The stream is crossed by several bridges. It has been developed as a river-walk with a free linear zoo with many animals to see. Take this walk and check it out. It basically starts behind the City Hall at the cable-car entrance and goes northward about 1.3 miles. At the north end, across the road is another eco-park with Bengal tigers, camels and other animals.
- Panteón Municipal (Municipal Cemetery)
- Cerro Borrego. The new teleférico or cable-car to the top of Cerro Borrego has great views of Pico de Orizaba in the mornings. Or if you prefer, you can climb Cerro Borrego along a very nice trail to the top, which is about an hour's walk. Go in the morning.
Other important buildings include the Spanish Casino, the Maximiliano and Carlota Spas, the Escudero Park, and the I de la Llave Theater.
There are also places of natural beauty that should be visited: the Elephant Waterfall, the Ojo de Agua, the Nogales Lagoon, the Escamela and Borrego Hills, and the Río Blanco Canyon.
Close to the city:
- Los 500 Escalones (the 500 Steps). A traditional ride for locals. This a very long stair (almost 500 steps) which takes you close to 34-m-high waterfall known as the "Cascada del Elefante" or "Cascada de Barrio Nuevo".
- Pico de Orizaba National Park - This is the highest mountain in Mexico and the third highest in North America.
- Puente de Metlac (Metlac bridge). This is a 115-m-tall bridge linking Orizaba to Cordoba by the highway across the Metlac Canyon.
A tram takes guided tours of the most important points of the city. The tour days are Fridays at 16:00 and 18:00 and on Saturdays and Sundays tours from 12:00 to 18:00. On Saturdays at 20:00 there is a musical tour.
All these are in the city center:
- 1 Cafe con Leche, Sur 9 44.
- 2 El Pozolazo Huasteco, 94300, Ote. 6 546.
- 3 El Barzon B18, Ote. 6 844.
- 4 El Chalán Hamburgers Hot Dogs, Sur 13 380-318.
- 5 Antojitos IME, 94300, Pte. 5 220.
- 6 El Pozolazo Jarocho, Pte. 7 / Sur 6.
- 7 Rosticeria Moy, Nte. 2 404.
- 8 Restaurante “El español”, Sur 3 230.
- 9 Restaurante La Troje, Sur 5 225.
- 10 Restaurante Gran Cocina Montellano, Colón Ote. 803.
- Hotel Fiesta Inn, Gte. Gral. Lic. Ivan Mendoza R., Oriente 6 No. 892, ☏ , .
- Hotel Holy Day Inn, Gte. Gral. Ernesto Guraieb Argudin, Oriente 6 No. 464 entre Sur 9 y 11, ☏ .
- Hotel Fiesta Cascada, Gte. Gral. Ana Elena Ramírez, Autopista Puebla-México Km 275 (in the 500 Escalones ecotourism center ecoturístico), ☏ , , .
- 1 Hotel Trueba, Sur 11 corner with Oriente 6 (a few steps from the ADO terminal, Astro terminal and the Iglesia de los Dolores), toll-free: . One of the tallest buildings in the city from where you can appreciate an excellent view of the historic center.
- 2 Gamma Grand Hotel de France, Ote 6 186 Sur Centro, ☏ . Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Clean, modern hotel in the heart of the city. Free parking, WiFi, rooftop pool.