Xalapa is a college town that enjoys some fine colonial architecture as well as a nice climate in the highlands above the hot and humid Veracruz coast. It is a hilly town with a smart population hence it is sometimes considered to be the San Francisco of Mexico. Home to a considerable number of expatriates and foreign exchange students, the town really isn't on the typical backpacker/tourist path through Mexico.
The Lencero Airport is a very small airport. It is situated outside the city but it is used only for helicopters and very small planes. The closest airport is the Veracruz international airport. It's about 2 hours from Xalapa.
Almost-hourly buses go from Mexico City to Xalapa in several bus lines (ADO, AU), departing from TAPO station. The trip takes 4 hours approximately.
Hilly, densely constructed Xalapa is one of the world's great scooter cities. Rent one and the back areas of the city really open up for exploration.
- 1 Xalapa Catedral (Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepcion). First constructed in 1641, this cathedral was overhauled in 1896 in a baroque style.
- 2 Anthropology Museum of Xalapa (Museo de Antropología de Xalapa), Av. Xalapa. Beautifully-designed museum of the cultures of Veracruz. A worthy rival to the more famous archaeological museum in Mexico City.
- 3 Museo Hacienda El Lencero, Carretera Xalapa-Veracruz Km 10. Occasionally called the Museo de Muebles (Furniture Museum), this country estate 14km (8 3/4 miles) southeast of the town center was for 14 years (1842-56) the home of Antonio López de Santa Anna, the 11-time president of Mexico. Here he retreated from the world, though on occasion he opened his doors to receive notable visitors. Furniture from Mexico, Europe, and Asia fills the rooms, illustrating the cosmopolitan tastes of Mexico's upper classes during the 19th century. Among the notable pieces is the leader's bed, embellished with the national emblem (an eagle holding a serpent in its beak).
- 4 Juárez Park, Enríquez. It is advisable to visit Juárez Park, next to the town hall. From there you can have a good view of the city, Pico de Orizaba and Cofre de Perote, from the terrace of the musem Ágora. A nice place and reunion site for tourist and locals alike, where also you can enjoy some treats and snacks. and next to the museum of coffee.
- 5 Botanical Garden Francisco Javier Clavijero (2.5km from the old road to Coatepec No. 351), ☎ . Mon-Sun 9:00 - 17:00. The Botanical Garden Francisco Javier Clavijero is an arboretum and botanical garden of 38 total hectares of which 30 are of forest preserved in an old coffee plantation and 8 garden festivals. it has seven public scientific collections in eight hectares. Exhibits some 6,000 specimens belonging to 700 species of plants. Adults 5 pesos, children 2 pesos.
- Yerba Buena, ☎ . Xalapenos Ilustres 22, Centro Historical - A tranquil and inexpensive popular eatery with friendly staff. Serves a daily set lacto-vegetarian menu, typically a salad and a choice of two soups and main dishes with bread, natural fruit juice and a coffee or a tea for dessert. M$33 (Dec 2007). Open 13:30-18:00.
Xalapa has a wide choice of budget hotels. The city should really be a lot more popular with backpackers than it is. The fact most stay on the Pacific and Caribbean coasts is their loss and can be your gain.
- Los Lagos(228)818-2000. 13 de Septiembre No.23. 22 rooms.
- Mision de las Americas(228) 814-1145. Av. Xalapa No. 172. 15 rooms.
- La Moderna (228) 817-3586. Leona Vicario No. 21. 39 rooms.
- El Arebe (228) 817-1777. Av. 20 de Noviembre No. 535. 13 rooms.
- Limon (228) 817-2204. Revolución No. 8. 49 rooms.
- Yalta (228) 815-0833. Av. Lazaro Cárdenas No. 696. 60 rooms
- Araucarias (228) 818-9038. Av. Avila Camacho No. 60. 16 rooms.
- Oasis (228) 815-0360. Av. Xalapa No. 1120. 25 rooms.
- Bugambilias (228) 814-5863. Av. Miguel Aleman No. 277. 20 rooms.
- Atenas (228) 812-8944. Av. Lazero Cárdenas No. 1181. 49 rooms.
- El Mirador(228)815-1655. Av. Xalapa No. 1106. 44 rooms.
- Tecajetes (228) 812-4973. Bustamante No. 24. 43 rooms.
- 1 Posada La Mariquinta, Alfaro 12, ☎ . Very comfortable guest house in quiet neighborhood within walking location of main plaza. Rates are lower for longer stays.
- 2 BG Hotel Los Lagos, 13 de Septiembre, Col. Isleta, ☎ . All rooms have a cable plasma TV, coffee/tea maker, telephone, and Wi-Fi Internet access. Some of its amenities are a restaurant, laundry service, and wake-up calls. Rates on website start at 708 pesos.
- BG Hotel Creperie, Av. Avila Camacho No. 60, ☎ . The hotel offers 16 rooms which have plasma TV with cable service, free Wi-Fi access, a coffee/tea maker, telephone, work desk, and a fan. Rates on website start at 650 pesos.
- 3 Best Western Xalapa, Av. 20 de Noviembre 522, Col. Tatahuicapan, ☎ . All of its rooms have a cable TV, telephone, and electronic keys and lock. Some of its facilities are La Tasca del Quijote (serves a variety of international cuisines), mutifunctional rooms, a business center, and Internet access. Best rates on website start at 628.81 pesos.
- 4 Hotel Mision Xalapa Plaza de las Convenciones, Av 20 de Noviembre Ote 455, ☎ . All rooms equipped with cable television, coffee/tea maker, telephone, and Internet access. Some of its facilities are swimming pool, fitness room/gym, laundry service, and safe deposit boxes.