With its vast coasts bathed by the Gulf side, Veracruz Mexico beaches offer countless options to sunbathe, watch the aquatic life, practice sea sports and enjoy the delicious dishes of Veracruz gastronomy.
I will start this “Veracruz beach guide” with Tecolutla. Just four hours from Mexico City and about 50 minutes from the Magical Town of Papantla, a rustic destination ideal for family outings and relaxation.
Tecolutla is famous for its mangroves. Hop on a boat to explore them and enjoy the silence that is only interrupted by the singing of birds and the breeze.
Mangrove trees sink into the canals with their whimsically shaped roots in which blue crabs hide. The trunks are also home to spider crabs looking for food, and in the canopy, you may see ospreys waiting to catch their prey.
On this Veracruz beach, there are vendors selling snacks: they have sopes, cheese empanadas, seafood cocktails, fish prepared in various ways, tostadas, as well as toritos (a typical Veracruz drink).
In downtown Tecolutla, you can go eat at El Camarón Desvelado. From there, I recommend you try the shrimp with garlic butter and the complimentary zaragaya, a type of minced fish.
The Tecolutla Aquarium is a place that shelters fish and animals endemic to the area. Admission is 30 pesos for adults, while children pay 20 pesos.
At the Centro Tortuguero Vida Milenaria, you will have the opportunity to release turtles and receive information about the conservation of this species.
Playa Chachalacas, Veracruz
This is one of the best beaches of Veracruz Mexico, with calm waves, it’s ideal for the enjoyment of the whole family, especially children. Its main attraction is a space of giant dunes located between the sea and the Actopan River, which flows into the beach.
Here, youngsters practice sandboarding, a sport that consists of sliding down the dunes with boards similar to those used in the snow with snowboarding.
Near Chachalacas there are several archaeological sites of interest such as La Antigua, Cempoala and Quiahiztlán.
In La Antigua, there are still house ruins of conquistador Hernán Cortés, considered the first house of Spanish architecture built in the New World.
A little more than 20 kilometers from the city of Veracruz, very close to the town of Boca del Rio, is the beach area of Anton Lizardo, with several beaches for enjoyment and activities.
This area is blessed by the Veracruz Reef System. They are excellent for diving, snorkeling, and observing underwater life.
You can rent the equipment on site. The most popular beaches are El Conchal and La Isla del Amor.
The bars in the area are particularly popular for their exquisite snacks, prepared with seafood.
Another option is to buy fresh fish and seafood directly from local fishermen.
This island, located north of Tuxpan, has beaches of crystalline waters and coral reef barriers in its vicinity, excellent for diving, both experts and beginners.
It is 75 minutes from the coast, traveling in small boats. Nearby there is a ship sunk more than two centuries ago, in which a beautiful ecosystem has developed, very frequented by the most experienced divers.
There are three sub systems of reefs, each one with its own particular attraction: Bajos de Tuxpan, Bajos de en Medio and Bajos de Tanhuijo.
The Mexican Navy has a presence in the area and keeps the palm trees and other green areas very well cared for. There is also a beautiful lighthouse to guide navigators.
Emerald Coast, one of the best Veracruz Mexico Beaches
This is probably one of the most important beaches in Veracruz Mexico. With a coastal corridor of more than 50 kilometers, the beaches are chained together, competing to offer the best beautiful blue of the Mexican Atlantic and the most exuberant tropical environment.
Nearby is the pretty town of Papantla de Olarte, the hub of Veracruz’s main vanilla-producing center. The fragrant spice of the area has the denomination of origin, “Vainilla de Papantla.”
In Costa Esmeralda, you can’t miss a zacahuil, the largest Mexican tamale, a delicacy made with corn dough and pork meat seasoned with spices and the inevitable chili.
Near the mouth of the Col and Máquina, two small rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, is Montepío, the most frequented beach in the region of Los Tuxtlas.
In the nearby cliffs, sea erosion perforated caves over the millennia, used by Caribbean pirates and filibusters to hide and organize their plundering of coastal cities.
Boat services offer tours to the caves, which many visit with the illusion of encountering a Caribbean Pirate treasure.
Montepio’s sand is an attractive light brown color where you can practice your favorite beach activities.
Santa Maria del Mar
This beach is located about 10 kilometers from Tecolutla, a warm and open sea, so swim with caution. The nearby scenery is fascinatingly beautiful, and the beach is a great place to eat.
You can order a specialty of Veracruz food, such as red snapper or mojarra prepared in garlic butter, accompanied by a refreshing “cocada” or a tropical fruit juice, such as the typical tamarind, soursop, and guava.
Near the beach, there are archaeological sites where you can immerse yourself in Mexico’s talented and enigmatic indigenous past.
Barra Boca de Lima
This is another beach near Tecolutla, with a beautiful panoramic view of the Gulf of Mexico. Nearby is the Estero Lagartos, the habitat of some reptile species that you may be lucky enough to see.
You may also spot some white herons or moray egrets. From Boca de Lima you can go to Barra de Tenixtepec, a place with a good tide for the practice of ocean sports.
When you get hungry, order a fish fillet “enchipotlado,” prepared with smoked chili or coconut seafood, a delicacy made with the juice and pulp of this tropical fruit.
Tuxpan Veracruz, Mexico
It is a warm and shallow beach so that it can be enjoyed with the family in peace. It has rustic huts (palapas) on the seashore, where you can stay in the shade and eat fresh seafood served by local restaurants.
Another area’s attraction is the Tuxpan River, which flows into the Gulf of Mexico after crossing the states of Hidalgo, Puebla, and Veracruz.
Sports and recreational activities such as canoeing and fishing are practiced in the river.
This one is located between Veracruz and Poza Rica. It is a beach of crystalline waters with a double attraction: it has a sandy area and several rocky sites.
Muñecos beach got its name from a peculiar rocky promontory of great size that resembles a human figure observing the sea.
You can observe the biodiversity in the rocky parts, and the sandy area is ideal for settling, sunbathing, and swimming.
As its name suggests, it is a beach almost hidden from the masses, so it is fantastic if you prefer nearly virgin places, with few services, but natural to the fullest.
You have to make an effort to get there, but the reward is worth it. You must start from Montepío, walking on foot or the back of a horse or mule through picturesque trails.
Lodging options are to set up your own camp on the beach or stay overnight in one of the nearby villages. The local food joints serve simple Veracruz food, mainly seafood.
Veracruz Mexico, beaches and something else…
I hope you find this Veracruz beach guide useful. However, if you have enough time, there are other cool places and things to do in this beautiful Gulf side Mexican State.
Let’s see what they are:
The Sabanal Dunes
Glide over the fine golden sand of the Sabanal dunes, mountains of sand overlooking the emerald sea of Chachalacas beach in Veracruz.
These dunes are perfect for sandboarding while the air and sea breeze cool you down. If you’ve never ridden a board over the slopes of these formations, put it on your bucket list.
An experienced instructor will give you a lesson and the necessary protective gear to learn how to “surf” on the sand. If you don’t get the hang of it at first, at least you’ll have fun.
You can also ride around the 550 hectares of sand on an ATV or a four-wheeler. The speed will add excitement to your experience.
This fantastic landscape with two microclimates is a five-hour drive from Mexico City and less than an hour from the port of Veracruz.
Horseback riding and paragliding are also available. If you don’t decide on any of these activities, you can hike over these sandy mountains.
La Isla de Enmedio
Only 14 kilometers from Antón Lizardo beach, in the municipality of Alvarado, the Isla de Enmedio emerges, surrounded by white sand and turquoise sea.
This beautiful landscape is a refuge for hawksbill turtles, birds, and coral reefs.
Enmedio Island is part of the Veracruz Reef System, a Natural Protected Area, so visitors are only allowed access to a controlled area and only a maximum of 100 people per day.
Snorkeling to appreciate the corals and paddle boarding are allowed.
Half an hour from the Magical Town of Catemaco, on the coast of Los Tuxtlas, stands the famous pirate Lorencillo’s cave in Roca Partida, one of the most beautiful places in Veracruz for being a beach area surrounded by cliffs and other rock formations that emerge from the sea.
Boat rides take you inside the cave, but you can also rappel down into it.
It is said that a few hundred years ago, a Dutch pirate named Laurens de Graaf was in the viewpoints of the Roca Partida.
From this place, the pirate spied on the ships that would-be victims of his robberies. These treasures, according to legend, were hidden inside the cave.
The Mist Forest
On the outskirts of the city of Xalapa, in the mountainous zone, is the Bosque de Niebla Sanctuary.
A thickly vegetated and highly biodiverse area in Veracruz that, unfortunately, has been threatened by the increasing cultivation of crops in the region.
In this reserve, there is an area that can be visited without generating environmental impact and, at the same time, helping the community.
In the treetops, between 10 and 40 meters high, it is possible to discover the cloud forest and its sounds in a canopy tour. The experience can last between two and three hours.
The canopy consists of sliding down zip lines, walking across suspension bridges, crossing an Indian bridge, and hanging from a pendulum.
In addition to having an instructor who will take care of you all the time, you will have the necessary protective equipment, and you will be given specific instructions to respect the environment.
The Popocatl basement in Veracruz
In the Sierra de Zongolica, in the region of the high mountains of Veracruz, is the Sótano de Popocatl or Sumidero del Popoca.
To discover the depths of this wonder and the rainbow that is formed by the veil of water and the position of the sun during the day, you have to hike for about an hour, then get brave and make two rappel descents: one is down the rocky walls and the other is a free fall.
There you go friends, if you ever decide to visit the Gulf side of Mexico, don’t forget to stop by Veracruz.