Southern Veracruz State

Several decades ago, tracts of dense, impassable rainforest consumed the southernmost stretches of Veracruz state, barely penetrated by roads or humanity. Only a few obscure settlements lay hidden in the miles of ravenous foliage, teeming canopies and bursting vegetation skirting the gulf. Today, southern Veracruz is a less dramatic land of rolling cattle pastures, remote highways and terminally poor, sluggish villages, but you can still encounter vestiges of that dark world of old: crocodile-infested lagoons, jungle shrouded rivers, isolated beaches, abundant bird life and luxuriant swimming holes all punctuate the deep green - and stiflingly humid - tropical landscape. Near Veracruz, the lesser visited Papaloapan region is replete with remote villages and brightly painted towns such as Tlacotalpan - a beautiful port that has now faded into quiet obscurity. Further south Los Tuxtlas - comprising diminutive Santiago Tuxtla and the more bustling San Andrés Tuxtla - are steeped in off-beat provincial charm, offering access to the mysterious Olmec ruins of Tres Zapotes, local waterfalls and cigar factories. At nearby Catemaco, perched on the shores of an expansive lake, the lore of traditional witchcraft is widely revered. Today, many consider the age-old art of brujería little more than superstitious ramblings, but there's no denying its fascinating cultural significance - or its strange effectiveness on those who believe in it.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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