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Archive for September, 2007

How in the Heck Do I Get There?

This topic generated some really good information on travel to Xalapa from the U.S. from our members who have made the trip recently. John from Austin asked if there were any cheap flights from DF (Mexico City) to Xalapa and, if not, whether it is better to bus from DF or Veracruz City to Xalapa. Opinions seemed about equally split as to whether the five-hour bus ride from DF was preferable to the nearly two-hour ride from Veracruz City. Here are the most informative responses:

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Xalapa has a very small airport; most people use the Veracruz airport, from which I am told you can catch a bus to Xalapa (an hour and a half). Continental has a flight directly to Veracruz from Houston. Another option, which I prefer, is to take a bus directly from the DF airport to Puebla (2+ hours) and then catch another at the Puebla bus station to Xalapa (less than 3 hrs). To avoid arriving in Xalapa late, one could stay in Puebla for an enjoyable night on the Zocalo. All these buses run frequently. — Ed Portis

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There are now buses directly from the airport in Mexico City to Xalapa. Only one from DF to Xalapa, leaving at 5:30 and arriving here at 10:15 in the evening. It costs around 330 pesos and is quite efficient. Going to DF there are overnight buses. I have taken the one that leaves at 1:15 am and gets in to DF aeropuerto at about 6:00 am. We haven’t tried the Puebla way, but are considering it for our next trip, especially if we can get flights that leave late enough to make it better than the overnight Xalapa-DF aeropuerto run. That is, if we could get something that would leave Xalapa around eight or so in the am.

If you have to transfer flights to go to Veracruz, and don’t to Mexico City, I would go to Mexico City. It is likely to cost considerably less money and quite possibly take less time. We used to live in San Antonio and found that it was quite an easy way to go…to DF and then take the bus. In those days we took a taxi to TAPO, the bus terminal in Mexico City which has ADO buses to Xalapa. That was quite reasonable, too. There is a licensed taxi place in the airport and the transfer is pretty easy. You might want to know that the Houston Veracruz plane gets in at around 11:15 at night. Return trip, Veracruz-Houston leaves Veracruz at 7:00 am. Last time I looked, those were the only Houston-Veracruz flights. — Esther

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Flying into Veracruz is the way to go. You can fly Aeromexico AUS-MEX-VER fairly cheaply; the ADO bus counter is on the far right-hand end of the rent-a-car area at the Veracruz airport. Since I’ve got a voucher from Aeromexico in hand, that will be my next way down. As I point out on my website, all three of the regional airports in Veracruz state — Xalapa, Poza Rica, and Minatitlan/Coatzacoalcos — are priced so that only oil executives, politicians flying on the public cuff, and drug dealers can afford the airfare!

There is a flight from IAF (Houston) nonstop to Veracruz on one of those Embraer regional jets; it’s a Continental flight. But Continental is a little pricey, too, and are downright stingy about comping travel writers and professionals. Another alternative is to go down to the Chevron just east of I-35 on Ben White; catch the Touristar International bus at 11:00 pm and get to Monterrey early the next morning (it’s Ejecutivo class so sleeping is easy); then fly to Veracruz on VivaAerobus. The MTY-VER round trip is as cheap as $60.00usd, so that’s the cheapest option. But it’s really for the hard-core adventurer considering the variables. After all, a missed connection could force a day in the Monterrey area. Not that such a day wouldn’t have certain advantages; when’s the last time you spent a day at Horsetail Falls? — sharkbait69

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I just want to pipe in that I have only ever gone the “fly to Mexico City, bus to Xalapa” route and honestly I think that is almost always the best way to go, even if you have cash to spare on expensive airline flights because the airline schedules to Veracruz just aren’t all that convenient and you still have to bus from there anyway.

For those who have never taken the ADO, you may be envisioning a bus ride akin to Greyhound in the states and a six hour trip of that type wouldn’t thrill me either. But ADO is SO much better than Greyhound. The buses are clean, comfortable, air conditioned, with movies and decent bathrooms. The drivers are safe and courteous. You also get to see some beautiful countryside. All in all it is a vastly preferable experience to flying in my opinion except that it takes a bit longer. But when you add up all the time spent waiting in terminals for flights and going through security, picking up bags, etc. plus then taking a bus anyway to Xalapa, it’s probably close to a wash to to just hop the bus in DF. If you plan to stay in Veracruz awhile first then that’s a somewhat different story. But if your destination is Xalapa, I’d go DF, cab to TAPO and bus to Xalapa.

I speak almost no Spanish and negotiated this route on my own a couple years ago. The only thing to be careful of or concerned about is making sure you take one of the authorized taxis from the airport and not just hailing one randomly on the street (which is never a good idea in DF). The DF airport is clean and modern and not very big. The signage is good to the authorized taxis so just follow them and tell the ticket seller you are going to TAPO and you’re good to go. You can buy your bus ticket online in advance even.

My three cents – bottom line is don’t be afraid of the bus from DF to Xalapa! — LTG

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I can’t argue but would add that the ADO-GL is the Ejecutivo class bus and well worth the nominal increase in price over the standard GL. I usually fly into Veracruz because I’m going to spend the lion’s share of any trip in and around the ocean; the mountains tend to be a side trip. As there are six to eight MEX-VER flights daily, it’s an easy jaunt and often SAT-VER flights are priced the same as SAT-MEX flights. But that’s a side issue. Please remember that the bus schedules are available at www.ticketbus.com.mx. — sharkbait69

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