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Archive for the ‘Xalapa’ Category

As noted in the previous posting, we had the privilege of attending Carnaval in a mountain village northeast of Xalapa named Coyolillo. Roy Dudley, professional photographer and guide extraordinaire, transported us through the sugar cane fields and mountain vistas to the village kind of perched on the mountainside about an hour from Xalapa.

We were not the only visitors from afar that day, however, because the Governor of the state of Veracruz also attended in order to start off the festivities by signing many documents and crowning the King, Queen, and princesses great and small. Now, we relied on Roy’s knowledge of the highways to get us there, but the Governor probably was guided to the community by the three crosses located high above the village on the mountain because he arrived in a shiny, bright red helicopter.

Crosses Sited Above Coyolillo

Unfortunately, neither Roy nor I got a shot of the helicopter,
but here are the crosses that probably guided him in.

The Governor’s arrival on stage

Ok, I digressed a bit to work the Governor’s arrival in, so now let’s go back to the village of Coyolillo and its fine people. Apparently, they elected a King, Queen and Court from the youth of their community. It would be interesting to know what criteria they used to elect the young people. One wonders how much the quality of their character or educational achievement may have played a part in their decision to display them in such a nice manner.

Crowning of King by Governor

The crowning of the king

Governor Addresses Audience Flanked By Installed Court

The Governor addresses the crowd flanked by court and other dignitaries

Roy Dudley and Royal Court

Roy Dudley, our photographer and guide,
trying to get himself in a picture with the court

While another digression from the theme, it would be unkind not to mention the great politeness of the residents of the community. You see, we didn’t always know where we were or what we were doing because Roy was off bonding with old friends in the community. So, when we didn’t know where to go or where to stand, residents of the community very lightly touched our shoulders and pointed to where we should go in order to see the parade or actually led us to a different street where it was coming around again. Another person, thinking we were official media photographers, alerted us to an African drum performance that she didn’t want us to miss by leaving too early.

Oh, I’m sure the community has its problems and problem people like any community anywhere, but it will always be a very special community to us, their seemingly treasured guests for one day on a “Fat Tuesday” in the mountains near Xalapa.

Stephen
Genuine Tourist at —  http://www.genuine-tourist.com

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How the Three Tall Fellows were able to walk
on such uneven streets on stilts is beyond me.

This past Tuesday we had the wonderful opportunity to attend Carnaval during Fat Tuesday in the community of Coyolillo somewhere northeast of Xalapa, Mexico, in the mountains. We were the guests of Roy Dudley (http://www.xalaparoy.com/), our landlord, who wanted to reconnect with friends in the community he had not visited with for several years.

Woman “line dancing” ;-)

While one doesn’t really know where to start, let me begin by mentioning that we could not believe how well people young and old were able to dance so smartly on a well constructed but uneven stage made out of planks. It seemed that not a single dancer missed a step, although I suppose they would probably disagree with me. We were also very impressed by the wonderful costumes of all the performers. They must have been made with considerable skill and purchased by much sacrifice.

The following photos will give you some idea of the marvelous dancing we were privileged to watch over more than a two hour period.

Woman in Yellow
Woman in Yellow Spinning

Click on thumbnails below to see larger photos of other dancers.
Woman in LavendarWoman in All ColorsYoung Man and Woman

 

Young “Polka” dancers

The best “Polka” dancers in Mexico I have ever seen.

It would be neglectful for me to not mention the wonderful meal prepared for us in the home of a friend of Roy’s. We were invited into a small kitchen and sat down at a table nicely laid out with foods that I can only describe as the best I have ever had in Mexico. My spouse, Patricia (who is a real good cook in her own right), could not believe how they prepared it all on a small wood stove in the kitchen where we sat.

Child watches us eat

While we enjoyed the feast prepared for us,
a little girl in the house did not seem so happy.

I cannot leave without describing another kind of orchestration that occurred in order to free our vehicle from its bondage! You see, Roy parked dutifully at the end of a long dead end street and returned to find the vehicle locked in by other parked cars and trucks parked too close together to drive between. When he and some of the men of the community realized our plight, a kind of symphony was conducted between men and machines as the owners were found (while Carnaval was still going on) and vehicles moved so that Roy could return our captured vehicle to the main roadway. I say a “symphony” because one could have barely gotten a sheet of paper between Roy’s vehicles and the vehicles he passed between!

We close with a photo of some of the street dancing.

Girls Dancing in the Streets

Stephen, also at —  http://www.Genuine-Tourist.com

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This post has been updated and new information has been added about Hotel Limón, so I thought I’d recycle it. — MarieMcC

________

Several members of the Visit Xalapa Yahoo Group are currently making plans to travel in the area, and some have asked about where to stay.

Two of our members have already stayed at the Posada del Cafeto and have given us their opinions on this hotel.

Laura highly recommends the Posada del Cafeto. She took the photos posted here. Laura said: “They have a wonderful breakfast cafe and breakfast is included with room rental, plus they are located right downtown, but on a quieter side street. They also have wireless high speed internet access in the cafe which extends to some of the rooms as well.”

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Another member stayed at the Posada del Cafeto in January 2007 and found it quite satisfactory for the price. His only complaint was that the room lacked any kind of heater, so he had to take hot showers to keep warm. On that score he was very satisfied — lots of hot water and lots of pressure. According to Rich, “the breakfast was ok.” Best of all was the location: it was near to everything.

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posadadelcafeto-jardin-ltgarcia.jpg

 

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All photos by Laura Garcia

Posada del Cafeto

Canovas 8 and 12
Tel: (228) 8170023
Mastercard and Visa are accepted.
Posada del Cafeto Website (Spanish only)
29 rooms

OTHER HOTELS IN XALAPA

A list of hotels in the Xalapa area, organized by price, can be found on JonW’s MSN page. There are many other hotels in Xalapa not on the list. Keep in mind for hotels in Mexico, particularly budget hotels, having a website is not yet widespread practice. There is another list of hotels in Xalapa here, and you will notice there are no web pages listed for any of them.

Here are a few hotels recommended by some of our Yahoo Group members:

Everyone recommends the pretty Mariquinta (Posada de la Mariquinta), a guest house in an 18th century building with rooms, suites, and bungalows around a lovely garden, three long blocks up from the main drag, Zamora (which becomes Enriquez as you head west toward the cathedral and Parque Juarez (the city’s zocalo). It will run about $45 a night for a double, perhaps a bit more (Mexico’s inflation has a way of making tour guide books obsolete prior to their distribution) .

I know it is the trendiest place in the centro, but I much prefer the more inexpensive (though still nice) rooms at the Hotel Principal, much more centrally located only a block south of the main drag, on Zaragoza at Primera Verdad, about $35. Either place, you should be comfortable, with clean bath, good beds, cable TV, and so forth. Have a nice trip! — Jim Martin

Posada de la Mariquinta
Alfaro No. 12
Centro Historico
91000 Xalapa, Veracruz
Tel: (228) 818-1158
Credit cards not accepted
www.lamariquinta.xalapa.net

Hotel Principal
Zaragoza No. 28, corner of Nicolas Bravo
Tel. (228) 8176400 y (228) 8176401
39 rooms
Note: Rooms on the Nicolas Bravo side can get very noisy early in the morning. — Kurt

Hotel Limón is on Revolucion a few steps from Enriquez just behind the catedral. They have a very nice patio in the center of the hotel. It was approximately ten US dollars a night [in 2006]. I needed to have some clothes laundered. I went out searching and paid too much at an independent laundry shop. The next time, I realized since the Hotel maids wash the bed linens, they could also do laundry for the Hotel occupants although they don’t advertise this, and I did not go through the front desk. For regular laundry, just ask the maids at the Hotel for a price. Very inexpensive, they did a great job, they were glad to do it, and same day service in my case. — Kurt

Hotel Limón
Revolucion No. 8
Centro
Tel. (228) 8172204
Fax 8179316
Cambio moneda-estacionamiento-fax-lavanderia-telefono-t.v.

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Xalapa Restaurants

If you Google “Xalapa restaurants” as I did recently, you won’t find much solid information in either English or Spanish. Even Frommers.com lists only two restaurants in their online Xalapa guide. Only two, in a city of about 400,000!

Our group has had several discussions on eating out in Xalapa, but the Yahoo Group messages apparently aren’t crawled by search engines. The opportunity to become a primary information source for visitors was too good to pass up, so I went back through the group messages and pulled together everything I could find.

Below is a collection of reviews and recommendations of Xalapa restaurants offered by our members.

JIM MARTIN’S FAVE FOUR

1. La Sopa, in the Callejon Diamante. A laid-back student-artist hangout with some of the best antojitos I’ve ever had (rivaling the old El Farol in downtown Guadalajara). It sometimes has musicians (solo guitarists for example) and is almost always packed both because the food is good and because your wallet won’t be depleted.

2. Cafe Lindo, on Primo Verdad across from the hospital. I had a wonderful comida with pollo frito a la Aguascalientes for the entree (four bucks!).

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View from the balcony at La Fonda
photo by Laura Garcia

3. La Fonda, Callejon Diamante at Enriquez, which Let’s Go correctly says has “simply the best food around.” Try for a balcony table upstairs. Within an easy (at most, five-minute) walk from the Cathedral and/or Parque Juarez, i.e. the heart of the centro historico. La Fonda is on the corner of Enriquez, the main street that runs in front of the park (on the south side of the street) and the restaurant (on the north side). It is on the corner of Enriquez and the entrance to Callejon Diamante. You simply can’t miss it. Amazingly, prices there — for the value of the food — are much lower than they would be in any city of comparable size anywhere in the world, given the location!

4. Casona del Beaterio, a couple of blocks off the main drag. An old colonial home converted into a splendid dining experience with big breakfasts and nothing on the menu higher than about $10. To get to the Casona del Beaterio from the corner of Callejon Diamante and Enriquez, head one long block east on Enriquez, cross the street and go south down Primera Verdad about three shorter blocks until you get to Zaragoza. Then turn right and walk one block to the next intersection. It’s catercorner.

The coffee shops along Primero Verdad are also delightful for a late morning or post-siesta cup of altura, good places to read or people watch, especially if you like ogling college students in animated conversations. — Jim M.

VEGETARIAN RESTAURANTS
recommended by Bret Cohen

Xalapa is loaded with good restaurants, including about six vegetarian restaurants. Here are three delicious veggie restaurants:

El Champignon
Xallitic No.20
Xalapa
(right under the old Xallitic bridge, next to the community washing wells)

Manantial de los Flores
Ursulo Galván 102
Xalapa
Veracruz, México
Teléfono: (28) 12 45 57
(on the street leading away from Parque Juarez toward where you get the buses to Coatepeque & Xico)

Madre Deus
Pino Suárez 13 Zona centro
Xalapa
Veracruz, México
Teléfono: 01 2288 817 33 15
(on a small street leading down from near Correos (Post Office))

RICH’S EVENING AT IL GIARDINO

I almost hesitate to recommend this restaurant out of fear that it might become a great success and then the owners will sell out at a hefty price and retire. Well for our sake I hope this doesn’t happen. On to the review.

Last night Il Giardino was not crowded, in fact one might say the place was virtually empty. However, it was early evening on a Thursday. Since I plan on returning on other days we’ll see how the crowd develops. One night is not enough to prove anything.

My dinner consisted of salad and pasta with a tasty tomato sauce, washed down by a nice Spanish red wine. My companion had ravioli with fish filling. The total, including four glasses of wine, came to about $35 US. Most of the pasta entrées were in the 6.50 to 8.00 range as I recall. I did not really study the entire menu, since I have found ordering pasta is a good guide to any new Italian restaurant. My pasta definitely passed the test, so I’ll
order other selections in the future with some assurance. I would say the menu offered a good range of standard fare for an Italian restaurant.

Service was excellent and portions ample. There is a large patio area and several small intimate dining areas for small parties. The atmosphere is very pleasant.

Parking may be a problem because you must park on the street. Other than that, I can see no negatives in dining at Il Giardino. — Rich

RECOMMENDATIONS BY JOHN

I like VIPS a lot, which is a kind of fusion food, but they also sell Mexican food (enchiladas, moletes, I might spell this wrong). It’s in the center.

As for a “corner joint,” follow the Calle Hidalgo in the direction of the rail track. When you have passed Parque de los Berros, keep walking and if you see to your right a small car selling Tacos al Pastor, give them a try. 🙂 (There is an internet cafe nearby.)

Just after Parque de los Berros, there is also a small restaurant selling Japanese food.

I know 1001 more places to eat but have to ask my novia for names.

BTW, I live in el centro. — John Bokma

ROY DUDLEY’S TOP TEN

There are excellent restaurants in Xalapa. Here are some:

La Casona del Beaterio
El Postodoro
La Estancia de los Tecajetes
La Casa de Mama
El Salto de Xala
Pricrecha
Ghal
La Gavia
Asadero 100
Nico’s

— Roy Dudley

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More Reasons to Visit Xalapa

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Callejon Diamante, by Laura Garcia

Just found a real gem of an article about Xalapa on one of my frequent internet trawls: Among the Jalapeños, from the Huevos Rancheros blog. A traveler discovers the beauty and vibrant cultural heart of Xalapa and reports in delicious detail the sights, sounds, and culinary treats that he experienced.

Reading this, along with Roy Dudley’s Xalapa de Mis Sueños, is bound to get you excited about visiting the City of Flowers.

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by MarieMcc
contributions by Roy Dudley, Bret Cohen, Jim Martin and John Bokma

From what we hear, there is a lot to do in Xalapa. The excitement of living in a vibrant cultural center is palpable, from the messages sent by Roy Dudley, one of our group members who lives there:

June 11, 2007

¡Hola, amigos!

Xalapa is definitely a music and cultural scene. Right now is Junio Musical 2007 and the whole month there are dozens of concerts, many free and costing at most US$40 for something that would be much higher in the States.

The jazz scene is very alive here, as well as all the other genres (classic, folklore, fandango, tango, etc.).

I have lived in Xalapa for 35 years, thankfully, and enjoy life here very much. Just this last Saturday there was an Encuentro de Arpistas (get together of harpists) at the Centro Cultural Los Lagos that cost less than US$2 and lasted from 5PM until 2 AM!!! And the “masters of masters” were there of the Son Jarocho. You would have to spend several days in Tlacotalpan February 5th at the Encuentro de Jaraneros to see so much talent of the “old guard”. ¡¡¡Fabuloso!!! — Roy

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Musicians on Calle Enriquez playing for spare change
Photo by Laura Garcia

Listen to Similar Musicians on YouTube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fu2xqkobDaA

This above video was produced by one of our members, Chris, who lives in Xalapa and writes the Ruminations of an Expatriate blog.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-SOxqH_3R4&mode=related&search= video by galijip

_______________________

More things to do in Xalapa, by Roy:

December 4, 2006

Richard and all:

Xalapa always seems to have something going on. This Saturday was absolutely filled with things happening (Friday was a holiday so Felipe Calderon could be made officially Presidente). There was a three-day event for the Italian-Mexicans at the Centro Recreativo (great food!), the Encuentro de Tunas y Estudiantinas for a callejoneada with presentations at the Agora, and two fandangos with jaraneros. Plus your other night clubs, restaurants, etc.

As I always say… you can get bored in Xalapa if you work at it! — Roy

_______________________

Bret Cohen lived in Xalapa from July, 2001 to December, 2002, and is in love with the city. He sometimes dreams of retiring there, as do a number of us in the group. Aside from its beautiful colonial hillside setting, the fact that Xalapa is a huge university town has led to there being an enormous amount of cultural activities and restaurants to enjoy there.

Below is information Bret sent about only some of these, emphasizing his preference for workshops in theater and music. The former, of course, are more geared to those who can stay for an extended period.

LEARNING SPANISH

To start, those like you that don’t know Spanish might consider the School of Foreign Students at the Universidad Veracruzana in Xalapa. http://www.uv.mx/eee.

I now read that a Spanish immersion program, the Ecole de Langue Immersion, has been set up by some French Canadians. http://www.immersion.qc.ca/english/imm_xalapa.htm

There is also a new program, called Kiosk. More information can be found on the Meet-Up site here.

PARKS

Then there are the parks. Click here for pictures & links, though the text is in Spanish. Parque Juarez, right downtown, is not especially beautiful, but it has a wonderful view of a nearby volcano, the Pico de Orizaba, and the area surrounding Xalapa. Here are some photos of the Pico de Orizaba and Cofre de Perote on John Bokma’s site. It also has a building that shows international films and has a cafe with outdoor seating and a view of the volcano.

Another member of our Grupo, Jim Martin, has also spent some time in Xalapa. Here are Jim’s impressions: “I think Parque Juarez is unique in Mexico. Not only is the the only zocalo (well, the only one *I* know of) that is built on a hillside, it contains two fascinating attractions seldom seen in cities of this size. [Bret] refers to one, the Agora, the city’s arts complex, which when I was there last had an extremely fine exhibit of regional modern art, with some works I wanted to make off with when the student guards were chatting and not looking. The other is the semi-circular row of massive sculptures on the Eastern parapet depicting — I seem to recall — the Virtues? These works are tall and powerfully rendered, the males with Shwartznegger development; the females, as muscular as Amazons. (Although I haven’t visited it yet, there’s also at the bottom of the park a small museum with works of Rivera.) You can’t see the volcano except on clear days, and even then it might be hazy.”

There is also an extinct volcano within the city itself (on the northern edge of the city), at Parque Macuiltepec (site in Spanish).

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Parque de Los Berros
photo by John Bokma

Parque de Los Berros is a lovely spot with lots of activities for children. John Bokma has more photos of it here.

Paseo de Los Lagos (“Stroll Among The Lakes”) is another park, right in the middle of the university area & down the hill from center city. There is a cultural center as you walk up from the park with lots of cultural events. There is a nice YouTube video of the lake & cultural center and a few photographs here.

Parque los Tecajetes is a beautiful spot recommended by John Bokma, who has a page of photos of it here.

UNIVERSIDAD VERACRUZANA & CULTURAL ACTIVITIES

Then there is the university itself — I mean the biggest university in town, Universidad Veracruzana. There are different “faculties” (departments) spread out around the city. Above Los Lagos, going toward Juarez Park and the city center, is the Facultad de Musica y Teatro (department of theater & music). It’s a great place to meet students. There are all sorts of events either going on there or listed in the flyers on the announcement boards there. In the surrounding stores lots of other flyers are posted announcing art, music, dance and other cultural workshops.

The theater department runs a community theater called Teatro La Caja (calle de la Pérgola s/n Zona Universitaria, Xalapa 814 8672). In addition to the showing of plays, they put on theater workshops for the Xalapa community. I watched one and also participated in an improvisational workshop there.

There is a web listing (in Spanish) of lots of cultural activities at Caftan Rojo, which includes activites throughout Veracruz, and an online tourist guide of Xalapa activities at Xalapa Tips.

There are a variety of music events and orchestras. One of my favorites is a yearly series of events in June, Festival Junio Musical Lately, they have been devoting the festival to a different country. They invite musicians from the selected country to come play. On a visit last year I saw lots of wonderful Brazilian music. In August the city of Veracruz hosts Festival Afrocaribeño – workshops, dance & music related to carribean influences.

_______________________

For those of you who are only there for a brief visit, here are a few suggestions for your itinerary:

For Your Xalapa Itinerary

xalapa-museo-ltg.jpgMuseo de Antropología

The sparkling Museo houses an amazing collection of artifacts from pre-Colombian civilizations of Veracruz. For further information, see the Museo de Antropología article on this site, recently updated.

Photo by Laura Garcia

Pinacoteca Diego Rivera

Xalapa has the largest collection of Diego Rivera paintings in Mexico at a gallery called Pinacoteca Diego Rivera near City Hall and Parque Juárez in the downtown area.

J.J. Herrera No. 5.
Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 10:00 am – 7:00 pm
Admission: free

Jardin Botanico Francisco Javier Clavijero

This 16-acre regional botanic garden is committed to the study and conservation of native flora, especially threatened and endangered species. Located 2.5 kilometers from Xalapa and 7 kilometers from Coatepec.

Km 2.5 carretera antigua a Coatepec No. 351
Congregación El Haya, Apartado Postal 63
Xalapa 91070
http://www.ecologia.edu.mx/jardin


More information on the FJC Botanic Gardens from the Botanic Gardens Conservation International.

An exchange student’s impressions on a visit to the FJC Botanic Garden.

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ADO Bus

photo by Dasha

I just checked Ticketbus.com.mx. The first bus of the day leaves at midnight and the 40-somethingth leaves at 11:00 pm. If you stick to the ADO-GL, they leave at

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6:45 am
9:00 am
1:15 pm
4:15 pm
6:10 pm
and 7:00 pm

Note that ADO-GL are the ejecutivo class busses, with fewer runs but a
lot better “sleepability.” But the regular ADO and UNO busses aren’t bad.

There are departures from the Veracruz airport. Click that as your departure terminal on the Ticketbus website.

ADO has a booth at the end of the car rental counter at the Veracruz airport. They can have the next bus through come by for you.

Contributed by sharkbait69 .

Photo by Will of Mental Wanderings.

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