What You Need To Know
Veracruz officially known as Heroica Veracruz, is a major port city and municipality on the Gulf of Mexico in the Mexican state of Veracruz. The city is located along the coast in the central part of the state, 90 km (56 mi) southeast of the state capital Xalapa along Federal Highway 140.
It is the state’s most populous city, with a population that is greater than the municipality’s population, as part of the city of Veracruz extends into the neighboring Boca del Río Municipality.
Veracruz is bordered by the states of Tamaulipas to the north, San Luis Potosí and Hidalgo to the west, Puebla to the southwest, Oaxaca and Chiapas to the south, and Tabasco to the southeast. On its east, Veracruz has a significant share of the coastline of the Gulf of Mexico.
Population: 428 323(2010)
Area: 78,815 km2
The Mexican peso (MXN), the national currency, is accepted throughout San Miguel. One peso is equal to about $0.075 USD. Visitors can exchange international currency at the Casa de Cambio (currency exchange office).
Like the majority of the coastal part of Veracruz State and southern parts of Tamaulipas, the city of Veracruz has a tropical savanna climate (Koppen Aw). The wet season typically lasts from June to October, when a vast majority of the yearly precipitation falls. Large tropical thunderstorms occur nearly daily in the late afternoon, originating in the moist atmosphere above the Gulf of Mexico. The wet season has slightly hotter temperatures and is more humid than other seasons; the dewpoint can easily exceed 25 °C (77.0 °F). It has fewer foggy days than the dry season (averaging around 4-7 foggy days). The dry season of the year spans from November to May, with slightly cooler temperatures and less humid days; making it the much more desirable part of the year for visiting tourists as opposed to the stormy, humid wet season. Despite the dryness, winters are foggy and cloudy, averaging 10-17 overcast days and 11-17 foggy days per month during the dry season. Many tourists visit Veracruz during Christmas and March break, in the midst of the winter’s comfortably warm dry season.
Veracruz receives an average of 1,564 mm (61.6 in) of precipitation annually. The wettest month of the year is July with an average monthly total of 385 mm (15.2 in) of rainfall, while the driest month of the year is March with an only 13 mm (0.51 in) of rainfall. Temperature-wise, the hottest months of the year are June and August, both sharing mean temperatures of 28 °C (82.4 °F), while the coolest month of the year is January with a mean temperature of 21.2 °C (70.2 °F).
Spanish is spoken in Veracruz
Veracruz has one of Mexico’s leading economies, based on agriculture and petroleum. Using relatively recent night light data and electricity consumption in comparison with Gross County Product, the informal sector of the local economy in Veracruz state is shown to have grown during the period of the Fox Administration though the regional government remained PRI. The assumption that the informal economy of Mexico is a constant 30% of total economic activity is not supported at the local level. The small amount of local spatial autocorrelation that was found suggests a few clusters of high and low literacy rates amongst municipios in Veracruz but not enough to warrant including an I-statistic as a regressor. Global spatial autocorrelation is found especially literacy at the macro-regional level which is an area for further research beyond this study. Improved literacy bolsters both the informal and formal economies in Veracruz indicating policies designed to further literacy are vital for growing the regional economy. While indigenous people are relatively poor, little evidence was found that the informal economy is a higher percentage of total economic activity in a municipio with a high share of indigenous people. While the formal economy might have been expanding relative to the informal economy in 2000, by 2006 this process had been reversed with growing informality. While rural municipios have smaller economies, they are not different than urban municipios in the share of the economy that is informal. Programs in the past that might move economic activity from the informal to the formal sector have not succeeded suggesting public finance issues such as tax evasion will continue to plague the state with low government revenues.
The Universidad Veracruzana was established in 1944. It was created by joining a number of professional and higher education establishments together. It is now the main center of higher education in the state of Veracruz, with five campuses and twenty-two satellite locations in the state. The student population is approximately 70,000, offering degrees in sixty different fields.
Veracruz Institute of Technology was founded in 1946 by Ismael Lagunes Lastra. It started out as the School of Arts and Letters, with a mission to train students for the jobs associated with the developing port and industrial base of the city. It started teaching students at the secondary and high school level, later adding bachelor’s degree programs. In 1952, the school received a grant of lands by the federal and state governments to expand. Technical programs were added in the 1960s and have become the main part of the school’s work, Veracruz Institute of Technology is famous due to its bachelor of engineering in biochemical engineering, masters and PhD about food science and biochemical engineering.
Private universities include Cristóbal Colón University, mainly dedicated to architecture and administration. UNIMEX was founded in 1991 and focuses on marketing, graphic design and law.
Although Veracruz was once a safe haven from drug related crime prevalent in Northern Mexico, as of 2011 violence is steadily increasing and the region is among the most dangerous in the world for journalists. That being said, Veracruz is as safe as any large city (USA or otherwise) if you use common sense: don’t walk around non-main streets late at night, especially if you’ve been drinking; don’t flash or carry large amounts of cash; and if in doubt, always take cabs late at night, they are safe and cheap. Use good travel sense. If you don’t go looking for the drug culture, you are safe from it as a tourist or local.
Taxis: Taxis are very inexpensive. A journey costs between 2.50 and 5.00 USD according to the your zone destination. Passengers are advised to agree to the cost before entering a taxi.
Taxis to other cities: There are always taxis in front of the bus station hawking transportation to Xalapa, Cordoba and other cities near Veracruz. Yes they are safe, BUT, they are expensive. Check at the bus station ticket counter for the next bus to your destination and save your self $50-100 dollars US. There are some really good and cheap local-style restaurants across the street from the station (toward town center) if you have to wait an hour or so. Depending on the time of day, there is also a large outdoor flower market that is worth a walk through.
Walking: The cheaper way to know the city is walking in the downtown and after that walk to the “Malecon” where several boats, historical buildings as well as tourist facilities and stores are located.
By bus: One very interesting possibility is to take the Bus “Boca del Rio”, its path almost goes across the Boulevard of the City to the downtown of “Boca del Rio”, a city joined with Veracruz that has better hotels, modern building and beaches. Almost all the other public buses are not recommended for tourists because they are old, in bad condition, often very crowded and the paths are not easily understandable for new people in the city.
Veracruz’s brightly painted US school buses are used for city buses. Fares are M$ 9 pesos. Here it helps if you can speak at least a little Spanish and/or have your destination written down to show the driver if you are unsure.