Your day trip from Veracruz starts with hotel pickup by minivan for the 85-mile (140-km) drive down the coast to your first stop of the day — the town of Santiago Tuxtla.
When you arrive, visit the cultural museum and see the Olmec head, one of the town’s main attractions. The Olmecs — one of Mexico’s first civilizations — were known for their colossal heads, huge sculptures made from single boulders of volcanic basalt from the Tuxtlas Mountains. Less than 20 heads currently exist, so enjoy this chance to see such a rare piece of culture.
Return to your minivan for the 9-mile (14-km) drive to San Andrés Tuxtla, another town in the Tuxtlas region. Here, experience a different piece of Mexican culture — the world of cigars! With your guide, visit a tobacco plantation and a cigar factory to find out how the products are made, from plant to packaging.
Then it’s on to your next location, Catemaco, with a brief stop along the way at Salto de Eyipantla, a thundering waterfall that’s more than 100 feet (30 meters) wide. It has been featured in several films and commercials, including Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto.
Approximately 7 miles (12 km) down the road, you’ll reach Catemaco, the town on the shores of the lake of the same name (Laguna Catemaco). When you arrive, soak up the natural beauty of the town, admiring its prime location between the lake and lush volcanic mountains. You'll also make a lunch stop in Catemaco (own expense).
With your guide, head to Nanciyaga, a nature park on Catemaco Lake, within Los Tuxtlas Biosphere Reserve. Take a walk along the rainforest paths, keeping your eyes peeled for birds and other native animals.
After your walk, hop back in the minivan one last time for the drive back to Veracruz.