|How to get to Catemaco
|The road from Veracruz to Catemaco and onward to Villahermosa is in "fair" shape (Nov. 10). Because of fiscal restraints
and political allocations, road maintenance is unpredictable.
This is seriously noticeable on secondary paved roads. One month the road is a pleasure to drive. The next month it is a
potholed nightmare. Graded dirt roads are even worse. At all times graded roads are advisable to be driven only in high lift
vehicles, like pickups and SUV's. The key word is "advisable". You´ll be seeing little Nissan pickups with seats in the back,
called "piratas", which are used as minibuses, racing along most roads. A standard passenger vehicle will usually handle
most roads. Just be careful of jutting rocks. Many an oil pan gave up its life here.
Aside from the regularly graded dirt roads, there are other roads, usually not marked on maps but known to locals and
usually advisable to be travelled only by 4x4's because of their mostly hilly locations and rutted conditions.
Los Tuxtlas highways are infested with Topes (speed bumps) which are usually well marked and are an effective tool to
decrease driving speed. They are also ideal places for local inhabitants to provide drive-by refreshment stands and solicit
donations for many deserving charities, especially individual ones. Unmarked topes are alleged to be the source of much of
the income of Mexican auto repair stations and chiropractors specializing in compacted necks.
Be extraordinarily careful when traveling after a heavy rain! Washouts are frequent! That includes the federal carretera.
Stay off unmarked dirt roads completely until at least some dry days have passed!
If you are already here, try some road trips to get to know the area better. There are some wonderful country roads in Los
|There are many exciting ways arrive in Catemaco and Los Tuxtlas.
|Nearby San Andrés Tuxtla has more connections
|Direct service is available from Mexico City, Veracruz, Minatitlan and a few other cities. There are only overnight buses direct
from Mexico City. Day travelers need to change in Veracruz.
San Andrés has a little better bus connections than Catemaco and is only 20 minutes away by bus (6.50 pesos) or private taxi
These schedules are from 2008 and have not changed much except prices are up 10%.
See the bus schedules here.
|Anytime is a good idea.
The weather is generally benign, averaging 76F year round. The coolest month is January averaging
76 degrees, and May is the hottest averaging 86 degrees. Nevertheless sometimes it feels like Alaska,
and sometimes like the Sahara desert.
Rain is seasonal. November to May gets 2 inches per month, and June to October averages 11 inches
per month. Strong tropical storms are a rarity. When they do occur, expect to be deluged by a foot of
rain in a day and lasting several days.
Read more about the Weather.
|The only navigable port is Balzapote with no facilities aside from anchorage. Further shallow draft
access is in Laguna Sontecomapan and Laguna del Ostion.
Rio San Juan is navigable by shallow draft, low mast vessels to within 20 km of San Andrés Tuxtla
through the port of Alvarado. And if you honk long enough, a taxi will probably show up to take you
I recently met a crew that had paddled from New Orleans in a sea kayak who said the coast was
|A historic landing field in San Andrés Tuxtla is just that. History! There is talk of rebuilding it, though.
Meanwhile the governor gets here by helicopter. I wish I could afford that.
The closest airports are Minatitlan/Coatzacoalcos and Veracruz, app 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours drive
away. Veracruz has direct connections to Mexico City, Houston, Cancun and Monterrey. Minatitlan
connects to Mexico City and is trying to connect to Houston.
See area airports.
|Taxis are so inexpensive, that sometimes it pays to take a taxi from Veracruz airport for maybe
1500 pesos for a 3 hour ride for 3 regular or 4 skinny people.
As far as I know, there is no scheduled small charter bus service to Los Tuxtlas. But there are
There also are no car rentals in Los Tuxtlas.
Federal #180 running from Texas to the Yucatan passes through Catemaco and connects to the
Mexico City highway at Veracruz.
Federal #179 connects to #180 in Santiago Tuxtla and connects to the autopista near Isla.
Unnamed Loop Road - leaves 180 at El Tropico, before Santiago, then passes along the coast via
Montepio and returns to 180 at Catemaco.
The autopista running from Texas/Veracruz to Villahermosa/Yucatan can be accessed:
from the north, via #179 at Isla, (1 1/4 hour away).
from the south, via #180 at Acayucan (1 1/2 hours away).
|classes from luxury, to first class, to second class, and to very low cost chicken buses serving
At present, first class drops you on the Malecon in Catemaco. Second class buses stop on the
carretera, a mile away. Frequent inter county buses leave from near the center of the city.
See the bus schedule on the bottom.