Playa Escondida
A dilapidated, formerly grand, hotel and a "hidden beach",
off Catemaco - Montepio highway, 19 miles.
Visit Playa Escondida.
Parador Icacos & Playa Jicacal
A working ranch on a long desolate beach with a shabby hotel, restaurant & camping,
In  Spanish & Nahuatl "cocoplum inn" and "pumpkin beach,
Access is off the Catemaco - Montepio highway, 18 miles.
Visit the Parador Icacos and Playa Jicacal.
The coast of Catemaco stretches 12 miles along the Gulf of Mexico, Veracruz, from the escarpment of Playa Escondida to
the Carrizal river.

Most of the coastal area consists of sand dunes featuring recurrent marine turtle nests, some of which have miraculously
survived being trampled by the cattle of the surrounding ranches.

The touristically highly viable coast is largely undeveloped due to poor access roads, lack of interest by large landowners
and ineffective government. Much of the coast is for sale.

All of the coastal land is private property concentrated in mostly the ejido of Sontecomapan and the Colonia Agricola
(Agricultural Colony) of La Palma. Public access is only at La Barra.

Laguna Sontecomapan exits to the Gulf of Mexico at La Barra via a deep water channel which splits the coast into two
sections. The eastern (southern) half is only accessible with a ramshackle one boat ferry. From the ferry dock opposite La
Barra, a dirt road leads to Capulteotl and connects to a sand road leading to El Carrizal. From there a dirt road runs through
to the beaches and major towns of the Sierra Santa Marta.

Tourism in the area is accommodated by "antique" hotels in Playa Escondida and Jicacal. La Barra offers limited cabaña
style hosting and rooms for rent. Across from La Barra is the mini eco resort of Rancho Los Amigos which attracts those
wanting  "to get away from it all". The La Barra beach is littered with numerous palapa style restaurants.

Activities include eating seafood, boat tours, beach walks, bird watching, kayaking, snorkeling and eating more seafood.
related pages
north beaches
A paved highway runs from Catemaco to Sontecomapan. Much of the road is encumbered by topes (speed bumps).
From Sontecomapan the road continues north to Playa Escondia and Jicacal. There is no gas station on the way.

A few miles north of Sontecomapan, a branch road leads to La Barra. Although paved for 1 kilometer, the remaining 8
are in deplorable condition. Access to the south coast of Catemaco is only possible via a one car, boat towed ferry, or
via a very poor trail from Coxcoapan or dirt roads from the village of Arrecifes to the far south.

Because of monopolies and governmental indifference, there is no comfortable public transport from Catemaco to the
Communal pickup taxis, called piratas, leave from their north terminal in Catemaco.
From Sontecomapan, a water taxi is available for transport to La Barra
For other attractions of Catemaco, please see the menu on the top left.
For hotel and restaurant information, please see:
Catemaco  Hotels.
For in depth general information, please see: Municipio of Catemaco.
The Coast of San Andrés Tuxtla
The South Coast of Los Tuxtlas
La Panga - 100 pesos
A ramshackle one car, boat towed, ferry between La Barra & La Chorrera,
laguna side of La Barra,  22 miles from Catemaco.
Take the ferry.
La Barra de Sontecomapan
Sandspit between the Gulf of Mexico and Laguna Sontecomapan,
Access is off Catemaco - Montepio highway, exit near La Palma, 22 miles from Catemaco
Visit La Barra.
La Chorrera and Punta Los Morritos
Mexican Spanish "place with a lot of water" and "small rocky hills"
Only functional access is via boat or ferry from La Barra.
Capulteotl or Capulteolt
Cattle country with a long beach. In Nahuatl "God's village".
Turtle sanctuary and intermittent restaurant, 1 mile from La Barra
More details mañana.
El Carrizal
Working ranch at the junction of the Carrizal river and the Gulf
Good for river and surf swimming,  river boat tour possible, about 5 miles from La Barra along sand trail
More details mañana.
La Barra
south beaches
Rancho Los Amigos
A small ecology and spiritual value oriented mini resort only accessible by boat.
Great place to "get away from it all", or just enjoy a great lunch and magnificent views from its hill.
Visit the Rancho
The beaches of Catemaco
Laguna Sontecomapan
Laguna Catemaco is a coastal lagoon at the edge of the Gulf of Mexico near the city of Catemaco in southern Veracruz.
The estuary is fed primarily by rivers descending from the Sierra Santa Marta to the south.

Its surrounding wetlands, sand dunes and forests contain one of the last well preserved growths
of 3 of the 4 species of mangroves in Mexico, many species of orchids, and bushes and trees never seen north
of the Texan Border.

Nationally protected or threatened fauna includes the Mexican protected Black Hawks, Uniform Crakes, Bare-throated
Herons and Muscovy Ducks,  Howler Monkeys and Neotropical Otters. Also Moreletti's crocodiles, green iguanas,
snapping, mud and slider turtles, Blue and other crabs, several endemic fishes and snails galore.

The laguna is small, about 3 1/2 square miles, and mostly less than 7 feet deep, except for a deep channel at its entrance.
▼ a Catemaco
Poza de los Enanos
Spring fed swimming hole
north end of Sontecomapan, 11+ miles from Catemaco
Visit la  Poza.
Los Manglares
University of Veracruz mangrove reserve,
edges of Laguna Sontecomapan, accessible via boat from embarcadero, 11 miles from Catemaco
Take a boat ride through the mangroves.
Mojarra Chilanga
Commercial fish farm, serving the fresh fish of course,
before entering Sontecomapan, turnoff to east, 10 miles from Catemaco
Boat docks and "Port of Catemaco". Transportation hub for southern coastal communities that ship their products
to Catemaco, including boat loads of cheese.
North end of Sontecomapan, 11 miles from Catemaco.
Las Cabañas
ecotourism facilty, designed for groups
north of Sontecomapan,  11.6 miles from Catemaco
Visit Las Cabañas
Water Taxi
rental boat between Sontecomapan & La Barra
docks at embarcadero,  11 miles from Catemaco
Ride the taxi.
Poza Negra
Small waterfall and river rapids along a heavily wooded river.
Near Sontecomapan, 15 km de Catemaco
See a slideshow.
Laguna Sontecomapan
& the Coast of Catemaco