Apr 30, 2010

Hotel del Brujo, Catemaco

Possibly the most famous brujo today in beautiful downtown Catemaco, was not a brujo.
Julian Moreno Benitez, nicknamed "El Brujo" parlayed boat engine repair, spare parts and an inheritance into building one of the first hotels on the Malecón overlooking the Catemaco Laguna.

When the Malecón was modernized, one of the 6 plazas jutting into Laguna Catemaco was named "Plazuela del Brujo", to honor him. When he died in 2004, the city permitted the erection of a small bust of  "El Brujo" sitting in a boat on that plaza.

His Hotel del Brujo now has 14 rooms, some with air conditioning, but has no on site parking. Four of the rooms face the Laguna and feature great views of the lake. Room decor is minimal but adequate, and area maintenance is excellent. Rates are seasonal, ranging from 250 to 600 pesos.

The hotel was for sale for several years and is currently being managed by a leaseholder, who is not one of my favorite people. The location on the Malecon is one of the best in Catemaco. Unfortunately on the weekends the area is the center of raunchiness in Catemaco, and will require closed windows and AC to get a good night's sleep.

One of the hotel's best feature is the views of Catemaco from its rooftop.
Calle Melchor Ocampo y Malecón.
Tel: (294) 943-0071
Tel: (294) 943-1205
no website, no email

Apr 25, 2010

Catemaco Dollars

Hopefully you are one of the rich gringos or drug lords travelling with stacks of 100 dollar bills.
A new 100 dollar bill was recently introduced. My experience in beautiful downtown Catemaco and the rest of Mexico has been that money changers and banks refuse to accept old bills. I imagine within a few months that will include anything except the new C note.

Apr 17, 2010

Catemaco Trip Log

I found this log in the largest exchange library in southern Mexico (without the Yucatan), at the Tepetapan Trailer Park in beautiful outside Catemaco.

The mileage is correct, but the facts are a little dated, nevertheless the log will help you to enjoy the few hours to get here from Veracruz.

click to enlarge

Sontecomapan, Catemaco

Yesterday was one of those beautiful days in Catemaco that make up for the occasional spells of bad weather. So I decided to visit the port of Sontecomapan to see what´s new and eat some fresh fish.

See the new hotel, swing through the trees like tarzan and shuck some oysters at:

Apr 10, 2010

Catemaco tourism handicaps

Tourism to Catemaco is intertwined with tourism to Veracruz City, 3+ hours away. The majority of several million annual tourists arrive to that city via the toll road from Mexico City.

The completion of the Mexico City to Tuxpam (on the coast) toll road next year will impact Veracruz City tourism, and consequently Catemaco.

In the past, Catemaco has been impacted by the cuota (toll road) from La Tinaja (outside Veracruz City) to Villahermosa, bypassing Los Tuxtlas entirely, except for a "highway from hell" access road from the cuota near Isla to Santiago Tuxtla.

A few years ago, the main north to south highway 180, connecting Catemaco to the rest of Mexico, received a loop road along the Gulf of Mexico, directly to Montepio, which was previously a major destination for visitors that had to pass through Catemaco to get there.

In the planning stages are a road from San Andrés Tuxtla to the Gulf beaches, which will bypass the city of  Catemaco. Additionally, in the talking stages is an extension of the Gulf road from Montepio to Coatzacoalcos, again bypassing the city of Catemaco.

Access from the south of Mexico to Catemaco is via the cuota at Acayucan, 75 minutes away, and reserved for mind readers because of its terrible road signage. The free road is often so heavily trafficked that walking could be faster.

Lately a politician promised a new toll road  from the cuota to San Andrés Tuxtla. Another current political candidate promises to convert the existing two lanes through Los Tuxtlas into a four lane highway..

At present the highway from Veracruz City to Catemaco is a nightmare of 150 topes, exacerbated by the heavily trafficed two lane road through the towns of Santiago Tuxtla and San Andrés Tuxtla.
Thus, a 100 mile road trip, easily converts into a four hour drive.

A long promised local airport is still a pipe dream, and the idea of opening a functional cruise port on the Tuxtlas gulf coast is on the verge of drowning.

And of course the current governor who uses his helicopter to occasionally visit here, and who has a penchant for flying all over the US in his personal jet, is now politicking to become the next president of Mexico, based on his record of "achievements". Yup! And pigs fly!