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!