African Roots Tour in Veracruz México
Discover the Many African Influences in the State of Veracruz – From the Spanish Conquest until Present Day
7 Day México History Tour
(includes day of arrival & departure)
from $1995 /adult • $1695 /child (10-17) + air
Single Supplement +$300
This tour has been designed for those who would have an interest in learning about the history of Africans in México and how they influenced its culture, especially in the state of Veracruz.
On this fun and informative African Roots in Veracruz México tour, we’ll journey to the gulf coast state of Veracruz to learn about the history of the African people and how they contributed immensely to the Mexican culture as it relates to food, dance, music, and politics.
We’ll also have the opportunity to visit and talk with Afro-Mexicans who live in a small rural pueblo near to the city of Veracruz. One of the families there will host our group for a simple lunch at their home.
On one of the evenings, our historian guide will give a presentation called, The 3rd Root – African Presence in México.
Quick History Lesson
After the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire in the early 1500s, African and Caribbean enslaved people were brought by ship to the port of Veracruz by the Spaniards who named this new land, Nueva España (New Spain).
These enslaved people were forced to work on the Spanish plantations and in other capacities. We will learn about the lives of these people, how they fared in this new land, where they were forced to work, and how they left their mark on this gulf coast region of México.
Join us for this informative tour we call, African Roots in Veracruz, México.
• Meet Afro-Mexicans in their Rural Town
• Lunch at a Family’s Home
• First Free Black Town in the Americas
• Learn how Africans Influenced this Region
• Xalapa Anthropology Museum
• City Tour of Veracruz
• Veracruz Coffee Growing Region
**2023 Tour Dates
Feb 4-Feb 10 (Sa-Fr)
Mar 18-Mar 24 (Sa-Fr)
Jun 17-Jun 23 (Sa-Fr)
Sep 9-Sep 15 (Sa-Fr)
$1995 per adult - double
$1695 per child (10-17 yrs)
Attn: Educators, History Buffs & Travel Organizers
Put together a private group of 10-16 people and your tour package is free! (airfare not included).
We can provide you with advertising materials for promotional use.
If you have alternative dates in mind for your group other than those advertised, contact us and we can check availability.
* Includes day of arrival & departure.
** Prices in USD. Air not included in tour price
DAY 1: Welcome to Veracruz
After arriving at the Veracruz International Airport, secure an airport taxi to the hotel in the center of the city. The rest of the day or evening is free to explore and/or rest up from your flight. We will sleep here for 4 nights.
DAY 2: Yanga, Museum, Ex-hacienda (B,L)
After breakfast at one of the oldest iconic restaurants in the port city of Veracruz, we will begin our exploration of African history by traveling to the town of Yanga which is known for being the first freed slave settlement in the Americas. Located less than 1½ hours from Veracruz, this small village was named after a renegade enslaved man by the name of Gaspar Yanga. He is known for being the leader of colonial México’s first slave uprising. It is here we'll visit a small museum which has some excellent murals representing the plight of the Africans and view the statue honoring this man for his heroism as a liberator.
Lunch will be at a local restaurant which specializes in tasty barbeque pork and chicken. After the meal, we'll explore the nearby ruins site of an ex-hacienda. At one time this was the home of the owners of a sugar cane growing operation. On these grounds, we will have the opportunity to see where their captive workers were housed and learn of how they were treated by the owners. On the way to this ruins site, our group will make a quick stop to visit a small Catholic chapel which dates back hundreds of years.
Afterwards, we'll then travel back to the city of Veracruz where we can enjoy the evening to explore, relax, and find a nice place for dinner. (B,L)
DAY 3: Harbor Fortress, Shopping, Lake Wildlife Tour (B,L)
This morning we'll go for a short ride to explore the harbor fortress called, San Juan de Ulúa. It took several hundred years to complete and is unique in that coral was used as a main material to construct the very thick walls of this massive structure. Our guide will explain to us the history of this fortress as a defender for the city of Veracruz and later how it was used as a prison. Many African enslaved people worked on building this massive structure.
Ok, who likes to shop? Next on our itinerary will be some time to browse the many shops and artisan market found near the downtown area of Veracruz city.
Next, we'll board our tour vehicle to take a ride down the avenue which parallels the Gulf of México as we head south to the town of Mandinga. This was the location of one of the first villages for the enslaved Africans. Along the way, our host guide will point out some of the major sites in Veracruz and its sister city, Boca del Rio.
Lunch will be at a traditional restaurant in Mandinga which is adjacent to a huge lake that flows into the ocean. Most likely during lunch, we'll be serenaded by some of the local musicians with traditional music from Veracruz.
When everyone is finished, only steps from our table, we'll board a small motor launch for a tour on the lake. This is an opportunity to enjoy the warm tropical climate, view the interesting gnarled roots from mangrove trees, and spot many local tropical birds.
Later, we'll return to our hotel in the port city for an evening to do as we please.
DAY 4: Matamba, Meet Local Afro-Mexicans (B,L)
Today we will experience a most unique cultural interaction. In México, there are cities, towns, and small pueblos. This morning we will be going to a place which is even smaller than a Pueblo. They are called, Rancerias. Think small rural settlement or village.
With the African name, Matamba (named after a large fig tree found in Africa), this out-of-the-way Ranceria is located just a little over an hour away from the city of Veracruz. Here we'll have the privilege to meet some local Afro-Mexicans. Through our interpreter host guide, we'll be able to carry on conversations with them and hear the story of their family history, their celebrations, as well as their challenges in being officially recognized in Mexican society. We will also be invited to partake in a simple lunch prepared by our hosts.
After saying our good-byes, we'll continue on to explore a small history museum with old photos and many “nostalgic items.” As a side note, sometimes this museum is closed. We'll keep our fingers crossed that it will be open on this day.
In the late afternoon, our group will head back to our hotel in the port city and have the evening free to relax and enjoy dinner on our own.
DAY 5: Ex-Hacienda, Anthropology Museum, Evening Presentation (B,L)
After breakfast this morning, we'll check out of our hotel and travel inland to the capital of the state of Veracruz, the city of Xalapa. This city is at a higher altitude (about 3000’) and so it may be a little cooler as compared to the temperatures found on the gulf coast.
Our first stop will actually be before we reach the capital city. There is a beautiful restored 16th century hacienda - Hacienda El Lencero with gardens, a reflection pool, and even a fair-sized chapel. Inside the house, we can view the colonial furnishings which were mostly brought over from Europe. For a time, this house was occupied by Antonio Lopéz de Santa Anna. You might remember him as the general who lead the Mexican army against the men who fought at the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas. He was also the president of México for many years.
Then we'll continue on to the Xalapa Anthropology Museum. This very modern historical museum showcases almost 30 centuries of art and history. The most prominent are the original stone heads sculpted by the oldest known civilization in the Americas; the Olmecs. Their facial features have a striking resemblance to faces of those who live in Africa.
Lunch is next on the agenda at a typical restaurant in the city. We will then check into a local hotel for 1 night. Dinner will be on our own.
Later in the evening, everyone will congregate to see a presentation by our historian guide entitled, The 3rd Root – African Presence in México. Through a slide presentation of old colonial paintings and modern day photos, he will talk about the contributions Africans have made to the Méxican culture from the time they arrived on slave ships until present day. He will also tell of their joys and hardships from living in México.
DAY 6: Traditional Breakfast, Coatepec, Farewell Dinner (B,L,D)
The first thing this morning will be to check out of our hotel and then travel a short 15 minutes to another beautiful ex-hacienda, Hacienda Zimpizahua. This place was built in the mid 1500’s and has a mix of old buildings and lush tropical vegetation. Interestingly, there is a huge century's old aqueduct with a big water wheel which is still operational to this day.
On this morning, we can all pretend we are the owner of this huge estate as we will be served a traditional Mexican breakfast (family-style). Sitting outside at a table in the main courtyard, we'll have the opportunity to experience how the original owners of this beautiful hacienda were served breakfast each morning.
After a short tour of the property, our group will travel to the pre-Hispanic Pueblo Mágico town of Coatepec. This town is known for its coffee shops as this it is considered The Coffee Capital of Veracruz. This area is in a higher elevation in what is called a cloud forest and has all the natural attributes for growing coffee. We'll have time to walk around the town square visiting the many boutique shops. And of course, we will encounter plenty of cafes for that serve the locally-grown coffee.
For lunch, we'll head to La Finca Santa Rosa Restaurant which has an excellent birds-eye view of the Texolo (Tey-show-low) waterfalls. It was showcased in the classic movie, Romancing the Stone with Kathleen Turner & Michael Douglas.
After lunch and after taking many scenic photos, we'll head back to the city of Veracruz and check in at the same hotel in the city for 1 night.
Later in the evening, we'll all get together for a farewell dinner to enjoy our final night of Mexican hospitality and to share memories of our Journey into the Afro-México History.
DAY 7: End of Tour
Travel day home from the Veracruz Airport or to our next travel destination.
Please Note: Because we are networking with local people during this tour, this itinerary may be subject to some changes based on their availability to meet us at the time of your tour. This is especially true with our visit to Matamba. We always do our best to keep this itinerary the same. However, sometimes last minute conflicts occur with the family we visit and they are not able to accommodate us. If this were to happen at the time of your tour, we will do our best to provide an alternate plan for that tour day.
Tour Price Includes:
• 7 day / 6 night guided tour (includes day of arrival & departure)
• Small group tour size of up to 16 travelers
• All ground transportation during guided tour days
• All activities as listed in the itinerary
• All entrance fees
• 6 nights of hotel lodgings
• 5 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 1 dinner
• All tips for all your guides & driver
Additional activities & meals not listed above
Trip interruption insurance
Group activities listed are subject to change.
Activity Level: Easy-Moderate
Maximum Group Size: 16
Suggested Minimum Age: 10 years
Arrival & Departure Cities: Veracruz (VER) / Veracruz (VER)
Deposit: $350 USD per person
A Reminder -
There is no need to fret over how much to tip and of having the right amount of Mexican Pesos at the end of your tour.
We take care of the tips for all specialty guides as well as your main host guide and driver.
If you would like to stay a few more days either before or after your tour with us and would like some assistance in making those plans, contact us.
We can design an independent travel experience based on what you would like to see and do. We can help you to arrange for local transportation, accommodations, and set you up with a local guide.