|Catemaco is a municipio (municipality or county and city) in east central Mexico, in the southeast of the state of
Veracruz, along the Gulf of Mexico, in the center of the Sierra de Los Tuxtlas, app. 100 miles south of
The county occupies the valleys of Lake Catemaco and Laguna Sontecomapan and is hemmed to the west by
the slopes of Volcano San Martin Tuxtla, to the east by the slopes of the Sierra Santa Marta and to the north
by the Gulf of Mexico.
Aside from the large central lake, the coastal lagoon and 3 smaller lakes, dozens of small streams, riddled with
rapids and waterfalls crisscross the landscape.
|The Catemaco economy enjoys a rich mix of tourism, cattle ranching and agriculture, but the municipio is considered one of the
poorer counties of Veracruz and Mexico.
The local economy is dominated by the neighboring city of San Andrés Tuxtlas, which houses major stores and major government
|The City of Catemaco
|The climate is subtropical, averaging 76f year round.
The hottest month is May, averaging 89f high temperatures,
and January is the coolest, averaging 69f low temperatures.
Most rainfall occurs July to October. Average rain per month is
6.8 inches during those months, but can reach up to a foot of
rain in a day during tropical storms.
A small Virgin statue of supposedly miraculous origin housed in
an impressive basilica annually attracts 10´s of thousands of
pilgrims seeking the Virgin's miracles.
The undeveloped 11 miles of coastal area features the village of
La Barra. The most popular attractions are islands stocked with
monkeys in Laguna Catemaco.
|The town occupies about 2 miles along Laguna Catemaco from the edge of the Rio Grande to Playa Espagoya,
and reaches inland to the slopes of the volcanic hills Mono Blanco and Nixtamalapan.
Officially recognized as a village in 1823 with a population of 1,100, the town now claims more than 26,000 inhabitants
(2005) who live in app. 6,400 mostly small houses on tiny lots.
The first paved highway reached Catemaco in 1953 and by 2000 the population had increased almost 500%. In 1966 the
town was officially declared Ciudad de Catemaco (city of Catemaco).
Catemaco's best known physical attractions are the Basilica del Carmen, El Tegal and the Malecon (board walk).
El Tegal is a cave on the Laguna shore a short walk north of the city and serves as a religious shrine. The Basilica has
its roots in a construction from 1799, but was only terminated in its current shape in 1961?. The Malecon (boardwalk)
was completed in 1999 and has not been maintained since.
Catemaco's saving grace is its border with the Laguna and its sloping terrain which permits vistas of the surrounding
volcanic hills. Most of the downtown streets are paved and in deplorable conditions. Most of the strets in the hills are not
The city is economically challenged and development is stagnant. More than half of its people receive federal, state and
|Catemaco's population was 46,702 inhabitants according to the 2005 census, including more than 500 native
The ony large town is the count seat, also named Catemaco, with 26,141 inhabitants, followed by
Sontecomapan (2,374) and La Victoria (1,804), plus another 10 communities with more than 500 inhabitants.
Population density is 66/km2, and growth is positive: 1995 (44,321), 2005 (46,702).
Illiteracy runs 22%, and on the poverty scale the municipio ranks at 1302 out of 2454.
App. 4,100 families received 39 million pesos in 2008 of "Oportunidades" welfare funds.
69.2% of employed workers earned less than 2 minimum wages in 2005.
The 2008 municipal budget was 74.8 million pesos, 1602 pesos per inhabitant.
The municipio occupies 711 km², of which 242 km² are in 30 ejidos or agricultural cooperatives,
which have 2500 owners of whom only 252 are women.
154 km² are dedicated to livestock, 2.7 million liters of milk were produced, 271 tons of eggs were laid
and 4761 cattle were sent for slaughter in 2007.
Agriculture on 48 km² harvests mostly corn, coffee and some oranges.
Catemaco has a 163 km road net and as of 2007, 4098 vehicles were registered, plus 15,700 horses.
Central coordinates are 18° 25′ 00″ N, 95° 07′ 00″ W., and the central altitude is 340 m.
The highest elevation is probably around 1600 m. The coast is 18 km long.
Most of the northern and eastern part of the county is part of the Biosphere Reserve of Los Tuxtlas.
All of Catemaco is considered part of the Sierra de Los Tuxtlas.
|More than half of the county's 275 square miles are protected
by the, mostly in name only, Los Tuxtlas Biosphere Reserve.
Archaeological finds indicate historical occupation in the
county before 0 BC. A civilization influenced by the
Teotihuacan empire has been documented in the area,
with a settlement of perhaps 50,000 in Matacapan between San
Andrés Tuxtla and Catemaco.
The first hispanic mention of "Acatemaco" as a landholding of
Santiago Tuxtla occurred in 1580. Officially Catemaco was
founded in 1774.
|some basic data
|The municipio borders:
North: Gulf of México
South: Soteapan and Hueyapan
West: San Andrés Tuxtla
|articles related to Catemaco
|There is no English publication about Catemaco or Los Tuxtlas. In Spanish, the selection is also very limited.
Tuxtlas". A very good read. Another out of print, book, "Los Tuxtlas", has an in depth review of the city.
The library of Catemaco has almost no local references. San Andres Tuxtla, though, recently received the donation of a
private collection of almost anything published on Los Tuxtlas, almost all in Spanish.
Catemaco unfortunately lost its history! During the civil war accompanying the Mexican revolution, one faction occupied
the city and burned down the city hall with all documentation.
Google lists 628,000 (August 2010) references for Catemaco, of which 569,000 are in Spanish and a whopping
61,800 are in English - while the much bigger and economically more important city of San Andres Tuxtla rates 400,000
references but only about 34,200 in English.
161,000 references for Catemaco, of which 96,600 were in Spanish and a comparatively enormous 47,800 were in
One would think that Catemaco festers with English speakers. But far from it. All the non - Mexicans (gringos) in
Catemaco would not even fill one of the smaller restaurants on the Malecon, and their touristy faces are almost invisible
among the Mexican hordes.
Interestingly of those 628,000 Google references, 190,000 include brujos but only about 700 mentioned brujo in 2006.
The following 50 pages are designed for residents of Catemaco, or those with more than a casual
interest in the area. Casual visitors are better informed to browse the Tourism pages of:
The City of Catemaco
The Coast of Catemaco
|There is significantly more information available in