The Coast of Catemaco
The South Coast of Los Tuxtlas
|The north coast of Los Tuxtlas stretches roughly 30 km from Punta Puntilla in the municipios of Angel R. Cabada to
Punta Escondida in Catemaco.
The coast areas are the former hunting grounds of Los Tuxtlas from the early 20th century but are now heavily
deforested and have been turned into cattle ranches with magnificent gulf views. Most of the property is privately
owned and consists of very large parcels, many of which are for sale.
Most of the north coast has spectacular gulf frontage with rising cliffs, a lighthouse, accessible soft beaches and even
an island paradise for sea birds.
Almost inaccessible until the opening of a paved road from Catemaco to Montepio in 2007 and the completion of the
access road from El Tropico to the north of Santiago Tuxtla, the area is now relatively easy to visit.
Except during the high holidays of Mexico, when any square foot on the beach is at a premium, the entire shore is
usually desolate and astoundingly beautiful. Tourism is just coming out of the stone age, and except for Montepio,
consists of a assorted palapas serving fresh caught fish and shack type "ecotouristic" facilities which seem to be
multiplying each year.
This is the furthest northern beach in the county of Angel R. Cabada. It is isolated from the rest of the north Tuxtlas
beaches by entering a recently partially paved one way road just north of La Nueva Victoria.
There are no facilities in the pueblo of less than 50, but the beaches are clean, and swimming and camping are on the menu.
Read about Angel R. Cabada.
|Salinas and Toro Prieto
Salinas is the largest pueblo on the coast (735 in 2005), and together with its suburb of Toro Prieto feature some
extraordinarily craggy beaches and 2 shallow streams which make for great diving and snorkeling.
At present there are only a few guest houses and lots of palapas during the season. Toro Prieto serves as a staging area
for boat rentals to Isla Terrón and Roca Partida. The town of Salinas is encumbered by several abandoned structures along
the gulf shore, which is surprising, because visually the area is one of the most attractive on the Gulf.
See more photos of Salinas and Toro Prieto.
|Roca Partida and Isla Terrón
These are the crown jewels of the Los Tuxtlas coast. Isla Terrón is an unpopulated and undeclared bird sanctuary that
supposedly at one time housed local prisoners. Roca Partida is famous for a deep cave that allegedly attracted pirate
treasures, and which nowadays attract rappelling enthusiasts.
Both are best explored by renting a boat in either Toro Prieto or Arroyo de Lisa.
There is now a compound of cabins on the southern end of Roca Partida.
See more photos of Roca Partida.
Visit Isla Terrón.
|Arroyo de Lisa and Costa de Oro
These are twin beaches book ended by Punta Roca Partida and an unnamed hill to the north. A small shallow river
separates the two and is popular for bathing. Tourists enjoy watching fishermen haul in large shore nets and taking their
fish to be fried in nearby palapas.
Several "ecotouristic" huts offer accommodations The most popular beach is Playa Muñeco at the north end, which
features a small hotel and numerous fish stands. An iguana sanctuary is in Costa de Oro. A few kilometers above Costa
de Oro are several cascades which are kayakable by adventurers.
PS - the topmost photo is of Playa Muñeco.
See more photos of Arroyo de Lisa and Costa de Oro.
|Playa Hermosa and Los Organos
This interesting area combines a craggy beach and caves with a series of waterfalls a mile uphill.
A new modern hotel is being built on Punta Largarto, and several "ecotouristic" enterprises offer accommodations.
The waterfalls in nearby Los Organos have recently become very popular because they were featured in a Mexican
See more photos of Playa Hermosa and Los Organos.
|Montepio, Dos de Abril and Revolución
Most tourism to the Los Tuxtlas beaches arrives at these 3 gulf front ejidos which are overlooked by the Punta Piedra de
Barco (Freighter rock?) on its north end. Several small older hotels in Montepio and a few newer ones in Dos de Abril and
Revolución house visitors. A campground is on the slopes of Cerro de los Borregos and during the busy season, there are
more food stands than square feet of beach.
Popular attractions are the two converging rivers separating Dos de Abril from Montepío, banana boat rides across the
surf into the gulf, horse rentals to visit nearby waterfalls and boat rentals to visit caves around the Punta.
See more photos of Dos de Abril and Revolución.
|Port of Balzapote
This is my favorite beach to visit because it offers a little of everything that is good about Los Tuxtlas beaches, including
submerged rock formations, a hidden beach, protected waters to swim in, a fishing pier, a hill to climb and unfortunately
some ruins of an abandoned mining operation.
There are neither accommodations nor food services available on a year round basis in this community of more than 500.
|For attractions around the city, please see: The City of San Andrés Tuxtla
For hotel and restaurant information, please see: San Andrés Tuxtla Hotels.
For more towns & villages: San Andrés Tuxtla Pueblos
For in depth general information, please see: Municipio of San Andrés Tuxtla.
|From the North
A paved highway branches off Highway 180 at El Tropico then crosses over to the Gulf and then more or less follows
the contour of the Gulf coast, before ascending into the hills and entering the valley of Catemaco. The highway, is a
pleasure to drive visually, but, although relatively new, is frequently encumbered by numerous potholes and washouts
because of government incompetence. There is one gas station near Salinas.
Transportes Los Tuxtlas provides twice daily bus service from Veracruz City to Montepío via el Tropico.
They also run 2 daily buses from San Andrés Tuxtla to Balzapote, also via El Tropico.
At the intersection of El Tropico, communal taxis are available, which,(in combination) will potentially take you anywhere
along the north coast.
From the South
A paved highway runs from Catemaco to Montepío via Sontecomapan. Much of the road is encumbered by topes
(speed bumps) and includes an unfinished stretch in front of the Biology Station.
There is no gas station on the way.
Because of monopolies and governmental indifference, there is no comfortable transport from Catemaco to the north
Communal pickup taxis, called piratas, leave from their north terminal in Catemaco.
In Montepío, more communal taxis are available to transport you further up the north coast.
|The Coast of San Andrés Tuxtla
San Andrés Tuxtla, Veracruz