Xico, Veracruz (pronounced hee-ko) is an amazing pueblo magico in Mexico. Just a quick 40-minute drive from the capital city of Xalapa. The small town of Xico is located high in the mountains of the Sierra Madre Oriental which has an ideal temperate climate with incredible biodiversity.
Its colonial-style architecture and cobblestone streets make it one of the best places in Mexico to walk around and explore. Together with its neighboring city of Coatepec, this region is a perfect place to visit for a day trip or weekend adventure.
If your planning to travel Mexico. Here are 4 reasons why Xico, Veracruz should be on your Mexico travel bucket list.
Where is Xico located in Mexico?
Xico is located in the central part of the state of Veracruz, high up in the mountains. Xico is about a 40-minute drive from Xalapa, the state capital. It is about 2 hours from the coastal city of Heroica Veracruz. Xico is easily accessible by car which makes it an excellent day trip from one of the larger cities of Veracruz.
Xico is one of the best places in Mexico if you have an appreciation for delicious artisan coffee. At over 4,000 feet above sea level, the town of Xico is perched on top of fertile mountains, the perfect growing grounds for this aromatic bean.
The surrounding area is renowned for its cultivation of tropical fruits, vanilla and of course, coffee beans. Driving up through the mountains you will undoubtedly see coffee plants and banana trees growing on the side of the road.
Savor a cup of coffee at one of the quaint cafes in town. Most are owned by local producers that roast and sell their own beans you won’t find in any commercial store. If you have more time, spend a day touring one of the nearby coffee fincas (plantations) or take a tour.
2. Cascada de Texolo
Just outside of Xico, Veracruz is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Mexico. The Cascada de Texolo is a massive 80 meter waterfall surrounded by a mountain cloud forest. A steep but quick hike will get you down to the bottom of the falls. Or you can walk across a suspension bridge to see them from above.
The best time to go is during the rainy season (June-September). The water becomes a powerful force making it a real spectacle. After your hike, visit one of the restaurants overlooking the ravine to reward yourself.
A local delicacy is the trucha al gusto or local river trout cooked to your liking. Sit back, eat, and enjoy the incredible view.
3. Dancing Clowns
Xico is one of the best places in Mexico to experience the culture and history of the people of Veracruz. These elements all come together when you encounter the surreal dancing clowns known as payasos.
The tradition of the dance dates back to the arrival of the Spanish who used it as a form of evangelizing the indigenous people. The clowns wear carved wooden masks in unsettling expressions. They have colorful costumes, tall pointy hats, and clap castanetas while they dance.
Whether you are frightened or enthralled, it really is a sight to see! During festivals and celebrations, clowns and other masked characters roam the streets with musicians performing their ritualistic dance.
If you really want to experience the cultural traditions of Xico (like bullfighting) visit in July during the festival of their patron saint, Fiesta de la Magdalena. Visit the Museo del Danzante Xiqueño to learn about this dances history. The museum is located just a few blocks from the Cathedral.
4. Mole Xiqueño
If you are a foodie, the state of Veracruz is one of the best places in Mexico to visit. One of the most famous Mexican dishes hails from Xico.
Mole Xiqueno is a rich mole sauce made in Xico and prepared in almost every restaurant in town. It is slightly sweeter than the popular Mole Poblano deriving from Puebla and it’s absolutely delicious. Made with over 24 ingredients, this mole boasts flavors of banana, apple, nuts and ancho chile.
Try it over some chicken for dinner or enmoladas for brunch. Enmoladas are similar to enchiladas but instead of covered in salsa, the stuffed tortillas are smothered in mole sauce.
You can buy the mole paste to bring home at one of the many shops lining the main street. If you are there on a weekend, you will should be able to find an outdoor market in the main square selling the sweet mole paste.
Xico is a great place to visit any time of the year. Because it is located high in the mountains. The weather tends to be mild year-round. Average highs are in the 70’s. For cooler weather visit Xico Veracruz during January-March or October-December.
If you aren’t afraid to visit during the warmer rainy season (June-September). This time of year can be an excellent time to visit waterfalls and coffee plantations.
As you can see, there’s a lot to love about this pueblo Magico. Its fascinating culture, delicious coffee, rich food, and natural beauty of Mexico make it a town worth visiting.