Listed by the Tourism Secretariat as a “Pueblos Magico” in 2006, the municipal town of Coatepec has quickly caught up with the likes of Huasco de Ocampo and Tepotzotlán in the popularity stakes. Spanning an area of 255 km², Coatepec is the largest principal town within the East Mexican state of Veracruz and the seat of the region's municipal authorities.
Ribbon-like rivers encircle the “capital of coffee”, flowing down the hillside to adjoin the great La Antigua River just 3 miles from the town. Coatepec's aromatic green hillsides are strewn with coffee plantations (many of which have existed here for in excess of 100 years) coupled with cascading natural waterfalls and scenic mountain panoramas at every aspect. Coffee is regarded the main export of Coatepec, despite the influx of tourists in recent years, drawing attention to its fascinating art and crafts products. Professions of old continue to dominate the art scene, including carpentry. Many artisans choose to work under the unblemished azure skies during the height of summer, providing visitors with a fascinating insight into traditional Mexican carpentry practices. Painters create a sea of color, congregated within the Plaza Municipal alongside marble printing press artisans – a truly remarkable practice to watch.
Iglesia de San Jeronimo dominates the central town-scape with vivid colors and a singular bell tower featuring the stunning pagoda style so loved by the 16th Century Spanish. The doors to the temple are often covered with the woven offerings from locals – baskets, tapestries and bamboo dresses studded with flowers offered up in thanks to San Jeronimo (Saint Jerome) – best known for translating the Holy Bible into the pre-16th Century Latin text. Within the hallowed halls of Iglesia de San Jeronimo lies a wealth of architectural marvels. The vaulted, domed ceilings take inspiration from the San Jerónimo el Real (Royal Church of Saint Jerome) in Madrid, featuring similar cut crystal chandeliers and elaborate plasterwork.
Located beside the Cantonal School, Coatepec's Municipal Palace commands a great deal of attention from first time visitors. Ornate baroque cupolas and colorful trims characterize its exterior – a place which unsurprisingly took over a century to build. The forecourt is a planned symmetrical plaza, featuring archaic portales along the perimeter and a grandiose fountain to the center. Bougainvillea and orchid species have been planted beneath the fountain, adding to the majestic beauty of the plaza.
Once a former stop-gap for Spanish merchants traveling to Xalapa, the picturesque mountain town of Coatepec now influences many a visitor to stay put for the entirety of their vacation. A combination of exquisite preservation and stunning natural beauty contribute to the town's repute, as one of the most beautiful Pueblos Magicos in Mexico.
Attractions & Things To Do in Coatepec
Finance Trianon – located on the Southern shore of the River Huehueyapan, amid Coatepec's largest coffee plantation, this colorful hacienda represents one of the oldest colonial developments of the town. Beautifully preserved with huge windows and sweeping balconies, the Finance Trianon is a testament to Coatepec's preservation of local heritage monuments and features exciting collections of art and sculpture dating back to the 17th Century. Open: Monday – Friday, 10 am – 5 pm.
Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe – built in 1840 by the indigenous residents of Coatepec, this diminutive Parroquia remains one of the most visited religious buildings of the town. The interior attracts art lovers keen to witness the breathtaking ceiling and wall murals, created by acclaimed local artist Gregorio Sosa. Open: Monday – Saturday, 9 am – 4 pm.