Orizaba is situated 151 km (94 miles) inland from the capital city of Veracruz in the State of Veracruz, Mexico. It’s a typical Mexican town unspoiled by tourism and is characterized by narrow streets, old buildings, beautiful churches, and small shops whose owners close the doors between 2 and 4 o’clock for a traditional midday siesta.
This important industrial town is home to the big brewery company, Cervecería Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma. The brewery set up business here in 1896 and today is a subsidiary of the well-known Heineken brewing company. Incidentally, Heineken also has manufacturing sites in several other Mexican cities. Orizaba’s other important businesses include those involved in cement, textile and chemical production.
The difference between Orizaba and other traditional Mexican towns is that Orizaba no longer has the Main Square, or zócalo, with the Municipal Palace, Cathedral, and other important buildings surrounding a park-like setting. The city’s Main Square and buildings have been relocated, all to separate locations.
While not much of a tourist town, if you are visiting here, you will find some interesting highlights, such as the city’s spectacular art museum, its ancient architecture, and the Alameda Park where both locals and visitors gather.
And, as a bonus, from Orizaba you will have fantastic views of the Pico de Orizaba volcanic mountain range. This enormous range is Mexico’s highest mountain and North America’s third highest.
Pico de Orizaba is the site of many adventure sport activities, such as rappelling and rock climbing. You can get to a certain point on the mountain by bus, but from there on up, travel is only by horseback or on foot.
Orizaba’s main attractions include:
- The 18th century Del Carmen Convent
- The 18th century Church of Nuestra Señora Del Carmen
- The Concordia Temple and Convent
- The Iron Palace (the old City Hall)
- El Palacio Municipal (the new City Hall)
- Museo de Arte del Estado – a wonderful art museum housed in a beautifully restored 18th century colonial building. Its displays include Mexico’s most important permanent collection from the artist, Diego Rivera. Contemporary works by regional artists are also on display.
- Tour the Cervecería Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma brewery.
- Visit Nogales, a nearby town (11 km away), to enjoy its pretty lagoon and thermal spas.
Orizaba may be more of an industrial town, but anyone visiting here will find some very rewarding things to do. And when’s the last time you got to take a nap between 2 and 4 o’clock!