A few years ago I found myself in search of some great lechero [coffee with milk and poured from on high] in the city of Xalapa, or Jalapa, depending on where you’re from. Located in the state of Veracruz, Xalapa is the capital and a real gem.
Sporting a wonderful climate, courtesy of its highland location, this is where we get the wonderful Jalapeño chile.
Besides the local coffee houses, nearby coffee plantations, and a growing hipster scene, there is also a great day trip to Xico, site of the waterfall used in the movie “Romancing the Stone” with Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny Devito. Trust me on this, it is well worth a day if you find yourself in this area.
But perhaps the biggest draw in Xalapa is the Museum of Anthropology. This place, a mixture of indoor and outdoor spaces is home to a fantastic collection of Olmec heads. The Olmecs are the oldest civilization in Mexico. The heads, carved from basalt, just take your breath away, literally as you enter the museum. First uncovered in the mid 19th century, the latest discovery was made in 1994. Standing between 5 and 11 feet tall, some of these heads weigh in at almost 20 tons.
I went to Xalapa for the coffee and was blown away by this museum. Costing only about $5.00 to get in, this is a must see for anyone trying to understand the history of My Mexico and her people.
Open from 9:00 to 5:00 daily, except Monday. Cost, about $5.00.
Getty Images of some of the Olmec Heads on display at the Xalapa Museum.