Xalapa is known as the "Athens of Veracruz" because of the strong cultural influence of its major university, Universidad Veracruzana (the main public university in the State of Veracruz). We will explore the city, learn about the history of the area, and meet many of the friendly residents, including our wonderful host club, FF Xalapa! This Journey features an optional pre-trip extension from September 2 to 11, in Mexico City and Guatemala. View a detailed breakdown of daily activities in the Itinerary section. There is also a post-Journey extension to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, followed by a stop-over in Louisiana, USA with FF Baton Rouge.
Home Hospitality provided by the Friendship Force club of Xalapa.
Live With a Local
- We will be interacting with the local cultures.
- We hope to be able to share with some charity initiative- like a children's home/school.
- Celebrate Mexico’s Independence Day with your hosts!
- Visit Ancient archaeological sites and learn about the people who were first in Mexico.
- Visit two museums in Xalapa: the Anthropological Museum and the “Museo de Santa Ana.”
- Attend a concert of the Symphonic Orchestra.
Understanding was established through fun gestures and a genuine love of people! - Previous Ambassador
8 Days / 7 Nights Program and Itinerary:
September 11, 2017 – September 18, 2017
Coordinator: Eileen Bintcliffe, FF Cape Town
All Friendship Force Itineraries are subject to change.
Optional - Sept. 2 – 5: Mexico City
We will arrive in Mexico City on September 2, and be hosted by FF Mexico City for 3 nights.
(There are only NINE spaces available here so additional ambassadors will either need to stay in a hotel or arrive on 5th.)
Optional – Sept. 5: Guatemala City
Fly to Guatemala City to begin exploring this exciting country!
Optional – Sept. 6: Antigua
Meet your Antigua tour guide at the fountain in the Central Park for a private Cultural Walking Tour around this World Heritage Site. The tour focuses on the city’s history, cultural trends and restoration efforts. It includes a visit the City Hall Palace, the Palace of the Captain’s General, the Cathedral – with its majestic ruins, Mayan archeology highlights, including a visit to the Maya Jades Museum, and stops at the best museums in town at Paseo de los Museos.
Optional – Sept. 7: Antigua
Private transportation from hotel in Antigua through the mountainous roads of the Guatemalan highlands to hotel in Chichicastenango.
Explore with your guide and hunt for bargains at the colorful market, visit Santo Tomas church where Maya-Catholic rituals are held, the “Moreria” (ceremonial masks workshop) and the stone idol “Pascual Abaj,” located on a nearby hill and the local cemetery. Lunch on your own.
Private transportation from hotel in Chichicastenango through the mountainous roads of the Guatemalan highlands to hotel in Panajachel.
Optional – Sept. 8: San Juan La Laguna/Santiago Atitlan/Panajachel
Day boat trip to lakeside villages.
Departure to San Juan La Laguna.
Visit the town and admire the local textile dyers.
Boat departs to Santiago Atitlan.
Visit the church and Maximon brotherhood.
Boat departs to Panajachel.
Lunch on your own.
Optional – Sept. 9: Antigua
Private shuttle from hotel in Panajachel/Lake Atitlan through the mountainous roads of the Guatemalan highlands to hotel in Antigua.
Optional – Sept. 10: Antigua
Day at leisure in Antigua or nearby town for shopping or extra sightseeing.
A day-tour has been requested.
Monday, September 11
Ambassadors who participated in the pre-Journey extension will depart Guatemala in the morning and fly to Veracruz and be met by members of FF Xalapa.
Arrival and welcome party!
Tuesday, September 12
We’ll visit two museums in Xalapa: the Anthropological Museum and the “Museo de Santa Ana” and go on a tour around Xalapa City.
Wednesday, September 13
Attend a concert of the Symphonic Orchestra, a group that is more than 85 years old.
Thursday, September 14
We’ll make a tour around different small villages near Xalapa, for example, one where coffee is cultivated where we’ll visit the “Museo del Café.”
Friday, September 15
We are leaving Xalapa at 7:00 a.m. and we’ll make a trip to an archaeological site called “Zempoala” where you can see some pyramids from the Totonaca Culture. Here we’ll have a breakfast of typical food from the area.
We’ll go to a town called “La Antigua” where the first Catholic church was built by the Spaniards.
Visit the famous “House of Hernan Cortes” (who started the Conquest of Mexico).
Travel to Veracruz Port where the Spaniards went into Mexico in the Conquest times. Here we’ll have seafood lunch in a typical restaurant and after we’re making a tour around the Historical Center of the City.
Our last stop will be to grab a cup of coffee in the famous “Café de la Parroquia.”
We’ll start back to Xalapa around 20:30 p.m. and should arrive around 22:00 p.m.
Saturday, September 16
We will enjoy Mexico’s Independence Day with our hosts on September 16. Enjoy the spectacular El Grito events and fireworks in celebration of Mexico’s Independence Day. You will experience the extraordinary sense of pride and joy Mexicans have in their history during this festive and lavish celebration. This should be quite a special event.
Sunday, September 17
Free day with hosts. Farewell party!
Monday, September 18
Know before you goThere are two optional add-ons to this Journey:
- Optional Pre-Journey Guatemala Tour.
- Optional Post-Journey visit to San Miguel de Allende followed by a stop-over in Louisiana with FF Baton Rouge
Friendship Force International provides opportunities to explore new countries and cultures from the inside by bringing people together at the personal level. Through the signature program of home hospitality, local hosts welcome international visitors into their culture, sharing with them meals, conversation, and the best sights and experiences of their region.