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Located south of the Gulf Coast city of Veracruz, Catemaco is a Mexico destination that few travelers have heard of. Indeed most travel books don't even mention this small friendly town located on the shores of Lake Catemaco. But for those with a sense of adventure, this off-the-beaten-path destination offers some interesting surprises.
Catemaco has most of the tourists amenities you would expect in a small town such as hotels, restaurants and shops. It also has something that most visitors might not expect, a reputation as a center for witches (yep, like the kind with hags on a broom). Brujas (witches) are an interesting twist but the town has so much more to offer that the witch slant is just another color on the palate of Catemaco's canvas.
In addition to various small shops in town there are various fortune tellers around town who can give you a head's up if you will be having any witch problems in your future. Take it all with a grain of salt, but you have to admit it would be tough to find this type of entertainment in Cabo San Lucas.
The restaurants in town are big on serving fresh fish which come from...you guessed it...Lake Catemaco. The local restaurants also serve traditional Mexican dishes, but the local pesca is the common denominator.
Central to the beauty of the area is Lake Catemaco, which plays host to the town's second interesting phenomenon, giant orangatangs. Yep, orangatangs, kinda like monkeys only bigger. Much bigger. They hang out on an island in the middle of the lake and visitors who are so inclined can take a boat out to the island to watch the oragatangs watch them watch them back.
The lake is formed by the Catemaco River, which collects rainwater runoff and forms the lake. Parts of the river upstream are not unlike the the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland, only this is the real deal and requires no E ticket.
The town has a beautiful colonial Spanish church with metalic decorations which often catch the suns rays and glitter off and on. Walking the town is pleasant way to enjoy an afternoon, and a boat ride on the lake is a good way to keep cool (don't forget your hat, sunscreen and a camera).
Not far from town one can enjoy deserted beaches, lush jungles and no crowds. Two of the town's hotels are listed below.
For more information on this interesting part of Mexico drop by the web site of www.catemaco.info.
Carlos Fiesta's Hot Tip
A trip to Catemaco would not be complete without a visit to the lake. For the best view in town walk onto the pier that heads out onto the lake. The bar at the end is the perfect place to feel the warmth of Mexico and enjoy a cold cervesa!