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Curiosities Catemaco (Veracruz)

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They say Catemaco is the place of shamans and withes. The truth is that each year many of those meet here in Catemaco village at the shores of the lake that carries the same name. This ceremony is not open to public, however if you need something special that only a witch can help you with no problem. You can find many here in Catemaco all year long. The village has a pretty central square with a church and few souvenir stands. Small simple hotels and some restaurants can be found around the square. The sun burns all day long and so its perhaps more refreshing to stay further away along the lake in the shadows of the jungle (There are some hotels and few eco cottages). The calm surface of the lake is only occasionally disturbed by a crocodile looking for its prey. Each morning a thick fog hangs above the lake and each night the moon reflects magically in its water.

What here: Visit a shaman, let him clean your aura, try the ceremonial bath called „temazcal“, meditate, take a boat ride or try it yourself in a kayak (but beware of the crocodiles). There is a monkey island in the middle of the lake. You can also watch birds or walk through the deep jungle in the resort called Nancianga, the opposite shore from Catemaco village accessible by boat or road.

Where to stay: Around the main square in Catemaco there are few smaller hotels. Nothing big, but ok. If you follow the road along the shore on the left side of the lake you will come across a big hotel and some eco resorts. The most famous, nicest and unfortunately also most expensive is Nancianga.

Nancianga. It only has few small wooden cabins with curtains made from snail shells. Each has a view at the lake. You won´t mind the shared bathrooms or the small beds and crowded space once you see the beautiful sunset! The price is surprisingly high and there are no negotiations about it (as I´ve learned) but it includes the rent of kayaks, guided tour through the jungle, mud bath and during the weekends a massage. The place also counts with a souvenir shop, a restaurant with reasonable prices, temazcal and ever-present crocodiles. Famous movies were made here, The Shaman with Sean Conery and part of Mel Gibson´s Apocalypto.
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Cabins for two are very small but count with a terrace, „cabañas familiares“ have more space inside but no terrace. Price: 1200 – 2000 pesos (weekend), 600 – 1000 (Monday to Thursday).  www.nanciyaga.com

How to get here: There are few buses from Mexico City (484 pesos, 8,5 hours), Veracruz (126 pesos, 3,5 hours) or Tlacotalpan. To get to Nancianga which is about 8 km from Catemaco village you need to take a cab (or a boat).