What is ATMEX?  It’s the annual Adventure Travel Trade Show in Mexico!

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ATMEX 2013 selected Veracruz as the host city for this year’s Adventure Travel Trade Show in Mexico.  ATMEX provides a venue for Mexico’s top tour operators to share adventures and cultural experiences with travel agents from around the world.   Veracruz government officials, travel professionals and locals welcomed visitors with open arms.

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The exhibition hall provided participants to visit booths from Mexico’s regions, and get familiar with the range of tours & adventures Mexico has to offer.

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There are also presentations about sustainable tourism, safety standards, and ways to market travel.  Some of the sessions were “Atlas of Protected Areas in Veracruz”, “Transforming People Through Their Experience with Nature”, “A New Approach for Adventure Tourism”, “The Best Options for Ecotourism in Mexico“.  Keynote speakers included Keith Sproule of the World Wildlife Fund, and Galia Moss, first Latin American sailor to travel across the Atlantic Ocean alone.

The event is organized and sponsored by ATTA, SECTUR Mexico, SECTUR Veracruz, Mexico Tourism Promotion Council.  ATMEX promotes Adventure Tourism that “cares for the natural environment and contributes to the sustainable development of the local communities.”  Tourism Secretary Claudia Ruiz Massieu attended ATMEX and was joined by Veracruz Gov. Javier Duarte de Ochoa, who said, “Tourism in Mexico is one of the most important tools for creating a higher standard of living and better development opportunities for the Mexican people.”

The sponsors provided meals (local dishes) and entertainment (traditional music and dance performances) – see below for videos.

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How to Get There: 

There are many airlines that fly from Houston (IAH) to Veracruz International Airport – Delta, American Airlines, and United Airlines.  We flew United Airlines, had a long layover in Houston, so stopped by the United Club to get the devices powered up and some office space to get some work done (non-members can buy a day pass for $50).

Where to Stay:

Boca del Río (south of Central Veracruz)

Holiday Inn, Indigo, or The Palace are good choices if you want to be close to the Veracruz World Trade Center.  Sharing a sunrise photo from the Holiday Inn terrace below.


Where to Dine: 

ATMEX suggestions for dining included:

  • Portales de Veracruz
  • Portales de Boca del Rio
  • Mariscos Villa Rica Mocambo
  • La Estancia de Boca
  • La Mera Madre
  • Café de la Parroquia

What to Do:  click here to read “Vamos!  To Veracruz” with a list of more places to stay, dine, and things to do.


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ATMEX hosted several pre-trips across the Veracruz region.  I was invited to attend to experience the ATMEX Xico Canyoning Adventure, which included zip-lining, rappelling, and some hiking.  We left Veracruz and drove to the historical town of Xico and saw many colonial churches, Veracruz cowboys riding horses and donkeys through the town’s stone paved roads.

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Drive to Xico xico.cowboy

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Within 10 mins from Xico, we arrived to waterfall where we did some canyoning – zipline and rappel down the waterfall.  It was an adrenaline rush!   Click here to watch as we rappel down the 100 ft waterfall at Xico, Veracruz – hosted by www.ziltomexpediciones.com (photo shot by Andrew Haffenden of www.naturetravelspecialists.com, and video shot by Mike Vondruska of www.DiscoverVeracruzTours.com

If you like adventure and nature, you’ll love Veracruz – there’s plenty to do!

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La Molienda de Xico (www.lamoliendadexico.com) don’t leave Xico, until you have a meal at La Molienda!  You’ll find excellent local food and great service!  You can choose from a variety of regional dishes made from fresh ingredients, like chicken enchiladas with mole sauce.  The handmade corn tortillas were delicious too.

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The area around Xico is picturesque with rolling hills and farms.

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Music & Dance:

Click here to watch the pole flying ritual “Danza de los Voladores” performed at ATMEX 2013.   Palo Volador (pole flying) is an ancient ritual of the Nahua, Huastec and Otomi.   Five men (one stands on top playing the flute/drums), and the others drop from the top of a 100 ft pole, hanging by ropes, circle around 13 times upside down.  Combined, there’s a total of 52 turns which represent 52 weeks of the year, and every 52 years, the cycle of the new sun is fulfilled or the cycle of the renewal of fire.


The people of Veracruz are known as Jarochos, and their folk dancing includes rapid and intricate footwork, as the ladies swirl their flowing white gowns, symbolic of the ocean waves.  Click here to watch a video of the ATMEX 2013 performance.

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Contact info for ATMEX:

Website: ATMEX

E-Mail: atmex@visitmexico.com

Thanks to ATMEX, ATTA, and all sponsors for hosting me at ATMEX 2013!

By Patricia Stone, a travel writer based in Seattle


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