Considered by many to be the first true Spanish town in all of Mexico, La Antigua is the home of Hernan Cortes, who led the expedition that ended the Aztec Empire. His house, which was built in 1523, draws travelers from across the globe who seek a window into Mexico’s incredible—and sometimes bloody—past. Today, Cortes’s home, built of coral and stone, is wrapped thick with vines and overgrown with tree roots.
In addition to Cortes’s family home, the oldest church in the Americas, as well as Edificio del Cabildo—which held the first city council—are both located in La Antigua. Travelers can walk through what remains of the Cavalry Lancers’ garrison, where ready troops were once stationed to defend the town, or explore the Spanish colonial architecture hidden in the landscape of this sleepy town.
La Antigua is about a half hour north of Veracruz City. A Xalapa-bound bus from Veracruz stops about 15 minutes away from La Antigua and costs less than US$2 each way.