Catemaco is a municipality and city in the southeast of Mexican state of Veracruz, in the Sierra de Los Tuxtlas volcanic mountain range, along the Gulf of Mexico. In the 2005 INEGI Census, the municipality reported a total population of 46,702, of whom 22,965 lived in the municipal seat.
The municipality of Catemaco covers a total surface area of 710.67 km² along the Gulf of Mexico between the foothills of Volcano San Martín Tuxtla and the Sierra Santa Marta, and incorporate Laguna Catemaco and Laguna Sontecomapan plus a large part of the Los Tuxtlas Biosphere Reserve. Catemaco borders the municipalities of San Andrés Tuxtla to the west, Hueyapan de Ocampo and Soteapan to the south and Tatahuicapan de Juárez and Mecayapan to the east.
Economically Catemaco depends on a mix of tourism, cattle ranching, fishery and agriculture. Statistically the municipality ranks as one of the poorer ones in Veracruz.
The city of Catemaco nestles against Lake Catemaco at 340 meters (1,115 feet) altitude and is surrounded by numerous taller volcanic peaks. To the north, Laguna Sontecomapan occupies a large flood plain and joins the gulf at La Barra de Sontecomapan, Catemaco's most accessible beach.
One of the featured attractions of the town are the "Monkey Islands", populated by monkeys originating in Southeast Asia, who were imported for an abandoned research project. (2)Almost 100 boats compete to ferry tourists out to see these Macaque monkeys imported to the islands in the 1970s.