Veracruz is a coastal state in Central Mexico. The site where the Kingdom of Spain established its first town (called Villa Rica de la Vera Cruz) in what is now Mexico, the state is also where Hernán Cortés initiated his conquest of the Aztecs and where other forces have likewise made inroads to the center of the country, a fact reflected in how the city of Veracruz is designated the "Heroic City" for resisting Spanish, French, and American intrusions. Pre-Colombian civilizations included Huastecs to the north, the Totonacs to the north and center, and the Olmecs to the south, the latter of which are remembered by the notable stone heads they left behind. These groups were separate from the Aztecs, and, in the case of the Totonacs, even allied with the Spanish to seek revenge against their Aztec enemies and oppressors. Since then, Veracruz has emerged to become an economic center pertaining to agriculture and fossil fuel extractions thanks to reserves found offshore. And it has a developing tourism sector, with many ruins, colonial historical sites, natural features ranging from a towering Pico Orizaba-the highest point in Mexico-to low-lying lagoons and bio-reserves, and fairly decent beaches.
Veracruz has traditionally been less of a tourist destination than Pacific parts of Mexico due to its hot, humid weather. Yet the area incorporates a range of climates, from the damp jungle areas in the northwest to the cooler, mountainous heights of Xalapa.
- 1 Xalapa (or Jalapa) — state capital and a beautiful college town with its colonial architecture
- 2 Catemaco — famous as the witchcraft center of Mexico.
- 3 Coatepec
- 4 Coatzacoalcos
- 5 Córdoba
- 6 La Gloria
- 7 Orizaba
- 8 Papantla
- 9 Poza Rica
- 10 Tlacotalpan — a 17th century colonial settlement inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List
- 11 Tecolutla — beach town
- 12 Tuxpan — laid-back beach town
- 13 Úrsulo Galván
- 14 Veracruz — partying and rowdy city in the south
- 1 El Tajín – historical UNESCO World Heritage Site
- The Emerald Coast (la costa esmeralda) – a long stretch of coast north of the city of Veracruz (puerto) that is well known for its fine beaches and beach camping. Offers something of a Baja experience on the Gulf coast of the country.
Although the hot, humid summer weather can be unpleasant for many visitors, it creates a very lush, green landscape that can be beautiful along the southern half of the state.
Spanish and some English.
Xalapa is about a five-hour trip from Mexico City.
By Bus, motorcycle, bike, horseback, or on foot
Ruins, old colonial cities, and lush green mountains reminiscent of Costa Rica
The whitewater rafting around Xalapa is some of the best in north america.
Veracruz city is famous throughout Mexico for its seafood feasts. The Cuban/African influence is stronger here than on the Pacific coast and the plates bear some resemblance to Cuban dishes. Though not cheap, the seafood restaurants will likely be a highlight to any trip to Veracruz.
Good fresh fruit drinks are widely available.
The City of Veracruz has a bit of violent crime, elsewhere its mostly just petty theft.