Veracruz, Mexico: Travel/Tourist Information Guide

The chaotic and noisy port city of Veracruz, in the central region of the Gulf of Mexico, is an odd mix of romance, melted down cultures and grime. Veracruz is teeming with life, and visitors are either charmed by it, or on the contrary, disappointed with this city of extremes. The climate is suffocating hot, the beaches are less attractive and the city center is chaotic, a true urban jungle. People who fall in love with Veracruz, are usually the passionate marimba lovers, who enjoy the salty air and the numerous fandango dancers in the city center.

Veracruz offers several interesting museums and fortifications, among its top attractions, while the city’s nightlife mainly revolves around the zócalo, where frequent concerts and weekend events tend to go on until the early hours of the morning. The surrounding area of the Gulf of Mexico’s central coast features many historic cities and archaeological sites. Accommodation options are plentiful, but the prices vary drastically from high to low season. Veracruz is easily accessible from other major Mexican cities and also some cities from the United States, while taxis are the best way of getting around within the city.

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Veracruz is the oldest European settlement founded in Mexico, but the city has a reputation of being rich in history, yet having little to show for it. This is due to most of that history involving bombardment by three different foreign countries, sacking by pirates and outbreaks of malaria, cholera and yellow fever. Hernán Cortés founded the city in 1519 with the name Villa Rica de la Vera Cruza. By the 17th century, Veracruz grew wealthier than the capital, which, in turn, attracted frequent pirate attacks. During the 19th and 20th centuries, the city was invaded by France and the United States, on different occasions. Today, Heroica Veracruz, as the city is officially known, remains an important economic center for the country, mostly due to its port, with a blend of indigenous, Spanish and Afro-Cuban cultures, which is best noticed in the city’s music scene and local cuisine.