The state of Veracruz stretches 640km down the Gulf coast. The narrow, fertile coastline rises into the forested sub-tropical slopes and high peaks of the eastern Sierra Madre mountains, punctuated by numerous rivers and waterfalls. The city of Veracruz, founded in 1519, is Mexico’s largest and oldest port and has retained a laid-back tropical colonial charm in the old centre.
Nearby you will find La Antigua, one of the first Spanish settlements in Mexico, and the ruins of Cempoala, one of the most important pre-Hispanic Totonac settlements. Inland, the state capital Xalapa, a university town with narrow, winding streets and alleys is a hidden colonial gem with a superb anthropology museum, while to the north is El Tajin, an important pre-Colombian site with unique architecture and the fascinating ‘Pyramid of the Niches’.
Meanwhile, deep in the Huasteca area of the Sierra Madre, in the state of San Luis Potosi, nestles the little town of Xilitla. Surrounded by verdant scenery, waterfalls and caves, it features abundant birdlife, as well as Las Pozas (the pools), a surrealistic sculpture garden built by the eccentric British artist Edward James.
Explore Veracruz & The Huasteca
Click on your destination of interest
Places to Visit
Veracruz is a beautiful, tropical port city on the Gulf Coast of Mexico about 5 hours east of Mexico City. Although it is now one of Mexico's largest cities, it has managed to maintain its colonial charm through the preservation and restoration of its historical landmarks and classic architecture. Walking in Veracruz is like walking in Old Mexico. Founded in 1519, it is Mexico's largest and oldest port and a long-time popular vacation spot for many Mexicans. Since it has historically been the point of entry for many immigrants to the country, Veracruz is blessed with a very culturally diverse ethnic mix; the European, Caribbean, African, Mexican and Indian influences help to create one of the most interesting cities in Mexico
The university town of Xalapa is the state capital of Veracruz and enjoys a semi-tropical location between the coast and the central sierras, in the middle of Mexico's prime coffee-growing area. This hilly city with narrow, winding streets and alleys is one of Mexico’s hidden colonial gems with a lively arts and entertainment scene. The town has a superb anthropology museum and wonderful ambience
The little town of Xilitla is located in the Huasteca area of the eastern Sierra Madre mountains, in the state of San Luis Potosi. Nestled in a semi-tropical mountain valley, the town is surrounded by verdant scenery, waterfalls, caves and features abundant birdlife, as well as Las Pozas (the pools), a surrealistic sculpture garden built by the British artist Edward James
The latest from Compass - our online travel magazine