The Port of Veracruz is on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico in south-central Mexico a little over 300 kilometers east-southeast of Mexico City. The Port of Veracruz is the main seaport on Mexico's east coast and a communications center for the State of Veracruz. Located about 240 kilometers southeast of the Port of Tuxpan and almost 400 kilometers southeast of the Port of Tampico, the port is the backbone of the city's economy. It is also an important fishing port where sports fishing and water sports are popular. Built on a low, hot beach, it's about 15 meters above sea level. In 2005, over 702 thousand people lived in the Port of Veracruz urban area.
The Port of Veracruz is hot and humid, and it is a popular tourist destination, especially for residents of Mexico City. With many buildings from the colonial period, traditional indigenous culture, and distinctive regional cuisine, the Port of Veracruz is well-known for its rich traditions. The streets are enlivened with marimba bands, danzon (a creolized Cuban dance form), and conga de comparasa. A special type of music, son jarocho, developed there (La Bamba is an example). The rich musical culture is complemented by an equally strong tradition of dance.
Before Europeans arrived at the future Port of Veracruz, Totonacs and Olmecs lived on nearby island they called Chalchihuitlapazco. It was discovered by Juan de Grijalva during his exploration of the Gulf of Mexico in 1518.
The Port of Veracruz was established by Hernan Cortes in the early 1600s and designated as a city in 1615. Cortes used the Port of Veracruz as his base for conquest inland to Tenochtitlan while his officers pacified the territory of today's state of Veracruz.
The Port of Veracruz prospered from being the main link between Spain and colonial Mexico. Through the Port of Veracruz, products like cotton, rice, textiles, wine, domestic animals, and wheat were shipped to Europe.
Because of its access to Mexico City and Puebla, the Port of Veracruz fell victim to many attacks from British pirates. In response, the Spanish built a fort on Callega Island (called Castillo de San Juan de Ulua) that is a tourist attraction today.
During the Mexican-American War, U.S. troops captured Veracruz, and the French used it as an entry to Mexico during the reign of Emperor Maximilian during the 1860s. Both of Mexico's constitutions (1857 and 1917) were proclaimed in the Port of Veracruz.
The Port of Veracruz is Mexico's major seaport on the east coast. Its hot climate does not deter tourists, especially for weekend holidays away from Mexico City, who enjoy the native culture, regional cuisine, and colonial-era architecture. The Port of Veracruz is also an important fishing port, and it offers water sports, beaches, and sport fishing.
The Port of Veracruz is Mexico's biggest and most important port, serving all of central and southern Mexico through railways and roads. It also serves North, Central, and South America and Europe and Africa.