In 1518, the Spanish captain Juan de Grijalva arrived on a small, barren island that he named San Juan de Ulúa. Later, on the beaches found in front of the island, the conqueror Hernan Cortes founded "La Villa Rica de la Vera Cruz" on April 22, 1519. It can be said that the city of Veracruz and its port were the first to give birth to this budding nation, by having become the starting point for the mixing of two worlds.
Today, the city of Veracruz shines as one of the most attractive tourist destinations thanks to its remarkable cultural diversity, magnificent buildings, music, folklore and the joyous feeling of the "jarochos".
The Plaza de La Constitución or Zocalo located at the heart of the city, where in times past has been the starting ground for many battles and political struggles, is a beautiful stage that serves as the ideal framework for presenting all kinds of events. The folkloric dances attracts both friends and strangers calling their attention and inviting them to savor the spirit of the place to the rhythm of danzon. Veracruz‘s architecture unfolds in a variety of styles where colonial past and modern times are mixed harmoniously.
On the one hand, the Cathedral of Asuncion and its naves in iconic and doric styles, a construction that was completed in 1721 and which, by 1963 had become a World Heritage site thanks to its singular beauty. On the other hand, succeeding one after another are the monuments, obelisks and museums.
The Museo de Pemex stands out as an artistic monument with its sculptures of maritime scenes that form part of its design, as well as the mural of the "Eagle in Full Flight" (Aguila en Vuelo), from its wings come out ears of corn and gears, symbolizing the agricultural past and the industrialized present, while its claws hold the sea and the land prisoners in a sublime union.
The Historic Naval Museum, which used to serve as the Military Naval School at the end of the19th century, has 11 historiographic halls, temporary exposition halls, a library and auditorium. The ancient hospice of Zamora, a neoclassical building that had its first stone put into place in 1852, became the city's museum in 1970 and offers different aspects of the culture and evolution of Veracruz.
Similarly, also is the Veracruz Institute of Culture, which since 1987 has been spreading, recovering and preserving the city's culture. And how many more places are there, that so treasure its unique past and proudly show its society at present, rich with history and customs!
There can be no doubt that Veracruz has become the center of worldwide attention thanks to its incomparable carnival, which year after year, between February and March, the city melts into the rhythm of music and the colorful traditions of the entire town, thus giving birth to a party without end which echos on every corner of the city.
It is a must for any tourist to visit the Arts & Crafts Market, where you can purchase the largest variety of creations made from different kinds of shells and even sharks teeth.
And have you ever seen a shark swimming in his natural habitat? If you haven't, then delight yourselves seeing many scary creatures and hundreds of species at the Veracruz Aquarium, where 9 freshwater and 16 saltwater tanks are the main attractions.
And before you leave you shouldn't forget to visit San Juan de Ulúa, which was used in different times as a fortress, wharf, prison and municipal palace. Without a doubt it's a testimony of solid rock where the history of Veracruz throughout the centuries is condensed and where somehow also lies its origins.
Rest assured that new experiences and pleasant memories will never be missing here, because here resides the magic of this wonderful place, a port that will always welcome you with open arms and win the hearts of those fortunate enough to feel its heat in the immensity of the sea and the sky.