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Veracruz State is a long, slim crescent bordering the Gulf of Mexico, about five hours east of Mexico City. The port city of Veracruz is a big draw to the region and the logical jumping-off place. Although the beaches aren't quite the white-sand wonders of the Yucatán, they're cheerful and vibrant. Moreover, the state harbors pockets of colonial history, as well as some fascinating archaeological sites.