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.
- Taking the road less traveled Mexicans love to vacation in this state, but it's off the radar for most foreigners.
- Dining on amazing seafood Try it a la veracruzana, sautéed with tomatoes, onions, garlic, and usually green olives.
- Experiencing little-known ruins The ruins of El Tajín, which flourished from the early 9th to the early 13th centuries, are some of the most magnificent in Mexico.
- Watching men fly Paplanta's voladores spin from the top of an 82-foot pole in a breathtaking Totonac ceremony that makes bungee jumping look tame.
- Joining in the danzón This stately dance from Cuba is a cornerstone of Veracruz's eclectic culture.