The Gulf of Mexico

The Gulf of Mexico region is comprised of the states of Tamaulipas, Veracruz and Tabasco. The region is known for many things, including history: the Spanish invaded Mexico from Cuba and the Caribbean, and they landed and built bases along this coast.

The port of Veracruz was founded by Hernán Cortés when he landed in 1519. Today the city is a fascinating melting pot of Indian, Spanish, Arab, and African traditions. Veracruz has a small but interesting historical center and a lively nightlife. There are excellent resorts and fancy hotels on the nearby Mocambo Beach. There are two archaeological sites of interest nearby: Cempoala was the first major indigenous town to make contact with Cortés on his way to Mexico City: the Cempoalans, fed up with Aztec rule, would become his first allies. The archaeological site at El Tajin is farther away but bigger: it features the Pyramid of Niches and an on-site museum.

The northern state of Tamaulipas is known for its capital, Tampico, a bustling port and important industrial center. It also contributes to Mexico’s oil industry. Visitors will enjoy a visit to a small archaeological site, Las Flores, and a visit to the nearby Nacimiento del Rio Mante, (Source of the Mante River) where you can snorkel and scuba dive.

To the south, Villahermosa, the capital of Tabasco, is a pleasant provincial capital known for friendly people and colonial architecture. Villahermosa is famous for attractive city parks and a growing local ecotourism industry. Don’t miss the Cascadas de Agua Blanca, or whitewater waterfalls.