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The historic port of Veracruz is the Mexican city that most exuberantly celebrates Carnaval. Festivities include outlandish street parades, children's parades, salsa and samba music and dancing, folkloric shows and more. If you can't visit for Carnaval, don't despair. The mad cacophony and whirl in Veracruz's attractive zócalo can be enjoyed year round. The hubub increases as the day progresses. In the evening, mariachi and marimba musicians and other entertainers see who can play loudest while groups of partygoers cut loose. Sometimes bands play and couples dance salsa, merengue, danzón and other Latino and ...

The historic port of Veracruz is the Mexican city that most exuberantly celebrates Carnaval. Festivities include outlandish street parades, children's parades, salsa and samba music and dancing, folkloric shows and more. If you can't visit for Carnaval, don't despair. The mad cacophony and whirl in Veracruz's attractive zócalo can be enjoyed year round. The hubub increases as the day progresses. In the evening, mariachi and marimba musicians and other entertainers see who can play loudest while groups of partygoers cut loose. Sometimes bands play and couples dance salsa, merengue, danzón and other Latino and Caribbean dances. For centuries Veracruz was the main entry and exit point between Mexico and Spain. It was often attacked and even besieged by pirates. Unsurprisingly, it has handsome, colonial buildings and fortifications. Veracruz cuisine is delicious. Salsa veracruzana, a piquant combination of tomatoes, peppers, onions, olives, and spices, is prepared nationwide. Veracruz beaches are not overly inviting but there is some good snorkeling and diving on offshore islands.

John Noble
About the Expert

John Noble is a coauthor of Lonely Planet's Spain, Andalucia, and Mexico as well as many other LP titles from Indonesia to Belize to Brazil.

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Carnaval (Late Feb/early March); Festival Internacional Afrocaribeño (last two weeks of July)