Like many cities in Mexico, Veracruz is along the coast, but it has a different feel from the suntanned beaches of the tourist spots. This is much more of a port city, and is even the place where Cortez originally landed when arriving on the Mexican shore. The attitude is different here, too. It’s one of the most laidback places you can find to kick back and relax. Everyone is friendly, and there’s always something going on, most frequently related to music and dancing. Music is a very important part of the culture, and the style should be recognizable to most. This is where the song “La Bamba” originated, for one. Take a stroll along the boardwalk at sunset for some beautiful views and good food, and then head in to the town square to soak up some live bands and lots of dancing. It seems like there is always dancing going on in this city, particularly after sunset. Veracruz also has a unique history, as it was the main point of entry and exit for pirates carrying huge loads of gold and jeweled plunder back to Europe. Eventually the town built its own defenses, and the remains of the huge old fort and city wall are fascinating historical sites to visit – and even have some of the recovered spectacular pirate’s booty on display.