Veracruz, the largest city in the state of Veracruz and the jewel of the Mexican Gulf coast, will be sure to delight and enchant any Royal Holiday member. A proud former fort city, it garnered the title of “four times heroic city of Veracruz” for its role in repelling two attacks from the United States and one each from Spain and France. Veracruz remains one of the hottest up-and-coming resort destinations in Mexico due to its colonial charms and relaxing beaches. Whether traveling to Veracruz for shipping industry business or vacationing fun, Royal Holiday members will find a city worth exploring.
Located within the Zona Dorada, or Golden Zone, the name of Veracruz’s port district, the Royal Holiday affiliate the Galeria Plaza Veracruz boasts the kind of resort amenities members expect. In addition to rooms outfitted with minibars, satellite television, and the usual luxuries found in Las Brisas hotels, Galeria Plaza also provides exceptionally easy access to the city’s main destinations. Because the resort has direct access to the Plaza de las Americas, the state’s biggest mall, travelers can find any number of items within walking distance of the hotel lobby, including the World Trade Center and various convention spaces.
Outside the Plaza de las Americas, though, one can find unending pleasures spread along the colonial-style streets and boulevards of Veracruz. Sometimes referred to as Mexico’s “front door,” Veracruz was one of the first Spanish settlements in the country, with Cortés’ ships landing on Good Friday in 1519. Today, the city remains a crucial part of the Mexican economy, due to its thriving oil, tobacco, and coffee industries. Given its location on Mexico’s Gulf coast, African and Caribbean influences on the music, food, and culture of Veracruz have led to a truly cosmopolitan environment.
Visitors will do well to start in the center of colonial Veracruz, the Plaza de Armas, where they can find the magnificent architecture of the town’s government buildings as well as the nightclubs and music venues that are the heartbeat of the city. For unsurpassed vistas and the chance to enjoy an ice cream cone, guests can stroll down the city’s boardwalk, the Paseo del Malecon. The city’s handsomely appointed city museum, the Museo de la Ciudad de Veracruz, and the nearby Museo Naval provide a helpful grounding in Mexican and Veracruzan history. In addition, Royal Holiday members should be sure to experience sundown in the zocalo, or main plaza. Marimba players often congregate there to entertain audiences throughout the year.
Royal Holiday members in search of important landmarks will want to explore the Fort at San Juan de Ulua, a former Spanish outpost that has become a fascinating museum. Although the town’s location on the coast suggests beaches, visitors can find the best swimming and water sports outside Veracruz. Relaxation will be easiest at the Playa Macambo, but many experienced travelers recommend visiting the seaside village of Boca del Rio to sample some of the excellent local cuisine.