Tampico, at the southeastern tip of the state of Tamaulipas, is one of Mexico's leading ports and oil-refinery centers, and the site of a growing petrochemical industry. Ciudad Madero, between Tampico and the coast, is the processing center for the country's oldest oil fields.
The city lies in a marshy region where the Panuco River meets the Gulf of Mexico. It is ringed by several lakes, including the Laguna de Chairel which is used for recreation, and numerous small estuaries. Going south, the spectacular Puente Tampico (Tampico Bridge) crosses the R o P nuco to Veracruz state.