Colorful and lively, the port of Veracruz is the first European city established on the North American mainland and the state's central attraction.
Veracruz has a well-deserved reputation as the liveliest of Mexican cities, with a hedonistic, tropical atmosphere. It has long been a port of entry for immigrants from Europe, the last wave consisting of refugees from the Spanish Civil War. That European influence may explain the presence of its sidewalk cafes. The Caribbean also has influenced Veracruz, especially in music and dance. The danzon, a languorous two-person dance with lots of subtle hip movement, was brought to the city by penniless refugees fleeing Cuba in 1879 following its War of Independence.
Veracruz has beaches and resort hotels, but its principal activity is that of a port, receiving the major share of Mexico's overseas imports and dispatching wares to foreign destinations.