The gay area is in the Zona Centro of the city.
When the Spanish explorer Hernán Cortés arrived in Mexico in 1519, he founded city named Villa Rica de la Vera Cruz, referring to the area’s gold and dedicated to the “True Cross”, because he landed on Good Friday, the day of the Crucifixion. It was the second Spanish settlement on the mainland of the Americas but the first to receive a coat-of-arms. Today, Veracruz is officially called “3 veces Heróica Veracruz”.
Veracruz has a blend of cultures, mostly indigenous, ethnic Spanish and Afro-Cuban. The influence of these three is best seen in the food and music of the area, which has strong Spanish, Caribbean and African influences.
Veracruz is not as popular a tourist destination as many other resort areas. But the city has been promoting itself as a tourist destination, emphasizing new attractions such as the Veracruz Aquarium, the City Museum, and the renovation of historic sites, such as Fort San Juan de Ulúa and the Naval Academy.
Coffee-houses are a center of social life in the city, and the Gran Café del Portal and the Café de la Parroquia are the two best-known establishments. To request a refill, customers clink the sides of their glasses with their spoons. This clinking can be heard from the early morning to late at night. The story behind this custom is that a trolley driver used to ring his bell when he was a block away from the Gran Café del Portal to let the waiters know he was coming. When the driver died, his casket was borne on the trolley and when it passed the establishment, the customers and waiters tapped their glasses in his honor.
General Heriberto Jara International Airport (IATA: VER, ICAO: MMVR) serves the city with daily service to Mexico City as well as international service to Houston only. Veracruz is linked to Mexico City by a four-lane toll highway which also passes through Cordoba and Puebla. Half-way between Veracruz and Cordoba, it is connected to the La Tinaja-Cosoleacaque toll highway which goes as far as Villahermosa, Tabasco. Another toll highway goes to the state capital of Xalapa.