Taking up much of Mexico's Caribbean coastline, the long and diverse state of Veracruz is where the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs began. It was also the cradle of the aptly named Veracruz Mesoamerican culture at El Tajín and is home to Mexico's highest peak, soaring, snow-capped Orizaba.
As a destination it's routinely overlooked by travelers, and while it's true that the beaches are better in the Yucatán and the colonial towns more impressive in Mexico's central and western Highlands, Veracruz has a steady supply of charms in both categories. It also lays claim to the World Heritage site of colonial Tlacotalpan, the impressive Biosphere Reserve of Los Tuxtlas and some gorgeous pueblos mágicos (magical villages) including hilly Papantla, cobbled Coscomatepec and the coffee-growing center of Xico.
Its biggest attraction, however, is its quietness. Wherever you go here, you'll find yourself well off the beaten path, with discoveries just waiting to be made.