Mexico/Veracruz: Tlacotalpan

Tlacotalpan is a a tiny provincial town, set away from the ocean and inland on a river. But it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site for its layout, architecture, history and traditions. Founded by Spanish in 1550, the town became a major river port by the 17th century, one of the few inland river ports in the Americas at the time. The checkerboard layout, river location and colonial architecture distinguished from other towns at the time and most of these features are fully intact today. It’s an absolutely beautiful little town, with colorful colonial houses, pretty central square with a couple churches, and several outdoor restaurants. It feels completely un-Mexican and almost European with its 153 blocks of pristine checkerboard layout of two-story colonnaded Andalusia-style houses with inner courtyards. Everything is super tranquil and pretty. The central Plaza Zaragoza is the place to be for sunset, with both the 17th century Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria church and the mid-19th century San Cristóbal Church getting perfectly lit at night. Sit at an outside restaurant and enjoy!