What does remain is the fortress called San Juan de Ulua Castle which, after independence, became a prison and house of torture. Visitors today can listen to accounts of the torture of inmates, many of whom were political prisoners. The Baluarte de Santiago is the only remaining part of the huge defensive wall that used to surround the city and which was torn down by Porfirio Diaz after the revolution.
Downtown Veracruz is where many of the historical buildings still remaining are to be found, including the cathedral. Downtown is also the area where there’s a lot of Cuban influence in the culture including music, where salsa beats are heard above the traffic and you’ll also hear a form of Cuban music adapted by the Veracruzans called Danzon.
As with many Latin cities, the social meeting place is the malecon or seafront promenade and at night families and groups of friends will meet to chat and drink beer.