The city of Tlacotalpan is located in the eastern coastal region of the Mexican state of Veracruz. Although the area had been inhabited since pre-Columbian times, the modern-day settlement was founded as a river port on the banks of the Río Papaloapan in the mid-16th century. It serves as the municipal seat for the municipality of the same name. The town is known in Mexico for its connection to the musical genre Son Jarocho, and for its annual "Encuentro Nacional de Jaraneros y Decimistas" - a meeting of players of the stringed instrument jarana and singers of décima verses.
Tlacotalpan was chosen as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998 because the "urban layout and architecture of Tlacotalpan represent a fusion of Spanish and Caribbean traditions of exceptional importance and quality... Its outstanding character lies in its townscape of wide streets, modest houses in an exuberant variety of styles and colours, and many mature trees in public and private open spaces." (UNESCO, 1998.)