Poza Rica is a city and its surrounding municipality in the Mexican state of Veracruz. Its name means "rich pool", because it was a place known for its abundance of fish. In this century oil was discovered in the area. It has since been almost completely extracted. This resulted in the decline of oil well exploration and drilling activities but there are many oil facilities. It shares borders with the municipalities of Papantla, Tihuatlán, and Coatzintla, and stands on Federal Highway 180. The archaeological zone of El Tajín is located approximately 15 kilometers (9.3 mi) from Poza Rica. The area is intensely tropical, with two popular beaches within one hour, Tuxpan, and Tecolutla, and one within 40 minutes, Cazones. Mexico City is about 220 kilometers (140 mi) from Poza Rica. Unlike most Mexican cities, it does not have old buildings because it is a new city founded officially on November 20, 1951. For that reason it has contemporary architecture with well-lined and designed streets with a modern look. While the petroleum industry features heavily amongst the industrial landscape in Poza Rica, the city also has a wide variety of other industries. As one of the largest and most populous cities in Veracruz, Poza Rica is an important industrial and commercial center, and central hub for several road transportation lines. The city has recently seen a lot of growth, with several commercial centers opening around the city. The city had an official population of 174,512 inhabitants and the municipality had 181,438 at the census of 2005. However, the Poza Rica metropolitan area, which includes the municipalities of Papantla, Tihuatlán, and Coatzintla, showed a total population of 458,330.
Poza Rica is close to the Costa Esmeralda, the northern beaches of Veracruz, such as Tecolutla, Tuxpan, Cazones and Playa Esmeralda and because of its hotel and metropolitan infrastructure it is convenient for staying in a comfortable city. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of El Tajin is 15 kilometers (9.3 mi) away. It has a downtown area which provides a good shopping experience. It has a local famous height called "El cerro del abuelo" where it's possible to see the whole city and its "quemadores", big petroleum burners which were used to light the city in the early years. There are few of them at the present time. Every year there is a holiday called "Desfile del 18 de marzo" (March 18 Parade) which commemorates Mexican oil expropriation and has two beautiful parades, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. It is a city with a predominantly young population.