The Mexican coasts, which have a development of about 8800 km., Of which 2500 on the Gulf of Mexico and the rest on the Great Ocean, are generally low and sandy and lacking natural harbors on the E., on the whole high and with safe anchorages and magnificent W bays.
The coasts of the Gulf of Mexico begin at the mouth of the Río Grande del Norte, on whose delta is the river port of Matamoros, accessible only to small-draft steamers and connected by rail to Monterrey, the capital of Nuevo León. In Tamaulipas the coast unfolds low and covered with dunes of small height, separating from the sea large lagoons, such as the Madre and Morales, inaccessible from the sea. The first port is that of Tampico, on the mouth of the Río Pánuco, whose banks extend into the sea with two artificial piers, about 2 km long, limiting a deep channel that allows access to the river, which in turn is kept navigable with dredging works up to the confluence of the Río Tamesi. The mouth of the Pánuco is a port of great importance, which, thanks to the development of the oil industry that belongs to it,
The coast continues low and fringed with lagoons from Cape Rojo to the river port of Tuxpán, the outlet of that oil region; the port works are progressing slowly because the soil is even more unhealthy than that of Tampico. Between Tuxpán and Veracruz the coast is low and fringed with small islands, but becomes high and mountainous between Punta Delgada and Punta Zempoala.
Watched by the old Castle of San Juan de Ulúa, built on the rocks of the Gallega, the port of Veracruz is between the city and the rocks of the Gallega and Hornos, connected to the coast by artificial piers that limit the inland basin, leaving only a channel entrance 260 meters wide. The depth of the port is about 11-12 m. and various jets facilitate commercial movement, but many operations still have to be done by means of boats and barges. Veracruz is Mexico’s first port, especially for imports, and there are many regular shipping lines.
The coast continues towards the SE. alternating low and sandy areas with slight rocky protrusions: the port of Alvarado, in the lagoon of the same name, is used only for small coastal fishing. This is followed by Puerto México, the initial station of the Tehuantepec line, created at the mouth of the Río Coatzacoalcos, made navigable with very expensive works: the port, which has seen its movement decrease after the opening of the Panama Canal, awaits the recovery from the development of the oil industry of its territory.
On the coast of Tabasco, beyond the Santa Ana lagoon, we remember the port of Frontera on the common mouth of the Usumacinta and Grijalva rivers; in the Campeche is the vast lagoon of Términos (68 km. long by 40 wide), protected by the island of El Carmen, accessible to small draft vessels, and the port of Campeche, which owes its trade to the railway junction with the state of Yucatán and with Mérida, who send him large consignments of henequén.
The Yucatán coast has a very particular morphology, which, between the port of Real de Salinas and the lagoon of Jalahau, is formed by a long coastal strip that limits a narrow channel towards the coast, used by indigenous boats, but trade with foreign countries and with other units of the republic is concentrated in Progreso, the main port of Yucatán, an open port where ships must stop at a greater or lesser distance from the coast depending on their draft.
The Pacific coasts measure over 6000 km., Of which about 3000 belong to the Baja California peninsula; there are sections that are not very hospitable due to the excessive steepness of the slopes or the poor seabed, but overall accessibility from the sea is greater and there are more good natural ports. On the other hand, there is a lack of easy communication with the plateau, so the western coasts have always had a secondary importance for the economic life of Mexico. The opening of the South Pacific railway line, which goes from American California to Tepic and Guadalajara to Mexico, and the large truck from Mexico to Acapulco will certainly increase the movement of Pacific ports.
The western section of the coast of Baja California consists of a large alluvial belt with numerous coastal dunes and shallow lagoons that are inaccessible from the sea: we remember the Bay of All Saints with the homonymous islands, then the bay and the port of San Quintín and the great Bay Vizcaíno, with the islands of Cedros and San Benito, the Bay of Ballenas and that of Magdalena, all of very little importance; at the extreme south of the peninsula, the Bay of San José, the outlet of a very fertile valley. Towards the Gulf of California opens the great Bay of La Paz which is accessed from the San Lorenzo channel; the port of La Paz maintains a fair trade with the ports of Guaymas and Mazatlán on the opposite continental shore. Further north, Santa Rosalia is the outlet for the copper mines of Boleo. For Mexico 2012, please check oxfordastronomy.com.
To the east of the Colorado Delta we first find the Sonora coast, flanked by the island of Tiburón and other smaller islands up to Cape Haro, where the port of Guaymas opens, the largest and most important in the Gulf of California, accessible steamships of six meters of draft, developed in the last twenty years for the progress of the mining industry in Sonora and for the opening of the South Pacific railway. Between Guaymas and Mazatlán the coast is now low and sandy, fringed with small islands and coastal lagoons, now with rocky promontories that enclose some small ports, such as that of Topolobampo, where a branch of the railway ends. But the main port of this region, indeed the first Mexican port on the Pacific, is that of Mazatlán (v.), Frequented by numerous ships,
Towards the south the coast continues low and bordered by lagoons to the mouth of the Río Grande de Santiago, shortly after which is the port of San Blas, a good natural shelter. The Tres Marías islands (María Madre, María Magdalena and María Cleofas) rise off the coast of San Blas and in the direction of Cape Corrientes, whence the coast continues mountainous to the Gulf of Tehuantepec. In this stretch there are numerous deep inlets that welcome some good ports such as that of Manzanillo, the outlet of the Colima, and that of Acapulco nel Guerrero, port, in the colonial era, of the Spanish ships that maintained relations with the Philippine islands, and where now the steamers of a Japanese regular line arrive.
In the Gulf of Tehuantepec the main port is that of Salina Cruz, a station of the transoceanic railway, but also, like the railway, have lost much of their value after the opening of the Panama Canal. The coast to the SE. of the isthmus and that of Soconusco remain low, sandy and partly bordered by lagoons and however Puerto Arista and S. Benito have only coastal navigation functions.
The islands of Mexico, all of a small area, almost always arise at a very short distance from the coast and, despite their number (260), are of little importance because they are mostly islets, rocks and sand banks emerging in front of them. to the coasts. To the east we only mention those close to the Yucatán coast, such as the Mujeres and Cancum islands and the wider Cozumel; in the Pacific we remember the Angel de la Guardia and Tiburón islands in the Gulf of California, the Tres Marías group about 90 km away. from the coast of Nayarit, and further away, over 600 km. from the coast of Colima to which they belong, the Revilla Gigedo islands (Socorro, S. Benedicto, Clarion) and further away the Clipperton island, which was demanded by Mexico and France and which an arbitration by the king of Italy, in January 1931, awarded to France.