Traveling in Mexico: Things to do in Papantla – El Tajín

(Puedes leer este artículo en Español en este enlace)

El Tajín

A day spent at this beautiful archaeological site and you will agree it well deserves its title of UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Papantla viajar piramide Mexico

Grupo del Arrojo, El Tajin, Veracruz, Mexico. January 2015

El Tajin, Veracruz, Mexico. january 2015

El Tajin, Veracruz, Mexico. January 2015

Located in the state of Veracruz, El Tajin was at its height from the early 9th to the early 13th century. It became the most important centre in north-east Mesoamerica after the fall of the Teotihuacan Empire. Its cultural influence extended all along the Gulf and penetrated into the Maya region and the high plateaux of central Mexico. Its architecture, which is unique in Mesoamerica, is characterized by elaborate carved reliefs on the columns and frieze. The ‘Pyramid of the Niches’, a masterpiece of ancient Mexican and American architecture, reveals the astronomical and symbolic significance of the buildings. El Tajin has survived as an outstanding example of the grandeur and importance of the pre-Hispanic cultures of Mexico. (UNESCO)

El Tajin, Veracruz, Mexico. January 2015

El Tajin, Veracruz, Mexico. January 2015

El Tajin, Veracruz, Mexico. January 2015

El Tajin, Veracruz, Mexico. January 2015

One of the most spectacular and easily recognized buildings on the site is the Pyramid of the Niches.

Pyramid of the Niches, El Tajin, Veracruz, Mexico. January 2015

Pyramid of the Niches, El Tajin, Veracruz, Mexico. January 2015

Take an easy stroll up the hill behind the Pyramid of the Niches, for a spectacular view of the entire archaeologic site, surrounded by the lush tropical forest.

El Tajin, Veracruz, Mexico. January 2015

El Tajin, Veracruz, Mexico. January 2015

El Tajin, Veracruz, Mexico. January 2015

El Tajin, Veracruz, Mexico. January 2015

El Tajin, Veracruz, Mexico. January 2015

El Tajin, Veracruz, Mexico. January 2015

Visiting these magnificent structures helps us imagine how this city would have looked at its peak.  It must have been thriving, vibrant, the cultural and religious center of the Totonacs.

El Tajin, Veracruz, Mexico. January 2015

El Tajin, Veracruz, Mexico. January 2015

El Tajin, Veracruz, Mexico. January 2015

El Tajin, Veracruz, Mexico. January 2015

Great Xicalcoluihqui, El Tajin, Veracruz, Mexico. January 2015

Great Xicalcoluihqui, El Tajin, Veracruz, Mexico. January 2015

The beauty of the site, the magnificent buildings… Our only regret was that we decided to not pay a tour guide.  We should have known better! When we visited other historic sites, such as Machu Picchu in Peru, and the San Felipe Castle in Cartagena, Colombia, the details and background information that a tour guide can add were a big asset to enjoying the visit.

Have you visited El Tajín, or any other archaeologic sites?  Let us know in the comments!

Travel details:

Atlanta-Mexico City on Southwest Airlines

  • Atlanta-San Antonio-Mexico City on Southwest Airlines
  • Spent 10,430 Southwest Rapid Rewards to fly Economy
  • Paid $28 in taxes

Poza Rica-Atlanta on AeroMexico & Delta

  • Poza Rica-Mexico City on AeroMexico
  • Mexico City-Atlanta on Delta
  • Spent 22,500 SkyMiles to fly Economy
  • Paid $61 in taxes

 

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