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El Tajin, The Thunder City and Papantla

El Tajin Ruins at Veracruz Mexico

El Tajin is a pre-Columbian archaeological site that was declared a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO.

It is believed that it was the capital of the Totonac Empire, which has survived to show the greatness and importance of pre-Hispanic cultures in Mexico.

How to visit El Tajin and Papantla 

El Tajin and Papantla are located in the state of Veracruz, Mexico. It will only take you a few minutes to get from Tajin ruins to Papantla.

For me, the best way to explore those beautiful places is to stay in the city of Poza Rica, Veracruz; that is also, just a few minutes away.

Poza Rica is a bigger city where you can find a greater variety of hotels with different prices and all the amenities.

The journey from Poza Rica can be done by hiring a tour that takes you to the El Tajin and Papantla or doing it on your own way.

Archaeological site and the best things to do at El Tajin at Veracruz, Mexico
Green and beautiful Tajin.

Either option is good, it just depends on your taste. I prefer to organize my time and do it on my own.

If you decide to take a tour for Tajin ruins and Papantla, there are many options in Poza Rica. Most of them are similar, but my advice is to ask about the schedules, the things that includes and the language.

And if you decide to do it on your own, it’s so easy. You can take a bus from Poza Rica to Tajin or a taxi, it’s cheap and you be there in a few minutes.

And the same thing from Tajin to Papantla, it’s simple and you can enjoy all day taking your time for the journey.

The well preserved Ruins at El Tajin, UNESCO site in Veracruz, Mexico
It is impressive how well preserved the ruins are.

El Tajin Ruins, Archaeological Site and the Museum

The entrance to El Tajin costs around 70 pesos and this includes the entrance to the museum.

The place open 9 to 5, and as always, my advice is that you arrive as early as possible, to avoid the heat and the excess of tourists ha-ha!

The museum of Tajin is of great help to understand the Tajin City, as well as its rituals, the ball game and all around this marvelous place in Mexico.

Do not forget sunblock, mosquito repellent, a hat and comfortable shoes!

El Tajin Pyramids, archaeological site and museum in Veracruz, Mexico
You’ll love El Tajin!

Some History About El Tajin

El Tajin is also known as The Thunder City, because Tajin means Thunder in Toltec language. The City started around AD 100, flourished from AD 600 to 1200 and later it was abandoned.

The first thing we can appreciate at the entrance are the Papantla Flyers, a mix between ritual, dance and a pole 23 meters high.

It calculates 150 buildings of which they have been restored around 20, the rest remains buried between the mountains.

Papantla Flyers a UNESCO Heritage at El Tajin and Papantla Veracruz, Mexico
The amazing Papantla Flyers.


El Tajin Archaeological site, ruins and Pyramids in Papantla, Veracruz Mexico
Marvelous view of the ruins.

The Pyramid of the Niches

It is the most important construction in El Tajin, with its 25 meters high and 365 niches that remind us the importance of the calendar for these cultures.

The niches imitate caves, which have been considered passages to the underworld.

The most important Pyramid of the Niches at El Tajin Veracruz, Mexico
The marvelous Pyramid of the Niches.
The best pyramid at the Archaeological site and ruins of El Tajin Veracruz, Mexico
The details of the niches are amazing.

The Ancient Ball Game  

At Tajin there are two impressive ball courts of the Ancient Ball Game.

The walls of the court have decorations that make think that the winners killed one of the members of the losing team with an obsidian knife, who considered it an honorable way to die.

Beautiful green view of El Tajin ruins a UNESCO site in Veracruz, Mexico
Sunny and beautiful day to explore El Tajin.

Cumbre Tajin Event, Mexico.

Cumbre Tajin is a cultural festival made to preserve and spread the cultural and archaeological wealth of the Sacred City of El Tajin.

You can appreciate ceremonies, rituals, concerts, dances, conferences, exhibitions and more.

Pyramid of the Niches at The Cumbre Tajin the International event in EL Tajin Veracruz, Mexico
Pyramid of the Niches at Cumbre Tajin.

It is an annual event for the whole family, which takes place during the spring equinox.

Since it is an event that attracts worldwide tourists, it is very important that you make reservations in advance.

Cumbre Tajin the International light and music event at the Archaeological site of El Tajin, Veracruz Mexico
Cumbre Tajin at Night.


It is with pride one of the Magic Towns that you can find in Mexico.

In this small city you can enjoy museums, the beautiful chapel, the parish, the murals and of course delicious Mexican food.

Something you can’t miss is to try the famous and aromatic Papantla Vanilla, which you can taste at ice cream, desserts or even meals.


El Tajin and Papantla are places you should visit in Mexico. If you love Archaeological sites, history, traditions, beautiful small cities, folklore and of course delicious Mexican food.

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Comments (3)

[…] El Tajin and Papantla […]


I love ruins, absolutely. I have been to Mexico a couple of times but never heard of El Tajin. This was a remarkable post. The pyramid of niches looks very interesting. On my bucket list now.


Thanks so much! It is a fantastic site and being surrounded by jungle makes it totally unique.
I hope you can visit in your next trip to Mexico. Thank you for reading!


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