One of the largest cities during the Mesoamerican classical era, El Tajín is located 150 miles (240 km) north of Veracruz and dates back to 600 AD. Rise early for a pickup from your Veracruz hotel and travel with your guide to El Tajín, coined the City of Thunder. The 3-hour drive parallels the Gulf of Mexico coast, so soak up the scenery or catch some sleep en route.
Follow your informative guide around the UNESCO-listed archaeological site and walk around the ruins to check out the pyramids and plazas. Learn about an ancient game that was played on the ball courts by the Totanac people, and see the most significant structures: the Plaza del Arroyo, the palaces of Tajín Chico and the Pyramid of the Niches.
Next, drive for 20 minutes to the city of Papantla. After refueling for lunch (own expense), start your tour and see the city sights including the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción (Our Lady of the Assumption), built in the late 1500s.
Papantla also is known for the Danza de los Voladores, or Dance of the Flyers, a spectacle that dates back to Mesoamerica. After ascending a tall pole, the ‘flying men’ release into the air headfirst with ropes wound tightly around their ankles, twirling for onlookers.
Learn about another icon of Papantla, vanilla, which has been grown here since the time of the Totanacs.
Your 12-hour day trip ends with transport back to your hotel in Veracruz.