- Travel and Places»
- Visiting North America
El Tajin, Mysterious Mexican Ruins in the Jungle
Come Join Me in Exploring El Tajin!
We happened to read about El Tajin in a tourist guidebook as we traveled down the east coast of Mexico one winter some years back. It was never found by the Spanish. It was remote. It was one of Mexico's greatest archaeological treasures.
Its time of splendor was from about 800 AD until it was abandoned for unknown reasons in 1230 AD. It was both a political center and a spiritual one, built by the Totonac people. In their language the word tajin means hurricane or thunder or lightning. All of these occur powerfully in the area, typically from June to October.
We had to go there, and we did.
It was a drizzly February morning when we arrived, with very few other tourists around. We asked where we could camp the small RV we were driving, and the park officials assured us we would be just fine right there in the parking lot. We stayed there overnight, and that gave us two full days to roam around this amazing place. I'll show you some of our best photos. Photo credits: The pictures were taken by my husband, Kelly Hart, and by me.
The Entrance Invites You In
View from a Hilltop
This is El Tajin Himself - A statue of the god of the storm forces
He wasn't really working hard the days we were there. It was raining at times, usually misty, and there was a little sunshine.
So Where IS El Tajin?
This 1853 map gives you a general idea and gives a taste of antiquity. I put the red dot on Papantla, the town right next to El Tajin. Photo credit: Ken Mayer on Flickr.com.
In modern terms, it is in the state of Veracruz.
As We Walked In, More and More Ruins Revealed Themselves.
This photo and the one just below are the same place, during one of the rare times of sunshine.
The Pyramid of the Niches
Camping in the El Tajin Parking Lot
We were the only campers who spent the night in the parking lot, but we made friends with these dogs, partly by giving them some food...we carried a little dry dog food with us for occasions like this. These two slept under our RV and dashed out to bark whenever they deemed it necessary. That didn't make for the best night's sleep, but still I wished we could take the larger one home with us. There were lots of good reasons not to, and we didn't.
The next morning, Kelly wandered around the site more with our camera, and I chatted with the young man in the photo below with me, one of the people working at the museum on the grounds. He was extremely knowledgeable, as was an older man who joined in our conversation. This was all in Spanish, which was a bit of a stretch for me at the time.
I asked them if they were archaeologists. No, they weren't -- they were Totonacs themselves, descendants of the people who had built these places. They spoke Totonac at home.
What Critter Is This? - Something Mythical, I'd Say!
El Tajin on Amazon - Books, Prints, Even a Crossword Puzzle
Schlarly book, hardcover or Kindle
El Tajin is a World Heritage Site - What are Those?
World Heritage Sites are defined by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). There are close to 1,000 of them around the world, and about 30 in Mexico. El Tajin became one in 1992.
The first link below has good archaeological background on this site.
- El Tajin, Pre-Hispanic City - UNESCO World Heritage Centre
UNESCO website, the page about El Tajin with a lot of details
- UNESCO World Heritage Centre
UNESCO World Heritage Centre homepage
El Tajin Video by the Mexican National Institute of Anthropology and History - In Spanish but you can see a lot... and give your Spanish a workout!
More Current Information on Visiting El Tajin - We were there in 2003.
I am not currently interested in going back to Mexico to travel around. Things would have be a lot more secure. But others are going.
Many of the people who comment in the first link stress how hot and humid it was! I guess we were lucky that we went in February.
- El Tajin - Papantla, Mexico - 37 Reviews of El Tajin - TripAdvisor
El Tajin, Papantla: See 37 reviews, articles, and 65 photos of El Tajin on TripAdvisor.
- El Tajin Guide
El Tajin - Guide to the Archaeology Park in Mexico. With details about getting there.
Please note that if you click through to Amazon.com from here and if you buy something, Squidoo and I may share a commission, at no cost to you. Clicking on some of the other links might also yield me some commission. I appreciate the income, as it enables me to spend time doing writing like this.