ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Travel and Places»
  • Visiting North America

El Tajin, Mysterious Mexican Ruins in the Jungle

Updated on January 1, 2013

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

The Entrance Invites You In
The Entrance Invites You In

View from a Hilltop

View from a Hilltop
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

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

The Pyramid of the Niches
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

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 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.

Please note that if you click through to 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.

Would You Like to Go to El Tajin?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • NibsyNell profile image

      NibsyNell 5 years ago

      What a wonderful experience! Sounds amazing! :)

    • whiteskyline lm profile image

      whiteskyline lm 5 years ago

      I would like to. I find places like this fascinating, and mystical, as you had mentioned.

    • hartworks lm profile image

      hartworks lm 5 years ago

      @Virginia Allain: One of the rare visitors to this lens who also went there!

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 5 years ago from Central Florida

      I visited there about 10 years ago when we traveled to Veracruz for the carnival. El Tajin was a fascinating place to visit.

    • ismeedee profile image

      ismeedee 5 years ago

      I would love to go there... what an amazing experience you've had!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Yes would not mind although it is very far from where we are.

    • hartworks lm profile image

      hartworks lm 5 years ago

      @grannysage: I think that fear is justified right now! But even in calmer days, I had plenty of heart-stopping moments in Mexican traffic. My hubby did fine with it though.

    • profile image

      grannysage 5 years ago

      I am totally fascinated by places like this and would love to visit. We live in an RV but I think I would be too scared to drive it into Mexico.

    • hartworks lm profile image

      hartworks lm 5 years ago

      @moanaparker lm: Looking at your lenses, you are more likely than most people to get there someday!

    • moanaparker lm profile image

      moanaparker lm 5 years ago

      I'm Impressed by your thoughts and would love to travel here.

    • hartworks lm profile image

      hartworks lm 5 years ago

      @srsddn lm: I'm going to keep watching for other world heritage sites wherever I go.

    • srsddn lm profile image

      srsddn lm 5 years ago

      Each world heritage site has some unique feature and your description about EI Tajin is awesome..

    • hartworks lm profile image

      hartworks lm 5 years ago

      @TonyPayne: They really are. I've been to Teotihuacan, first as a child and again more recently. I was more moved by El Tajin, I think because we were lucky to be there when so few people were.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 5 years ago from New Zealand

      This is some trip I would one to take, but sadly that will never happen. Love old ruins. Thanks for sharing. Blessed.

    • hartworks lm profile image

      hartworks lm 5 years ago

      @Elsie Hagley: Thanks for the blessing! Most people will never get there. I love to watch travel documentaries and when they get really rugged, I think to the voyager, "Better you than me!"

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 5 years ago from Southampton, UK

      It looks amazing. I have been to the pyramids at Teotihuacan outside Mexico City, but the most impressive Mayan ruins I have seen are Tikal in Guatemala and Copan in Honduras, which look very similar to El Tajin. These are incredible places to visit aren't they.

    • hartworks lm profile image

      hartworks lm 5 years ago

      @rallo-smith: Too bad you probably can't take the bird in your image along, but then you might see some wild ones there!

    • hartworks lm profile image

      hartworks lm 5 years ago

      @kristalulabelle: Very few people (or cats, judging by your image) do know about them!

    • hartworks lm profile image

      hartworks lm 5 years ago

      @Michey LM: They give us a great perspective on our own lives and times!

    • rallo-smith profile image

      rallo-smith 5 years ago

      Just amazing when I think about it. Truly a great place to visit and I hope to make that trip someday.

    • kristalulabelle profile image

      Kristen 5 years ago from Wisconsin

      I really enjoyed learning more about El Tajin, I've never heard of these ruins! Informative lens!

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 5 years ago

      Interesting tourist place in Mexico, love the old civilizations and their culture, some time we know so little about them. Thanks for the history facts...

    • intermarks profile image

      intermarks 5 years ago

      This is a very beautiful place. Great lens.

    • JohnTannahill profile image

      John Tannahill 5 years ago from Somewhere in England

      Can you imagine what it was like in the day? Amazing, and so well preserved too.

    • hartworks lm profile image

      hartworks lm 5 years ago

      @artbyrodriguez: Thanks. With your art skills, you could do some fun things there... if you do that kind of art!

    • hartworks lm profile image

      hartworks lm 5 years ago

      @flycatcherrr: It was the high point of that trip. I love the glimpses of time past!

    • artbyrodriguez profile image

      Beverly Rodriguez 5 years ago from Albany New York

      I would love to go! I like ruins...they're so fascinating. Very nicely done lens and great photos.

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 5 years ago

      I'd love to go! I've never made it over to the east coast of Mexico, and pottering about archaeological sites is great fun. Sometimes a bit strenuous and warm, true, but great fun - and the calories you burn off in doing so can make up for indulgence in those excellent Mexican sweets and chocolate. :)


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: ""

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)