Tlacotalpan, colorful Pueblo Magico that will delight the eyes, the palate and the spirit


Tlacotalpan is located an hour and a half from the port of Veracruz

It is called the Pearl of the Papaloapan and is located on the banks of the mariposas river

The state of Veracruz is undoubtedly one of the most joyful in the Mexican Republic, it is rich in attractions that captivate its visitors and keeps a great wealth in terms of history, traditions, culture, gastronomy and all this is combined to offer a mosaic of colors, traditions, and full nature.

On the banks of the Papaloapan river or river of butterflies “mariposas”, near its mouth with the Gulf of Mexico, is one of the most picturesque and colorful places in the state of Veracruz: the town of Tlacotalpan, it was founded in 1550 and is also known as “La Perla del Papaloapan”.

Its admirable architecture with classic-style portals and the landscape of wide streets that are combined with numerous columns and arches that adorn it, constitute some of the main attractions of this magnificent city, whose name means in Nahuatl “land between the waters”.

When visiting Tlacotalpan, you will have the opportunity to take boat rides on the Papaloapan River, as beautiful as it is generous in numerous species, enjoy the local historical monuments, many with a notable neoclassical style, or walk among the stately houses and portals that are They rise to one side of the flow of the Papaloapan.

In 1998 it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, in the category of “historic city”. “It is an outstanding settlement because it preserves its original outline and a huge number of buildings from the second part of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. Both the urban approach and the architectural characteristics of Tlacotalpan derive directly from the combination of Caribbean and Spanish traditions ”, describes the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization on its website.

Unesco adds that among the main values ​​of Tlacotalpan, at a historical tourist and cultural level, are: “its location in a profuse environment and the details that provide it with a captivating provincial environment. In this case, we have its wide streets and its houses of different colors and styles. From its origins, the community was under the protection of the Virgen de la Candelaria and the celebration that is dedicated to her on February 2. They are very colorful occasions that nobody should miss. It is a place that concentrates many of the aspects that make Veracruz and Mexico in general fascinating in tourist, cultural, and natural terms. “

The criteria that were taken into account to declare it a Heritage city were: the fact that this Veracruz community witnesses a remarkable exchange of human values, is emerging as an outstanding example of a kind of construction or architectural complex.


This territory was already occupied by the Totonac culture from the 12th century until the arrival of the first Spanish colonizers, who arrived in 1518 under the command of Pedro de Alvarado to found a small town that would later become one of the most important coastal ports. .

The culture of Tlacotalpan is the product of the indigenous, Spanish and Afro-Caribbean mix that is reflected in its architecture, gastronomy, traditions, and customs.

It is a town that is always changing and at the same time traditional because it preserves its original layout in addition to maintaining a vernacular architecture, it is a town that has been renewed every day since the 16th century when it was founded. It is surrounded by majestic green areas.

When you walk through its quiet streets, you will feel spacious, sober spaces with a strong local flavor. Plaza Zaragoza or Casa Artesanal Rafaela Murillo are examples of the wonders that await you in Tlacotalpan.


At the end of January and beginning of February, each year Tlacotalpan holds a huge, joyful, and colorful festival with which its patron saint, the Virgen de la Candelaria, is honored. Those in charge of organizing the celebration adorn her with ornaments to take her for a ride in a parade where more than six hundred horsemen participate in a parade full of joy, among the women dressed in traditional dresses adorned with lace, jewels, fans, and tortoiseshell combs.

The brotherhoods escort the Virgin with their prayers, accompanied by the rhythms of the bugles and drums of the Naval School band. In addition, the groups of jaraneros participate in the meeting of musicians and instrument sellers who exchange couplets, musicalize verses and compose melodies. At night, the “toritos” loaded with lights appear, made in the rocketeers’ workshops, which offer a show that you can enjoy while having a drink of rum with fruits.


Walking through its main streets, which began to be traced in the 16th century, you will be able to admire the calm and cheerful architectural style, discover its narrow alleys surrounded by modest houses painted with a palette of pastel colors that are a real delight to the eye and that invite you to enjoy the hospitality of its inhabitants.


You will love Tlacotalpan, it is full of spacious houses and several gardens, start your tour at Plaza Zaragoza and its marble benches. On its sides you will find the Church of San Cristóbal with an English clock from 1886; the Chapel of Our Lady of Candelaria, with its coral stone vault and cupola; and the Plazuela Agustín Lara, as well as the Municipal Palace building.


Admire the Netzahualcóyotl Theater. Get to know the museum and the Agustín Lara house, the Tlacotalpeño artist who portrayed the most beautiful landscapes of this site through his songs. Tour the Jardín del Arte gallery and the Rafaela Murillo de Barbero Artisan House, where the creations of local and national artists shine. Locate La Plaza Hidalgo, a garden where the Salvador Ferrando Museum is located, which exhibits paintings by this portraitist and other regional artists, as well as old pieces of the daily life of the city.


Sail in a motor boat and enjoy the flight of the birds that accompany the movement of the river and perch in the trees on the bank to watch you go by boat and discover the aquatic heritage of the river.


Here you can admire several notable buildings such as the municipal market, as well as a curious mini zoo, housed in a private house where various domestic and wild animals of the region such as crocodiles and pelicans are housed, as well as an antique collection that includes an Austrian float. 19th century.


In Tlacotalpan you will find delicious dishes such as tripe; the rice to the tumbada; the chicken soup; tamales of corn, casserole, anise and tepiste; snail, shrimp, cheese or meat empanadas; the delicious gorditas; the acamayas; shrimp and prawns are some of the proposals to taste.

Its typical food also includes delicacies with a marked indigenous influence, such as tapado de jolote, tismiche (larva or sardine) pancakes, egg and flour fried in oil, and sea bass broth, cooked with tomato, green chili and onion.

In addition, you can accompany your food with different drinks, one of the most outstanding is the peanut, jobo, soursop, coconut, strawberry, etc., also the popo, made with cocoa, rice, cinnamon or anise and a herb called chupipi and coconut water, are ideal to accompany all kinds of menu.


Veracruz Daily Post