El Tajin, Totonac for 'thunder' or 'lightning', is a group of sacred buildings where ceremonies and religious sporting events were held. First begun around AD 100, it was occupied and developed mainly around AD 600 to 900, and later abandoned. El Tajin was rediscovered by the Spanish in 1785.
The 10 km square site is located near the small cities of Poza Rica and Papantla, located on the atlantic coast of Mexico, directly east of Mexico City. There is a direct road and the site can be reached by car or by frequent buses.
Take a bus (AU/ADO) from Mexico City to the town of Papantla, which is nearer to the site. From there, get a taxi to go to the site. (M$60 15 minutes)
There are a large number of remaining edifices to be seen, some include multilingual information stands. Do some homework beforehand and try to identify the buildings or monuments within the site such as the Arroyo Group, the Pyramid of the Niches (the most distinctive building of the site), Tajin Chico & the North and South Ballcourts. The daily show of Voladores (flyers), who ascend a tall pole and spin slowly to the ground while attached to ropes while meditating, can be seen outside the complex.
Wearing a hat is a good idea as the jungle temperatures and sunshine can be draining.
There is a small museum or gallery beside the entrance. No entrance fee is charged. Inside you can find some interesting artifacts and artist's illustrations of the society living in El Tajin back then.
Cheesy souvenir stands surround the complex, along with a few restaurants. There are no hotels but the site is near Poza Rica, Papantla, or the small beach resort of Tecolutla. The site is popular with tourists and can be crowded on some weekends.
There is a small charge for entering the grounds. Voladores performances are free but it's always good to aid the performers with a donation.