Papantla Travel Guide

Discover the best attractions, food scene, accommodations, and more in Papantla, Mexico through this comprehensive travel guide.

Introduction to Papantla

Nestled in the heart of Veracruz, Papantla is a charming and picturesque town that offers visitors an authentic slice of Mexican culture and history. The town is known for its rich Mesoamerican heritage, colonial architecture, and stunning natural scenery. Papantla is famous for its soaring voladores (flying dancers), which were declared a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2009. Visitors can witness this awe-inspiring ritual at El Tajin archaeological site.

List of Places to Visit in Papantla

Whether you’re a history buff, outdoor enthusiast, or a foodie, Papantla has something to offer. Below are the must-visit destinations.

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • El Tajin Archaeological Site
  • Los Voladores (flying dancers)
  • Papantla Cathedral
  • Parque Temático Takilhsukut
  • Museo Teodoro Cano

Natural Attractions of Papantla: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • El Tajin National Park
  • Cascada de las Golondrinas
  • El Tajin Beach
  • Mirador del Cristo Rey
  • Parque Ecoturístico Filobobos

Hiking/Biking Routes of Papantla

If you’re looking for an active and adventurous way to explore Papantla, hiking or biking is the way to go. Below are some of the best routes.

  • El Tajin National Park: This park features well-marked trails that lead to the ruins and beyond.
  • Parque Ecoturístico Filobobos: This park is famous for its scenic trails and waterfalls.
  • Cascada de las Golondrinas: This natural reserve offers several hiking trails and birdwatching opportunities.

Best Things to Do in Papantla: Activities and Tours

  • Witness the Voladores ceremony at El Tajin archaeological site.
  • Take a guided tour of Papantla’s historic center and learn about its colonial past.
  • Go on a boat ride at Parque Ecoturístico Filobobos
  • Attend a traditional ritual or festival
  • Sample the local cuisine and drinks.

Week-Long Itinerary for Papantla

Here’s a sample itinerary for a week-long stay in Papantla.

Day Morning Afternoon Evening
1 Arrive in Papantla Explore the historic center Enjoy a traditional dinner
2 Visit El Tajin archaeological site Take a guided tour of the site Watch Los Voladores performance
3 Hike El Tajin National Park Visit Papantla Cathedral Go on a boat ride at Parque Ecoturístico Filobobos
4 Visit Cascada de las Golondrinas Learn about Mesoamerican history at Museo Teodoro Cano Have a seafood dinner
5 Stroll through Parque Temático Takilhsukut Visit Mirador del Cristo Rey Attend a local festival
6 Go horseback riding at Rancho La Esperanza Visit El Tajin Beach Enjoy a sunset cocktail
7 Check out the local market Try the regional dishes and drinks Departure

Food and Drink Scene of Papantla

Papantla is a mecca for foodies, with a wide range of regional dishes and drinks to try.

Must-Try Dishes

  • Huatape de camarón: a savory soup made with shrimp, chile, and herbs.
  • Zanganada: a local fish stew made with fresh white fish, tomatoes, garlic, and lime.
  • Tacos dorados de pollo con mole: crispy tacos filled with chicken and topped with rich, spicy mole sauce.
  • Atole: a warm, thick drink made with corn, cinnamon, and piloncillo.

Local Beverages

  • Cafe lechero: a sweet, frothy coffee made with cinnamon-infused milk.
  • Tepache: a refreshing fermented pineapple drink
  • Mezcal: a smoky and flavorful liquor made from agave.

Where to Stay in Papantla: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Papantla offers a wide range of accommodation options for all budgets. Here are some of the best options:

  • Hotel Tajin: a charming colonial hotel in the heart of downtown.
  • Posada del Parque: a cozy guesthouse with a lush garden and swimming pool.
  • Hotel Boutique El Bambu: a luxury hotel with stunning views of the town and surrounding landscape.
  • Hostal del Moncayo: a budget-friendly hostel with clean rooms and a communal kitchen.

What to Buy in Papantla: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Papantla is known for its vibrant handicrafts and textiles, so shopping is a must-do here. The best souvenirs to bring back home include:

  • Voladores figurines and crafts
  • Handwoven textiles
  • Vanilla beans and products
  • Papantla-style huipiles

Local Culture and Customs of Papantla

Papantla is a town rich in culture and traditions. Visitors are recommended to follow these custom guidelines:

  • Always ask for permission before taking someone’s photo
  • Dress respectfully when visiting religious or historic sites
  • Respect the environment and avoid littering

Best Time to Visit Papantla

Papantla can be visited year-round, but the best time to visit is from October to March, when the weather is cooler and drier. However, keep in mind that the period of March and April is when the Voladores ceremony takes place.

Do’s and Don’ts of Papantla


  • Try the local cuisine and drinks
  • Embrace local customs and traditions
  • Take a guided tour of El Tajin archaeological site


  • Disrespect the local communities and the environment
  • Wear revealing or offensive clothing
  • Take risks while hiking or exploring

Safety and Health

Safety in Papantla

Papantla is generally a safe town, but visitors should always be aware of their surroundings and carry their valuables with them. Petty theft can happen in busy areas, so be mindful of your belongings.

Health in Papantla

Getting to Papantla: Transportation Options and Logistics

Papantla is easily accessible by road or air.

Airports Near Papantla

The closest airport to Papantla is the El Tajin National Airport, located 11 kilometers away. Alternatively, the General Heriberto Jara International Airport in Veracruz is another option, located 167 kilometers away.

Bus Stations Near Papantla

Mexico City to Papantla Puebla to Papantla Veracruz to Papantla

Other Options

Visitors can also drive to Papantla from other parts of Mexico by rental car or private car.

How to Get Around in Papantla

Papantla is a small town that can be easily explored on foot or by bike. Taxis and buses are also available for those wanting to venture further out.

Where to Go Next from Papantla: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Papantla is located in a region filled with amazing destinations. Some of the best options for excursions include:

  • Xalapa
  • Tuxpan
  • Tajinaste Valley
  • Huasteca Potosina


Papantla is a hidden gem in Veracruz, Mexico, that offers visitors a blend of culture, history, and adventure. Whether you’re fascinated by Mesoamerican history or simply want to soak up the local culture and cuisine, Papantla has something to offer. By following this comprehensive tour guide, you’ll be sure to make the most of your visit to this charming town.