"Travel Notes from Tlacotalpan" Tlacotalpan by gdilieto
Tlacotalpan Travel Guide: 9 reviews and 47 photos
The charming "Pearl of Papaloapan" is surprisingly quite an off the beaten track destination on Mexican trails and a proof is the fact that I am the first one writing a page. I discovered Tlacotalpan in an Italian travel magazine and got curious about this destination, barely mentioned in travel books, that, I must admit, I had never heard before.
Tlacotalpan is almost too perfect to be true. Preserved and maintained to an extent that it looks almost fake, a reproduction of itself just like reproductions of Venice or Paris in Vegas or Orlando. Yet, unlike other Mexican similar towns which have turned over the years into theme-parks, Tlacotalpan preserves the atmosphere of a genuine colonial place, lived by locals who, even when thay have chosen to live elsewhere, still maintain a proud connection with their home town.
Tlacotalpan has the melancholic charm of a town of faded splendor. The elegant mansions uninhabited for large part of the year, the luxury speedboats sailing the river on holidays just confirm that the best days are gone and are not coming back any time soon.
Established in pre-Colombian time, Tlocotalpan flourished during the heydays of the Spanish empire when developed as an important river port on Papaloapan River. At the height of its trading days (1800s) Tlacotalpan was a wealthy town where inhabitants built their houses with arcs, colonnades, porches and sophisticated decorations in a blend of Spanish and Caribbean architectural design, earning to their town the name of Pearl of the Papaloapan. If the river brought wealthiness, the railroad line took it away, replacing at the beginning of 1900s navigation as a more fast and efficient way of transportation, bringing commerce to a halt and ultimately to the decline of the city. Today Tlacotalpan is a sleepy town declared UNESCO World Heritage Site for the well-maintained colonial architecture and charming aesthetic (Check my Travelogues for some photographs).
Agustín Lara (1897-1970), musician-poet and bohemian, is one of Mexico's most prolific and dearly loved musicians of all times. His career spanned nearly 50 years and he is arguably considered a Mexican legend. A number of distinguished international interpreters have interpreted his songs, included Frank Sinatra, Julio Iglesias, Caetano Veloso and Plácido Domingo. I am not sure whether he was born in Tlacotalpan or he just called Tlacotalpan home, anyway he has linked his name to this town and the town, in return, honors him today with a tiny museum. If you would like to learn more about the artist, this website provides a good introduction.
- In a nutshell:Charming village of a melancholic, faded splendor.
There is no much to see or do in Tlacotalpan and you can strictly visit the town in a couple of hours. From Veracruz you... more travel advice
Head to the riverfront in the morning hours to see people from other villages coming into town via the river to sell... more travel advice
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