Before a railroad was built across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Tlacotalpan, originally settled on an island in the Papaloapan River, was a thriving inland river port. Its importance declined, but the city managed to preserve its colonial layout well enough that it was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1998.
The city is perhaps famous (?) as the place where Porfirio Díaz hung out doing woodwork for a few years between his failed attempt to overthrow Benito Juárez in 1871 and his successful ousting of Lerdo de Tejada in 1876, the start of his three decade dictatorship.
It’s quiet enough now that you can walk down the middle of the street taking photos, and likely the only traffic to come by will be a bicycle or two.
If there’s an attraction in Tlacotalpan, it might be sitting at one of the riverside restaurants and eating mojarra.
Or if you can find a captain, you might take a cruise on the river.
There are a few nice squares to be found as you wander around town.
Before arriving Ferda and I hadn’t decided if we’d stay two or three nights. It turns out that the decision was made for us since all hotels seemed to be full on Saturday night, our potential third night.
Still we had enough time to stroll the streets and take photos, which was the main attraction for us.
Bye bye, sleepy Tlacotalpan.
If you know what you’re doing, you should be able to get off the Veracruz bus well before the center of the city and catch an outbound bus in the direction of Orizaba. We, however, don’t know what we’re doing which I suppose cost us at least an extra 90 minutes sitting on buses. We did, however, get a good lunch at the Veracruz bus station.
Like San Cristóbal de las Casas Orizaba is a pueblo mágico that’s the size of a city rather than a pueblo. A lot of tourists come on the weekends, but we found an available room after asking at three or four places. Those two nights, however, were our worst in Mexico with kids running around in common areas screaming till after midnight.
Orizaba’s main square houses the Palacio de Hierro, designed by Mr. Eiffel (of Paris fame).
For the many pueblo mágico tourists the municipality offers a reasonably priced (50 pesos/person) museum ticket, valid for one entry in each of 13 museums within one year. Some of the museums are small, but they were all quite well done.
One museum had pre-Columbian pieces.
At a park on the hill in the center of the city was a museum with some pre-Columbian maps.
Textiles at the Museum of Popular Art of Veracruz:
There was a beer museum, a hotel/tourism development museum, an Orizaba legend museum — I vaguely remember taking a legend tour in Zacatecas.
At the Palacio de Gobiero with this nice courtyard:
was a José Clemente Orozco mural about the revolution (of 1910, to finally end the Porfiriato).
One of Orizaba’s culinary specialties is garnacha — a deep fried tortilla with potato, onion, shredded meat, and salsa, then cooked a bit.
Mexico’s highest peak is nearby Orizaba, visible sometimes from the hill in the center of town but hidden in clouds when we were there. We got a distant view of it from the bus on the Orizaba-Puebla highway. Our best view — haha — was from the airplane when we flew from Mexico City to Tuxtla Gutiérrez.
Like good tourists we walked around the city and took photos.
For us the biggest surprise in Orizaba was coming across Jorge Marín’s Las Alas de México after walking up the aforementioned hill in the center of the city.
A couple months earlier at Singapore’s Changi airport:
and shortly after Singapore at Griffith Park in Los Angeles: