Olmec Colossal Heads

Jun 5th, 2017, 10:24 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2008
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Olmec Colossal Heads

I'm tossing around an idea for a trip to Mexico next year to see the Olmec colossal heads (among other things) and am wondering if anybody has input about where best to see them. These are the two places that have the most heads, so these are the places I am considering initially:

Xalapa - Museo de Antropología (7 heads)
Villhermosa - Parque-Museo La Venta (4 heads) and Museo del Estado de Tabasco (1 heads)

I've never been to either of these cities, so I don't have any experience with them or the surrounding areas. My husband and I both speak Spanish, so getting off the normal tourist track is fine.

I've been to Veracruz a bunch, which is close to Xalapa, but just for work, so I haven't done any sightseeing outside of Veracruz itself. That area that does have the benefit of being reasonably close to Puebla and Mexico City, so combining a trip would be cool. And in Mexico City Museo Nacional de Antropología has 2 additional heads.

On the other hand, Villahermosa is reasonably close to Palenque, which is also on my list of places to visit, and could be combined with a trip there and up to Campeche and maybe Merida or something like that. Maybe spend some time on the gulf between Villahermosa and Campeche - find a nice, laidback place with a beach to hang out for a few days - swim, eat tacos and drink beer by the water.

Anyway, if anyone has experience with either of these areas, or other recommendations for seeing Olmec heads and learning about the Olmec culture, I would love to hear about it. Thanks!
november_moon is offline  
Jun 5th, 2017, 12:08 PM
Join Date: Jun 2010
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We did a loop from Pachuca/Mineral Del Monte & Chico/Huasca de Ocampo, and on to the El Tajin archeological site, 2 nights on the Costa Esmeralda, then to Vercruz. Return trip took us to Coatepec and Xico, very close to Xalapa. Our car was overheating so we didn't get to spend time in Xalapa. We opted for Tlaxcala instead of Puebla as we'd already been to the latter a number of times. All of the above except Tlaxcala are Pueblos Magicos and while Tlaxacala isn't, it is still a charming city. Coatepec is the center of Veracruz coffee country, and the whole town is infused with the aroma of roasting coffee. Xico boasts the Texolo waterfall. Also nearby is Cuetzalan, Puebla, which we didn't get to because of time, but remains on our BL. Of the ruins we've seen in Mexico, Palenque has been our favorite. We absolutely loved the gulf coast. The beaches are not world-class, but they're pretty much deserted, and for the most part undiscovered by pasty-white tourists and devoid of high-rise and AI hotels. Your last itinerary sounds really good too, although they say Villahermosa is the city of 2 lies-ni es villa, ni es hermosa!
baldone is offline  
Jun 6th, 2017, 02:43 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2008
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Thanks baldone - that is some really good information. Gives me a lot to consider and research.

And I had heard that Villahermosa wasn't a particularly nice city, but that a quick visit was fine.

I am interested in exploring more of the gulf coast for the exact reasons you mentioned. I don't care if the beaches aren't world class - that's fine - I just honestly love the beach and love the water. And I love all kinds of beaches. I don't mind resorts, but the whole chock-a-block, could-be-a-beach-anywhere atmosphere of places like Cancun isn't very satisfying to me.
november_moon is offline  
Jun 8th, 2017, 03:33 PM
Join Date: Jun 2010
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I was talking with a guy from Veracruz yesterday, and he recommended visiting El Descabezadero, about an hour from Xalapa. I asked him if that didn't mean a place where they chop off heads, he said yes, supposedly the Totonac did human sacrifices there, hence the name. Whether true or not who knows, but it's an interesting legend. Maybe you've been there, I'd not heard of it; looks cool.
baldone is offline  
Jun 11th, 2017, 04:01 PM
baldone is offline  
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