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“Spectacular Totonac Ritual” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Los Voladores of Papantla

Los Voladores of Papantla
Tajin, Veracruz, Mexico
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Ranked #4 of 25 things to do in Veracruz
Attraction details
McAllen, Texas
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Spectacular Totonac Ritual”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 25, 2013

Watching the brightly-clad 'birdmen' swing around and around, gradually unwinding the rope attached to their feet is like nothing else. These men wear red pants and white shirts with a sash around their chests and a brightly colored cap. They stand out against the blue sky. Although some reviewers have said it was a Mayan ritual, the pole-dancers originated with the Nahua (Aztecs from central Mexico), the Otomi (from Hidalgo state) and the Huastecas (San Luis Potosi state). The Totonacs adopted the 'dance' and it is today associated with them. Many years ago, the dancers flew from a metal pole donated by PEMEX, the oil company. Today the pole is also decorated.

There is no relation to bungee jumping. The men swing around in an ever-increasing arc since their legs are tied to ropes that are wound tightly around a very tall pole. The event is over when they touch the ground standing up.

The dance is accompanied by Totonacs playing wind flutes. This is not just something put on for tourists (though it is now regularly scheduled). These people are really serious about their ritual. It may have originated to appeal to the gods for rain during a drought. These guys are seriously praying while they practice the exhibition.

People should be respectful while observing the ceremony. The dancers ask for a donation afterwards, which is only appropriate. Their costumes cost them thousands of pesos and they need to make a living too.

Visited September 2012
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Date | Rating
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English first
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“nice outdoor activity”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 26, 2013

very educational. last ts of shopping. ruins all looked alike. not wheel chair friendly. the flyers are interesting

Visited July 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mexico City, Mexico
Top Contributor
141 reviews 141 reviews
75 attraction reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
72 helpful votes 72 helpful votes
“Birdmen ritual.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2013

This was centuries before the bungijump, and it's a very interesting mayan ritual boys had to do to prove to his family and community that he was ready to become a man.

If you have never seen it it's really worth your time. You will see that boys had to really be brave to pull this stunt.

Visited December 2012
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NYC
Top Contributor
66 reviews 66 reviews
13 attraction reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
59 helpful votes 59 helpful votes
“Worth seeing this”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 15, 2012

Amazing show by los voladores de Papantla, worth staying to enjoy their performance. Highly recommend this.

Visited October 2012
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Mexico City, Mexico
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
29 attraction reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
“Fantastic show”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2012

Especially if you see it where it all started - in Papantla! If you can't - you can see it in many other places, e.g. Xochimilco floating gardens (in Nuevo Nativitas, near the parking lot), Anthropological Museum in Mexico City (in front of the entrance), Tulum (parking lot), sometimes near the Cholula Pyramid

Visited October 2012
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