Papantla, town (1990 pop. 46,075), Veracruz state, E central Mexico. It is the commercial center of an agricultural region producing vanilla. Orchards are also cultivated in the area. Papantla is known for its proximity to the ruins of El Tajín.

Papantla is a city in the northern part of the Mexican state of Veracruz. It serves as the administrative seat of the municipality (municipio) of the same name. It was named a "Pueblo Mágico" in 2006.


The city is located at , at a height of 180 metres above sea level. It stands on Federal Highway 180, some 15 km southwest of Poza Rica. As of the 2005 census, the city had a population of 51,716 and its municipality, with an area of 1,199.26 km² (463.04 sq mi), had a population of 152,863. The municipality includes many outlying smaller communities, the largest of which are Agua Dulce and El Chote.


Its Totonac name is "Cachiquin", its formal name is Papantla de Olarte, which was bestowed on it in 1935 in honour of Serafín Olarte, a local Native American who fought alongside the insurgents in the War of Independence from Spain.


It was founded by the Totonacs Native Americans from Tuzapán (Tuxpan) around the year 1200. The city is home to a Museum of Totonac Culture and the important Pre-Columbian Totonac site of El Tajín is also in the municipality. Every Sunday and during holidays known as "fiestas" the famous Totonac group of local flyers known as "Los voladores de Papantla" perform the "palo volador" ritual next to the city's cathedral's grounds. In this agricultural, religious and astronomical ritual they clim an 80 m tall pipe and jump from the top with a rope after dancing.


The municipality is a principal producer of vanilla in Mexico. In the past when the vanilla production was at its peak, just getting into the town the senses were delighted with the fragrant aroma of fresh vanilla from a nearby vanilla drying facilities. The city is still called "La ciudad que perfuma al mundo" or "The city that perfumes the world". The municipality has a wide range of natural resources such as oil and gas, extracted and processed by the national oil company "PEMEX" in the industrial neighbouring city of Poza Rica, Veracruz.

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