In the state of Puebla, you’ll find the largest ancient city in Mexico, and possibly even Mesoamerica. Cantona, or “house of the sun,” was home to the Olemec people. Their golden age was from 700 to 900 AD, with their wealth coming from making objects from obsidian, and selling them to surrounding villages.
While they’ve been excavating since the 1990s, only about 10% has been uncovered. As you explore the various civil and religious plazas, pyramids and old living spaces, you’ll notice friendly excavators still working hard to uncover the largest urban center of Mesoamerica.
What’s also great about Cantona is it’s remote location. The well-preserved site, which was home to 80,000 people during the civilization’s peak, gets very few visitors. In fact, our tour guide told us he only receives about two requests per month to do tours. This means, you’ll have the place all to yourself.
One interesting fact that shows how skilled these people were, is the fact the city was created without using mortar to hold the stones together. Instead, carved stones were simply piled one on top of the other.
Moreover, you’ll learn about Cantona’s darker side, as evidence has been discovered of the indigenous people engaging in human sacrifices. In fact, there have been human blood cells, skin, muscle and collagen found on the knives used by the Olmecs. Additionally, paintings depicting skinning, decapitating, dismembering and disemboweling were also found.
The closest you can get by public transportation is Oriental. From there, you can take a 30 minute can ride. Another option is to talk to your hotel, who can set you up with a private or shared car.
This post was made possible through a trip sponsored by the Mexico Tourism Board