In the lowland hills, below the mountains, a slight remove
above the hurricane sea, you will find the city
of Tajin — the Thunderboy.
Ten miles away as the crow flies over twisting mountain
and rushing valley wind, the rain, the sun, falls on
one other town the Totonaca built: Papantla, where
you can find hotels and bus connections and a colonial
town quite different than Poza Rica the nearby
oil metropolis (25 miles, airport).
"They" say (archeologists et al) that Tajín, or
El Tajín, rose to its greatest power, around 900-1200 A.D.
after Teotihuacan had declined and been abandoned. It appears
to have been a city completely crazy about the ball game, as
dozens upon dozens of ballcourts have been found, several
in excellent reconstruction, displaying their fascinating
stone-carved panel reliefs of scenes whose narrative
fairly screams at us to dare interpret it.
1200, F.Y.I., is about the date "they" say Papantla was founded.
There is probably some relationship here we can't say what but
speculate the people moved and changed ten miles after the great
city was abandoned or defeated....
In any case you will find that the town of Papantla makes an excellent base from which to spend two or three days visiting the ruins at Tajín, or taking local busses into the hills from the 2nd class station (some go as far as Xalapa, a logical next stop).
Travelers with 4 wheel drive or good pickup truck might consider a visit to the ruins of Cuyuxiqui, 10 miles SSE. Is a slightly different style, maybe Toltec or Aztec fortress town to guard the coast?