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Introducing Tlacotalpan

Possibly the finest Unesco World Heritage town that no one’s ever heard of, Tlacotalpan is a near-perfect identikit of early-19th-century colonial architecture, completely unblemished by modern interferences, save for a light (by Mexican standards) smattering of traffic. The color palette is extraordinary here; the lucid sunsets over the adjacent Río Papaloapan add subtle oranges and yellows to the rainbow of colonial houses, bringing to mind a Havana where the houses haven't been allowed to decay.

Once an important river port, Tlacotalpan has changed little since the 1820s. The town, Unesco-listed in 1998, was hit by devastating floods in September 2010 which inundated 500 historic buildings and prompted the evacuation of 8500 people. The recovery has been remarkable, with only a high watermark drawn onto a wall on Calle Alegre to show how disastrous the flooding was.