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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 adding subtle oranges and yellows to the rainbow of colonial houses that stand like diminutive precursors to San Francisco’s ‘painted ladies.’ Once an important river port, Tlacotalpan has changed little since the 1820s. The town, Unesco-listed in 1998, was hit by devastating floods during Mexico’s bicentennial celebrations in September 2010 which inundated 500 historic buildings and prompted the evacuation of 8500 people. The recovery, as of late 2011, has been remarkably speedy.