Beyond question Xalapa’s outstanding sight, the Museo de Antropología is a brilliant museum with arguably the best archeological collection in the country after that in Mexico City. Outstanding in both scope and quality, it makes for a wonderful introduction to the various pre-Hispanic cultures of the Gulf coast. The vast building itself is also magnificent, flowing down the hillside in a series of concrete and marble steps. Start your visit at the top of the hill, where the first halls deal with the Olmecs. There are several of the celebrated colossal stone heads, a vast array of other statuary and some beautiful masks; among the most impressive is the Señor de las Limas, a greenstone sculpture of a priest holding a sleeping or dead baby. Later cultures are represented mainly through their pottery – lifelike human and animal figurines especially – and there are also displays on the architecture of the major sites, including part of a reconstructed temple. Finally, with the Totonac and Huastec culture come more giant stone statues. Labels are in Spanish only, though there are a few English information sheets.

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