AAA Editor Notes
Cempoala Ruins are on the northern edge of town. The site is about a 45-minute drive from Veracruz; watch for the sign indicating the Cempoala turn-off about 7 km (4 mi.) n. of the town of Cardel.
Six major structures remain. The Main Temple (Templo Mayor), constructed of riverbed stones, rises on 13 platforms to about 35 feet and probably resembled similar temples in the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. The Temple of the Chimneys (Templo de las Chimeneas) derives its name from a series of semicircular pillars. The Little Faces (Las Caritas), a three-story edifice of boulders and cement, is adorned with niches that once contained small carved faces. At the west end of the site is the Great Pyramid (La Gran Pirámide), which has two staircases that climb to a three-level platform.
First-class buses travel regularly from Veracruz north to Cardel; from Cardel, colectivos (minivans) or a taxi can take you to the ruins.