The Sunday Chronicle: Surprises in Tulum and Playa del Carmen

volador elder

We were busy being herded into line to wait for a trolley to take us from the entry of Tulum to the entry into the ruins when I looked up…my mind was having a hard time processing this wonderful sight, that led to more as my eyes scanned beyond the line of people in front of me

volador elder 2

A performance was about to begin by Los Voladores de Papantla (The Flyers of Papantla). The ceremony and ritual performed by these men is one that is said to have begun some 450 years ago in the mountains of Veracruz, Mexico, to appease the gods who were thought to be causing a drought.  The ritual is carried out by various groups around Mexico, and we were lucky to see them here in Tulum, as well as in Playa del Carmen on another day. I’ve combined my photos from both places here.  The ritual consists of the Voladores performing a short dance around a pole, followed by four men climbing the 30 meter pole, plus one elder or chief  who will perform a ceremony at the top on a small platform with a flute, whose music represents bird song; the costume hat’s flowers signify fertility, the mirrors represent the sun, and the ribbons represent the rainbow.

La Danza/the dance



Heading up to fly






I’ll put a few more photos into a gallery, click on any photo to open the gallery

I will show more photos on my next post of the Voladores hanging out prior to and after  performances.  Beautiful faces.


About Angeline M

Love travel and photography. Living in Northern California. Photos of locations visited are personal file photos.
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34 Responses to The Sunday Chronicle: Surprises in Tulum and Playa del Carmen

  1. Seems as though you’re having the most marvellous time Angeline – so happy for you! Happy New Year 🙂


  2. Madhu says:

    Wow! What a spectacular show! And so beautifully captured. Is this a daily ritual Angeline?


  3. Amy says:

    What a fantastic performance! Thank you so much for the fab post, Angeline!


  4. thirdeyemom says:

    Wow beautiful photos!


  5. rommel says:

    Ow, the colors, so cool in the eyes. Your images are exquisite too! You captured the scene perfectly for us to see as well. Sorry to bring it up but I can’t help to think how the symbolisms remind me of Native Indian costumes. Looks so good, AngelineM. Maybe your best post ever. And I can’t wait for the next installment.


    • Angeline M says:

      Thanks so much, Rommel. I also thought about their costume reminded me of Native American clothing from years ago, as did their dance prior to going up the pole.
      I was using a new camera here, and I’m loving it! I’m working on the next set.


  6. This is definitely quite spectacular! Every time, I’m baffled! Looks like you too had a great time seeing them.


  7. Jaspa says:

    Great shots. I saw a troupe like this in Excaret back in 2011. I wonder if they’re the same group.


  8. Amazing photos Angeline! I was there 4 years ago and loved it – its magical 🙂 How lucky you were to experience this! Thank you for sharing! Happy 2014 🙂


  9. Sangeeta says:

    Amazing Shots!! I felt as if I was there with you.


  10. Fabuloso. Didn’t we see them at Hemisfair so many years ago? I seem to remember…

    Giannina, aunt Carmen’s Giannina? Hello to you, too!


    • Angeline M says:

      We did see them at Hemisfair! I had seen them in Mexico when I was little, I forget in what little town…truly impressive to a little kid, and still truly impressive as an adult, especially when you know the story behind the ceremony.
      Yes, that is Aunt Carmen’s Giannina 🙂


  11. dadirri7 says:

    wow, how amazing Angeline! Such extraordinary costumes, all that colour and detail, I have never seen anything like it … and then to FLY!!!


  12. cindy knoke says:

    so stunnning! bravo~


  13. Dalo 2013 says:

    What a great series of shots, love the first portrait…enjoy the travels and the journey in 2014!


    • Angeline M says:

      Thank you Dalo. I could not believe my eyes; the first two portraits are what I saw first and just snapped, still trying to believe this stunning scene before me. I shall indeed enjoy the journey of 2014. Thanks for stopping to leave me a comment, happy New Year to you.


  14. Excellent blog post!! Loved the information provided and then images.


  15. lesleycarter says:

    Thank you for sharing! I want to add this to my list. 🙂


  16. Gosh you were lucky to see such a colourful spectacle. The embroidery and head dresses are fantastic. Don’t think I’d fancy flying around by my feet though.


  17. Great photos!!! great writing.


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