Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico
Back to Chiapas Inland Trip

The ancient Mayan City of Palenque is located in the northern section of Chiapas..  Palenque was first occupied in 100 AD. However,
most of the building and activity is believed to have occurred between 600 AD and 900 AD. The society flourished there under the rule
of a great leader Pakal the Great in 600 AD and later by his son, Chan Tikal.  Situated in the rain forest near the Guatemalan border
these ruins encompass 4400 acres with over 500 buildings, many of which remain unearthed as part of the jungle landscape. Those that
have been excavated are immense and awe-inspiring.  Since space and time are limited we are including a couple of websites for detail
regarding this area. We have put captions with the photos that should give a good overview.  For more info, check the official website
of some of the archaeologists:
www.mesoweb.com/palenque.

We took the trip in late February. The daytime temperatures were in the mid 80’s, the nights about 70. The first day we had sunny skies
and the park was not very crowded. A couple of tour buses arrived at 9 and left before the noon heat of the day. We would strongly
suggest wearing good shoes. Many of the steps are 18" tall; some sites have more than 60 steps to climb. Often they are slanted either
front to back or side to side. There are no handrails to grasp. The knees will remind you of the abuse so wrap them if you're prone to
knee pain.  The second day it rained quite hard so we decided to move on. Otherwise, we would have returned to investigate the
“jungle” area that has yet to be unearthed. Admission to the park was $4.00 U.S.

Our hotel was located in the city of Palenque about 4.5 miles from the Park. It was much larger and more populated than we had
imagined. It was quite crowded with tourists and locals.  If we had it to do over again we would stay in the town of El Panchan, about
halfway between the two. El Panchan has cheaper accommodations, plenty of selection and has a more rural flavor, at least at this time
of year.  Since we had arrived late in the day and were using an outdated guidebook (4 years old), we were not aware of the
differences and availability. Next time!

To learn more about the ruins of Palenque see
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palenque
Palenque Site Museum
Pakal's Tomb.
Partial overview of the ruins.
Queen's bathing pool.
El Palacio (The Palace)
Passageways under the Palace.
We could hear howler monkeys in the jungle from here.
Large panels throughout the city illustrate the royal dynasty.
This photo gives the viewer a good perspective
of the jungle growth that took over the ruins
Do you think Bridget has some Mayan in her?
From the Queen's tomb.
The jade mask that Pakal was buried with.
Incense burner.
The Queen's burial mask. All jade.
Pakal's jade burial necklace.
Palenque jade necklace.
Some of the ancient inscriptions that dot the site.
This woman, under 4' tall, only spoke her native
Indian language
John standing on the top step of this building gives
you an idea of the ruins' size
Several hundred glyphs can be seen in the various
buildings.