Sunday, April 28, 2013

Exploring the Mayan Jungle Ruins of Palenque

After traveling for a few days and nights through the state of Tabasco, we've arrived in the state of Chiapas.  We spent a stellar day on Friday visiting the great ruins of Palenque, one of my favorites in all the trip so far.  This archeological site marks the start of the Ruta Maya, and is located south of the Gulf of Mexico, only a few hours from the Guatemala border.  The ruins of Palenque are unique and powerful, dating back to 226 BC.  After the decline of the city in 1123 AD, the city was absorbed by the jungle, and is slowly being uncovered.  The weather is very hot and humid here, and it rains a lot, so everything is big and green!
The area to explore at this site covers about 1 square mile, and you should allow the whole day because there is a lot to see, with pyramids, ruins, and jungle trails, boasting beautiful and unusual trees, streams and flowers.  One of the finest examples of Mayan culture, it is believed that only 10% of the city has been explored so far, leaving 1,000 structures still unearthed!  Here are some examples of the ruins.  The Temple of the Count,
 and the tomb inside of the structure at the top.
The view from the courtyard.
The Temple of the Skull,
with one of the carvings at the top,
The Palace.
The Temple of the Inscriptions.
Mayan Carvings.
And some of the ruins you see along the trails. 
 The sidewalks were built to accomodate the huge roots of the trees.
And the paths just go around the trees altogether when they need to.
 There are fossilized rocks,
and clear, cool streams.
I chased a pretty big lizard for a bit until he finally decided to pose for me,
and saw one of my favorite jungle flowers, which one of the locals told me they call the flor de accordion.   I still couldn't tell you what the real name is, though!
 There were trees that looked like ropes,
plants growing out of trees,
and this tree with big fuzzy balls.
We spent the last half hour or so of our visit lying down on our backs at the top of the Temple of the Skull, watching the clouds above us, feeling the warm power of the stone beneath our backs, and listening to the roar of the monkeys that live in the trees a short distance from the ruins.  I will always remember and treasure those particular moments. 

We finished our day by driving about an hour or so to Agua Azul, a gorgeous waterfall with crystal blue water the color of a swimming poot, where we spent the night on Friday.
Saturday we made it to San Cristobal, which is where we are now, and where I will leave the story.  Today is Sunday, and I hope you are enjoying and making the most of your weekend!

Both Eduardo and I send you our best wishes for a beautiful day.

xoxo Linda


  1. Hi Linda. Just awesome! Thx for the adventure! l, Karla

  2. and now I've been there too, thanks to you