Here you’ll find travel reports about Palenque. Discover travel destinations in Mexico of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

18 travelers at this place:

  • Day29

    Roberto Barrios cascades

    March 8 in Mexico

    An exciting afternoon spent jumping down the cascades and entering caves behind the waterfalls.

  • Day11

    A relatively late start of 8.00 by current standards saw us set off for our first meeting with the Maya, the last of the historical cultures that we were due to meet during this trip. This is because, from this point forwards, all of the archaeological sites we will visit will be Mayan. Actually, the Mayans are still very much in evidence in the modern world and live throughout Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and Honduras.

    A short drive from Palenque, the town, had us to the gate of Palenque, the ancient city state. I should perhaps explain. Each archaeological site we have visited was a state in its own right, with its own rulers, elite, workers and slaves. Although there were alliances with other states, they were more often in conflict with each other; particularly the differing Mayan cities.

    Palenque is one of the biggest of the Mayan sites and was ruled over in its prime by Pakal II, who we've met a couple of times already. The site is imposing and magnificent in its scale. The first three buildings you come across on entering are three pyramid-like building - The Temple of the Skulls, The Temple of The Red Queen and the Temple of The Inscriptions, although they're not technically pyramids. The Temple of the Skulls is named so due to the very detailed carvings of Skulls at the base of the columns supporting the roof. Unfortunately, this is closed off to the public so a zoom in on a camera is the only way to see them.

    The Red Queen's temple housed the tomb and sarcophagus of one of Pakal's wives. It is called this as the inside of the sarcophagus and the Queen's bones were painted red. It appears that Royalty were buried with their finery and then, at a much later date, they were removed, their bones painted red and reburied with everything replaced as it was originally found. The Queen's tomb was open for exploration and was suitably grand and eerie at the same time considering I was standing in the burial place of someone who lived almost 1500 years ago.

    This theory was further proved they found the intact tomb of Pakal deep within the Temple of The Inscriptions, as it was undisturbed since antiquity. The biggest of all the pyramidal structures in Palenque, it was given that name by the first western explorers to the site in the mid to late 1800s who saw the intricate Mayan glyphs inscribed at the top. It wasn't until 1952 that a Mexican archaeologist named Alberto Ruz discovered the hidden entrance and painstakingly excavated the site step by step until he reached the tomb secreted beneath the base of the structure itself. There he found the undisturbed tomb with all of the artefacts inside and Pakal' s red painted skeleton.

    It's interesting that if you've ever heard of rumours of Aztecs or Mayans being aliens or meeting aliens, it comes from the lid of Pakal's sarcophagus. Intricately carved, it depicts the ruler with the gods of the underworld beneath him. According to Mayan funeral rites, he would have had to pass the through the 9 levels of the underworld, each with its attendant god, before being able to be reborn. Then, from his abdomen grows the tree of life that signifies his rebirth. Viewed straight on, it is very clear that this is the depiction. However, viewed side on, you could interpret it that Pakal is piloting a strange shaped rocket sitting atop a motorbike!

    Unfortunately, again, we were not able to see the inscriptions or the tomb due to the fact that the structure is built of soft limestone that is subject to wear. A more disturbing reason is the carelessness of tourists who have touched and sometimes graffitied the place over the years. I don't really understand the actions of a mindless few who have no real regard for history and the preservation of treasures. I suppose It is the same mentality in selfie culture where people are more interested in having a picture of themselves in front of something rather than having any regard for the place itself, what it represents and what treasures, literally and metaphorically, lie inside. Nevertheless, it was still a wonderful site to behold as the numerous pictures I took from different angles and viewpoints will attest.

    The next complex we saw offered plenty of opportunity for clambering and exploration: The Royal Palace and Observatory - which is the tower in the picture. The palace contains detailed stelae and carvings, particularly one showing Pakal being 'crowned' and advised by his mother. He doesn't look too happy in it but they assume it meant to represent the seriousness and fortitude shown by the young man in becoming ruler. Another amazing set of carvings showed the capture of rival Mayans as slaves. Being an hierarchical society, high born captives would be prize possessions and would be kept as slaves as demonstrations of power and principle. It appears from all current research that once captured and held in another's state, the rival leader would submit without struggle to the will of the victor. This may have been a political move to save the lives of his retinue as the Mayans practiced human sacrifice but a lot of it is still guess work as they are still attempting to decipher and translate the glyphs.

    We climbed, entered and explored every monument in the site that we could, including another ball game court that again proved the importance of this sport/ritual across North and Central America during a period of almost 1000 years.

    An appetite and thirst duly worked up, we stopped off for lunch and a drink before heading off to our chance to swim in a waterfall. However, our lunch was disturbed by an awfully loud squawking from outside. On further investigation, 3 beautifully coloured red Parrots were having a right old time in the trees outside the restaurant. I would have posted a picture of them but my phone camera doesn't do them any justice so I'm hoping that Nigel's spiffy DLSR has captured their beauty.

    Clambering back aboard our trusty bus, we took the short drive to the Misol Ha waterfall. Having got all hot and sweaty from the morning's explorations, I was itching to get into the clear water. However, I couldn't believe that only Nigel wanted to join me in the pool. This is because Anna, our guide, had convinced everyone else that it was cold. Nothing was further from the truth! It was cooling on this hot sunny day but I'm guessing it was warmer than your average swimming pool back home. Truth be told, on seeing Nigel and I enjoying ourselves in the water, another of our party Sue, a game old lady of around 70, decided to join us for a swim. She actually thanked us later as she was so glad that she hadn't missed out on the experience because she wouldn't have gone in without us! I actually had envisaged swimming under the drop of the waterfall but as I swam near, I could feel the force of the water and its undertow so I skirted its full force but caught the periphery of its spray.

    Suitably refreshed, we headed back to our hotel where the pull of more time in the water, this time in the hotel pool, proved irresistible as did the nice cold beer. Another trip to last night's restaurant beckoned as it was a 2 minute walk from the hotel. I feasted on Pork in Adobo Sauce, more beer & tequila and a version of Crepes Suzette that was prepared theatrically at the table side by a skilled water and which was pimped up by the addition of nutella and home made ice cream. I am hoping that this proves to be the sustenance needed for another early start tomorrow morning as we head off to the last place we'll visit in Mexico and a stay in a riverside lodge. Night all. Hic!
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  • Day185

    When the jungle takes over

    January 15, 2017 in Mexico

    Palenque is one of Mexico's most celebrated archiological sites, located amidst the jungles of Chiapas. 1400 temples and other stone ruins lie beneath the forest floor, with only a handful completely excevated and another 20 or so visible to visitors.

    We started with a jungle tour, where a local guide showed us some of the hidden temples beneath giant trees (pictures 4 and 5 are in temples below the forest), today home of thousands of bats (pic 4 has 4 in it) and snakes (luckily, no pictures here ;) ). We also swam in a small waterfall and swang from vines, you know, the things expected of foreigners in the jungle ;)

    Our little jungle trip was followed by a historic tour of the fully excevate temples and a royal Mayan palace. We learnt that the Mayans had flowing water systems, lots and lots of kings, who liked to be buried in fancy tombs with jewelry, jade stones and masks and to sacrifice people to the gods. But never rabbits, they were sacred and not to be killed.

    The most fascinating thing to me is the fact that the jungle has claimed back this place, overgrowing the old city with tens of meters of plants, dirt and giant trees. Makes me feel quite small and humbled, in a perfectly good way.
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  • Day184

    More asphalt...

    January 14, 2017 in Mexico

    We spent the morning in Oaxaca, walking some more through the historic city center, the farmers market, and both got a haircut ;)

    The next 13 hours, we spent driving. German philosopher and author Precht is keeping us good company with an introduction into world philosophy and modern questions of society. The road was as windy as it gets for about 5 hours, crossing another mountain range in the jungle, and spat us out in small villages, with lots of agriculture around.

    At 12:30, we made it to our little jungle hut, a nice place to stay and chill in a hammock. Finally!
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  • Day304

    Welcome to the Jungle,..

    March 15, 2017 in Mexico

    We scooted the last hour or so up to Palenque, collecting another hundred topes or so. I guess we can't really complain that it's raining in the rainforest, particularly as Elvis hadn't had a shower in 3 months (yes, he does smell a bit now!). We relaxed under the awning and it cleared up enough for an afternoon dip in the pool.

    The place is surrounded by jungle and the howler monkeys came into the trees, just out of sight but create an enormous racket by grunting out some primeval taunt. It was pretty scary to hear the jungle roar like that. These sounds combined with the firefly light show almost made you feel like you were in the 'upside down' (Stranger Things fans will know what I mean.)

    In the morning we headed into the archeological zone, only a few metres up from our camp site. As dogs are never allowed we very luck enough to leave Maya with Josh & Chantelle. Palenque is special as it's the local capital of the more northern Mayan ruins, and it's set deep in the jungle. We nearly didn't come here (we had changes to plans because of dental work) but boy are we glad that we did.

    We started exploring small clusters of housing and pyramids as we wound our way up the heavily rainforested hillside, and at the top there's an impressive set of temples. These are Mayan style and have some amazing engravings still intact. The beauty of this site is added to by its lush environment and its view over the flat jungle rooftop and of course the Howler Monkey sound track.
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  • Day38


    August 13, 2016 in Mexico

    Palenque sollte die vorletzte Maya-Hochburg sein vor dem Finale Teotihuacán nahe Mexiko City die wir besichtigen wollten. Anders als bisher bot vor dem Flachland Yucatans nun bergiger Dschungel den Ruinen Rückhalt. Reichlich verzierte Steinfassaden, Grabstätten, Tempel, Pyramiden, und und und...

    Vom heißen Palenque, das abgesehen der Archäologie-Stätte nicht wirklich was zu bieten hatte, ging's auf eine Höhe von ~2000m in die angenehm kühle, bergige Gegend um San Cristóbal de las Casas....Read more

  • Day129


    December 13, 2017 in Mexico

    Nachdem ich nach ner fast schlaflosen Nacht in Palenque ankommen bin, bekam ich auf meinem kurzen Weg zum Hostel einen kleinen Einblick in das Städtchen. Geschäftiger und lauter Ort und gar nicht so uninteressant, wie ich vorher einige Male gehört habe.
    Ich bin dann im Hostel angekommen und habe da dann auf die Marokkanerin gewartet, die den Bus vor mir genommen hatte und dadurch noch ein wenig Zeit hatte, in einem anderen Hotel ein paar Stündchen zu schlafen. Wir sind dann erstmal auf die Suche nach Frühstück gegangen und in einer Panaderia fündig geworden.
    Als wir dann aufgrund von Experimenten und mutiger Auswahl in der Bäckerei einigermaßen gefrühstückt hatten, haben wir das nächste Collectivo (=kleines Bussle) zu den Ruinen genommen. Da haben wir uns dann von einem Guide eine ziemlich günstige Tour andrehen lassen, die sich dann im Endeffekt aber schon gelohnt hat.
    Er hat uns einiges zu den Ruinen erzählen können, aber was ich dann tatsächlich noch bissle interessanter fand, war dass er sich sehr gut mit den Pflanzen auskannte, die die Maya wohl auch damals schon zu medizinischen Zwecken verwendet haben.
    Außerdem hat er uns die Pflanze gezeigt, die ich bisher nur aus irgendwelchen Pflanzenhäusern kannte und mit der wir immer viel Spaß hatten: wenn man über ihre Blätter fährt, faltet sie sich zusammen und geht erst nach einer halben Stunde wieder auf.
    Auch den "Arbol de la Vida" (= Baum des Lebens) hat er uns gezeigt. Ich konnte mir leider die ganzen Namen der Pflanzen nicht merken, aber es war sehr interessant.
    Auch hat er uns erzählt, dass Palenque die wichtigste Mayastätte war und dass so viele Tempel und Gräber noch unter Erde, Blättern und Bäumen versteckt sind. Mexiko hat leider nicht die Gelder dazu, weiterzugraben. Aber die ausgegrabenen Stätten, werden immer weiter restauriert und herausgeholt was möglich ist. Wir konnten sogar einigen Restaurateuren bei der Arbeit zusehen.
    Nach der Tour konnten wir dann noch auf eigene Faust in den Ruinen rumlaufen. Der Blick von oben, von den Pyramiden war teilweise wirklich beeindruckend. Die Maya hatten sich wirklich schöne Orte ausgesucht, um zu herrschen, regieren und opfern. Denn natürlich gab es auch die bekannten Opfergaben an die Götter, die aus Tieren und auch Menschen bestanden. Aber der Führer hat uns beteuert, dass die Menschen nichts bemerkt haben, wenn Zunge, Ohren, Nase und andere Extremitäten abgeschnitten wurden, weil sie vorher betäubt wurden - sehr beruhigend :-D
    Die Stätte ist wirklich riesig, vor allem auch mit den unentdeckten Teilen, die vom Dschungel versteckt werden. Wir haben unglaublich viel Zeit da verbracht und weil wirklich nicht viele Leute unterwegs waren, konnten wir einfach den Ausblick und die Ruhe genießen.
    Nachdem wir dann ja ewig in den Ruinen rumgebummelt sind, hatten wir nur noch eine halbe Stunde Zeit, um uns im Museum umzusehen, was aber eigentlich dann auch gereicht hat. :-P
    Zwischen Ruinen und Museum haben wir noch Tamales gegessen, die mega lecker waren und ein traditionelles Getränk aus Mais und Schokolade probiert, was nicht schlecht war, aber durch die Konsistenz ganz schön mächtig :-D
    Mit dem Collectivo sind wir dann zurück nach Palenque, wo wir unser Busticket nach San Cristobal für den nächsten morgen gebucht haben.
    Danach mussten wir erstmal nappen. :-D
    Abends sind wir dann mit den Leuten aus dem Hostelzimmer (Australierin, Deutscher, die Marokkanerin und ich) noch was essen gegangen und haben dann unglaublicherweise schon um 10 geschlafen, weil wir so unglaublich müde waren :-D

    Cooler Tag mit beeindruckenenden Ruinen und neuen medizinpflanzlichen Kenntnissen, die ich leider wieder vergessen habe 🙈:-D
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  • Day32

    Palenque / Miso Ha / Agua Azul

    December 6, 2015 in Mexico

    Zwei Nächte, einen ganzen Tag verbrachten wir in Palenque, um die bekannte Ausgrabungsstätte mitten im Regenwald zu besichtigen. Ein Wettertief klebte über uns und so regnete es ständig wieder ein wenig.
    Nach der rund 3h dauernden Führung durch die beindruckende Anlage der frühen Mayas, wurden wir erst zum Wasserfall Miso Ha, der wegen des vielen Regens in den Vortagen vorallem braunes Wasser führte, gefahren und danach zu den Agua Azul. Gemäss Fotos wären diese einzelnen kleinen Wasserfälle mit ihrem tiefblauen Wasser eine Augenweide und ein Paradies um zu schwimmen und picknicken. Wie gesagt, es regnete seit Tagen immer wieder, was dieses Naturschauspiel in eine Menge braunes Wasser verwandelte, das den Hügel runterstürzte und offensichtlich auch einige Teile des 'Festlandes' überschwemmt hatte.
    Schade, haben wir dieses hübsche Fleckchen nicht bei schönem Wetter gesehen. Anderseits sind die Fussgängerwege auf mindestens einer Seite gesäumt von kleinen Marktständen, wo Mexikaner ihre frischgepressten Säfte, selbstgenähte Shirts, Hüte, Figuren aus Stein und was das sonst alles war anpriesen, was den Anschein macht, dass hier viele Besucher vorbeikommen. So verlor das Naturspektakel einen grossen Teil 'Natur' - leider...
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  • Day211

    Pyramids in the Jungle

    February 29, 2016 in Mexico

    After a short morning ride to Palenque, we set up our tent in the El Panchan campground surrounded by hippies and rode our bikes through the park to the sprawling archeological site. Exploring Mayan ruins in a jungle setting with howler monkeys roaring in the surrounding trees made for an enjoyable afternoon, although all the steps of the pyramids and temples sure gave our bike accustomed quads a different kind of work out!Read more

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