Not the largest, but certainly the most famous of Mexico’s Mayan sites; Palenque’s magical jungle setting as well as the discoveries made at this settlement that reveal the astounding sophistication of this ancient civilization, combine to justify its infamy and why it should not be missed.
Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this city was predicted to have been built around 226 BC standing until its fall in approximately 1123AD; well before the Spanish arrived in the 16th century. However what was left behind and uncovered by archaeologists centuries later was some of the finest architecture, sculptures, murals, carvings, roof combs, and bas-reliefs ever produced by the Mayans. Much of the site has been painstakingly excavated and as faithfully restored as possible, leading to much being written about it and the advanced Mayan civilisation marveled at as a result.
We can arrange for an expert local guide and historian to take you around the site to help bring it to life and animate the theories, its succession of kings, and ancient Mayan culture. Surrounded by a dense and steamy jungle of cedar, mahogany and sapodilla tree filled with the chatter of howler monkeys and the Usumacinta River nearby, the setting of Palenque is spectacular indeed.
We have handpicked a few luxury hotels close to the site or you can base yourself in San Cristobal de las Casas.
What to do
- Opt for one of our guides to take you around the site to truly bring it alive:Explore the Temple of Inscriptions, Temples of the Cross Group, The Aqueduct, the Temple of the Lion, Structure XII, and the Temple of the Count.
Accommodation in Palenque
Here are some of our travel designers' favourite options