Tourism in Palenque
Immerse in the jungle, on a foothill, lies Palenque, a site declared World Cultural Heritage that coexists in perfect communion with nature.

Visit the Archeological site of Palenque in Chiapas

DINKtravelers takes you again to the Mayan region of Chiapas, Mexico, although this time we head to the archaeological site of Palenque, declared World Heritage by the UNESCO, which is very close to its namesake recently-declared Pueblo Magico.

This city that dates back to the classical period and whose name in the Maya language is Lakam Ha that means “Place of the Great Waters”, stands out thanks to its magnificence and its unique constructions. Located on a foothill, the archaeological site receives millions of visitors each year. Also, many experts who have made significant discoveries have studied it, including the explorers John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwook, in the 19th century, and the archaeologist Alberto Ruz Lhuillier in the 20th century.

What to Do in Palenque

When you enter the zone, the first thing you’ll find will be a set of temples in which two tombs have been located. The construction on the left is called the Temple of the Inscriptions, where they found the tomb of Pakal, an ancient ruler of Palenque. Although nowadays tourists are not allowed in to see the sarcophagus, the pictures that have been published of its tombstone with engravings of the Mayan ruler’s life’s passages have become worldly famous. This is also due to the fact that Pakal was the first tomb to ever be found in a temple in all Mesoamerica and because it possesses an incomparable artistic work.

Yet, years later, inside the other building that stands right to the temple of the Inscriptions, archaeologists located the tomb of the Red Queen, which –great news!– is open to the public.

Left to this group of temples is The Palace, a building that has a tall tower in the center known as “the observatory”. There you’ll also find a drainage system that, unlike the ones found in other known sites, is well preserved and can be appreciated in full detail.

Now, if you choose to climb to the top of the Palace, you’ll then exit on the opposite side, so you’ll automatically be led to another set of temples that are quite monumental: the Temples of the Crosses and of the Sun.

Temple XIX Palenque

We also recommend visiting one of the most recent discoveries on site, which is the Temple XIX of Akul Anab III, a grave-altar in which you’ll see a series of lintels and panels with Mayan inscriptions. There, you’ll also learn how thorough the excavation and archaeological processes need to be.

Palenque is immerse in the jungle, and even though you won’t notice it so much as you walk across the city center, when seen from afar you’ll realize that the site coexists in perfect communion with its natural surroundings. Actually, in the area you can find a series of cascades and listen to howler monkeys and numerous bird species.

Tips on Travel to Palenque

The weather is humid and warm so wear sunscreen, comfortable shoes and dri-fit socks. Climb up as many temples as you can because on each of them you’ll find different great views and unique architectonic details.

Because reading is where the journey begins...
  • Try to Prevent

    If you visit Palenque during rain season, wear insect repellent to avoid mosquito bites.

  • Dining in Palenque

    When you dine at the restaurants located on the way to Palenque, try the local specialty: Chaya soup, a fine example of the Mayan culinary inheritance.

  • World Heritage

    The UNESCO declared Palenque World Heritage in 1987.

  • Rediscovering Palenque

    The archaeological site of Palenque was forgotten after the conquest of Mexico in the 16th century. It was rediscovered in the 17th century but the most important discoveries were made until the 19th century.

  • The Place of Great Waters

    The Mayan name of the archaeological site of Palenque is Lakamha, which means “the place of great waters”. It was named Palenque after the small town that the Spanish conquerors founded a few kilometers away from there.