Palenque is one of the most impressive Mayan Ruins we have been to in Mexico and has very quickly become one of our favorites, so far. This former city-state is not as big as some of the most famous ruins – such as those at Tikal or Chichen Itza – but it is obvious this was an important place in the Mayan Empire. The ruins are located just outside of Palenque (in Chiapas) where the plains that extend from the Gulf of Mexico first hit the hills.
The site was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. The cities most influential period lasted from around 200 BC to around 800 AD, when the city was abandoned and covered by the jungle. There are are many well-preserved hieroglyphs that can be found here, which has helped to write the historical record of this city. The city sits in a mountainous landscape, still mostly covered by the jungle, and it is estimated that only about 10% of the city has been reclaimed from nature.
While on a recent road trip across Mexico, we needed to find a spot to break up the long journey and we chose to stay in Palenque for 2 nights in order to explore some of the region’s attractions.
While in Chiapas we visited two different waterfalls – at Roberto Barrios and Misol Ha – but the main reason we circled Palenque on the map, as in order to visit the Mayan Ruins.
The ruins are surrounded by a National Park, which helps to preserve the beauty of the surroundings. There are many impressive structures found here, and several great pyramids at Palenque that you are still able to climb, which is always a thrill when visiting a Mayan archeological site.
The main palace in the center of the current excavated zone, and is a unique structure that stands out against other ruins in the Yucatan. This main plaza has well-manicured grass – which they were trimming on the afternoon that we visited – which helped to envision how impressive this place must have been to those who lived here. The pyramids and builds jump out against the wild nature that surrounds it.
If we could recommend visiting one Mayan Ruin in Mexico, it would be Palenque. We hope the following video will stoke your desire to visit too!
Exploring the Mayan Ruins of Palenque
The Mayan Ruins of Palenque is located in the jungles of Chiapas, where the plains of the Gulf of Mexico first meet the rolling hills of Central America. It was an important city in the Mayan world for over 1000 years, with the city being constructed sometime around 200 BC.
It has quickly become our favourite ruins in the Yucatan, with the mountain backdrop and dense jungle giving this ruins a sense of adventure. It has some very unique architecture and many well-preseved structures. It is estimated that only 10% of the entire complex has been excavated so far, and there are several trails you can walk that takes you too different parts of the complex. Without a doubt, this is the one Mayan Ruins you need to put on your bucket list.