The Palenque Ruins are now firmly cemented as the most picturesque Mayan ruin site we’ve ever laid eyes on. It’s a mysterious & magical place to roam around and this photo essay of Palenque is an attempt to show you why.
You can spend hours wandering this expansive site, popping in and out of the jungle.
It’s no wonder the ruin site was awarded UNESCO status in 1987.
This anthropological marvel in the Mexican state of Chiapas came into prominence between the 700 and 800’s AD.
Palenque became abandoned shortly thereafter, in the year 900 AD.
It sat forgotten for nearly a thousand years thereafter as it became swallowed by the surrounding jungle.
Meanwhile other temples are left as they were found.
Not sense touring Cambodia’s Ankor Wat have I seen such beautiful displays of the natural flora intermingling with ancient wonders like this.
The temples are tall!
In fact, Palenque’s Temple of Inscriptions (AKA “House of the Nine Sharpened Spears”) rises out 75 feet high out from the jungle, making it the tallest of the bunch.
But you’ll find not just one tall temple here at Palenque, but rather several.
In fact, there is said to be over 1,000 buildings documented within the 25 square mile site of Palenque. Yet less than 10% of Palenque has yet to be uncovered.
While there is a steady flow of visitors to Palenque, it’s not teaming with hoards of tourists as is common at more popular Yucatan ruins like Chichen Itza and Tulum.
Perhaps it’s the grandiosity of Palenque that helps people to get lost among it’s vastness.
You likely find it’s a very tranquil and peaceful place to roam around throughout the entire Palenque site.
Some of the temples at Palenque include intricate hieroglyphics carved into the stone.
You’re permitted to climb most of Palenque’s temples too, providing for a sense of adventure as you gain a birds-eye view of the grounds below.
You can even enter inside sacred tombs.
The lush jungle setting of the Palenque ruins is full of life. Tropical birds call out while howler monkeys roar.
Take a stroll through the jungle surrounding Palenque and over the swing bridges.
Wander down one of the side trails around the Palenque ruins. If you don’t spot any wildlife, you’ll at least be treated to some majestic waterfalls.
The Otolum Creek actually runs right through the middle of the Palenque ruin site and into the forested overgrowth that surrounds.
Hopefully these photos have attempted to show-off how special Palenque is.
Yet Palenque is really one of those places that needs to be experienced rather than seen in order to really appreciate it.
Looking at pixelated two-dimensions on your computer or phone, simply doesn’t do Palenque justice.
The jungle needs to be delved into. Those ancient steps need to be climbed.
Palenque deserves to be explored.
So what are you waiting for?
Adventure awaits in Chiapas.
The Palenque ruins are easily our favorite ruins sites to visit in Mexico and we’ve visited many.
Although if you’re a fan of Mayan ruins, we also suggest a road-trip down the Ruta Puuc, which is second favorite Mayan ruin site in Mexico and a fun experience.
If You Go to Palenque Ruins, Mexico
Palenque Costs, Admission, and Entrance Fees
The Palenque entrance fee is $27 pesos to get into the National Park plus a $57 peso entrance fee to access the ruin site. This also includes museum admission.
The Palenque ruins can be explored as part of a guided tour or can be easily traversed on your own. For a DIY tour of Palenque, simply take one of the frequent collectivos from town to the ruins for $20 pesos per person each way.
If you prefer to take a Palenque tour, there are many guided tours available of this ancient Mayan ruin site. We suggest taking a Palenque tour that also visits some of the impressive waterfalls nearby. For example, this 9-hour tour of Palenque also visits Misol-Ha and Agua Azul Waterfalls.
How to Get to Palenque
Palenque is located in the state of Chiapas in Southern Mexico.
Otherwise fly into Villahermosa, which has many more connections. From Villahermosa there are frequent ADO buses that depart directly from the Villahermosa airport to Palenque. That bus trip takes just over two hours.
Buses from other regional cities also make it a perfect stopover on any Mexico or Central America itinerary. Popular ADO bus routes connect Palenque to each of the following cities that are all worth a trip themselves (click the links for more info on each city):