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Palenque travel pictures

Visiting the ancient temples of Palenque which are hidden in the jungle

The ruins of Palenque used to be an ancient city inhabited by the Maya's and is located in the state Chiapas. Before the restoration, the jungle had taken it back and overgrown the whole sight, but is now fully accessible again. It is still one of the most attractive looking Maya settlement in Mexico which is largely due to the jungle surroundings which seem to add that bit of extra to it.

The whole area is roughly subdivided into three groups. The first group is seen when you enter through the main entrance and consists of a set of pyramids which are lined up next to each other. These include the temple of the inscriptions and the temple of the sun. It is actually possible to climb up the stairs of these which allows a fair view over the surrounding structures. The other large structure within this group is the palace which is still largely in ruins. Despite that, several of the chambers have been restored and it is worth exploring the palace as there are a few surprising parts still intact or one might stumble upon something surprising.

The second group is the most impressive part of Palenque. The main structures here are the house of the jaguar, the pyramid of the cross and the temple of the foliated cross. The combination of the well preserved temples and the thick jungle make it feel more secluded from the rest, but also it feels very authentic. These temples can all be climbed as well and allow a nice view of the group itself and the jungle surroundings.

The last group consist of the temple of the court and many smaller buildings and their remains next to it. These are not the most impressive of all, but give the whole site a more complete feeling. 

When leaving the ruins of Palenque, many are tempted to leave through through the main entrance. However, there is an exit at the back which follows a path trough the jungle. This is a good place to see some small waterfalls, but there are also a few ruins which are still overgrown by vegetation. Despite these all being relatively small, it is quite a highlight of the visit.

Getting to the ruins of Palenque is easy from the nearby town where most people also stay. There is a shuttle bus which takes you there directly and leaves roughly every 15 minutes from the main street. The ruins are only 6 km away, so it is a short ride of 20 minutes. Alternatively, you can book a tour which includes a stop a the ruins, but often includes other places such as the waterfalls of Agua Azul. Given the importance of tourism to the town, every hotel can provide you with all the information you need and make all the bookings. It might be worth getting up a bit earlier and be one of the first visitors to enter the historical park.

Because the ruins of Palenque are located in the middle of the jungle be prepared to expect some real humidity, although this can vary enormously depending on the weather. Despite this, these temples make up one of the best place to visit in Mexico.


Palenque travel photo gallery

 
Temple of the inscriptions.

Temple of the inscriptions.

 
First view when entering the park.

First view when entering the park.

 
Temple of the sun.

Temple of the sun.



The photo albums of Mexico 
include: Agua AzulChichen Itza
Tulum and Uxmal.


 
The palace.

The palace.

 
Ruins of the palace.

Ruins of the palace.

 
Ruins surrounded by the jungle.

Ruins surrounded by the jungle.

 
The centrally located palace.

The centrally located palace.

 
Overview of the palace.

Overview of the palace.

 
Stairs leading up the ruins.

Stairs leading up the ruins.

 



House of the jaguar.

House of the jaguar.

 



Pyramid of the cross.

Pyramid of the cross.

 
Temple of the foliated cross.

Temple of the foliated cross.

 
Layers of the pyramid of the cross.

Layers of the pyramid of the cross.

 
Groups of temples clustered together.

Groups of temples clustered together.

 
People climbing on the ruins.

People climbing on the ruins.

 
Well preserved house of the jaguars.

Well preserved house of the jaguars.

 
Restored ancient Maya building.

Restored ancient Maya building.

 
The pyramid of the cross seen from the bottom.

The pyramid of the cross seen from the bottom.

 



Two of the structures close together.

Two of the structures close together.

 



House on the hill.

House on the hill.

 
Looking down on a house surrounded by the green jungle.

Looking down on a house surrounded by the green jungle.

 
View from above.

View from above.

 
Overview of Palenque.

Overview of Palenque.

 
The house of the jaguars.

The house of the jaguars.

 
The three temples near the entrance.

The three temples near the entrance.

 
The first two structures.

The first two structures.

 
Some of the details of the central structure.

Some of the details of the central structure.

 



Full view of the temple of the sun.

Full view of the temple of the sun.

 
A stone tower.

A stone tower.

 



The classic jungle view.

The classic jungle view.

 
The pyramid of the cross surrounded by the jungle.

The pyramid of the cross surrounded by the jungle.

 
Inside the palace.

Inside the palace.

 



The grass surrounding the palace.

The grass surrounding the palace.

 
Some thick vegetation.

Some thick vegetation.

 



Typical steep stairs.

Typical steep stairs.

 



Part of the ball court.

Part of the ball court.

 
Some ruins seen through the trees.

Some ruins seen through the trees.

 
More of the ancient Maya site.

More of the ancient Maya site.

 
Steep stairs leading to a house.

Steep stairs leading to a house.

 
Temple of the court.

Temple of the court.

 
Grass growing over the ruins.

Grass growing over the ruins.

 
One of the old pyramids.

One of the old pyramids.

 
Ruins of the north group.

Ruins of the north group.

 



Temples of the north group.

Temples of the north group.

 
Some of the ruins seen on the way out.

Some of the ruins seen on the way out.

 
Jungle tree.

Jungle tree.

 
Small waterfall.

Small waterfall.

 



River running through the jungle.

River running through the jungle.

 
Overgrown ruins.

Overgrown ruins.

 
Only the foundations are left standing.

Only the foundations are left standing.

 



Restored walls.

Restored walls.

 
Some of the remaining walls.

Some of the remaining walls.

 
Swamp.

Swamp.

 
Jungle growing around some of the walls which still remain.

Jungle growing around some of the walls which still remain.

 



Massive stone building.

Massive stone building.

 



Water cascade.

Water cascade.

 
Small river running through the jungle.

Small river running through the jungle.

 
Amazing jungle view.

Amazing jungle view.

 
The thick jungle that surrounds the archaeological site.

The thick jungle that surrounds the archaeological site.

 



Trees growing onto the jungle.

Trees growing onto the jungle.


Internet sites with travel information about Palenque

General information about Palenque can be found on Wikipedia and more travel related info on Wikitravel. The pages of visit Mexico contain some useful info as well. To get to Palenque, the closest airport is Villahermosa which is two hours away. Another option is to take the bus for which the timetables can be found on Ticketbus. The ancient site is classified as UNESCO world heritage. The pages of Lonely Planet are another useful resource, but also the travel guide of Virtual tourist might be interesting.

Suggested photo albums on Mad Planet Earth

Images of the waterfalls Agua Azul and Misol-Ha. Pictures of the ancient Maya city Chichen Itza. Pictures of Uxmal, one of the most authentic Maya temples in Yucutan.  


Last update: 04/07/2013