Palenque

One of the postcard highlights of Mexico for many tourists. It’s gorgeous, no doubt, but is it worth the crowds and the heat?

It is. The crowds are there although not claustrophobic in density (low season) and it’s hard to find a moment in solitude. It’s hot, humid and there’s hundreds of hawkers both of goods and tours. In spite of all this it is still magnificent. On first entering through the trees and seeing the first towering pyramids and complexes it’s hard not to feel a sense of awe. There’s still a mystique to the place an ancient magic seems to hang in the air.

The jungle surrounds and generally misty air certainly add to the feel of the place. The cascades and bathing area a welcome treat on the way out. The museum is incredibly presented and well worth the visit with some intricately constructed and carved pieces.

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Tips: Palenque1

• Bring food, there’s a few hawkers with OK prices at gates and a costly restaurant if need be.

• Get there as early as you can.

•There is a well presented museum on the right hand side just prior to the ruin exits. Tuesday to Sunday from 9-1pm and from 5-8pm. Admission: free with entrance ticket to the ruins.

Getting to the Ruins:

• Catch collectivo from corner Allende&Hidalgo/Juarez 20 pesos/pp (note this is to the ruins or anywhere along the route).

• Entrance fee to national park is 30.50 pesos for foreigners. The ruins are located within the national park.

• Ruin entry is 64 pesos with higher costs for video cameras and professional shoots.

Getting there (San Cristobal – Palenque):

• Buses from San Cristobal de las Casas depart from Av Insurgentes, Sta Lucia, 29250 San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chis., México. 122 pesos.

• Alternatively, take one of the collectivos (100 pesos) that leave from the main road (Carr. Internacional) next to the main bus terminal

• ADO buses in Palenque arrive at Carraterra a la Zona Arqueologica. Collectivos should arrive a few doors down from this.

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• Both these options pass the beautiful Agua Azul and Misol Ha (20km from Palenque). It is possible to arrange a drop off here but make sure you arrange this with your transport operator before purchasing a ticket. Basic lodgings are available.

Getting away:

• Palenue to Flores Border Crossing: see “To Guatemala”

Accommodation: Yaxkin Hostel. (Calle 5ta Poniente Norte No.2, Zona Eco Turística La Cañada, Chino, 29960 Palenque, Chis., México).

Private dbl w/ ensuite 300 pesos (low season (expect prices everywhere in low season to be 30-50% lower than high season). N.B wifi is only in common area and poor, kitchen is dim. Free drinking water! Attached cafe – “Cafe Jade” is actually pretty good.

• If you are considering staying at El Panchan (another popular accommodation option closer to the ruins, in a “jungle” setting) you will most likely need to purchase your national park entrance fee (30.5 pesos) on the road to your accommodation.

Tips:

Supermarket: Super Chedraui – Carr. Palenque Pakal-na 84, Tujila, La Esperanza, 29960 Palenque, Chis., Mexico

ATM: 1a. Avenida Sur Pte. 40, Centro, Palenque, Chis., México

Internet cafe: There is an internet cafe almost across the road from the above ATM.

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