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The ruins of Palenque (pictured), hidden in the jungles of Chiapas, make up one of the most impressive archaeological sites in Mexico. Situated near the town of Palenque, these ruins captivate and astound visitors, and give you a feeling of what life was like for the ancient Mayan people. With pyramids, tombs and temples enshrouded by the sounds of the surrounding wildlife, the area is a mysterious and intriguing place to visit.
Start your tour of the ruins at the Palacio, a building surrounded by intricate mazes and courtyards. At the peak of the watchtower, visitors are given a panoramic view of the area. The best of the temples include: the Templo de la Cruz, Templo XIV, Templo del Jaguar, Templo del Sol and Templo de la Cruz Foliada.
The largest of the temples is the Templo de las Incripciones, which boasts ancient inscriptions from Mayan priests and scholars. Next to this is the Templo de las Calaveras, otherwise known as the Temple of Skulls; this is an ancient burial site where the remains of Mayans are still preserved today.
For a more academic view of the ruins, visit the museum, where you can learn more about the history of the Mayan people. The museum is also home to some beautiful jade pieces that have been excavated from the site. A wonderful waterfall, called the Cascada Motiepa, makes a perfect place for a picnic; however, you should watch out for the monkeys and parrots that inhabit the forest.
The pristine waterfalls of Agua Azul and Cascada de Misol Ha are perfect for a daytrip from Palenque. Misol Ha is only 19kms away and Aqua Azul is slightly farther at 38kms. Again, these waterfalls are beautiful places to relax and have a picnic.
The ruins of Palenque are only eight kilometres from the town of Palenque.
Palenque has a new small domestic airport that can be reached by air via Cancún, Mérida, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Ciudad Flores and Villahermosa, all on Aerocaribe Airlines.
You can also fly direct from international destinations to Mexico City, where you can connect to Villahermosa and on to Palenque. Villahermosa is the next closest airport to Palenque. Buses to Palenque depart from Villahermosa several times every day.
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