Palenque Ruin Site Lower Entrance, Tropical Forest Walk
Palenque's Temple of the Inscriptions above the tomb of the Emperor Pacal, ruler from 615 AD to 683 AD
Palenque Ruin Site, view of the Temple of the Inscriptions. The tomb of Pacal was found within the temple at ground level
The Palace, a group of buildings thought to have use as an observatory. To the right a stream runs through the complex of buildings and leads to the lowerer entrance to the site along the tropical forst trail.
Palenque Lower Entrance
Tropical Forest Walk
Palenque's lower entrance takes you along a river through tropical forest of large trees to the ancient Mayan political center built between 500 and 800 AD.
Palenque Archaeological Ruin Site
Palenque was named by the Spanish who gave the name to the nearby modern town of Palenque.
The archaeological site called Palenque is an enigmatic group of stone buildings abandoned around 900 AD after active construction stages between the 5th and 9th centuries AD
The Mayan builders constructed the ritual center near
the Usumacinta River in what is now Mexico's southern most State of Chiapas starting around 100 BC or earlier according to some researchers.
Palenque was once an important Mayan political
center but for unknown reasons the Mayan rulers abandoned the city around 900 AD.
The small town of Palenque (37,000) occupies a hillside 8 miles from the site where ADO bus service
is available as are other services and tours to nearby
sites such as Bonampak, Yaxchilan, and Tikal. Tours also leave the area for the cascades of Agua Azule, the ruin site of Tonina, and for San Cristobal de las Casas.
Lower Entrance Trail and Museum
To visit the Palenque ruin Site and Museum, using the lower entrance and trail, catch
the white collective taxis that make runs to the
ruin about every 15 minutes and cost 20 Pesos. They round the rotary at the Cabeza Maya, a large
sculptured head at the entrance to the town. Ask the driver to drop you at the museum. Once at the museum, buy a ticket for the site entrance. The start of the lower trail is just across the road from the museum.
An alternative is to go to the ruin site first and then walk downhill on the forest trail to the museum. You can hail a returning colectivo on the road across from the museum.
The Palace, Palenque
According to some records of past rulers the first governor of Palenque was known as K'uk Balan 1, Juaguar-Quetzal a
ruler of the first dynasty who took power in 431 AD.
Other lists of rulers go back to the time of the Olmecs and posit an Olmec ruler in 967 BC as a ruler of Palenque (See Wiki list)
Legend and stone inscription suggest that the first inhabitants were Olmec people and researchers point out that many of the artifacts in the small museum on the entrance road have Olmec artistic attributes.
Although occupied well before 100 BC, the sites Classic Period buildings that the visitor sees today took shape between 600 AD and 800 AD. During this period the city flourished. By 800 AD the city had a population of 8000 people. After 800 AD the cities power waned and by 900 AD according to some researchers, the city was abandoned for unknown reasons.
Friar Diego de Landa (1524-1579) Bishop of Yucatan described the city in 1567 writings available in a book at Palenque's museum bookstore: "Yucatan Before And After The Conquest. "
Palenque's most notable leader was 7 Th Century Pacal who ruled from 615 to 683 AD. He built the so-called Temple of the Inscriptions dedicated in 692 AD atop the pyramid enclosing his tomb.
After the decline of the center, the area farmers continued to live in the valley below the city but according to reports the area was nearly deserted when the Spanish arrived in 1520.
American travel writer John Lloyd Stephens and English artist Frederick Catherwood made trips to the area in 1839 and 1842, documenting the sites with text and drawings in their publication, "Incidents of Travel In The Yucatan" published in 1843.
Walking uphill on the forest trail the visitor passes cascades and clear water pools beside unrestored buildings along the stream. The trail then opens to the lower plazas where modern archaeology began at Palenque with a
Tulane University expedition headed by Franz
Blom in 1923 that excavated and resored the ancient buildings.
Later Mexican researchers headed by Albert
Ruiz L'Huillier, working from 1949 to 1952,
discovered the tomb of Pacal beneath the Temple of the Inscriptions.
Work continued with Jorge Acosta in the 1970s and continues today within the site which is presently 10% excavated and stabilized.
To walk the trail through the tropical forest to the archaeological site of Palenque, ask the van driver to drop you at the Palenque Musem
Buy your site entrance ticket at the museum to enter the park's lower trail.
(one fee for Museum and site)
Hotel Canada (Pronounced Canyada) is a handy place for lodging just a short walk to the Cabeza Maya statue where white vans make frequent runs to the ruins. Several other hotels in the area called the Canada range from 350 to 1000 peso per night. \Restaurants and coffee shops are
nearby. Palenque lodging
Palenque Camping: Maya Bell RV and Camping Park. adjacent to the ruin. Phone: 011-52- 916-345-0798
Palenque ruin sites lower entrance and forest walk can be
reached by white collective taxi vans running every 15 minutes from the town and around the Cabeza Maya to
the archaeological site.
Temple Of The Sun
Palenque Area Ruin Sites
Maya Ruin Sites
Palenque buildings, The Palace
As you enter the site from the lower entrance trail you cross the wide plaza and arrive at the Temple of the Inscriptions.
Temple Of The Cross
Temple Of The Sun
View of Palenque's Palace
Palenque's Temple of the Cross