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Palenque is in Chiapas, Mexico famous for the ruins of a Mayan city dating from about 600 to 800 CE. Set amidst thick trees, Palenque still evokes some of the wonder that the early Spanish visitors must have felt when they first came across the ruins. The pre-historic city and the national park have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Mayan ruins at Palenque


Palenque is a medium-sized archaeological site, much smaller than Tikal or Copán, but it contains some of the finest sculpture, architecture, roof combs, and bas-relief carvings of the Mayan era.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

  • 1 Palenque Airport (PQM IATA). You can fly with Interjet from Mexico city. Palenque International Airport (Q4342531) on Wikidata Palenque International Airport on Wikipedia

Another airport is Villahermosa (VSA IATA), about two hours away by road. Tuxtla Gutiérrez (TGZ IATA), the airport for San Cristobal de las Casas is five to six hours away by bus. Both airports are well serviced with flights from Mexico City and other points in Mexico.

By road[edit]

The easiest way to get to Palenque is by bus. There are many buses daily from San Cristobal de las Casas (five hours), Tuxtla Gutiérrez (six hours), Villahermosa (2.5 hours), Merida (8 hours), Campeche (5 hours), Cancún (13 hours). Daily (one or two buses) also ply from Mexico City (16 hours), Oaxaca (15 hours), Playa del Carmen (12 hours), and Tulum (12 hours).

It is also possible to get to Palenque from Flores in Guatemala by bus (6h, leaving Flores daily at 5am, US$35).

Get around[edit]

Map of Palenque

The ruins are about 6 km from the town of Palenque and minibuses run between the town and the "Ruinas" every 10 to 15 minutes (MX$20, Oct 2022) during the day. Flag one on Benito Juárez or just after the roundabout outside the ADO bus station, although, it might be a better option to flag it in Benito Juárez if you plantogo early in the morning. On the way back, catch one at the main gate or near the museum. (Updated Feb 2022).


View of Palenque ruins
Palenque temple
  • 1 Archeological ruins. MX$85 to the INAH and MX$97 to the government (Nov 2022). These tickets are bought separately at the museum which is about 1.3 km from the actual entrance.
  • 2 Motiepa Waterfall.
  • 3 Sombrillas Waterfalls.


The village has a lovely, tree-sheltered zocalo where bands will play in the evening. Join the Villagers for a drink on the square.


You can get some Maya-style artwork from outdoor vendors who set up unobtrusively at the ruins.


Sleeping accommodation can be found either in the city of Palenque, or just outside the limits on the road to the national park.

Near ruins[edit]

  • Hotel Maya Bell Very near the ruins and has many options to stay, from hammocks to cabins inside the jungle. Showers, restaurant with live music and shows during the night, a big swimming pool and parking space, also for RV's.
  • El Panchan, Carr. Palenque-Ruinas Km 4,5, +52 916 112 8338. It is relatively near the ruins and has cabanas and small cabins and common sleeping areas with hammocks. A cabana with access to a common showers and bathrooms facility is M$80. The little Otulum river runs through the location.
  • Jungle Palace (In El Panchan). Offers mixed budget accommodation from camping, dorms, and small cabañas all with shared bathroom. Showers have hot water. Dorms M$70, Camping M$30, Cabaña (for 4) from M$200.

In town[edit]

  • Posada Na'Chan Ka'an, 2a. Avenida Sur Pte (Av. 20 de Noviembre) (In the city center at the corner where the colectivos for the ruins leave). Check-in: 24h, check-out: by 12.00. Very friendly, clean budget spot in the town of Palenque. Laundry, free internet and WIFI. Hot water (also in dorms). Baggage locker M$10/day. Dorms M$80, single M$250, double M$300, triple M$350.



City center[edit]

  • 1 Pollos La Brasa, 2a. Avenida Sur Pte. 121.
  • 2 La Huasteca, Central Pte. 48.
  • 3 Taqueria "Los Pastorcitos", Central Ote..
  • 4 Cocina del Tio Fide, Siglo XXI.
  • 5 Claveles Pizza, C. Jiménez.
  • 6 El Caracol De Jade, 1a. Ote. Nte. 2.

Near the archeological site[edit]

  • 7 Don Muchos, Carretera Ruinas-Palenque Km. 4.5.
  • 8 El Panchan, Carr. Palenque-Ruinas Km 4,5. Great stone-oven pizzas and live music.


  • 9 Restaurante Maya Cañada, Primera Avenida Nte. Pte. 10.
  • 10 El Langostino, 2a. Avenida Nte. Pte.
  • 11 El Marino, 1a. Ote. Nte..
  • 12 La Selva Restaurante, CALLE, 7A.PONIENTE Sur.



Go next[edit]

Other ruins in the general area are Yaxchilán and Bonampak. These can be arranged by day trip or overnighter with any agency in town.

It is about a six hour trip by shuttle/van from Palenque to Flores. Different companies depart at different hours.

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