Traveling around the world, I always miss my dogs who are waiting for me at home. So I am glad of any opportunity to talk with local animals. In Palenque my interlocutors were iguanas, parrots and turtles.
I especially liked the iguana. She was very in harmony with ancient ruins and I had the impression that she knows all about the people who lived in these places hundreds and thousand years ago. Just she can’t tell us about it and we speculate, we are wrong, and she is laughing at us and our speculations.
I spoke with the parrots in the garden of our hotel. One parrot was inside his case, and the other was sitting on his cage and nothing prevented him from flying away. However, he preferred to return to the cage at will. Maybe he was hamstrung. I do not know. It also led me to deep thought about our life inside and outside our cases...
Turtles have also been residents of the hotel - they were peacefully swimming in the pool and did not pay attention to me. When a child I had a turtle called Mimi, so watching local turtles I remembered her and my childhood. Who could have imagined then that I would be able to go to places where turtles live...
After a long excursion day in San Cristobal, Chamula and Zinacantan, and 5 hours driving through mountains and jungles I discovered in this hotel an exceptional tropical space to relax and rest, including a huge pool where I was almost alone in the late evening. It was a wonderful hour of rest and I enjoyed swimming very much.
As I have already written I took every chance to swim in every hotel pool in this trip around Mexico. But the pool in the hotel of Mexico City was indoors, the pool in Teotihuacan wasn’t clean enough. That’s why swimming in the pool in Palenque was especially pleasant for me. And I will remember it as well as the ruins which I visited the next day.
You can watch my 3 min 09 sec about Palenque Video Palenque Villa Mercedes in the evening out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.
When in 1970 I saw the West German documentary film “Chariots of the Gods” (in Russian “Memories of the Future”) that was based on Erich von Däniken's 1968 best seller, Chariots of the Gods? I learnt for the first time about Palenque and the drawing "Maya Astronaut" on the sarcophagus lid.
How could I imagine that I will see this lid in reality?
Pakal’s tomb has been the focus of attention of some "ancient astronaut" enthusiasts since its appearance in Von Däniken reproduced a drawing of the sarcophagus lid (incorrectly labeling it as being from "Copan") and comparing Pacal's pose to that of 1960s Project Mercury astronauts, interpreting drawings underneath him as rockets, and offering it as evidence of a supposed extraterrestrial influence on the ancient Maya.
In the center of that frame is a man sitting, bending forward. He has a mask on his nose, he uses his two hands to manipulate some controls, and the heel of his left foot is on a kind of pedal with different adjustments. The rear portion is separated from him; he is sitting on a complicated chair, and outside of this whole frame, you see a little flame like an exhaust.
The Palenque site Museum is located 1.5 kilometers before the site entrance.
It is open 6 days a week, from Tuesday to Sunday (10 a.m.–4:30 p.m.) On Mondays it is closed.
You will be able to see several maps and a scale mock up to get an idea of the size of Palenque at the site museum, which is not to be missed.
The map shows that only one fourth of the structures have been excavated and an intricate model of the Palace complex shows how it would have appeared in the Classic Period. The tops of the buildings were adorned with roof combs.
Several carved panels were removed from the site and a good number of incense burners -large urns with elaborately stuccoed Gods and mythological creatures- with explanations in Spanish and English are at the site museum. There is also a reproduction of Hanab Pakal's famous sarcophagus lid and a new exhibit has been planned so you will soon be able to see the tomb as close as possible to the "real thing" inside the Temple of the Inscriptions.
A bas-relief in the Palenque museum that depicts Upakal K'inich, the son of K'inich Ahkal Mo' Naab III.
You can watch my 2 min 15 sec about Palenque Video Palenque Museum out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.
You can watch my photo of Palenque on the Google Earth according to the following coordinates 17° 29' 18.12" N 92° 2' 31.04" W or on my Google Earth Panoramio Museum.
Favorite thing: We are proud that the works of Tatiana Proskouriakoff (Russian scientist lived in the USA) as well as Yuri Knorozov (Soviet scientist), and others initiated the intense historical investigations that characterized much of the scholarship on the ancient Maya.
Palenque is one of the most famous and visited archaeological sites in Mesoamerica. It is the norhtwesternmost city-state in the Maya World, set at the edge of the Yucatan plainlands.
Palenque was a Maya city state in southern Mexico that flourished in the 7th century. The Palenque ruins date back to 226 BC to its fall around 1123 AD. After its decline it was absorbed into the jungle, which is made up of cedar, mahogany, and sapodilla trees.
It has been excavated and restored and is now a famous archaeological site attracting thousands of visitors.
By now the discovered Archaeological area covered up to 2.5 km². But it is estimated that less than 10% of the total area of the city is explored, leaving more than a thousand structures still covered by jungle.
The site of Palenque had been abandoned by the Maya people for several centuries when the Spanish explorers arrived in Chiapas in the 16th century. The first European to visit the ruins and publish an account was the priest Pedro Lorenzo de la Nada in 1567; at the time the local Chol Maya called it Otolum meaning "Land with strong houses", and de la Nada roughly translated this to give the site the name "Palenque" (from the catalan word "palenc", "palisade") which means "fortification" in Spanish.
You can watch my photo of Palenque on the Google Earth according to the following coordinates 17° 28' 59.96" N 92° 2' 42.11" W or on my Google Earth Panoramio Palenque Archaeological Zone .
You can watch my photo of Palenque on the Google Earth according to the following coordinates 17° 28' 59.33" N 92° 2' 42.50" W or on my Google Earth Panoramio Palenque Archaeological Site .
If you are only looking for a guide in the Archeological Zone (Ruins) of Palenque, I personally would say that you need not organize anything in advance.
In the parking and ticket area of the ruins, there are official guides (visible with identification tags) which offer good services for fixed rates. Then there are unofficial guides and other kids who will give variable degrees of service for cheaper. IMO, arrive to Palenque, pay the ~50peso entrance fee for foreigners and hire one of the official guides who will be near the front gate. Nearly all the guides speak English, but a few may also speak some Italian or French.
Favorite thing: Internet Infinitum – While there are several Internet cafes in town, few offer additional services. I needed to find a place that could download photos from my camera’s memory card and burn it to a disc so I could continue taking photos (yes, I take a lot of photos). On the main street (Juarez) between Aldama and Abasolo on the north side of the street Internet Infinitum is tucked down a hallway (there are signs on the street). I was able to have them download my photos from my memory card and burn them to a CD for just 35 $MX. Without asking, the young man showed me the CD contents to prove that all the photos burned properly. Internet access costs 5 $MX per hour. The place was also air-conditioned, which was a pleasant relief while dealing with business.
Favorite thing: If you are staying overnight in Palenque, make it a point to get up early and get to the site right as it opens. Not only will it not be as crowded, but because of its high altitude and weather, you will be treated to seeing the morning mist rise through and around the ruins. It is something you will not soon forget!
Favorite thing: Not everything in Palenque are the pyramids. The local life is nice and full of tourists of all ages. Make sure you visit the main square and mingle with the locals and the tourists to comple your fun.
We booked our first trip to the ruins, Agua Azul and misol ha waterfall thru this agency. for 10 usd. Our other trips we took colectivos, but I thought I'd post this just in case:)
Turistica Maya Chiapas, S.A. de C.V.
Av. Juarez No. 123-C
Tel. (01-916) 345-0767
Favorite thing: When you are going to go walking in the warm, humid jungle it's important to have clothes that lets you breathe. It's also good to have clothes with light colors or you will be quite warm. Remember to bring some good shoes. Most of the ruins are quite steep, and they can also be slippery from the humidity.
Favorite thing: Bring lots of water! It can get very warm, especially when you are walking around the whole day. It's also quite humid so you are going to sweat a lot. Be sure to drink plenty of water when you go there. You can buy water at the entrance and at the exit, but it's much more expencive than in town.
Favorite thing: If you are going to the ruins in Palenque there are a few things you should bring. For example plenty of strong mosquito repellent. You are in the middle of the jungle so there are plenty of insects there.
Favorite thing: There is a river that runs right through the heart of the site, but it was dried up when we were there. I would recommend taking the time to walk along the river bed and just explore. There is fabulous foliage from the jungle all about you, plus you can look up and see the various buildings that line the river. It's awesome!