Ruinas de Yaxchilan Travel Guide

  • Mexico on the Left, Guatemala on the Right
    Mexico on the Left, Guatemala on the...
    by DSwede
  • Baby Howler Monkeys Feeding
    Baby Howler Monkeys Feeding
    by DSwede
  • Steps up from the Grand Plaza
    Steps up from the Grand Plaza
    by DSwede

Ruinas de Yaxchilan Things to Do

  • Howler Monkeys

    One of the nice things about visiting Yaxchilan is that you don't hear the sound of hawkers trying to sell you tourist novelties, the sound of other tourists or their guides. All you will hear is the sound of the jungle. And that means Howler Monkeys.There are many spider monkeys too, but the almost deafening sound echoing through the area are the...

  • Yaxchilan Ruines

    I booked a tour at El Panchan (Palenque)left at 6.00 arrived after an breakfast at 10.35 at Yaxchilan ruins took 45 minutes with a boat from Frontera Corozal.Entrance 46 pesos video 35 pesosopen 8.00 - 16.30.I put my pictures at my travelogues

  • More Outlying Construction

    This construction was outside either the main axis or that of the acropolis, and so must have been a separate epoch in the building of Yaxchilan. Nevertheless, these ruins are themselves of considerable interest to the archeologicallly minded adventurer. I confess that it's possible though I may have become misoriented somehow, as an alternate...

  • Outlying Construction

    There are beyond even the main temple, a secondary village of sorts that may have been built later than the main city of Yaxchilan. I've been trying to place these ruins for quite some time now, and hopefully improve the tips at a later date, but in any case, these outlying ruins are on a hike along a narrow trail perhaps a quarter mile away, far...

  • Acropolis of Yaxchilan

    As a result of the following a path to some howler monkeys, we arrived at Structure 33, which is at the top of the acropolis, from the backside. This turned out to be a photographic advantage as the structure at the top is one of the most photogenic in all Yaxchilan, if not of any Mayan city. The intricate latice like stone construction of the top...

  • Orientation and Organization of...

    From a book read, I found this insightful quote based on the map of Yaxchilan provided at the site, and regarding the purposeful layout of the city: "Looking at the map of Yaxchilan, one sees that the entire Main Plaza is oriented from northwest to southeast. Several small buildings sit perpendicular to this axis, and their apertures face...

  • More Stella on Main Plaza Axis

    There are actually a large number of large and small stella in heavily eroded condition at Yaxchilan. Some of these are under rudimentary shelters to slow disintegration. At the time, I understood that a least one was to be removed to a museum. Visit them while they still stand in their original location.

  • Large Stella on the Main Plaza Axis

    At the far end of the Main Plaza there are some large stells in heavily eroded condition that are nevertheless worth examining closely. My photos can't help much here, but at least you have an idea of their location.

  • Interiors of Buildings on the Solstice...

    I lost track of the difference between Structures 20 and 21 in terms of the photography, unfortunately, so any e-mail feedback regarding this would be helpful. In any case, there's a Mayan arch, a stella still in place, and another wonderful lintel. In the enhanced version of the stella, notice the additional relief exposed on the wall behind it.

  • Descending Along the Summer Solstice...

    Descending the stairs from the temple, Structures 20 and 21 are off to the right. We found an number of well preserved statues and stellas here. These buildings are in the same orientation as the temple, and so must have served important ceremonial or governmental purposes.

  • Stella of the Acropolis

    Structure 33 has several carved lintels and other stone work of some interest--some shown in the first three photos. These reliefs were precariously protected from the sun and rain by a fabric overhang. We also found an wonderful lintel, shown in the last two photos (enhanced and non-enhanced versions), which was in very fine condition, given its...

  • Entrance to Yaxchilan

    After paying the modest entrance fees, the hike up to the main plaza area of Yaxchilan is unsually narrow. Walls of stone flank the sides, and there are several dark buildings that can be entered. Bats in habit the ceilings here. Then, after walking through an entranceway, Yaxchilan open onto a broad plaza of ruins.

  • Local Inhabitants

    During your visti at Yaxchilan ruins you'll be accompanied by monkeys (howler monkeys I think). They will follow you on a safe distance, high in the trees and observe you.In the ruins you'll also meet some spiders and bats.

  • Abandoned Stele

    You can find this stele at north-east side of the Grand Plaza. It was first ment to bring it to the museum, but it was to heavy for an airplane to cary it, so they left it here.It represtents ruler Pajaro Jaguar IV (Bird Jaguar IV; AD 752-768).

  • Howling Monkeys near the Grand Palace

    At the entrance to the Grand Palace, we enjoyed an orchestra of Howling Monkeys, which never stopped throughout our visit. I guess we were intruding on their home :). The sound was so unique that one almost feared the thought of coming face to face with one of the monkeys.


Ruinas de Yaxchilan Transportation

  • Combi From Palenque to Yaxchilan

    In Palenque, there are dozens of tour operators selling packages for day trips to Yaxchilan and Bonampak. These include van transportation, lunch, and tour guide. But, we found them unnecessary and relatively expensive. A more reasonable plan is to catch the "combi" at the main station in central town of Palenque. The Combis are local transport...

  • Hiring a Launcha on the Usumacinta

    In order to get to Yaxchilan, a launcha must be hired out at Frontera Corozal, a tiny town on the banks of the Usumacinta River. Somewhat south, and well out of view, and on the opposite bank of the river from Frontera Corozal is the equally tiny town of Bethel, Guatemala. In our case, we hired a launcha to take us downriver to Yaxchilan, and then...

  • To the town

    From the crucero on Caretera Fronteriza there are some 15 km to Frontera Corozal. You can take a taxi or ask anybody who pases by. And handel about the price.


Ruinas de Yaxchilan Warnings and Dangers

  • Clothes

    Iwould advise you to wear good shoes when visiting Yaxchilan ruins. You'll need a good grip. The place can be very muddy and slippery. To get to some parts you'll nearly have to climb and those tree roots can get dangerous too. And If possible, cover yourself as much as possible. Jungle is home to many love-to-bite insects. I was like red-dotted...

  • Don't get scared

    If you spend a night in Frontera Corozal or get ther early in the morning you'll probably hear a very loud noise that comes from the jungle. That is just howler monkey screaming. I really didin't imagine that they sound like this. So, if you are sleeping in a hammock (like I did), don't fall out (I didn't :-P)

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Ruinas de Yaxchilan What to Pack

  • What to carry

    The winds along the river and the shade of the trees while you are low in the ruins may lull you into a false sense that the weather is cool. If you climb up to ruins #39/40/40 and get into the full sun, you'll quickly realize how hot it is. Wear breathable clothes and bring your own water, there is none to be found in the ruins. Shoes that can...


    Although there is not a lot of walking I would recommend tennis shoes. If it is rainning you will walk between a lot of mud. It may sound stupid but don't forget to take enough film. Once you get to Yaxchilan you won't be able to buy film, there are NO stores to get some.

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Ruinas de Yaxchilan Off The Beaten Path

  • Wildlife Along the Usumacinta River

    Crocodiles, birds, and monkeys live along the river, as well as slash and burn farming of the Mayan farmers.

  • Howler Monkeys of the Lower Plaza Area

    Soon after we arrived on the plaza area near the entrance to Yaxchilan, we heard the loud roar of howler monkeys up a hill. Belinda and I immediately began climbing up a narrow path leading to where the sounds were coming. At first it was hard to see the howler monkeys so high in the trees, but then I spotted them. I shot a few pictures, but...

  • Selva Lancandon Trip: a summary

    From Palenque, I took a tour into the Lancandon jungle. The jungle excursion from Palenque was awesome! I ventured into the Lancandon jungle with the aid of a tour since the area is not that secure. We were escorted by the 'federales' (police) all the way. During the two days, we visited three Mayan sites and the Lancandon jungle. The first site,...


Ruinas de Yaxchilan Favorites

  • Admission

    Besides the entrance fee for the ruins, you have to pay some kind of tax (maybe eco-tax, didn't understand very well). Right in front of the museum in Frontera Corozal two men were standing and collecting the fee. If I remember well it was just 10 pesos.If you just want to godown to the river, just say so and they will let you pass.

  • Crossing the border

    In Forintera Corozal you can cross the border and go to Guatemala. River Usumacinat represents the border. As there is no bridge, you can take a boat at Escudo Jaguar(lancha) which will take you to the other side. From here you can continue to the town Bethel.

  • To the ruins

    You can get to the ruins of Yaxchilan by airplane (if you can afford it) or ba boat (lancha). The price of lancha depends on how many people are on. So if you are alone it can get very expensive (1-3 people 500 pesos + entrance fee). In that case I recomand to go to embarcadero (place where lanchas are docked) and wait for an organized tour from...


Top 10 Less-Crowded Mayan Ruins: Yaxchilan

Rated 5 out of 5 stars

Located on the Usumacinta River, Yaxchilán is a great example of the Usumacinta style that dominated the Classic Mayan of the Low Lands from 250 – 900 A.D., with architecture adorned in epigraphic inscriptions and extensive relief sculpture. The city was allied with Tikal, and had a major battle with Palenque, which seems ironic according to a modern map since Palenque is in both the same state and nation as Yaxchilán and Tikal is across the border in Guatemala. The city exhibits strategic planning ,as it was built on a peninsula formed by a bend in the Usumacinta River. Even today, Yaxchilán can only be accessed by lancha (small boat) up the river. For those adventurous enough to make the trip, keep an eye out for the image of Bird Jaguar which can be found throughout the site, particularly on stelae standing over the plaza and on the staircase.

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