Palenque, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is another Mayan city that is a sure highlight of a visit to southern Mexico. Nestled deep in the jungles of the mountainous region of Chiapas, Palenque (map) does not receive the large flow of tourists as Chichén Itzá or Tulum so it’s a great place to explore at a leisurely pace without the throngs of crowds. The city inspires both awe and wonder and is renowned for its exquisite sculptures, roof combs and reliefs. As with Tikal in Guatemala and Copan in Honduras, the thick rainforest that envelops the city gives the site a wonderfully mysterious charm (and even more so when the clouds roll in) that is truly mesmerising. The summits of the impressive pyramids and towers soar above the trees and provide a stunning panorama of the coastal plains below.
Among the highlights of a visit to this site is the Temple of Inscriptions. The temple is famous for its hieroglyphs depicting the city’s history, as well as the tomb that was discovered here which contained a large sarcophagus with a stunning carved lid and walls richly decorated with impressive stone carvings. Find out how the sarcophagus was placed in the pyramid. It’s an awe-inspiring story! The temple is located at the main plaza next to two smaller step pyramids, against an immense backdrop of trees.
Further into the site, a complex of buildings and courtyards and a square four-story tower form the Palace grounds which was built on an artificial hill. Across the stream that meanders through the site and a short climb up the hill, you’ll find the beautiful Temple of the Sun and the Temple of the Cross.
Palenque is certainly an enchanting spot that is more than worth a visit!