Palenque Travel Guide

Photo of Palenque

Palenque Overview

In the heart of Mexico’s Chiapas region, close to the border of Guatemala and 2-hours east from Villahermosa, is the dusty town of Palenque famed for the spectacular Maya ruins that rise out of the jungle-clad hills. Widely considered as the most significant archaeological sites in the country, hoards of tourists flock to the area to admire the temples, courtyards and palaces and for a taste of the ancient Mayan lifestyle.

The town of Palenque itself is nothing to write home about but still home to a sufficient amount of shops and restaurants to keep travelers occupied for a day or two. Many arrive on day trips from Villahermosa, however, those that do stay overnight find refuge in the tranquil retreats tucked away in the forest lining the highway between the town and ruins.

Things to do in Palenque

Palenque Maya Ruins - The number one reason for visiting or passing through Palenque is to visit the ancient Maya ruins and monuments set within the hills of Parque Nacional Palenque, a verdant jungle teeming with wildlife. Largely felt to be the most mystical and mysterious of all Mexicos Maya sites, the ruins, discovered in 1790, date back as far as 300BC when it was home to a thriving community. Highlights of the ruins include the Templo de las Incrispciones, El Palacio, Grupo de las Cruces and Temple of the Sun. A popular way to explore the site is to take a taxi to the main entrance and wander downhill, finishing up at the noteworthy museum. Guides are available at the entrance, however it is easy to go it alone.

Maya Exploration Centre - Excellent tours of the Palenque ruins run by knowledgeable and entertaining archaeologists studying Maya history and culture. Tours can be arranged via the website or through the staff at El Panchan resort.
Palenque Restaurants - For a small dusty town Palenque has a reasonable number of dining options as well as a couple of bars.
La Selva - Best spot in town serving steaks, fish and salads within the jungle-styled décor and on a romantic terrace.
Las Tinajas - Popular family-run eatery famed for the hefty portions of Mexican grub. Café de Yara - Come here for the best breakfast in town.
For drinks head to either El Tapanco, good for live music, or La Palapa, Palenques top disco bar.

Hotels in Palenque

Budget Hotels Palenque

El Panchan - A favourite backpacker spot with dorms, huts and cabins set in the forest.
Posadas Shalom - Two locations offering comfortable ensuite rooms. Tel (52) 916 345 0944.
Midrange Hotels Palenque
Hotel Chan Kah - The best hotel in Palenque town complete with swimming pool and bar. Tel (52) 916 345 1134.
Maya Tulipanes - Extremely welcoming rooms set around a garden and pool. Tel (52) 916 345 0201.
Mayabell - Hotel and camping grounds inside the ruins park. Tel (52) 916 345 0597.
Luxury Hotels Palenque
Chan Kah Resort Village - From the same owners as the town hotel comes a luxury forest resort with charming cabanas set along the river. Tel (52) 916 345 0948.

Palenque Weather

Palenque Travel Resources



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