Estado de Chiapas Things to Do Tips by canuckmike Top 5 Page for this destination
Estado de Chiapas Things to Do: 19 reviews and 30 photos
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is probably the main reason for most visitors to visit Chiapas. I don't know if it was my main reason for coming here but I wasn't going to leave Chiapas without seeing it. It is an impressive Mayan site (maybe not Tikal cool but Copan cool) with it's hayday being from 600 to 800 AD. Palenque was abandoned for many years, then "discovered" by Spanish priest in 1773. It has a fair amount of tourists but it didn't feel swamped to me at any time and was able to get away from them from time to time. Another bonus is that just about everything here is climbable. Most of the main ruins are fairly close together and seem to be in decent shape (or restored shape). Though the entire area is 15 square kilometres and over 1400 found structures.
There is a good museum here and a place to buy food and drink. There are many people selling different mayan souvenirs here with some being quite nice. It is open year round with hours from 8am to 5pm. It is really easy getting here as there are many buses coming here from Palenque Town and many tours are organized to get here. Usually including nearby waterfalls which is what I did. The site is about 7.5 km westish of Palenque Town.
Misol-Ha is a picturesque waterfall with a height of nearly 100 feet. Where the road stops here, you walk a little bit and you are brought to an area that gives you a good overview of the waterfall and area. From there you can walk down the path where you can follow it underneath the waterfall or go off to the side where you can go swimming in the pool at the base of Misol-Ha. If you are not planning on swimming here, an hour is all you will need to spend here. This waterfall is about 21 km away from Palenque on Highway 199.
Yaxchilan is a Mayan site located along the Usumacinta River across the border from northern Guatemala. It's not as grand as Palenque but I still enjoyed the visit. You get there by taking a hour long boat ride up the river then hike a little less than a kilometre in to the front gate. To get to the main area you walk through some ruins which is nice cause a lot of places, you can't go inside the ruins. The main area is decent but what made it for me was the building in picture 2. I orginally thought it was in Palenque and was disappointed when I didn't see it. When I saw it here I was extremely pleased. There are a lot of carvings located among the ruins that are in fine condition. Some have been restored others are in great condition and don't need restoration yet. There are some ruins set away from the main group that you have to walk about 1 km through the jungle to get to which also made it a pleasure to visit. Another great thing is for the size of the ruins and how well it's kept up, there's hardly other visitors. I think the entire time I was there, there was a total of like 25 other people.
In its heyday it was a fairly important side and it dominated many local sites like Bonampak. It even rivalled Palenque at one point. It reached it's greatest power under King Shield Jaguar 2 who died in 742.
The city of Palenque is basically designed for tourists to come in, see the ruins and some nearby attractions and then head off into another destination. It's small enough that it is easy to walk where you need to go. And it's not too small that you end thinking I can't wait to get out of here as soon as you arrive. There are plenty of travel shops offering tours to various sights in Chiapas and abroad. Lots of souvenirs stores (but I did find the Mayan Riveria located in Quitana Roo a better place to buy Chiapas souvenirs than in this town) selling their souvenirs. There is a good selection of restaurants some being really tasty. Good internet cafes and a huge selection of accomodations catering to most budgets. The plaza is quite nice although hidden underneath stalls sell more tourist stuff. At the beginning of the city there is a nice Mayan Head statue that greets visitors in this city of around 85,000 people.
In the Painted Rooms, All Walls are Painted
"Discovered" in 1946 by Giles Healy, Bonampak would be an average Mayan site if it weren't for the murals that are which makes it worthy stop if you are in the area. In Structure 1 there are 3 rooms that are completed painted. It is currently the only Mayan ruins that the paintings are so detailed and well preserved. The ruins themselve are a fair size with a lot of stairs. There are a couple of large stelae in the area but the majority of the site is located at one building (picture 2). From where the van drops you off to the ruins is about a 500m walk crossing an old airfield. I cannot remember the price for entrance but I believe it is only a couple of bucks, more if you have a video camera. There are some unimpressive souvenir shops here and a store. Bonampak is located close to the Guatemalan border nearish the frontier town of Frontera Corozal.
These are some picturesque waterfalls about 55-60 km west of Palenque. It's a series of waterfalls that go one for between 1 and 2 km, one after another with the occasional swimming spot in between. It's a great place for swimming but if you didn't come in your own private car there is nowhere to lock up your stuff. The water is really a nice blue due the mineral content. Located along the path that goes along the waterfalls are a whole bunch of restaurants and souvenir stores. Some of the restaurants are decently priced. I came here but those tourist shuttles that they have in Palenque. I payed US $10 for land transport to Palenque ruins, Misol-Ha, here and back to Palenque.
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