The weirdest thing happened. Even though I’m full a time traveler and I should have sufficient time at each location to explore and enjoy the sites that I’m visiting, I found myself one day with only one hour to visit Palenque. What is one hour worth when visiting a Maya Ruins site which under normal circumstances takes a couple of hours to explore?
If you had just one hour, should you still go?
Check out my very first selfie video and you’ll see what I managed to see in Palenque in this short time.
So, yes! Even if you have just a short time to visit Palenque, I think you should totally do it. The atmosphere there is special. The jungle is still very close, you can hear the howler monkeys, exotic birds, crickets, see bats and the Mayan architecture is well preserved and reconstructed. It’s almost like time traveling back to Pacal the Great’s time (previous ruler of Palenque).
Good to know
- It’s estimated that only 10% of whole Palenque is discovered by now. Check out this map that shows explored and unexplored structures of Palenque.
- The jungle entrance is less crowded than the main entrance. I read everywhere that the main entrance is better. So that makes the jungle entrance an insider tip. It’s quiet, it has impressive trees and jungle is everywhere. It’s magical. While the main entrance is crowded.
- There are food stands and souvenir shops at the main entrance.
- You’ll find some vendors with Maya related items in the park.
- It’s always worth looking at the ceiling in the temples, there are a lot of bats there.
- Palenque is definitely fun for kids too. So much to climb on and so many hidden paths to explore.
- The weird sound all around is most likely coming from howler monkeys. Or jaguars which make the same sounds as howler monkeys.
Tuesday – Sunday 8:00 – 17:00, and they’ll let you in till 16:30.
Entrance fee to the park itself is 31 pesos which is collected on the road. The entrance fee for the archeological site is 70 pesos (around 3.40 USD) and that includes the entrance fee for the Museum. There are many guides available on both entrances (jungle entrance and main entrance) and you can discuss the price for their service with them. Don’t forget to tip your guide.
The ride with the collectivo (small bus) from or to Palenque Town costs around 20 pesos.
What to bring?
Bring water, good walking shoes, your camera, no tripod and if you’re staying longer than 1 hour, bring food. Also bug spray.
How to get there by car / RV?
Palenque is located in Chiapas, Mexico. Here is how to get there by car!
Coming from West many people visit San Cristobal de las Casas before going to Palenque. It’s a cute town and quite colorful. From San Cristobal there are a couple of options to get to Palenque.
The direct route from San Cristobal de las Casas
The first one is what seems to be the quickest tour. It’s a free road (meaning it’s not a toll road) so the road surface isn’t super duper. No idea how google comes up with those ‘4 h 40 min’ travel time here since this is the road with the most topes in the world. A tope is a speed bump. Some of them are easily seen, others are hiding in the shadows. This road has 361 such topes! And that’s not an exaggeration, my friend and fellow traveler Sam had the patience to count them all. (If you want to know about food in North and South America, definitely check out her blog: fullbelly.ca !)
This road took us more than 7 hours (including lunch break) and it was really rough on the breaks. The hills and the stop and go around the topes gets them glowing. Also be warned that there are repeatedly road blocks here. Those road blocks are set up by locals with the purpose to raise awareness for some pressing topic. They simply don’t let you pass for a while, sometimes for hours.
The detour could be faster
What looks like a massive detour could be the fastest route. Even though you’re going in the opposite direction for a while, this route promises a smooth ride since it’s taking the toll road. Which means not much traffic and good street surface plus no topes. If the direct route mentioned above is blocked, this route here would be the fastest.
There are a couple of streets going straight North from San Cristobal, but those are free roads and the trip would take longer do to topes, and speed limits in small towns.
Coming from Campeche
The road coming from Campeche is good, includes paid parts and is an easy ride.
Have you been, or do you plan to go? Let me know in the comments!
Now hop over to instagram and follow us there: @pictheamericas so you can see where we are!