Palenque - Mexico
Deep in the Mexican rainforest lies one of the country’s most treasured destinations. Discover the Temple-laden Mayan site which reveals the ancient life of the iconic civilization. Despite not having the size of some of its more famous rivals, Palenque contains some of the finest buildings, sculptures, combs and bas-relief carvings that the Mayas ever produced. It is also home to the largest Mesoamerican Step Pyramid, the Temple of Inscriptions, which is covered with hieroglyphics. The 75 foot high Temple is surrounded by numerous inscribed stone slabs, intricate sculptures and masks and other remarkable adornments which give the site an air of enchantment. There are hundreds of ruined buildings spread over the site, which all pepper the surrounding forest which is home to the distinguishable sound of howler monkeys and toucans. The UNESCO World Heritage Site also features the stunning Misol-Ha waterfall, which plunges over 100 feet into a dazzling pool.
Where is it?
Palenque is located in the Mexican state of Chiapas in the south of the country, which is famed for its excellent array of Mayan archaeological sites.
What is it?
The ancient city is one of the state's most important tourist destinations, an incredible collection of Mayan buildings which was at its most vibrant from 500 to 700 AD.
Best time to visit?
The best time to visit Palenque is definitely during the dry season, which runs from November to April. However, be warned that the rainforest really lives up to its name and that it can rain is common all year round.
Deep in the Temple of Inscriptions lies King Pacal's Sarcophagus, which was discovered in 1952 when archaeologists discovered a man-made tunnel entrance. Visit the final resting place of the Mayan King Pacal and marvel at the lid image which shows him descending into the jaws of an earth monster.