Palenque is a town in the southern state of Chiapas and its located in the jungle, quite close to the border with Guatemala. We spend 3 days in Palenque and I remember it was super hot (we were visiting in July).
I think it was more than 40 degrees Celsius but that didn’t stop us to explore around. The city itself doesn’t have a lot to offer but we still enjoyed our stay.
We arrived in Palenque mostly because it is only a couple of kilometers away from its famous Palenque Mayan ruins, which are hidden deep in the jungle. I think it’s the most impressive archeological site we have seen in all Mexico!
Palenque was – among Tikal, Chichen Itza, and Calakmul – one of the most powerful cities in the ancient Mayan civilization. Another thing that makes it so special is that the ruins are situated in a Palenque national park, which is home for toucans, monkeys, reptiles, and other jungle animals.
You have frequent cheap rides from Palenque city to the ruins, it’s very easily accessible and also cheap – you can easily do it by yourself.
First, you will need to get to the ADO bus terminal. After paying 40 pesos (1,5€;1,6$) for the ride in a shared minivan, you will enjoy the drive through beautiful green scenery and in less than half an hour you will reach the ruins.
What are the best things to do in Palenque (Mexico)? You will soon find out!
Visit Palenque jungle ruins – What to do in Palenque (Mexico)
Ancient Mayan city which will blow your mind, in our opinion the best archeological site in Mexico, it was epic. At first, we didn’t know what to expect, we entered the park and we walked a bit through the forest. Soon after that, we saw the first ruins, they were in really good shape, you could even climb on them.
We felt like Indiana Jones, walking in the jungle and discovering one pyramid after another. We spend all day there, and absolutely loved the architecture, their art, all the wild animals around and of course nature.
Don’t forget to take the map at the entrance and don’t forget your bugs spray!
You will see a lot of people selling souvenirs if you want to buy something don’t forget to ask for a discount (hay descuento?).
There is a fee to enter the national park, you will have to pay 36 pesos (1,4€;1,5$). The entrance for the ruins will cost you 75 pesos (2,8€;3,1$). Don’t forget to check the museum on your way out!
Explore the city of Palenque – Best things to do in Palenque (Mexico)
As we said before, Palenque is not one of the prettiest towns we saw in Mexico plus it was really really hot while we were there. It was a bit difficult to walk around, we were mostly chilling in our beautiful hotel room under AC. The city was still a perfect off point cause it is only a couple kilometers away from the outstanding ruins of Palenque.
We still enjoyed our stay in the city, we mostly left our room in the evenings, when the temperatures dropped down because before we couldn’t take the heat. We still managed to try some delicious local food, enjoyed the coffee in Parque Central and even explored around for some undiscovered spots in this small city.
Where we stayed in Palenque
Usually, we stay in budget accommodations but we visited Palenque right after my birthday so we said we will afford it. We found a very good deal and I think I can say that this was one of our favorite places where we stayed in all our travel.
The place is called Casa 5 Bed & Breakfast we highly recommend. Rooms are spacious, it is very clean, comfortable and the staff was nice. For two nights with breakfast included we paid 70€ together – it was all worth it. The only thing we missed was a swimming pool.
If you are making your first booking through Airbnb CLICK HERE to get 30€ off your first stay! The minimum booking value is 65€.
Where did we eat in Palenque?
If you want to try a bite of some good local food we recommend the main plaza (Parque Central), you will have a lot of food stalls there and a lot of options.
Another option is just to wander around a bit and find places that offer traditional menu del dia (daily menu) – usually a 2-course meal, sometimes even with a drink.
You also have taquerias all over the city so try some delicious tacos as well. If you arrive from the Cancun area you will be positively surprised by the prices of food in Palenque, for a portion of tacos (5 tacos) we paid 40 pesos (1,5€;1,6$) and they were delicious.
Where off to next?
We arrived from San Cristobal de Las Casas and from Palenque we headed up to the Cancun area. You have good connections both ways, we caught a direct bus (Company ADO) from Palenque to Cancun for 865 pesos (33€;36$). We left Palenque around 10 pm and arrived to Cancun the next day around 11 am.
We did all our bookings for buses through Clickbus, write the code – cb-Tja1h2l for 10% discount.