Jungle Pyramids of Palenque Mexico


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I was looking forward to a resting in Palenque, Chaipas Mexico. My sojourn into the jungle left me a little tired. I found a nice campsite outside of town, less than 2km from the famous Mayan ruins of Palenque.

For about US$15 per day I got a sheltered campsite in the jungle, daily visits from the Howler Monkeys, wifi, electricity, a daily swim in the luxury pool and three meals a day and a beer. I’m staying at a place called Maya Bell Resort.

Visit the Palenque Ruins early

After a couple of days rest I removed myself from luxury to walk to the nearby Jungle Pyramids of Palenque Mexico. I thought I would get there early to avoid the crowds. The crowds thought they would get there early to avoid the solitude. Maybe a late afternoon visit might have suited my preference for peace and tranquility.

At 8.30am it was already hot and humid. I was layered in sweat. I visited Palenque 10 years ago on my previous visit to Mexico. It was at the same time of year and I was almost alone. Such a crowd of people was a big surprise. When I last visited Palenque some of the places were closed for either archeological work or renovations. This time I was able to walk inside one of the temples, I was unable to do this last time.

I completed a lap of the ruins in a couple of relaxing hours. I sat in a quiet section of the ruins for a good hour and read my book, The Maya (Ninth edition) (Ancient Peoples and Places), on the history and culture of the Mayan people. I was oblivious to most of the crowds that strolled past me as I read. Except, I would prick my ears up when the guides would walk past. Most were very knowledgeable and held my attention.

A Visit from Howler Monkeys

I clambered up some of the ruins to take the classic photos of the pyramids before finding solitude in the quieter, less visited jungle sections of Palenque. Alone I sat on top of some ruins. I heard noises in the trees above. A troupe of Howler Monkeys were uncharacteristically quiet as they moved through the trees above me.

For twenty minutes I sat alone observing them. They would move from one tree to another, eat some leaves, rest and repeat. Howler Monkeys are known for their ridiculously loud calls they make. These ones were silent.

Thank You Mexico – Onwards to Guatemala

I spent several more days swimming in the pool, listening to the Howler Monkeys as they moved through the forest and generally relaxing. But I feel the call to movement. The remote jungle ruins of Guatemala are calling me. I feel that Mexico is making it hard for me to leave, I have it here so much.

When I visited Central America 10 years ago, Guatemala was my favourite country. After spending so much time in Mexico and loving the place I wonder if Guatemala will continue to impress me as much as Mexico has. Thank you for the amazing memories Mexico and thank you to all the people I have met along the way, from the Farmers to the Police, from the Cyclists to the Truck Drivers. I shall return very soon for a visit before heading to USA in April for another long hike.

My campsite for 5 nights in the jungle of Palenque. The Howler Monkeys would regularly travel through the jungle behind my tent.
My local hangout in Palenque, the pool
Jungle Pyramids of Palenque Mexico
First view of the temples at Palenque in the early morning
Jungle Pyramids of Palenque Mexico
The classic photo that everybody takes when they are Palenque
Remote Jungle trails at Palenque
There are some nice peaceful trail at Palenque. Most visitors don’t venture to this part of the ruins.
Howler Monkeys at Palenque
Howler Monkey feeding in the trees above me in a more remote parts of Palenque
Engravings of Palenque Mexico
Such detail
Engravings of Palenque Mexico
More Mayan writing on the walls of a temple
Palenque Mayan ruins
Palenque Temple
Palenque Temple and Pyramids
Some of the quieter temples away from the crowds. A great place to rest and read a book.
Central Temple Palenque
The Central Temple

Next : Guatemala – How not to cross into a country

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About the Author:
Brad is an Australian who has completed the hiking Triple Crown after he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail and Appalachian Trail. He has hiked on every continent (except Antarctica) and has cycled from Alaska to Ecuador. He is an expert on outdoor gear currently living in Chile.

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14 thoughts on “Jungle Pyramids of Palenque Mexico”

    • I stayed at Maya Bell. Walking distance to the ruins. I left the bicycle at the campsite, as per the photo of my campsite under the shelter. I loved the campsite and stayed there almost a week.

  1. As Americans that love Mexico and had plans of traveling Mexico more extensively, I wouldn’t mind more insight on the feel in Mexico, If you wouldn’t mind? Your travels have been quite intriguing and interesting, thank you?. We had considered copying your routes a bit and choosing bikes over a car. But now fear it might not be safe for 2 Americans out far from the tourist district and sadly maybe in it. Our last visit was with our kids in December after the election and everything was fine. But things have took a turn since then and we are sadly getting the impression that it might be best not push our luck in such politically stressed times.

    • It’s not easy to give a short answer to such a question. If you have traveled to Mexico you will know it is safe, much safer than USA, in my opinion. If you search out trouble I’m sure you could find it. Since the elections nothing much has changed other than Mexicans are disappointed in the people of USA. Why do you hate us so much, might be the toughest question you have to answer. They know it’s not the people but they also know you (the collective you, the nations people) voted for the current political climate.
      I think people in Mexico would love to meet someone who actually voted for Trump just to try and understand why. Not out of hatred but to seek knowledge. Mexicans are much more knowledgeable about USA than Americans are of Mexico.
      So I say go for it. Visit Mexico again, by bicycle is awesome. It opens up so many opportunities to meet people who never meet tourists. If you need any help with planning or specific destinations let me know.

      • Thank you for your reply. We have found the locals of Mexico very friendly and Mexico, to us, always feels safe. As you said, we follow our gut instincts and do not look for trouble, the same as at home.
        I, think, have traveled enough to know that people are not the same as their government but I can see how we(Americans) could look or be represented as a whole in the actions and decisions of our elected government. Which led me to ask for more clarification on some of your observations. For the first time in many, many years of our country’s history, we are a very divided nation. I am still looking for a balance and answers myself. I would not be able to answer the Mexican’s question on Trump.
        I will definitely be back to Mexico. Maybe starting small with a bike trip around the Yucatan. I appreciate the knowledge and entertainment of all your journeys.
        Happy travels to you.

  2. Your photos are wonderful! I can remember watching a sunrise in Tikal and being freaked out by the howler monkeys. Gosh they are loud! Can’t wait to relive Guatemala with you!

    • Thanks Anna, yes Howler Monkeys are so loud. More like a roar. I’ve got some great plans fir Guatemala, let’s hope it all works out well in the coming weeks.

    • Thanks Jayne, much more to come, including some less visited ruins that I hope to visit. Well, I’m in the planning stage, I hope it works out.

  3. I think my visits to the Mayan ruins in Guate and Honduras have only wetted my appetite. Thanks to your stunning photos I now long to visit more in Mexico as they look to be much more fabulous than those in Guate and Honduras.

    • There certainly are some amazing ruins in Mexico, I still have several more to visit in Mexico before I finally make the turn to go south. Now it’s time to explore the ruins of remote area Guatemala.


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