In Spanish, Palenque means "wood stake fence," referring to a fort or fenced-off place. But the city of Palenque, in the north of Chiapas state, was named nearly 200 years before the famous Palenque ruins were discovered nearby in the eighteenth century. This exciting part of Mexico invites you to explore and gain a deeper understanding of its hidden archaeological gems. While you're here, you'll find the area surrounding Palenque offers excellent transportation options, breathtaking landscapes, and local customs that are sure to delight.
The Palenque archaeological site, one of the state's most important tourist destinations, is just five miles from the city. Located on the first rise of the Tumbala mountains, the site looks out over the Usumacinta River flood plain. On arrival at the site, prepare to be confronted by the largest Mesoamerican step pyramid, the Temple of Inscriptions, spotted with hieroglyphics that have contributed significantly to the study of Mayan civilization. The site is surrounded by beautiful natural areas, including the Misol-Ha waterfall with a drop of more than 100 feet, forming a large pool where, if you're feeling intrepid, you can swim.