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Pyramids Yaxchilán (Chiapas)

Hidden in Lacandon jungle, accessible only on the river Usumacinta, stand an ancient Mayan city Yaxchilán. The ruins are „lost“ among deep green vegetation, in the the sacred ceiba trees scream howling monkeys and inside the dark tunnels of the old palaces hang bats.
To get to the main „Gran Plaza“ you have to pass through one of these tunnels in a building number 19, called „El Laberinto“. The labyrinth. Then, a huge wide square opens in front of you, covered in greenish grass and surrounded by the river from one side and old pyramids and palaces from the other. Old „stelas“ stand erected in front of the stairways or just in the open space among the trees. Their surface, as well as all the other stones, is covered by grapevine and green moss. That is why Yaxchilán is called „The place of Green Stones“.
In the middle of the „Gran Plaza“ is a very, very long stairway that leads to the „Gran Acrópolis“. A strange building that hides inside the decapitated statue of a „Pájaro Jaguar“ warrior. Why the Mayans cut off its head stays a secret. Should you wish to follow the path behind Gran Acrópolis, that leads deeper into the jungle you will find other buildings and palaces...

Yaxchilán dates from late classic period.
What here: Once on this way, try to visit another Mayan archeological site Bonampak. Located at the shores of river Lacanjá, Bonampak is known for its beautiful fresco paintings. You can also explore the Lacandon jungle and learn something about the indigenous people that live there (The Lacandons wear only long white shirts and simple sandals).

Entrance fee: 49 pesos. Open daily. You must buy your ticket in INAH office once in the Frontera Corozal village. Then you need to rent a boat at the dock that will take you to the ruins. It is a very nice 45 minutes long boat ride (even though somewhat expensive, four people will pay about 500 – 800 pesos for the round trip).
How to get here: Yaxchilán is situated about 190 km from Palenque, almost on the border with Guatemala (Umacinta river actually separates those two countries, Mexico and Guatemala.). The ride is very pretty and takes about 3 hours. Once you enter the Frontera Corozal village locals will charge you an entrance fee 15 pesos and lead you through a scary long and unnecessary dirt road all the way to the docks. That is to show (in case you wouldn´t understand) that they need to charge the 15 pesos for improving their „streets“.

Travel agencies in Palenque organize one day trips to see Yaxchilán and Bonampak (about 550 pesos per person including transport, entrance fees and some breakfast). If you travel on your own, it is actually cheaper to go this way. hernandez_travel@hotmail.com