Mayapan and Palenque

Both are ancient Mayan cities.

Mayapan is situated in Yucatan, not to far away from Merida. It is considered the last great Maya capital, the last standing civilization before the Spanish arrived. It once had a population of about 12.000 people within its city walls. The city was founded around 1000 AD and seized to exist around the 15th century. It was about 4.2 square kilometres large an had over 4000 buildings. The temple of Kukulkan, also known as El Castillo was the main building. Kukulkan was one of the main Mayan gods. In 1841 the site was first documented and excavations have been ongoing since. In Mayapan you can still climb the pyramids. The “stairs” are very steep and narrow. Going up isn’t that difficult but going down is more of a challenge. We brought Binkie with us because it was hot and sunny. Technically he wasn’t allowed in, but nobody thinks to check a backpack for cats so… He’s very likely the only Dutch (and European?) cat to have stood upon the top of the Kukulkan temple 😸 The Mayans saw cats as symbols of power so no Mayan gods were offended during our visit!

Steep stairs

Palenque this Maya city is beautifully located in the Chiapan jungle and there are lots of howler monkeys. They look cute but the sound they make is awful, we felt a bit like being in the movie Jurassic park.

The jungle is a national park so if you want to visit the ruins you’ll have to buy two tickets; one for the park and one for the ruins. Now this would make sense if the national park is much bigger than the ruins, but is not. The only part of the national park you can visit are the ruins. And yes you have to buy each ticket at a different ticket office although they are close together. A case of typical Mexican bureaucracy. Anyway the ruins are worth it. This beautiful ancient city is much older than Mayapan. It was first build around 226BC and the city was lived in until 799 AD.  So far they’ve uncovered about 2.5 square kilometers and they estimate that they have only uncovered about 10% of the buildings. The most important building is the royal palace, build for king Pakal the great. Contrary to Mayapan you are not allowed to climb the pyramids. We also visited the museum and saw the beautiful waterfall.

We had found a really shady spot on a campsite and went early in the morning so Binkie relaxed in the van. Later we took him on a short walk to a shady and cool spot near a creek, which we all enjoyed.

Leave a comment

Read more?
We’ve visited Agua Azul and Agua Caliente, both in Chiapas.…
In the Netherlands you can drink water straight from the…