Colonial Cities Ecotourism Family Festivals & Holidays Tabasco Visiting Mexico

Tabasco – The Hot, Wet State

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Somewhat sandwiched between Veracruz and Campeche, the state of Tabasco in the hot and humid Gulf of Mexico might not look like a travelers destination. And admittedly, most people don’t stay much longer than the time it takes them to see the incredible stone Olmec sculpture in Villahermosa’s Parque-Museo La Venta. But they are failing to see what Tabasco really has on offer. Yes, despite the flooding, and despite the humid weather, this once anonymous tourist destination has come into the light.

Photo by: Gilardo Sanchez

Photo by: Gilardo Sanchez

One of Mexico’s smaller states, measuring just 330 by 195 kilometres, Tabasco has always been well known as a kind of soggy state. The weather, combined with the many rivers and wetland areas have resulted in some intense tropical jungle environments. All over Tabasco there are lagoons, marshes and estuaries, and during the rainy season nearly half the state has been known to slip under the water. But the consequences of this are for the benefit of everyone interested in the natural side of the state. Tabasco is home to over 2,200 different plant species, some incredible eco parks, and one of Mexico’s most impressive biosphere reserves.

What is interesting about Tabasco is that along the entire 190 kilometres of coastline, there isn’t any resort development to speak of. That doesn’t mean there’s nothing there, and the coast is in fact a lovely place to enjoy a more rural coastal experience. Along the shore are several beautiful seaside villages that encompass more rustic charm than most spots. They also offer a great base to check out some of the nearby salt marshes and lagoons. But make no mistake, this is not an all-inclusive destination, and is definitely more suited to the wild adventurer.

Although at first Tabasco’s extreme weather might seem like something of a challenge to settlement, it has actually made the area very rich. Such fertile ground means that argriculture is possible all year round, and there is an atmosphere of prosperity, especially around the capital Villahermosa.

Tabasco’s capital is the ideal spot to explore the ancient history of the state, in the form of archaelogical sites left behind by Mesoamerica’s earliest civilization: the Olmecs. These people were successful in settling the western border that Tabasco shares with Veracruz, and formed one of Mexico’s first non-nomadic cultures. The Maya later settled the highlands of next-door Chiapas, and both Aztec and Maya built incredible communities that are considered among the best of Mexico’s archaeological sites.

Thanks to this rich cultural history, Tabasco’s food is also unique in the area, and during your visit you’ll no doubt see some of the local eats such as Criollo (Creole) delicacy chirmol, made with the primitive gar fish. Other specialty includes drinking chocolate (which was invented in Tabasco) and now forms a major backbone of Mexico’s culinary culture. Certainly there’s no better way to try it than to visit the local cacao farms and try it straight from the source. Another famous local drink is Iliztle, liquor made from sugar can, grape and pear or peach. It is perfect to finish up a meal, and will no doubt have you coming back for more. Delicious!

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5 Reasons You’ll Want To Go To San Miguel de Allende

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For a place known as the ‘Disneyland for retirees’ of Mexico, San Miguel de Allende definitely does not disappoint. It’s a beautiful little city, with amazing colonial history, and wonderful cultural strength that amazes both visitors and expats. It doesn’t have beaches, is devoid of sparkling ocean waters, and can be a challenge to get to. So what exactly is it that makes people love San Miguel de Allende so much? Well, here are 5 reasons why it’s going to be on your next holiday destination list.

Photo by: Justin Vidamo

Photo by: Justin Vidamo

1. History

San Miguel de Allende is a place that many would call well preserved, but the history of the city is all around just waiting for people to experience it. Once the centre of the area’s silver trade, San Miguel de Allende was named after a famous general in Mexico’s War of Independence, General Ignacio Allende. What’s left of that history is written all over the buildings, such as the incredible Parroquia de San Miguel Archangel. Inspired by Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia it is a local church with a façade that will have you gaping.

2. Unique Culture

There are certain places in the world that attract retirees and expats wanting to find a little slice of paradise in which they can enjoy their days. San Miguel de Allende is one of those places, and the cultural mix is palatable in the air. Many of the individuals that make up the city’s massive expatriate population (some 20% overall) are artists and writers, spicing up the artsy melting pot with regular weekend festivals showcasing culturally diverse music and dance.

3. Gastronomy

One of the biggest bonuses about San Miguel de Allende being so popular with tourists and travelers is that there has been a massive evolution in the variety and quality of food available. This is everything from local delicacies, to one-of-a-kind fusion dishes. If food is your thing, the areas local market is a must see, especially to get an inside look at both the local foods, and the culture connected to them.

4. Shopping

There is an interesting mix of art galleries, boutiques, souvenir shops and antique stores all over San Miguel de Allende. This makes from some great shopping experiences, and you’re sure to pick up more than a bargain. In fact, San Miguel de Allende is a great place to pick up very authentic handicrafts and art products, produced by the city’s talented locals.

5. Nature

Surrounding San Miguel de Allende is a beautiful setting, but within the city visitors will find themselves blown away by the incredible sights and sounds of the environment. Jacaranda trees, with their purple flowering buds, seem to grow on every corner, and when they bloom in March their magic spreads all over the city. If that wasn’t enough to impress San Miguel de Allende also happens to be quite well known for its jaw-dropping sunrises and sunsets. No doubt these natural wonders, made more intense by the changing light in the Sierra Madre foothills, will leave you speechless with their beauty.

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San Luis Potosi’s Colonial Heritage

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Inside the vast state of San Luis Potosi, is an interesting and historical city that simply cannot be missed on your trip to north central Mexico. The city, also called San Luis Potosi is a veritable oasis amidst the baking hot plains of the state, waiting to be explored. Like many colonial towns, it is San Luis Potosi’s rich history that has made it such an interesting destination for visitors.


Photo by: Rosa Menkman

The city was discovered in 1592 when large gold and silver deposits were found in the area. Although the mines never competed with Mexico’s famous producers like Guanajuato or Zacatecas, they made San Luis Potosi a commercial centre. By the 17th century it was Mexico’s most important northern city, and was involved in a number of historical events. It was in San Luis Potosi that General Santa Ana trained his troops before the invasion of the Alamo in 1846. And in the 20th century it was a key player in Mexico’s revolt against the dictatorship.

Now the town is a lot quieter, having become a centre where history in the form of antique buildings, mesh easily with a mining past. In 2010, UNESCO declared the colonial centre of San Luis Potosi to be a World Heritage Site, opening the door for more visitors eager to see Mexico’s antique city centres.
Certainly, the centre of town is a beautiful place to be. Travelers and tourists come to see the beautiful plazas, tiered esplanades, numerous floral parks and active culture. Sunset is the most incredible time to wander through the centre with your camera, as the setting sun plays beautifully with San Luis Potosi’s unique architecture. During the Christmas and Easter periods, visitors will also be treated to a light show at twilight in Plaza de Armas and Plaza de los Fundadores. This is a perfect spot to mingle with locals, and take part in some of the cultural traditions, and of course the food.

Speaking of food, San Luis Potosi has quite the reputation with it comes to eating, and most visitors are surprised just how full the streets are with bicycles, carts and even trucks serving as mobile eateries. Foods you can expect to see here are:

Corn: Whether it’s on the cob, or loose kernels, it certainly isn’t going to be what you’re used to having. Mexican corn is white, and not sweet in flavor. Instead it has a complex and delcious taste that must be experienced. Served with a variety of toppings including butter, cream, cheese, mayonnaise, lime, powdered chili and salt.
Tamales: This snack is ideal if you aren’t sure how your stomach is going to hold up with a new diet. It is stuffed corn bread, covered in corn leaves and then steamed, leaving it delicious and remarkably sterile.
Tacos Sudados: These delicious taco treats are made very early in the morning, and then put in containers to keep them warm until being sold for breakfast or lunch.
Gorditas de Horno: A savory Mexican snack, made from corn and often stuffed with fillings before being soaked in salsa, these are not to be missed!

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Hotel Paradise Amidst the Desert

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There is a place in Mexico where most of the travelers go because of its beautiful sights and views. It is one of the places that has been coined to be a paradise by many travelers even with celebrities. The place where not a lot of people around the world have heard of with beauty so captivating that it will be a shame not to be able to witness it. That is why many travelers would prefer to come to this place.

Los Cabos is a place where many travelers would go if they want to experience high-class vacation that is filled with much relaxation and unforgiving nightlife. There is a lot of things that you should consider when you travel to Los Cabos. And one of which is to know where you will stay while you are there. Many luxury hotels are located in Los Cabos because of its aim to be able to attract and cater as much tourists as possible. They only serve to bring the best service to the travelers and would make them want to come again for another visit to Los Cabos.

What is really nice about Los Cabos is that its hotels, even when it is not a luxury hotel, is beautiful making it all relatively equal. But there is one hotel that outshines all other hotels in Los Cabos. It is one of the most beautiful boutique hotels in Los Cabos which features beautiful view of the Sea of Cortez and the Cabo desert. This boutique resort is called Vista La Ribera.

Vista La Ribera can offer you a lot of amenities. They have a day spa where you can relax at the same time enjoy the view of the Sea of Cortez. While you are there, you will be brought to stay at one of their Casitas which features a private terrace and a fireplace. They have their main pool that is overlooking the Cabo desert. The hotel also has their own restaurant which features al fresco dining and bar. They serve authentic and delicious Mexican food such as tacos and burritos and their bar serves frozen margarita and a refreshing mojito. You can also enjoy their activities such as a ride in the Polaris going to the shore of the Sea of Cortez and have a tour around the shoreline. This boutique hotel offers more than any other hotel in Los Cabos. You are sure to have a good value for your money and be able to experience the hotel paradise amidst the desert in Los Cabos.

Colonial Cities Culinary Family Festivals & Holidays San Cristobal de las Casas Visiting Mexico

San Cristóbal de las Casas – A Highland Adventure

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If ever you were looking for a place where ancient Mexican traditions lived alongside the finer things in modern life, you may very well have found it in San Cristóbal de las Casas. Generally known as San Cristóbal, this colonial city is located in the midst of a gorgeous highland valley framed by pine forests. Possessing an easy mix of country and city living, San Cristóbal has been a popular destination for travelers and tourists for years.


Photo by Tatogra

Visitors to San Cristóbal will no doubt enjoy exploring the incredible centre of town, which is rich with history and sights. The cobblestone streets are a pleasure to walk down, and much of the town is accessible by walking only. However, rental bikes are also available for those wanting to take it all in at a faster pace. Around the town there are markets and old houses, as well as picture perfect fields and farmland.

Sights worth seeing in the city area include the wonderful San Cristóbal de las Casa Cathedral, which is as beautiful in the evening as it is during the day thanks to the amazing lighting. Also a must see for visitors is the Maya Medicine Museum. As well as a having considerable amount of information collated on site about various illnesses and treatments, the museum offers healers to visitors to assist them with any problems they may be having. Also keep an eye out for the numerous cultural activities and events that are happening around the central area of San Cristóbal.

Beautiful views of the surrounding landscape can be found from vantage points within the churches located on hills around town, but some visitors are also eager to get out into the environment. This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering that in the surrounding landscape there is a plethora of unique Mayan villages that are open for exploration by visitors to San Cristóbal.

Take a day trip to the popular villages of San Juan Chamula or Zinacantan, and let your guide explain to you just how modern Mayan life works. You can have a look around the area, and if you’re lucky be a part of the weekly markets and special festivals, which are held all through the year.

Or, if you really want to get off the beaten track, why not find a tour that goes to some of the less popular villages like Tenejapa or San Andres Larrainzar. These might be advertised as being less exciting, but they are just as interesting, perhaps more so because traditional life is more in place there without the relentless tourist crowds.

All in all San Cristóbal de las Casas is a unique community where you will have a chance to experience a lifestyle unlike any other in Mexico. Enjoy wandering the historic city, and exploring the ancient Mayan villages, or simply find a nice restaurant and spend a day enjoying the fresh highland air and a few platefuls of some of San Cristóbal’s most delicious local dishes. Whatever you do, you’re sure to enjoy it.

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Nayarit Riviera – A Rich Pacific Coastline

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Located on the western flank of the Sierra Madre, and facing the gorgeous Pacific Ocean, Nayarit Riviera is evolving into one of Mexico’s most premiere and popular tourist attractions. The entire Riviera is massive, stretching some 190 mils along the coast and framed by mountains blanketed in thick jungle. But this place really has it all: beaches, islands just offshore, surfing breaks, beautiful towns and great food.

Photo by Dylan R

Photo by Dylan R

There’s so much to see and experience in Nayarit Riviera, it seems almost impossible to fit it all into one trip. The complicated necessity for visitors is to choose the activities that they deem simply too important to miss, and save the rest for another time.

One of these activities is definitely a trip into the magical Banderas Bay. One of the world’s widest and deepest bays, the area is famous as the whale watching spot of Nayarit Riviera. Thousands of humpback whales migrate through the area every year, much to the delight of visitors and locals alike. And if the whales aren’t enough to get you excited, the area is home to Puerto Vallarta, with its amazing marinas, golf courses, shopping centers and luxury accommodation.

All along the Nayarit Riviera visitors will find tiny little towns just waiting to be further explored. Some of the tourist favorites include Flamingos, home to three beautiful lakes and lots of luxury golfing, La Crus de Huanacaxtle, the fishing town so gorgeous it simply must feature in your holidays snaps, Destiladeras, a favorite among the surfing travellers, and Sayulita, a little bohemian town popular with campers and hikers.

There are also a number of archaeological sites in the area, which cannot be missed. Many tourists find themselves blown away by the Nayarit Riviera’s historical ruins, which show without doubt the incredible richness of the communities that once made their homes on the coast here. The most famous ethnic group in the area is the Huichol Indians, characterized by their interesting clothing, feathered hats and colorful handicrafts in all shapes and sizes.

One important archaeological area in Nayarit Riviera is Altavista, a pre-Hispanic sanctuary located near the beaches of Chacala and Rincon de Guayabitos. The latter of these locations is famed for having water so clear and calm that swimming in it is akin to being in an enormous natural swimming pool.

Another historical rich area is the town of San Blas, located in the north, where the Los Toriles archaeological site is located, as well as the ruins of the less ancient San Basilo fort. Visitors to this town might also find it interesting to have a look at some of the diverse landscapes, such as the Tovara swamps and the beautiful Mexcaltitlan island.

All in all, the Nayarit Riviera is an amazing location, jam-packed with destinations, experiences and wondrous opportunities for exploration. It’s not wonder that so many visitors, both foreign and domestic, are drawn to the area every year. Nor is it surprising that so many of them leave with such strong memories and a promise to return.

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Three Experiences You Can Have In Puerto Vallarta

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Puerto Vallarta is a city and popular holiday destination in Mexico’s Pacific Coast. One of Mexico’s most active, and indeed most elegant, resort locations, it occupies the incredible Bahía de Banderas (Bay of Flags) area, framed by mountains covered in palms. Millions come to Puerto Vallarta every year looking to have one of many experiences that are available to lucky visitors. Here are just three examples of things you might do if visiting Puerto Vallarta:

1. Puerto Vallarta City Experience

If city wandering is your idea of the perfect holiday, then you’ve come to exactly the right place with Puerto Vallarta. The city is an absolutely gorgeous area, with a strong identity and inspiring soul. Spend the day strolling through the city’s picture perfect cobblestone streets, or up and down the wonderful malecón looking at the many intriguing shopping options. You can easily spend a whole day exploring the Zona Centro (town centre), and if you need a break from the city, there is a wonderful botanic garden nearby.

There are mouthwatering eateries at every corner, just perfect if you want to enjoy the area’s local cuisine of just some great Mexican food. Then of course when night falls Puerto Vallarta becomes your entertainment oyster, with a great many nightclubs and bars. There are even a variety of party boat cruises available for bookings.

2. The Adventure Experience

Puerto Vallarta is located within easy access of some incredible Mexican environments that prove to be ideal spots for adventure activities. You can head out into the Sierra Madre for a cultural and eco-logical experience that includes traditional Mexican villages and sub-tropical rainforest. Or, get involved with a canopy tour and feel a rush like no other as you take a zip-line high over the tree tops from one precipitous platform to the next.

Of course, those really wanting to get off the grid can head out on a hike. There are a number of hiking trails in the area, but some prior research will definitely come in handy as most tourist operators won’t recommend hiking due to a lack of profit from it.

3. The Water Sports Experience

Puerto Vallarta’s location on the edge of the Bay of Flags, one of the largest and deepest bays in the world, makes it ideal for a number of activities. Visitors will find themselves more than catered for with scuba diving and snorkeling, as well as surfing, sailing, kitesurfing, fishing, jet skiing and even parasailing. There seems to be no end to the different sports and exhilarating experiences that can be had around Puerto Vallarta, and you’re sure to be kept very occupied.

If you do want a change of pace (to slow down that is!), make sure you consider taking a boat trip to see some of the area’s incredible wildlife. Humpback whales mate in the area from December to March, and sea turtles are there to nest from May to October. In between there are school of dolphin, and enormous manta rays sure to amaze.

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Puerto Escondido – A Surfing Paradise

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Puerto Escondido is a town in the state of Oaxaca, most well known as a surf destination for worldly travellers. If you’re looking for the town’s name sake (Puerto Escondido means Hidden Port) you’ve probably some to the wrong place and somewhere like Zipolite might suit you better. But if you’re here to ride the waves, then grab your board and hit the beach, because they’re waiting for you.

Photo by Jo Simon

Photo by Jo Simon

Puerto Escondido has long been the holiday destination for beach bums looking for a tan, surfers wanting to ride the iconic Mexican Pipeline, and anyone wanting to escape winter for the beautiful Pacific Coast of Mexico. It’s also a big party spot. During the day, most people find themselves at the beach and in the water. Water sports are a big hit among everybody, but of course surfers steal the limelight.

The best beach for surfing is Playa Zicatela, which also happens to be the central area for most travelers. It is three kilometers long, and located at the eastern end of Bahia Principal. The majority of traveler services are at the northern end of Playa Zicatela, but you’ll find some nice accommodation options and café on the southern end worth checking out. If you aren’t a surfer yet but you’d like to be, then look down at the beach for a surf instructor, or try in one of the town’s surf shops. Once your day of surfing is done, there are a lot of lovely beach restaurants and cafes where you can just surf-watch, especially around sunset. These spots get pretty busy when the surf competitions are in town, so if you want to watch head down early.

Another popular Puerto Escondido beach is Playa Carrizalillo, which is not a bad surf break popular with beginners, and is also a safe swimming spot. The beach itself is quite small, and very pretty. It doesn’t get too crowded, but if you’re coming from the town you might want to take a taxi as it is about a 30 minute walk. This might not sound like much, but there’s also almost 170 stairs to get to the beach, so once you’ve climbed down and back up again, you’ll probably want the cab.

Of course, if surfing isn’t your thing there are still lots of things that you can do in Puerto Escondido. One option is to take a walk to the Andador, the lighthouse. This is a dangerous surf break, but the walking area is very beautiful, and worth seeing.
Another strong favorite among visitors is a boat trip out into the deeper seas to view the local wildlife. Turtles and dolphins are particularly prevalent in the seas surrounding Puerto Escondido, and there are a number of companies that offer trips out to see them. There’s nothing like seeing a pod of dolphins arching over the gorgeous Mexican sea, and it is definitively worth every penny.

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Nuevo Leon – Northeastern Mexico’s Varied State

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Located in Northeastern Mexico, Nuevo Leon is a state home to some 4.5 million people, and is an ideal area to visit the next time you’re on holiday in Mexico. The reason behind this is the considerable variety of experiences that visitors can enjoy within the state’s bounds. Impressive contrasts between nature and man, culture and adventure, and incredible cuisine and lifestyle are sure to impress tourists and travellers alike.

The capital city of Nuevo Leon, Monterrey, is a spot where the collision between modern living and history is really seen. The city’s Macroplaza is a perfect example of this, and tends to surprise visitors when they see the 18th century Metropolitan Cathedral rubbing shoulders with the Faro de Comercio (Lighthouse of Commerce) whose green laser beam is visible in many places city-wide.

Monterrey Macroplaza - Photo by Rutlo

Monterrey Macroplaza – Photo by Rutlo

The Macroplaza is also the staging ground of the Bella Via Festival, an important cultural event in honor of the coexistence of local and foreign artists of considerable talent. During the festival, the entire area of the plaza becomes a veritable canvas with hundreds of works of art and impressive reproductions.
Yet around Monterrey, the true gorgeous nature of Nuevo Leon is revealed in the form of a mountain range. The range, which is very popular with both visitors and locals, is ideal for exploration and adventurous exercise. There are rock formations, canyons and waterfalls, the result of millions of years of a changing landscape, just waiting for people to explore them. Such sites make great spots for camping, rappelling, hiking and similar activities of an eco-tourism style, for which there are a number of tour companies available for bookings. While you’re in the area be sure to experience a dive into the Cola de Caballo (Horsetail) waterfall, a sail around La Boca dam, or a hike through the Matacanes, el Salto and Laberinto canyons which are world-class.

What is most worth mentioning in recommending Nuevo Leon to potential visitors is the state’s incredible cuisine. Even those eager for just a taste will find more than they bargained for with mouth-watering meals like the following:

Tacos de Trompo: Marinated smoky pork with spicy chili, pineapple, onion and cilantro

Cabrito: Specialist roasted lamb dish

Frijoles Charros: Open fire cooked beans with chili, herbs and meat

Machaca: Scrabbled eggs and shredded beef mixed with chili pepper and onions

Cortadillo: Beef combined with tomatoes and fresh chili

And if after that you have room for dessert, there’s the Glorias (burnt milk and nut sweets) to really fill your stomach to the brim.

It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for your wild side, or impressing your culinary explorer, Nuevo Leon will have you leaving satisfied and eager to come back for more. There really is so much to do in the area, and this article has only covered a sliver, most focused around Monterrey, so make sure you do a lot of research to ensure that you’re not missing out on anything during the time that you have.

Palenque Visiting Mexico

Palenque – A Unique Jungle Ruin

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Located in the Chiapas, a state on the Pacific Coast of Mexico, Palenque is a modern town most famous for the ancient remains left behind my the Aztecs. That’s right, just 6 kilometers out of town, the ruins of a Mayan city dating from about 600AD to 800AD are open for explortion. The ruins of Palenque are really what puts this area of Mexico on the map, and are no doubt a national treasure.

Photo by: Carlos Adampol

Photo by: Carlos Adampol

One of the best known examples of Maya architecture in Mexico, Palenque might only be a medium-sized site, but it more than makes up for it. Although it isn’t nearly as big as other famous spots, Palenque contains some of the finest architecture, sculpture and bas-relief carvings remaining from the Maya era. Spread over 15 square kilometers within a national park, the site is definitely worth spending an entire day exploring, although only the central acropolis areas have been excavated. The Templo de Las Inscripciones, a striking burial monument is the tallest building on site. There is also a rulers residence (El Palacio), that was build in stages before being restored in 1955.

For visitors touring the ruins, there are more activities in the surrounds to occupy you after your trip back in time. Particularly impressive is the Mishol-Ha waterfall, which is only a short hike away. The falls are very high, and water cascades into a natural pool where hikers will also find a cave hidden behind the curtain of water. You can swim there, but not after heavy rains.

One of the biggest challenges for visitors to Palenque is deciding where to stay. Modern Palenque town offers cheaper options for food, but if you choose to stay out of town in the jungle, you’ll find much more on offer such as the budget El Panchán. To most travellers, the modern town of Palenque is little more than a starting point to explore the ruins, and a spot to find half-reliable internet access. But, the town is beginning to show signs of improvement, and recent months have seen a makeover occurring on the city’s main road. Still it seems unlikely to unseat the travelers hangout of El Panchán from the minds of Palenque visitors.

As well as cheaper accommodation, El Panchán is famous among travellers, and located just off the road to the ruins. It has cheap accommodation options, but is also surprisingly the centre of Palenque’s alternative scene, where bohemians, anthropologists and archaeologists have made their home. Located in a dense area of rainforest, accommodation options are simple, but comfortable and include huts and cabanas. Also nearby are a few restaurants, nightly entertainment, a meditation temple and a pre-Hispanic steam bath (known as a temascal) all wrapped in the embrace of the small streams that run through the property.

The ruins might initially be your first point of call in Palenque, but after spending a few nights in the jungle, experiencing the wonder that must have overcome the first Spanish settlers, you’ll be more than interested in extending your stay.