Holidays to San Cristobal and Palenque take you to the southernmost Mexican state of Chiapas, one of the country’s most interesting regions.
Here you will find a wildly differing climate that brings chilly forest-clad highlands, steamy rainforest and pretty colonial cities, plus a host of unusual sights including jungle-smothered ruins and traditional indigenous villages. Most travellers come to Chiapas to see the ‘real’ Mexico, where relics of the powerful Maya kingdom melt into their surroundings and the continued presence of the modern-day Maya is a reminder of the region’s rich and enduring history.
The ruins of Palenque are one such draw in Chiapas, with a hidden jungle setting making for one of the most atmospheric and true to the past Maya sites. The ancient city enjoyed its heyday between 500 and 700AD, and its soaring temples are some of Mexico’s national treasures and showcase some of the best examples of Maya architecture. The ancient site sits upon a ledge overlooking plains that stretch all the way to the Gulf, noted for sculpted reliefs of Maya mythology.
San Cristobal and Palenque holidays are often based around the town of San Cristobal de las Casas, a Chiapaneca town set into the heart of the leafy highlands and full of indigenous character. The town can be reached from the nearby Sumidero Canyon and Tuxtla Gutierrez, the lush, tropical scenery giving way to the refreshing mountain air and pine-forested highlands that surround the town. San Cristobal is a pleasure to explore, its cobbled streets are lined with restored colonial houses and there is a bustling market scene with local handicrafts on offer.
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