Piedras Negras takes you beyond the conventional. This impressive Mayan archaeological site is located under the Guatemalan jungle, on the banks of the Usumacinta River.
In our trips, many times, everything that we have left a little removed on the map and the conditions are not the usual, we discard it. My experience tells me that in most of the times it is worth making a way to these secluded places, they lead you to incomparable adventures: no doubt Piedras Negras is one of them.
WHERE ARE BLACK STONES?
Piedras Negras It is located on the Guatemalan side of the Usumacinta River, within the Sierra de Lacandón National Park, in Petén.
Leaving Frontera Corozal, even if you cross into Guatemala, you do not need to do any border procedures to go on an excursion. For more than two hours you will cross the Usumacinta streams downstream, between the exuberant nature of this jungle you will reach Piedras Negras. The ride is spectacular, with some rafting down the river, so choose an experienced boatman 😉
HOW TO GO TO BLACK STONES?
Very few travelers come here, sometimes just one group a month. TO Black Stone It is reached by navigating the Usumacinta River, the natural border between Mexico and Guatemala.
- WITH AGENCY: There are different Palenque agencies and some in San Cristobal de las Casas that offer trips to Piedras Negras. It is not very usual to build a group to go, some require a minimum of 4 people.
- FOR FREE: on the Mexican side of Usumacinta River, from the population of Frontera Corozal, the boats go towards Piedras Negras. The price of the boat round the 4,000 mxn, to distribute among travelers, a maximum of 6 people.
VISIT BLACK STONES
It is likely that before reaching Piedras Negras couple to pick up the guides in the boat from the ruins in the military camp where young Guatemalan people go to practice. The guardians of Piedras Negras sleep and live with the military because in their house, being only two, the Tigers (which we know as jaguar) can attack them. This is how the jungle is alive here; it is astonishing to see only the traces of this animal.
To the guard that corresponds to accompany you in your visit to Piedras Negras, sure you know a thousand stories of the place and it is interesting to know about his life in the distance of so many things. It is more than correct to tip the guards.
A LITTLE ON BLACK STONES
The original name of Piedras Negras es Yo'ki'b, Meaning great entry. The modern name of Piedras Negras it is due to the nearby rock with blackened flint. It was one of the most important pre-Hispanic cities of the classic Mayan period, its splendor from 608 BC to 810 AD, as the stelae found there say. The Mayan stelae they are a fundamental part in the study of the Mayan civilization, and Piedras Negras it was basic in the history of decipherment of the Mayan script.
There are illegible trails that can be seen in situ
Were the research work of the Russian Tatiana Proskouriakoff in the 60, who following the studies of Russian Yuri Knórosov On a probable syllabic and non-idiographic system, he concluded that what is written are biographical chronicles of rulers, opening the door to the dynastic history that we can read on many stelae. It was a true turning point in the study of Maya writing this discovery.
Tatiana Proskouriakoff it obtained the honor to which many researchers have aspired and few are granted, being buried in Piedras Negras, a small plaque shows us. As friend William K. Boone Canovas notes In the blog comments, in 1980 the Guatemalan government awarded him the "Order of the Quetzal" and in 1998 Ian Graham and David Stuart, two of the most renowned scholars of the Mayan civilization, led a group of friends and students who led the ashes of Tatiana to Piedras Negras and deposited them in the Acropolis, covering his burial with a simple tombstone
Piedras Negras It is also known for the variety and exquisiteness of sculptures that were found, now exhibited in different museums. To know what fauna there is in this area, it is easy to know those animals that were represented in the ceramics and statuettes found: monkeys, jaguars, coatis, dogs, various rodents, bats, reptiles, turtles, owls, crows, eagles and other birds of the zone. Be careful because you will see several of these animals on your tour. Piedras Negras is a cool place.
Visit Piedras Negras It represents a whole day of your trip, walking these vestiges swallowed by the dense Guatemalan jungle is incredible, not to be missed for those in love with the Mayan world, the ancient worlds and nature.
Piedras Negras, archaeological siteLOCATION: Piedras Negras is on the Guatemalan side of the Usumacinta River, within the Sierra del Lacandón National Park, in Petén, Guatemala.
SCHEDULE AND SERVICES: open from 8 a.m. to 17 p.m. daily. They do not sell drinks or food inside
PRICE ENTRY: the entry is the least, some 50 quetzales, the price of the boat is 3500 pesos, to share among 6 people.
WHERE TO GO? The boats to Piedras Negras leave from Frontera Corozal (Mexican side) or Bethel (Guatemalan side). More options from Frontera Corozal. They are between 3 and 5 hours sailing, depending on the time of year and river conditions. You can share the cost of the boat with other travelers, although those who go to Piedras Negras are rare. From Palenque they sell excursions by land to Piedras Negras, although they rarely go out. In a single day, leaving very early, you can stop down at Yaxchilan (40 km downstream).
HOW TO GET IN PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION? Corozal border arrives collective transport from the Palenque terminal (3 hours approx.). Bethel is reached from Flores, in Tikal, Guatemala.
ACCOMMODATION: There is camping area in Piedras Negras. You find basic accommodations in Lacanjá Chansayab and Frontera Corozal.
WHAT TO BRING? Light and light clothing, hat, insect repellent, closed and comfortable shoes to climb structures and protect you from insect bites, water and food will be fine. Long sleeves and long pants, cover your body well, you are in the jungle.
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Correct addresses "upstream" and "downstream": these are according to the current of the river, so to sail from Frontera Corozal to Yaxchilán and Piedras Negras is to go "downstream".
Thanks William, I'm right, I correct it. Best regards,
Congratulations for your blog, the article about Piedras Negras and the photos.
Just today I'm getting to know something about Piedras Negras (where I've never been) and a little bit about Tatiana Proskouriakoff.
You may want to add that in 1980 the Guatemalan government awarded him the "Order of the Quetzal" and that in 1998 Ian Graham and David Stuart led a group of friends and students who took the ashes of Tatiana to Piedras Negras and deposited them in the Acropolis. , covering your burial with a simple tombstone - you will see a brief description of the emotional ceremony in «Requiem for Tania - Google Groups» (https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/sci.archaeology.moderated/zjO283XjHyM)
Best regards from Coyoacán, CdMx
PD If you search Wikipedia you can think that I copied part of the text that I am transmitting to you from there. Actually, it's the other way around: what I'm sending you, I'm going to add to Wikipedia.
Hello William, thank you for your contributions, it is always interesting to add. I will leave your writing as it is so that the other readers have the information you give.
I send you a hug, I hope you can visit Piedras Negras soon.
We are in touch.
Greetings Sandra and all the lovers of the archaeological zones of the world but mainly of the Mayan Archaeological Zones. My name is José Manuel and for four occasions I have had the opportunity to visit the area of Piedras Negras in the Petén of Guatemala, the archeology as each of the parties to study and know what we left some civilizations like the Mayans is Only, the bad thing is that there are no conditions of both services and security of your assets and your own life. This is; you do not have the opportunity to buy food or liquids and in the last two years there have been assaults due to the insecurity that exists in both Guatemala and Mexico, the jungles of Chiapas and Guatemala are the cradle of many criminals, in particular, traveling by land from Palenque to Frontera Corozal and from there to Tikal via Flores, Petén. For the rest, it is worth visiting and knowing these legacies of yesterday and the jungle that still exists and that in 100 years will only be a memory through photographs.
Greetings from the city of Tlaxcala in Mexico.
Hello José Manuel, excellent comment, thank you very much for sharing the experience. Totally in agreement with you, that zone gives displeasures by the insecurity. Many travelers talk to us about going free here and we advise that they do not, or that they cross to Guatemala via La Mesilla in tourist vans. I will review the writing and will emphasize on bringing your own food and liquids, to better prevent travelers.
Warm greetings from Yucatan, thanks for the contribution.
I am planning to meet Piedras Negras, but I have some fear that they will assault me along the way. I plan to take a public bus from Palenque to Corozal and from there pay boat to Piedras Negras, then return and cross the border through Bethel and reach Flores.
Is this itinerary recommended?
Hi Pavel, the truth is that the area is movidita. I have gone several times by public transport to Frontera Corozal without problem, I have crossed the border anyway and I had no problem, but sometimes there are assaults there. My advice would be: one who crossed Bethel very early in the morning to have good links to Flores, in the afternoon you are sold. https://www.elcaminomascorto.es/frontera-mexico-frontera-corozal-guatemala-bethel-rio/
Theme Pedras Negras will cost you a lot to share the boat with someone else, because hardly anyone goes there. That means that you will have to bear the entire cost if you go alone, it is about the 4500 pesos with the border Corozal boatmen. Another is that from Palenque you can ask if they are offering the border crossing through Bethel, sometimes the agencies offer the crossing. Ask well if it is with tourist vanes and what kind of service it is, or that it is only to inform you from the area of how it is right now.
I hope the information serves you, anything you tell me.