Tonina is one of the great ancient Mayan cities. Sheltered by the beautiful Ocosingo Valley, the heart of Chiapas, we discover this magnificent city of more than a thousand years of occupation.

Tonina is from the Mayan archaeological sites that has caused the greatest impact on me, probably because I did not expect it. It is a bellezón of city, structured like a great pyramidal tower with a base and a height of vertigo. Piece construction Tonina, very different.

Tonina Chiapas

A little history of Tonina

clarge stone handle in maya tzeltzal The peoples, the different cultures, we have been influencing throughout the History of Humanity, and the Mayan civilization It was not exempt from natural territorial influences.

It had influences from other ethnic groups such as the Olmec and Toltec, something that we observe in other Mayan cities, the exchanges were constant between cultures other than Mesoamerica.

Discover the 5 archeological zones of Chiapas most impressive

In the architecture of Toniná we see part of this interaction with elements such as the stepped spiral fretwork that we recognize from the Puuc style of the Yucatan Peninsula, or the god Chaac.

tonina ruins
Tonina Chiapas archeological zone
tonina archeological zone

The period of greatest boom, according to the writings, engravings, reliefs and pieces that have been assembling the puzzle of this city, we see it in the Classic Maya Period.

Between 840 and 900 it was the political dominator of the region. And we are talking about a region where it coexisted and fought with big cities like Palenque, Tikal, Yaxchilán or Calakmul, it is not little.

Tonina Chiapas
Tonina Chiapas
Tonina Chiapas archeological zone

The Great Pyramid of Tonina

In the city we find many warlike representations that refer us to the state of war that lived with these adjoining city-states. We are talking about one of the great military powers that existed 

Tonina sprouts like a great fortress rising unevenly toward the sky of Chiapas. There are no better views, incredible, it deserves the effort to reach the top of the Great Pyramid.

tonina ruins
Tonina Chiapas archeological zone

And here on top, crowning the city, lived the upper class made up of kings, nobles, priests, astronomers, architects and high-ranking military personnel. And under them, as in a tetris of disparate pieces, we find temples for each of the 13 Mayan gods, residential palaces, a labyrinth, a mural, a subway representing the underworld, ball games and tombs.

This is the curious framework that scales in ToninaSomething really special 

The surroundings became populated by more than 10.000 inhabitants, becoming 40.000 in this beautiful Ocosingo Valley. Let your imagination fly on the summit of almost 70 meters Toniná thinking how life was in that time so far from today.

tonina archeological zone

Do not miss the interesting site museum, very complete. At the entrance to the enclosure there is a sheet representing how it was Tonina in its heyday; You will like it and it will help you to situate yourself in the place. You could copy this idea for all places on INAH.



And taking advantage of the fact that you are here, you can sleep in the town of OcosingoYou are in the middle of the winding road that connects San Cristóbal de las Casas with Palenque. Here you will find a place with few travelers, a place of nature with interesting options to discover the area.

There are not many hotels, I leave two: one that I know personally and another recommended by a traveling friend.

EX-FIND THE ILLUSION: a great accommodation for your stay in Ocosingo LOCATION: to 5 minutes walking from the archaeological zone, luxury HOTEL DESCRIPTIONcolorful and pleasant, rustic mountain hacienda style SERVICES: WIFI, rooms with air conditioning and fan, private bathrooms and cable TV. bar, restaurant and pool The best: Excellent value for money and how nice the place is. PERSONAL OPINION: it is an excellent option in Ocosingo.

BOOK here and check out the photos and reviews of other travelers at Ex-Hacienda La Ilusión

KAYAB ECOTOURISM CENTER: in Chiapas there are several rustic resorts run by locals, in Toniná we have this accommodation LOCATION: 10 minutes by car from the town, from the hotels that offer all the services HOTEL DESCRIPTION: Basic and functional, ideal for campers who love nature and different places SERVICES: WIFI, rooms with fan and private bathrooms BEST: value for money and location

BOOK here and see the photos and opinions of other travelers of the Kayab Ecotourism Center


Ocosingo It is not a very popular one, the traveler is passing through. For me it was a great success to sleep here, I was eager to discover more of the area. There are several activities, and you are on the way to reach the beautiful Laguna Miramar. that remains pending in my way.

Visit Toniná, the best views of the Ocosingo Valley 1

Tonina, archaeological site

LOCATION: The Toniná Aqueological Zone is located 12 km from the town of Ocosingo. 86 km from San Cristóbal de las Casas by State Highway 199, and 103 km from Palenque.
SCHEDULE AND SERVICES: open from 8 a.m. to 17 p.m. daily. They do not sell drinks or food inside. There are services at the entrance and the Site Museum.
PRICE ENTRY: 57 mxn, includes the entrance to the Site Museum. On Sundays, the INAH entrance is free for Mexicans and permanent residents. Access to the archaeological sites is free every day for children under 13 years of age, students, teachers and seniors with valid credentials.
HOW TO GET IN PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION? arrive ADO from Palenque and San Cristóbal de las Casas. There is a lot of mass van transport in this area.
WHAT TO BRING? Light and light clothes, hat, insect repellent, closed and comfortable shoes to climb structures and protect yourself from insect bites, some water always goes well.

Good way,

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Sandra Salvadó Training photographer, traveler by vocation and certified tourism guide by the Government of Mexico. We promote natural wonders and contemporary Mayan culture. Great fan of pre-Hispanic history. Author of the blog and co-founder of The Shortest Path Travel, agency that guides you through alternative paths in Mayan lands. Social and sustainable tourism in the Yucatan Peninsula and Chiapas.
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