Yaxchilán is an 10 within the Mayan cities in Mexico. This magnificent Mayan vestige engulfed by the jungle is reached by navigating the Usumacinta River, current natural border between Mexico and Guatemala.

Yaxchilan es the 10 of the Mayan archaeological zones in Mexico, visiting it offers you an unforgettable day. In addition to its great historical importance and the beauty of the place, its location and way of arriving places it among the great adventures you can do in Chiapas.

Discover the 5 Chiapas archeological zones most impressive

Yaxchilan Chiapas


The boats that leave Yaxchilan they do it Frontera Corozal, population located on the banks of the river. It is three hours from Palenque. Before boarding the boat you must pay the entrance ticket to Yaxchilán.

In Frontera Corozal Years ago they invented a tourist tax for entering the population. In Chiapas, the local tax is about pulling the rope on the road and asking for the money. It is common in this area. At the Corozal border you find several lodgings y boat agencies.

Book this tour to Bonampak and Yaxchilán, sleeping in the Lacandon jungle from Palenque

Yaxchilán is reached by navigating the Usumacinta River After 45 minutes downstream, the return is just over an hour and a half. The arrival by boat gives Yaxchilán an adventurous touch.

The Usumacinta River is the current border between Mexico and Guatemala, lands of Mayan Choles and Lacandones. Get ready to enjoy the wonderful landscapes of the Usumacinta and that feeling of freedom that the wind blows in your face.


The boatmen who take you usually recommend 2 visiting hours, three hours is the minimum For me: Yaxchilán has a thousand places to entertain us. If you are one of those who enjoy archeological sites like crazy, you could spend all day in Yaxchilán.

If you go with an agency the times are marked, if you go by free you can get in agreement with the other independent travelers, with whom the expenses of the boat are usually shared, to mark the schedule that you want.

Yaxchilan ruins
Yaxchilan archeological zone
Yaxchilan archeological zone


El river Usumacinta, together with the Grijalva, were the river routes of the Mayan civilization that linked trade between the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea with the Maya lowlands, current territories of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. 

Like every great civilization in the History of Humanity, the Maya had a trade fluid and rich with distant exchanges between different cultures such as the Aztec and Teotihuacan, in the central strip of present-day Mexico, with the distant Mayan city of Copán, in present-day Honduras.

The hieroglyphics of Yaxchilán indicate that its splendor was between 600 and 800 AD, belonging to the classical period (from 200 BC to 900 AD). The last date recorded in one of the wonderful original lintels preserved by Yaxchilán, is about 800 AD The large number of texts found in Yaxchilan gives a lot of information about this ancient Mayan city.

mayan stems yaxchilan
Yaxchilan archeological zone

As of this period, hieroglyphic texts cease to be registered in Yaxchilan, and construction and commercial activities cease. The reasons for slope It points to the sum of several factors that trigger severe crises.

The internal wars between relatives eager for power, the external wars for territorial power with other Mayan lineages, the consequent political and social instability that these conflicts generate, lead to inevitable diseases and famine, the closure of commercial routes, and some natural cause that It did not help as more than proven droughts or the wear and tear of the cultivated soil.

In this area of ​​the Usumacinta you have other ancient Mayan cities to visit, such as the exquisite Piedras Negras or the unmissable Bonampak with its frescoes.

Yaxchilan Chiapas
Yaxchilan archeological zone
Yaxchilan ruins


From the small jetty of Yaxchilan a path leads you to a mysterious wall that you must cross to access the Great Square of Yaxchilán. There is no more spectacular arrival in the Mayan world: literally cross this labyrinthine wall and poke your head in the majestic Gran Plaza, to remove hiccups.

Yaxchilan archeological zone
Yaxchilan Chiapas
Yaxchilan archeological zone

From the colossal Large square, the city climbs the jungle hills in rows of wide, massive steps. The effort of climbing the steep hills of the jungle will be worth it.

From the temples built on the cusps, the lords of Yaxchilan They dominated the green and thick panorama that surrounds it. Discovering Yaxchilán is wonderful, take your time. The location and trails through the jungle make it a spectacular visit.

yaxchilan ruins
archaeological zone yaxchilan Chiapas
archaeological zone yaxchilan Chiapas

It is easy to see tropical birds such as the toucan, a rodent such as the capybara or the tepezcuintle, and most likely during your walk you will be accompanied by the sounds of the hauling monkeys. Este close contact with nature it is another reason that makes Yaxchilán an 10.

Visit Yaxchilán will lead you to past Mayans, corners and surprises that make you taste the trip as a unique adventure, is what you get special places.

In the era of Mayan civilization, the entrance to the main buildings of the cities was restricted to the rulers and the nobility. Today they are open to all travelers who wish to discover these magical Mayan cities. I would not miss this detour on my trip, it is a magnificent place Yaxchilán.

Discover Yaxchilán, the 10 of the Mayan cities in Mexico 1
Discover Yaxchilán, the 10 of the Mayan cities in Mexico 2


The archaeological zone of Yaxchilán is somewhat remote, but there are places to sleep. Many visit it from Palenque or San Cristóbal de las Casas, but if you go with time, I really recommend that you stay a couple of days in this area.

There are basic lodgings in Lacanjá Chansayab, a Lacandon Mayan town near the area. And in Frontera Corozal, a small town on the banks of the Usumacinta from where the boats leave to Yaxchilán and cross the border to Guatemala.

BOOK here your accommodation in Lacanjá Chansayab and Frontera Corozal

If you're tour from Palenque to visit Yaxchilán, Bonampak and Lacandon jungle you can book from the link, cancel free up to 24 hours. You can see the opinions of other travelers in the link.

Do yourself a favor on your way through these lands and visit Yaxchilán.

Discover Yaxchilán, the 10 of the Mayan cities in Mexico 3

Yaxchilán, archaeological site

LOCATION: Yaxchilán is located at 45 minutes by boat from Frontera Corozal. Frontera Corozal is about 3 hours south of Palenque, following the South Border Highway. Frontera Corozal is one of the borders that allow you to cross to Guatemala: from this border there is a bus to Flores, Tikal.
SCHEDULE AND SERVICES: Open from 8 to 17 daily hours. They do not sell drinks or food inside. There are services at the entrance.
INPUT PRICE 65 mxn entrance to the ruins. The boats are 10 people, you can share the total cost, some 900 mxn, among several travelers. The boats to Yaxchilán depart from Frontera Corozal (45 minutes sailing). On Sundays the entrance of the INAH is free for Mexicans and permanent residents. Access to archaeological sites is free every day for children under 13 years, students, teachers and senior citizens with valid credentials.
HOW TO GET IN PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION? Palenque buses leave (3 hours). Coming from Comitan you must take a collective in Benemérito de las Américas. From Palenque a daily tour of one or two days to this area, with the possibility of sleeping Lacanjá Chansayab. From San Cristóbal de las Casa is one of the excursions that offer, in minimum tour of 4 people.
WHAT TO BRING? Light and light clothes, hat, insect repellent, closed and comfortable shoes to climb structures and protect yourself from insect bites. Carrying water is always good.

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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