Bonampak & Yaxchilan Pyramids

Were we tired of seeing ruins? No, in fact we were very excited. I think we have developed ruin sightseeing fever. So today was a big travel day. We were going to two different sites, Bonampak and Yaxchilan.

Once again, we went with a company that provided the transportation, lunch and paid the fees required to go through indigenous territory, boat ride, and entrance to the ruins. It was over a 3-hour trip to our first destination – the boats to take us to Yaxchilan.

Our first stop was to the restaurant where we would be having lunch. We placed our orders so they would be ready for us. Then we were off to our first site.

The riverboats were long and narrow and I was a little nervous about travelling ½ hour to get to the site. I am a good swimmer but crocodiles in the river are another thing. The boat owner had plenty of red life jackets and so we passed them down the boat. Our guide said he did not want one as the crocodiles love the color red. Thanks!! The other thing that made me nervous was the boat owner asking one person to move to the other side to “balance” the boat.



The trip down the river turned out to be quite pleasant despite my fears. We found it amazing that one side of the river was Guatemala and the other side Mexico. I was a little surprised to see the two countries that close to each other. Apparently, both sides travel back and forth without having to go thru a border crossing. Just the short ride to the site one can understand how difficult it would be to patrol that vast area.

Yes, we did see crocodiles and we spotted cattle coming to the river to drink, and women washing their clothes.

This site is not as large as Palenque and sees fewer tourists as it is not as well known and takes a bit of travel to get there. Yaxchilan means “green stones”.

This site is definitely in the jungle. I felt like Indiana Jones finding a lost site.



Our guide asked us if any of us were afraid of spiders or bats. I asked what kind of spiders but was relieved to find out that they were not tarantulas. Just big spiders. We found out why he asked when we went inside one of the ruins. Spiders and bats were very evident.


More climbing, but well worth it. I did slip and fall on the tallest ruin (133 steps) on my down. I was not the only one.




Our guide told us a true story about the statute without a head. It seems that the statute was damaged when they excavated the site. The Maya came out to the site and would not let anyone repair the statute. They believed that if it were fixed then it would mean the end of the world so the statute was left. The body is one area and the head in another. We can now feel safe in the knowledge that all is well with the world as long as no one puts the head back on the statute!


Our guide’s family gathers once a year to this site. The women gather at one of the trees that is believed to impart energy when touched. I hugged the tree several times. If that story is true, I wanted to get as much energy as I could.


one the top of this ruin is a culvert and when the rain fills it up, it comes out of the mouth .
closer picture of the mouth

The next stop was to the restaurant for a much-needed lunch before we headed for our next destination, Bonampak.



I decided to only go half way to see the reliefs. By this time I was too tired to go further.


these paintings were very well preserved



even the ceiling was painted



sculptured stone lintels set above the doorways contain hieroglyphic tests describing the history of the city









statute of a jaguar


We were very tired by the time we got back to our hotel that evening but it was well worth the effort. This trip provided more thought-provoking insights than any other trip I have taken so far.
Many thanks to my husband Lionel for taking all the wonderful photographs. It is greatly appreciated. I am sorry I could not share all 600 of them!
Thanks also to Bob and Anna. You are great travelling friends. Where and when is our next trip?


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