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Discover Mayan Culture – Yaxchilán & Bonampak
WELCOME TO YAXCHILAN
Jungle-shrouded Yaxchilán has a wonderfully idyllic setting on a horseshoe loop created by the Río Usumacinta. Due to the strategic location on the Ríio Usumacinta, Yaxchilán used to be one of the most important Classic Maya cities in the Usumacinta region. Archaeologically, Yaxchilán is famous for its beautifully ornamented facades and roof combs, and its impressive stone lintels carved after conquests and ceremonial scenes.
Yaxchilán was at the height of its power and splendor between AD 681 and 800 under the rulers Itzamnaaj B’alam II (Shield Jaguar II, 681–742), Pájaro Jaguar IV (Bird Jaguar IV, 752–68) and Itzamnaaj B’alam III (Shield Jaguar III, 769–800). The city was abandoned around AD 810. Carvings here tell more about its ‘Jaguar’ dynasty than is recorded by any other Maya ruling clan. The shield-and-jaguar symbol appears on many Yaxchilán buildings and steles; Pájaro Jaguar IV’s hieroglyph is a small jungle cat with feathers on its back and a bird superimposed on its head.
As you approach the ruins, a path to the right leads up to the Pequeña Acrópolis, a group of ruins on a small hilltop – you can visit this later. Continuing on the main path, you will soon reach the mazelike passages of El Laberinto (Edificio 19), built between AD 742 and 752, during the interregnum between Itzamnaaj B’alam II and Pájaro Jaguar IV. Dozens of bats find refuge under the building’s roof today. From this elaborate two-level building you emerge at the northwest corner of the impressive Gran Plaza.
Even though it may be hard to imagine wanting to make the climate hotter than it already is, Edificio 17 was apparently a sweat house. About halfway though the plaza, Stele 1, you can find weathered sculptures of a crocodile and a jaguar, depicting Pájaro Jaguar IV in a ceremony that took place in AD 761.
The last significant structure built was Edificio 20, from the time of Itzamnaaj B’alam III; its lintels are now exhibited in a museum in Mexico City.
An impressive stairway leads from Stele 1 to Edificio 33, which is the best-preserved temple in Yaxchilán, with about half of its roof combs still intact. The final step in front of the building is carved with ball-game scenes, while splendid relief carvings decorate the undersides of the lintels. Inside of the temple is a statue of Pájaro Jaguar IV, missing the head that was stolen by 19th century treasure hunters.
Behind the clearing of Edificio 33, a path leads into the forest where you will find three buildings on a hilltop: Edificio 39, Edificio 40 and Edificio 41.
WELCOME TO BONAMPAK
The remote Maya jungle ruins of Bonampak (literally “Painted Walls”) are spread out over 2.4 sq km, with its main ruins located around the rectangular Gran Plaza. While Bonampak was never a major city, it was under the influence of Yaxchilán for most of the Classic period. The archeological site is most renowned for its lively frescoes which really bring the Maya world back to life.
Bonampak's most significant monuments were built under Chan Muwan II, a nephew of Yaxchilán’s Itzamnaaj B’alam II, who rose to Bonampak’s throne in AD 776. The 6m-high Stele 1 in the Gran Plaza shows Chan Muwan II holding a ceremonial staff at the height of his reign. He is also featured in Stele 2 and Stele 3 on top of the Acrópolis, which emerges from the southern end of the plaza.
However, the lively frescoes inside the modest-looking Templo de las Pinturas (Edificio 1) are the ones that have give Bonampak its fame, along with its painted walls. Some archaeologists theorize that the murals depict a battle between Bonampak and the city of Sak T'zi', which is believed to be Plan de Ayutla.
Diagrams outside of the temple help understand these murals, which are the most well known from pre-Hispanic America, but which have degraded badly since their discovery. Room 1, on the left as you face the temple, shows the consecration of Chan Muwan II’s infant son, who is depicted in Chan Muwan’s arms. Witnessing the ceremony are 14 jade-toting noblemen. The central Room 2 shows tumultuous battle scenes on its east and south facades and vault, while on the north wall Chan Muwan II, dressed in jaguar-skin, presides over the torture and the sacrifice of prisoners. A severed head lies below him, beside the foot of a sprawling captive. Recently restored and now blazing with vivid color, Room 3 shows a celebratory dance on the Acrópolis steps by lords wearing huge headdresses, and on its east wall three white-robed women puncture their tongues in a ritual bloodletting. The sacrifices, the bloodletting and the dance may all have been part of the ceremonies surrounding the new heir.
In reality, the infant prince likely never got to rule Bonampak; the place was abandoned before the murals were finished, as Classic Maya civilization evaporated.
Don't forget to look up at the delicately carved lintels on Edificios 1 and 6.
One of our friendly drivers will pick you up early in the morning at 5:30am from your hotel in Palenque. Please wait in the lobby of your hotel.
On our way to our first stop Yaxchilán, we will stop at the “11 de Julio” restaurant to enjoy a delicious breakfast (included). After breakfast we continue our drive to the river pier, where we embark on a boat ride, taking us to the ancient Mayan city Yaxchilán. Enjoy the many archeological sites and explain the vivid Mayan history depicted in its 124 inscriptions carved into 20 Steles, 21 altars, and 59 lintels.
Before continuing to the Archeological Zone of Bonampak we enjoy a delicious, freshly prepared lunch (included). In Bonampak we will explore its many famous cave paintings, Stele and lintels.
As the day and the tour ends we will return to Palenque, arriving by 7:30pm
- Price - $99 per person
- Small Group tour
- Duration - 14 hours
- Start time - 05:30am - 7:30pm
- Roundtrip Car and Boat transportation
- Exploration of Yaxchilán and Bonampak
- Return to hotel between by 7:30pm
- Air-conditioned transportation. (door to door service)
- All activities and entrance fees
- All the necessary equipment for the activities
WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED
- Tour guide in archeological zones
WHAT TO BRING
- Comfortable and adequate clothing to protect yourself from the sun and thus avoid the use of sunscreen. Creams (even biodegradable ones) are polluting and for that reason we do not promote their use
- Comfortable shoes
- Sun glasses
- Cap or hat
- Insect Repellent
- A reusable bottle to fill with water during the day
- Cash for tips and souvenirs
TOUR CANCELATION POLICY
Tao Travel 365 strives to deliver the best possible customer experience. If at any point you have a question or concern about our service, please call us at +1 (213)-212-3708 or by WhatsApp at +507-6109-3118.
Due to the nature of our business, we do not offer full refunds. A partial refund of 50 percent will be granted if Tao Travel 365 receives notice at least 48 hours in advance of the tour start time. All sales are final. If you are unable to attend the tour, contact us as soon as possible and we will try to arrange and reschedule the same or different tour for you. If you are not at the designated meeting point by the time of your tour start time, Tao Travel 365 reserves the right not to provide a refund. However, we will always try our best to locate you at the meeting point and call your WhatsApp number, if one was provided. After all, we want you to come on the tour and to have fun. That is our goal!
CANCELED OR POSTPONED TOURS
Occasionally, tours are canceled or postponed due to weather or ocean conditions, mechanical failure, or other unforeseen events. Should this occur, we will attempt to contact you about the cancellations and to inform you of refund or exchange procedures for that tour. For exact instructions on any canceled or postponed tour, please contact us. In the case of a cancellation of your tour by Tao Travel 365, we will refund your tour or schedule you for another tour, as detailed below.
All sales are final. No refunds are available unless a tour is canceled or postponed, or we are given 48 hours advance noticed whereby a 50 percent refund will be awarded. We will offer refunds of the full face value of the tour(s) that are canceled or postponed (or, if a discounted tour, then instead the discounted tour price paid). No refunds are offered on any service, payment processing or convenience fees. To receive a refund for a canceled or postponed tour, contact us at email@example.com within 3 days of the tour cancellation and write "refund" in the subject line. Instructions will be provided in order to obtain your refund.
No tour exchanges are offered by Tao Travel 365. While in some extreme cases we may offer this service (such as a cancellation by Tao Travel 365), it is not guaranteed and often impossible. Contact us directly by phone at +1 (213) 212-3708, by WhatsApp at +507-6109-3118 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about tour exchanges. Fees may apply.