Sumediro Canyon – 2/5/2019

Background Information on the Canyon

Sumidero Canyon is situated within the Sumidero Canyon National Park, located north of the city, Chiapa de Corzo in southern Mexico.  The area surrounding the Sumidero Canyon was decreed a National Park in 1972 and currently incorporates 21, 289 hectares of rainforest, grasslands, canyons and the Grijalva Rivera, which is managed by a number of different organisations. The canyon was formed around the same time as the Grand Canyon by a crack in the earth’s crust, which was subsequently eroded by the Grijalva River, creating the canyon we see today.  Within the canyon there are some thirty rapids, five waterfalls and three beaches. Thirteen kilometres of the river still runs through the canyon.  Towards the end of the canyon is the Chicoasen Dam, which is one of several dams along the Grijalva River that provides not only water, but also generates hydroelectric power for the region.

Our River Trip

We drove from San Cristobal downhill to the town of Tuxtla Guttierrez.  We did make a wrong turn and end up at the gates to the miradors instead of the river, but we did eventually get there. We purchased our tickets which included both the river and the drive around the top of the canyons, where you can stop at the miradors for photos.  We were told that we would have to wait 15 minutes before the boat would leave, which turned into an hour as the boats don’t leave until every seat is sold.  Despite having left home at 8 am to do the boat trip early, it ended up being close to lunch time before we left and it was incredibly hot by then.  The boat have no shade top, so you definitely need hats, sunscreen and water.

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The canyon is characterised by being tall and narrow.  Its walls range in height of between 300 and 700 meters high, but do reach 1000 meters at points. The width between the walls varies between one and two kilometers.

 

The canyon is home to the endangered American river crocodiles, however we did not see any during our trip. We did stop a couple of times to watch the spider monkeys climbing in trees close to the river.

The canyon walls contain numerous small caves, we went inside one cave in the boat.  Unfortunately the tour was in Spanish so we had no idea what we were looking at, with the exception of seeing an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe. It turns out that the cave, named the ‘Cave of Colors’ gets its name from the magnesium, potassium and other minerals which creates the colours on the cave walls.  We did notice the pink rock when we were there.

Another cave that we motored past had a stalactite called the ‘Caballito de Mar’ or the ‘Seahorse.’ Someone in our group did comment that the stalactite looked like a seahorse.

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The stalactite hanging from the center of the roof is shaped like a seahorse.  Can you spot it?

Our boat trip continued along the river until we reached the ‘Arbol de Navidad’ or the ‘Christmas Tree.’  The rock formation, which is in the shape of a tree is created by deposits from the waterfall when it is active and from the moss that covers the rocks.  During the wet season this rock formation is transformed into a waterfall, as it was still the dry season when we visited, there was no waterfall, not even a trickle.

The trip continues on until you reach the Chicoasen Dam, at this point there is a boat vendor selling refreshments and the driver who collects tips.  We sat there for about 20 minutes in the heat with a few complaints from the kids, mainly mine, at how hot it was.  Finally we did the return trip along the river to the dock.

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Tourist Information on Sumidero Canyon

Opening Hours:

Technically the river boats run from sunrise to sunset, however later in the day if the boat is not full they will cancel the trip.  You don’t need to pre-book, just turn up and wait for the boat to be full or alternatively you can pay extra and have the boat to yourself. The boat trip lasts about 2 hours.  Get there early as it is incredibly hot.

Cost:

Your ticket/wristband includes the river boat cruise and the 5 miradors and costs 230 pesos or about $17 AUD.  You have 24 hours to use your wristband drive the canyon top to see the 5 miradors.

Agua Azul Cascades (Blue Waterfalls) – 3/5/2019

Background Information on the Waterfall

You may be wondering what is so special about Agua Azul waterfall and why we bothered stopping.  The waterfall is special because of the water’s colour, indigo blue and the lush, green vegetation surrounding it makes it even more picturesque. As the Agua Azul River descends down the limestone bed steps it forms waterfalls which fall into natural pools below them and are otherwise known as ‘gours.’  The lower natural pools are where both locals and tourists congregate to swim.  The water’s colour is created from the dissolved carbonate salts and the rocky limestone beds of the river.  That being said, during the wet season the beautiful blue colour changes to a chocolaty brown, lucky we were there in the dry season.

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Our Visit

On our drive from San Cristobal to Palenque we made a stop at the Agua Azul Cascades with our friends, ‘Love and Luck’ and their Portuguese water dog, Willie.  We no sooner arrived at the cascades when Willie and Mark went for a quick swim, before catching up to the rest of us, who slowly meandered uphill to look out at the waterfalls from the differing miradors.

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It was hot, so we only visited a couple of the miradors.  Surprisingly there are a lot of food and souvenir vendor stalls as you walk up the river. We did stop and get some empanadas for a snack, before finding a picnic table to eat among the crowds of mainly locals.  After our snack we all went for a swim.  I have to say the water was cold and it took me a long time to get in, Andrew decided it was too cold for a swim.  Willie had a great time swimming in the water pool, but he looked a little weary by the time we got back to the car.

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Tourist Information for Agua Azul Cascades

If you are driving to the Agua Azul Cascades, beware that as you get closer to the cascades you may find that some of the local kids hold either rope, knotted grass or even a daisy chain with the purpose of stopping tourists and either selling fruits to them or demanding money.  The day we visited we were stopped by kids a couple of times with a daisy chain and string, we did not buy anything and continued on our way, but we looked in the rear view mirror and saw one child throwing rocks at a car behind us. 

Cost: 40 pesos per person for the entrance to the falls, but if you are driving you will also have to pay to park your car.  The cost for us was 20 pesos. 

Archaeological Zone Palenque – 4/5/2019

History on Palenque

Palenque is located at the foot of the mountain range in the north of the state of Chiapas in Mexico and was known in ancient times as Lakamha, which translates to “Big Water.” At the end of the 16th century it was renamed Palenque taking the name from the surrounding community. The Palenque ruins date from 226 BC to 799 AD, reaching its peak between 600 AD and 800 AD.  At the beginning of 900 AD the city began to decline prior to being abandoned and overtaken by jungle filled with cedar, mahogany and sapodilla trees.  Although 1400 buildings have been uncovered, it is believed that this is only 10% of the city, with the remaining structures still covered by jungle. It wasn’t until 1784 when Jose Antonio Calderon, followed by Antonio Bernasconi, that the site was rediscovered and documented.

Like Tikal, Chichen Itza and Copan, Palenque was one of the most powerful Classic Mayan Cities.  Although Palenque was much smaller than other Mayan cities, it makes up for its size through its architecture, sculpture, roof combs, bas reliefs and vast hieroglyphic inscriptions. 

The most notable structures in Palenque are the result of rebuilding following attacks by Calakmul.  The rebuilding effort was predominately led by its most famous ruler K’inich Janaab Pakal, or Pacal the Great, who is also responsible for the city’s architecture and art.   Pacal ruled Palenque from 615 to 683.  The hieroglyphics in Palenque has provided historians with the history of Palenque and knowledge of its famous ruler, Pacal and his achievements, as well as other rulers.

Our Visit

The weather forecast had temperatures reaching a peak of 41°C, so we arrived at 7.45 am prior to opening.  We quickly acquired a guide, Arthur, after parking our cars. Arthur has very good English and a good sense of humour and quickly organised our tickets, before we entered the site. 

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Arthur discussed the plants found in the area as we approached the corner of a stone temple, the only part of the temple visible underneath the jungle.  Arthur explained when the archaeologists arrived a Paleque all of the pyramids and structures were similarly covered in jungle. As we passed through the trees we glimpsed our first unobstructed view of the royal palace and Temple of Inscriptions.

Photo on the right shows a temple that remains covered by jungle and gives you an idea of how it looked when found by archaeologists.  Photo on the left shows the entrance to the main complex.

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The temple of inscriptions is probably the best preserved building from the exterior, but you are no longer allowed to climb it or enter the interior.

We began our tour with the Royal Palace.  The Palace is a complex of buildings, hallways, terraces and courtyards that formed the center of the city.  The palace was remodelled and expanded over several generations and is the largest structure in Palenque.  The palace was used by the aristocracy for functions, entertainment and ceremonies.

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We climbed the stairs to view the carved reliefs of Pakal and other members of the royal family.  Interestingly our guide told us that Pakal had a limp and that the carving of him shows one leg shorter than the other.

Other notable features of the palace include the observation tower.  It is speculated that the tower may have been an astronomical observatory. 

The palace contains various bas reliefs, some still have evidence of the coloured paint that once adorned them.  I liked the Jack face featured to ensure good crops and rainfall.

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After walking around the courtyard, we went down into the labyrinth of dark, enclosed hallways.  The only thing visible was a few small bats. 

Photos of the courtyard and one of the labyrinth of tunnels leading to the underground rooms.

We continued up a slight incline to reach the temples that comprise the cross group.  The cross group consists of three pyramids with temples, the Temple of the Cross, Temple of the Sun and Temple of the Foliated Cross.  Following the death of Pakal, his eldest son K’inich Kan B’alam became the king and constructed the Cross group of buildings as well as completing his father’s tomb.  

The ‘Temple del Sol’ or the ‘Temple of the Sun’ has the 4 meter tall crest on top of its pyramid which remains well preserved. Although there are carvings inside of Kan B’alam’s birth in 635 AD and his accession, you are not allowed inside to see them.

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 ‘The Templo de la Cruz’ or the ‘Temple of the Cross’ is the tallest in the cross group and a climb to the top will afford you not only with views overlooking the Palenque site, but also of the stone tablets in the sanctuary. One tablet on the right is of the underworld deity smoking tobacco and the other on the left is of Kan B’alam in royal attire.  Behind the tablets is a panel explaining Kan B’alam’s accession.

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The view from the Temple of the Cross make it worth the climb

The kids having a break at the top.  Hieroglyphics explaining the king’s accession. 

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The climb down from the steep steps of the Temple of the Cross

‘The Temple of the Foliated Cross’ is situated on the peak of a small hill and overlooks the other temples in the cross group.  The temple has suffered damage over the centuries and its front façade and cresting have collapsed.

After browsing a few souvenir stands we walked past the Mayan ball court.  Interestingly we have seen the ball court in Chichen Itza, which is huge and was used by teams of 7 players.  At Chichen Itza the team that lost the game were sacrificed.  Our guide told us that there is no evidence in Palenque of any form of sacrifice, lucky for the ball players.  

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We continued on to the last group of temples, the most significant being the ‘Temple of Inscriptions’.  It is speculated that the construction of the Temple of Inscriptions began around 675 AD with the purpose of being Hanab-Pakal’s funerary temple. The pyramid stands approximately 27 meters high and measures 60 meters wide and 42 meters deep.  The temple incorporates hallways, subterranean galleries, courtyards and hieroglyphic panels, all of which have been remodelled over time. The hieroglyphic panels record approximately 180 years of Palenque’s history and is the second longest text, after Copan’s stairway in Honduras.

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Inside the Temple of the Inscriptions is a staircase which leads to the upper part of the pyramid, where a funeral chamber is located.  The funeral temple was excavated in 1950 by Alberto Ruz Lhuillie, who discovered a richly carved sarcophagus containing the remains of Pakal II or K’inich Janahb Pakal.  Pakal’s remains were found with his face covered by a jade mosaiced mask, while his body was enveloped in a jade adorned suit, both of which are now contained in a museum in Mexico.  The lid of the sarcophagus depicts Pakal, as Maya Maize God.  On one of the sides of the sarcophagus are carvings of Pakal’s parents.  A replica of the sarcophagus is found in the nearby museum.  You are no longer allowed to enter the pyramid as it has been closed to stop further deterioration of the murals and funerary chamber. 

The temple of the skull also known as Temple XII and Temple of the Dead Moon, stands alongside the Temple of Inscriptions and the Red Queen Temple. The temple is named after the stucco relief of a rabbit skull.

In 1994 inside ‘Temple XIII’ or the ‘Tomb of the Red Queen’ was discovered and is believed to be either Sak Kuk, Pakal’s mother or possibly his wife.  The temple is known as the Red Queen Temple, because it was covered in bright red powder made from cinnabar.  Sak Kuk ruled for the first three years prior to Pakal reaching the age of 12 and becoming king and possibly continued to jointly rule with Pakal for a further 25 years. Due to Sak Kuk’s role and power, it is likely she had an elaborate funerary temple, possible Temple XIII.

Arthur took us into an area not open to the public and showed us some of the trees grown and their uses.  We saw the rubber tree, which was once used to make the balls that were used in the Mayan games.  We also saw the Chicle tree which Mayans used as a natural chewing gum to keep their teeth clean.  Inter-dispersed are mahogany and cedar which overtook the site.

From left to right; the rubber tree, mahogany tree and the chewing gum tree

Jane and Tarzan (Sally and Max)

After our guided tour we continued on to the museum, named after the archaeologist Alberto Ruz Lhuillier, who discovered the Tomb of Pakal II. The museum is home to many items that were found in the Palenque archaeological site.  The first room you enter with exhibits houses a number of stucco reliefs including the one below of Pakal which was origininally in temple XIX.

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There is a room which holds a replica of Pakal’s sarcophagus and a replica of his funeral mask is housed in a room with jewelry.  The original sarcophagus remains in the Temple of Inscriptions but due to preservation reasons can’t be visited.

Replicas of the sarcophagus and funerary mask

I saw what looked a bit like pottery totems which looked pretty cool, turns out they are incense burners.  Pretty elaborate for an incense burner.

Tourist Information:

Once you enter inside the site, there are no toilets or vendors selling water or food.  There are however both prior to entering.

Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday from 08:00 to 17:00.

Cost: 70 pesos or $5

https://www.inah.gob.mx/zonas/163-zona-arqueologica-palenque

 

 

Roberto Barrios Cascada – 4/5/2019

Our guide Arthur, who took us around Palenque suggested we go to the Roberto Barrios Cascadas, where most of the visitors are locals rather than tourists.  At about 11 am after visiting the ruins and museum we headed into the town of Palenque for rolls and a hot BBQ chicken.  The Mexican BBQ chicken is a whole new experience.  Instead of whole rotisserie chicken they cut their chickens, lay them flat and cook them over charcoal flame.  When they package them up for you its cut into pieces and served with tortillas, spaghetti, onions and sauce.  Unfortunately we had already bought rolls, so we had double the carbohydrate.   We called by our hotel to collect both our swimmers and Willie before undertaking the 45 minute drive to the falls.

As we are discovering in Mexico or at least in Chiapas, the villages, towns and individuals all come up with ways to make additional money.  So far we have had kids and in one case a mother overseeing the operation, pull a piece of string across the road to stop vehicles and then try to sell their produce.  We just went around it, but did see a child throw a rock in a rear vision mirror.  We are not encouraging extortion. We have come to villages with a chain across the road and have had to pay a fee for ‘town works’ prior to being allowed to driver through it in order to reach our actual destination. Finally when you want to park your car in either a parking lot or even on vacant lot you are required to pay a fee to a person to mind your car. Needless to say, today we encompassed all three money raising schemes in order to visit the falls.

A short walk and we found ourselves a picnic spot near a waterfall. We were all starving after our early morning breakfast and so feasted on chicken tortillas.  While enjoying lunch, we had several locals approach and tell us we needed to walk further down the path to where the waterfalls were much better. So we packed up our gear and headed down.

We lunched next to this waterfall, which was a lovely spot.

After passing numerous waterfalls we found the spot.  The kids eagerly stripped off and headed for the water, with Willie in tow.  

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Max, Ava and Sally decided that they would imitate the locals and slide down the waterfall.  What they hadn’t anticipated was that the rocks weren’t slippery and didn’t really slide, but they had fun anyway.  I stayed ashore for awhile to get some photographs.

Eventually a security guard/life saver approached and told us Willie was not allowed to swim, so he had to get out.  Lucky he was tired and ready to.  Eventually I went in and had a swim too.

On our way back to the car-park we past many stalls and children selling souvenir trinkets.  Heidi in an effort to be very fair and equitable, bought a bracelet from each of the three girls that were walking around together. It was a very cute process.

Agua Azul Waterfalls or Roberto Barrios Waterfalls?

Which one is better?  Well I guess it depends on what your looking for but here is a quick break down.

  • Roberto Barrios Waterfall is a little bit closer to Palenque
  • Agua Azul Waterfalls is definitely prettier.
  • Agua Azul Waterfalls is far more crowded with tourists, there are a lot of food and souvenir vendors.
  • We found that the water was much cooler in Agua Azul Waterfalls.
  • We seemed to be able to take Willie with us to Agua Azul Waterfalls but not Roberto Barrios Waterfall and yet there were a lot more strays wandering around the latter. 

Bonampak – 5/5/2019

History of Bonampak

Bonampak, meaning painted walls and was an ancient Mayan city located in the Lacandon jungle, along the Usumacinta River, in eastern Chiapas. The site contains upright engraved stones (stelae) and detailed murals of daily life, war practices and ceremonies during the Late Classic Period (c. 600–900 CE) of Mesoamerican civilisation.

Bonampak was never a major power house like Palenque of Yaxchilan, but they all used the Usumacinta River for trade and commerce.  After numerous attacks, Bonampak became a satellite city and was governed by Yaxchilan during the mid 8th century.

In 1946, John Bourne, heir to the Singer sewing machine fortune and Charles Frey were led by Chan Bor, a Lacandon to be the first non-Lacandon Indians to see Bonampak.

Our Visit

 To reach the murals you first need to walk through the grand plaza which measures 110 meters wide and 110 meters long.  The plaza is surrounded by various stone structures and contains stelae under protected canopies.  At the far end of the plaza is the acropolis, which was constructed into a hill.

In the plaza are four stelae carved with various images of Chan Muan and inscribed with hieroglyphic writing.  The images on the stelae are not particularly clear, but they do have signs explaining what they are of.  Stelae 1 is approximately 5 meters tall and contains an image of Chan Muwaan II holding a shield with the face of a jaguar and a spear. Stelae 2 shows Chan Muwaan involved in a bloodletting ceremony, with his wife holding a sea urchin needle and his mother with a bowl to collect the blood.  The third stelae show Chan Muwaan with captives before him.

To reach the temple of murals, you need to partially climb the stairs of the acropolis.  The temple is divided into three rooms, only 4 people are allowed in a room at a time and you are required to leave your bags outside.

The murals in Bonampak are in fact frescoes created by painting on wet plaster, before it dries. The technique involved three steps.  Firstly, a red outline of the painting is drawn on the wet plaster.  This was followed by coloured paints and finally a black outline was added to create greater definition to the figures.  The murals have enabled archaeologists to learn about the types of musical instruments that were used as well as clothing, weapons and daily life.

The unique, floor to ceiling murals distinguishes Bonampak from other more impressive ruins of Palenque and Yaxchilan. The paintings chronicle the events that occurred between 790 – 792 during Chan Muan’s reign.

Mural 1

The first room depicts Chan Muan II and his wife presenting the governors son, the heir, to the white robe clad nobility.  The mural also shows the preparations for the event and the ceremony involving noblemen and priests, while accompanied by various musical instruments.

Mural 2

The second room in contrast to the first depicts was and torture of the enemy.  Chan is painted clothed for battle wearing a jaguar skin, while the captives are shown being tortured by having their fingernails removed.  There is one captive pictured next to a decapitated head.  Ancient Mayans preferred to capture rather than kill captives as they could then sacrifice them to their gods.  The murals have disproved the previously held belief that Mayans were a peaceful race prior to the Toltec arriving in Mexico.

Mural 3

The third room shows the celebrations following the battle in room two.  There are dancers wearing masks of gods and lords in fancy headdresses.  Interestingly the ruler is shown with his family puncturing their tongues for the blood letting ritual.

Tourist Information

Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday from 08:00 to 5:00.

Cost: There are numerous costs involved in visiting this site.  Firstly, after turning off the main road you are required to pay a fee to enter the forest.  You can’t drive you’re your vehicle into the site and you are required to leave it in a car-parking lot where the Lacandon people will drive you 20 minutes to the site, at a cost of 100 pesos a person. Entrance to the site is then 70 pesos or $5 AUD 

https://www.inah.gob.mx/zonas/31-zona-arqueologica-de-bonampak

Yaxchilan – 5/5/2019

Background Information on Yaxchilan

Yaxchilán is a Mayan city located on the banks of the Usumacinta River and is accessed by a 45 minute boat ride, there are no roads.  Yachilan once dominated the Usumacinta River area and was a rival to Piedras Negras and Tikal in Guatemala and Palenque in Mexico.  Yaxchilan has unique architecture, but its 124 texts that are inscribed on stelae, alters and lintels that really make it distinctive.   The hieroglyphic texts describe the history of the city, the leaders and the wars and alliances with other cities.

Yaxchilan’s origins as a small city date to the Preclassic period with the enthronement of Yopaat B’alam in 359.  The city expanded and grew to a regional capital during the classic period under the rule of King Itzamnaaj Balam II, who reigned from 681 to 742, before it was abandoned in the early 9th century.

Our Visit

It was a mad rush from Bonampack to reach Frontera Corozal and drop Willie (Love and Luck’s dog) off in the hotel room, to catch the final boat that departs at 2 pm.  After negotiating a price, we embarked on a 45 minute boat ride up the rocky Usamacinta River. I have read that on the river cruise you can hear and see a variety of animals like the howler monkeys, spider monkeys, toucans and crocodiles, however our boat was going too fast to spot anything and I imagine it would be more likely to see them early in the morning. After rounding the final bend in the river, we spotted a stone structure shrouded by the Lacandon jungle and overlooking the river.  

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Our first sight of the Mayan ruins peaking through the jungle

After a steep climb from the boat ramp during a thunderstorm, we reached the entrance to Yaxchilan.  Fortunately it didn’t rain.  Our guide led us along the uneven, leaf littered path, to get our first glimpse of the Mayan ruins. The best part of the visit was that we were the only ones there, having passed a Spanish group of tourists leaving on our way in.  The emptiness of the place definitely contributed to the Indian Jones feel of the site.  

Walking to the entrance of Yaxchilan

Structure 19

While our guide talked about structure 19 the kids and I were entranced by movement in the trees coming from the spider monkeys and the cacophony of noise from the howler monkeys in the distance.  Structure 19 is a temple also called the labyrinth and is the entrance to this impressive site.  The tomb has four entry doors that lead into an interior spread over three levels, that was reached by interior stairs.  The roof contains the remains of a perforated roof comb. A tunnel through the structure  leads you to the grand plaza.

 

Entrance to the temple or structure 19 on the left and top right.  The bottom right is what you see as you walk through the jungle.

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After you walk through the tunnel into the main plaza you can see the other side of the temple with its remains of its roof comb.

Structure 44

Standing near structure 19 you have a clear view of the Structure 44 situated in the western Acropolis.  We did not ascend the stairs to view the structure as we were saving ourselves to go to structure 33.  This temple was one of the later structures completed in around 732 by Itzamnaaj B’alam II.

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We entered a structure near the ball court with some well preserved lintels in the doorways.  Like many ancient sites some of the lintels are now housed in the British Museum with a few also in Mexico City.

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Ball Court

We visited the ball court or structure 67, which is in relatively good state of repair.  Our guide told us that in Yaxchilan the game played was between two players.  The players used their hips and elbows to play the game with the objective of getting the ball through a hoop.  Unlike Chichen Itza, who sacrificed the losing team, Yaxchilan sacrificed the winner of the game to the gods.  The winner after going through the underworld is entitled to reach heaven due to their sacrifice.

 

Structure 33

Structure 33 also known as the Acropolis and visible throughout the site.  A very steep, ancient staircase, referred to as hieroglyphic stairway 2 leads to the acropolis. The most visible part as you climb the stairs is the large, well-preserved roof comb.  There are several structures on route prior to reaching the top.

 

The acropolis provides great views over the plaza and river and would have had a view of river traffic during the 8th century. It is believed to have been constructed by Bird Jaguar IV in 756, who continued with many building projects like his father, Shield Jaguar II.  In front of the structure is stela 31 which was carved from stalactite and has hieroglyphics and figures, I should have looked closer because I couldn’t see it. The stela has been exposed to the weather and isn’t in great condition.

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Structure 33

 

One of the sculptures adorning the roof on the left.  On the right is the weathered stela 31.

Structure 33 is constructed with three doorways, each with with a carved little above the, although one is now in the British museum.  The central doorway has an alcove containing a headless figure believed to be that of Bird Jaguar IV. 

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The top step on the exterior of the building has a series of carved limestone blocks.  Carved into the blocks are images of Bird Jaguar IV, his father and grandfather as well as other leaders playing ball games against Yaxchilan’s enemies.  The kings never actually played the ball games themselves, they had people for that.  Our guide told us that if the player in the ball game won, they were sacrificed,  The sacrificed player then played the gods in the underworld, if they manage to prevail in all seven games they go to the equivalent of heaven.  The limestone blocks show the players having managed differing number of steps, with Bird Jaguar IV having all seven steps as he won all of his games.  Our guide told us that the artists who worked on the lintels were also sacrificed, their arms and legs were restrained before they were pushed down the steps to their death.

 

We wandered around the site glimpsing the occasional spider monkey as they followed us in the trees and the cries from the howler monkeys echoing around us.  I became rather obsessed with trying to photograph the spider monkeys and this is the best I managed.

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Wandering around the main plaza

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Spider monkey

We returned to the river all hot and sweaty in time for our 45 minute trip back.  There was a lot of smoke haze shrouding the river, not sure if it was due to burning off or a fire. 

 

The wet season is yet to start and so the river was very low. So low we actually hit a sand bank.  Luckily for our driver the propeller didn’t seem to be damaged and we were able to continue on our way, perhaps a little more hesitantly.

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Tourist Information Yaxchilan

Price: 60 pesos or $4 AUD + boat ride (you can negotiate)

Opening Hours:  Monday to Sunday from 08:00 to 17:00. 

Recommendations:  Take a hat and plenty of water as it can get hot.

https://www.facebook.com/centroinah.chiapas

https://www.inah.gob.mx/zonas/30-zona-arqueologica-de-yaxchilan