Bonampak Mayan Ruin Site Chiapas, Mexico Murals and Standing Stones
Bonampak Ruin Site view from the complex called the Acropolis
Bonampak, an ancient Mayan city, was at its height from 600AD to 1000 AD.
Noted for its mural wall paintings in vivid colors that depict event before and after a battle and for its large stele, the largest in Mexico, Bonampak can be reached in about three hours via collective taxi or tour bus out of the town of Palenque.
At one time the buildings were coated in stucco and painted as the remnants of red paint show
Each small building at the top of the Acropolis houses a sandstone column
A grass strip has served small planes at Bonampak Ruin Site.
Bonampak View form the top of the Acropolis
The city of Bonampak was built in 600 AD near the Usumacinta River and the border with Guatemala in Mexico's southern most State of Chiapas.
Many visitors combine a visit to Bonampak with a visit to the nearby site of Yaxchilan.
From the City of Palenque, colectivos and tour buses make the two and a half hour trip to Bonampak and Yaxchilan. Tours by van also leave Palenque and follow a different road for the cascades of Agua Azule and for San Cristobal de las Casas.
To visit Bonampak Ruin Site: For Independent Travelers:
Catch the White collective taxis (no frills vans) for 60 pesos that make runs to the Frontera about every hour starting at 5 am. The vans pick up and drop off passengers and cargo all along the way. Find the taxis near the white sculpture, the Cabeza Maya, at the start of the ruins road.
The van will stop at the crossroads for Bonampak at your request, where another cab stand will have trips for the additional 14 miles on a dirt road to the Bonampak Ruin Site. Could be $70 pesos round trip for a private cab from the crossroads to the Bonampak site or less for a colectivo.
To continue beyond the Bonampak crossroads to reach the Usumacinta River and the Frontera, have 15 Pesos additional for the forest preserve entry fee.
- Frontera Boat Transportation to Yaxchilan Ruin
Have lots of small change; no one will have change to break anything over a twenty peso bill. Inquire first before taking a taxi or colectivo; prices vary greatly. Have lots of water.
The Frontera is a well established village with a hotel where there are many boats available to shuttle visitors upriver to the Guatemala Border at Bethel, or down river to the ruin site of Yaxchilan.
The road from Palenque runs parallel to the Usumacinta River, a frontier along the Guatemalan border that until 1990 did not have a paved road. The local people have been in an uneasy truce with the government for several years after a revolution centered in San Cristobal de las Casas that simmered down about eight years go. These isolated people are not used to strangers and can seem unfriendly. If you are not comfortable traveling independently, ( Know some Spanish, know the money, can tolerate high temperatures and high humidity, have lots of water) go as part of a group tour out of Palenque. Several agencies run tours with their own air conditioned vans. Palenque transportation Bonampak Yaxchilan Tikal
Immigration authorities are active on the Frontera road, best to have a passport and copy of your Mexican Tourist Visa or Tourist Card.
Campgrounds, hotels, and posadas are plentiful in Palenque along the road to Palenque ruins. The town of 85,000 has plentiful bus service with an ADO terminal on the main street and several others nearby. Campgrounds, inns, posadas, and plush hotels are available on the entrance road to the archaeological site.
Bonampak is most noted for its murals depicting a battle and later torture of prisoners.
Bonampak's other striking feature is the many carved stones, one, the largest stele in Mexico.
These appear to pay homage to the rulers of Bonampak and most significantly to the ruler in power at the time of the battle depicted in the murals, Chaan Muan II.
Most notable of the stones perhaps is Stele 2 pictured at the left which shows the Emperor of Bonampak, Chaan Muan II who ruled from 772 to 792 AD. He is shown accompanied by two women.
He is depicted with his wife, the sister of the ruler of nearby Yaxchilan, and by his mother as they carry out a blood letting ritual, his mother standing in front of him holds a devil fish spine to perform the piercing, his wife standing behind, holds the vessel that will receive the blood for later ritual burning.
The carved stones are placed throughout the site, several on the Acropolis and others on the main plaza of what was the ritual center of a much larger city, most still cover by the thick jungle along the Frontera and the watershed of the Usumacinta River.
The largest standing stone in Mexico, Stele One, was carved in honor of the ruler Chaan Muan II during his reign: 772 to 792 AD.
At a height of nearly 20 feet, the stone is the tallest such sculpture found to date in Mexico.
The stone occupies a central position in Bonampak's main plaza, now held in place by steel cables.
Chaan Muan II is the ruler who is depicted in the murals at Bonampak and is also depicted in the stele above with his wife, the sister of the ruler of the allied city of Yaxchilan, a ruin on the banks of the Usumacinta River at the border with present day Guatemala.
The emblem glyph of Bonampak
Bonampak Ruin Site Murals and Standing Stones
Bonampak a Mayan Ruin Site in Chiapas, Mexico is noted for Murals and Standing Stones. The city was at its height from 600AD to 1000 AD.
Index All Mexico Ruin Sites
Maya Ruin Sites
Olmec Mexico Ruin Sites
Bonampak Murals depict a battle and later torture of prisoners.
The city of Bonampak was built in 600 AD near the Usumacinta River and the border with Guatemala in Mexico's southern most State of Chiapas. Bonampak was once an important Mayan political center allied with nearby Yaxchilan. The Mayan inhabitants abandoned the city around 1000 AD.