Bonampak: the painted walls of a Mayan City

Bonampak: a must-to for true Mayan culture lovers

Bonampak, or “Painted Walls” in Mayan, is an archeological site located in the south of Chiapas, Mexico, close to the border with Guatemala. Surrounded by the Lacandon Jungle, this place breathes a quiet and peaceful atmosphere.

It is worth the journey

Since Bonampak is found inside an area of the Lacandon Jungle, a journey to get there isn’t necessarily easy. However, if you are interested in archaeology, it is likely you are planning to go to Yaxchilan, a bigger city (on which Bonampak depended) located some 30 km away. It is totally worth going and seeing both, and actually, some tours plan it this way.

If not, the two options to get you there are flying in a small plane from Comitán or driving for several hours into the jungle (there are many tours that will take you there in a minibus). At some point though, you will have to change vehicle since the only ones that are allowed around the Bonampack area are the cars owned and driven by Lacandon people. The tour guides, as well as the people selling souvenirs, are Lacandons, and they will proudly show the archeological site built by their ancestors, between the years of 580 CE and 800 CE.

One-of-a-kind wall paintings

The walls were painted around the year 790 CE. Divided among three rooms, the paintings show rituals and practices of the society that lived in Bonampak. The colors and details are like no other, which make these paintings a particularly interesting piece of art for understanding prehispanic cultures.

Even if the beauty of the paintings found in Bonampak is astonishing, the fact that it is, after all, a small site that is hard to get to, means it remains quite unexplored. Furthermore, the number of visitors is mere fraction of those that are received at more popular archeological sites (Palenque, Chichen Itzá, etc.). However, this is a perfect place to visit for those who are genuinely interested in discovering the treasures of these ancient cultures.

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