Welcome to Bonampak, Yaxchilán & the Carretera Fronteriza
Close to the Guatemala border, the ancient Maya cities of Bonampak and Yaxchilán might not be the largest or even among the best-known Maya ruins, but one thing's for sure: they're certainly among the most wildly romantic. Fringed by the Lacandón Jungle, the daylight hours are characterized by bright tropical birds flitting between crumbling monuments and monkeys hooting from the trees. Night is even more atmospheric with the sky awash with stars and the ground twinkling with fireflies. Bonampak, famous for its frescoes, is 152km by road from Palenque; the bigger and more important Yaxchilán, with a peerless jungle setting beside the broad and swift Río Usumacinta, is 173km by road, then about 22km by boat.
Access to Bonampak and Yaxchilán is via the Carretera Fronteriza, which also gives handy access to a number of excellent ecotourism projects, dreamy waterfalls, Lacandón villages and lesser-known archaeological ruins.