Mexico/Chiapas: Bonampak Ruins
Just about 30km from Yaxchilan archeological site lies another gem of Mayan ruins – Bonampak. While it’s supposedly smaller, it actually looks grander with its principal structure – a large terraced acropolis that sits atop a natural hill – truly stunning. Bonampak thrived in the 7-9th century and was actually a vassal and dependency of Yaxchilan. Bonampak, lying in a total jungle in the middle of nowhere wasn’t even discovers until 1946. Bonampak is famous for its many engraved stellas, carved with images of rulers and engraved with Mayan hieroglyphic scripts. Even more famous is a roomful of perfectly preserved murals (worthy of a separate next post). The main terrace can be climbed to the top for panoramic view above the jungle.