Best of the Río Usumacinta Valley
Nahá: Deep in the rainforest, this Lancandón Maya village isn’t easy to get to, but all the more rewarding when you do. Sleep in simple cabins, explore pristine lakes and forest trails, and experience ancient Maya ceremonies, all in a welcoming but unadulterated atmosphere.
Plan de Ayutla Archaeological Zone: This site’s twin pyramids, still covered in trees, are easy to mistake for hills. But climb to their tops to discover wondrous semi-excavated temples, some with high peaked ceilings, others with ancient glyphs painted on their walls. Best of all, there’s not a soul in sight.
Bonampak Murals: Inside an otherwise innocuous temple halfway up Bonampak’s main staircase are some of the finest and best-preserved Maya murals yet discovered. In brilliant colors they tell of jungle warfare, ritual bloodletting, and the ascension of a boy king.
Yaxchilán Ruins: Perched on a leafy riverbank, Yaxchilán exudes a regal bearing, as if waiting assuredly for its glory days to return. When you’re not admiring the gorgeous carvings and complex layout, keep an eye out for beefy crocs in the river and howler monkeys in the trees.
© Liza Prado and Gary Chandler from Moon Chiapas, 1st Edition