El Panchan Palenque’s Fun in the Jungle

The most famous and arguably best Mayan ruins in Chiapas are at Palenque. Palenque is the name of both the modern town and the archaeological site. There are a ton of hotels and options for lodging in town and along the road into the ruins.  Without question my favorite place to stay when visiting Palenque is the bohemian and traveler friendly El Panchan.

Follow the signs to Margarita and Ed’s Place.

The Panchan is a left turn off of the road into the ruins, at the gate into the Palenque archaeological park. You can catch a cab from the bus station in the town of Palenque for about 50 pesos. Most of the time there will be other travelers heading for El Panchan. Ask anyone with a backpack if they would like to share the cost of the cab ride. From the entrance to the park at Palenque and turn for Panchan, the ruins are still a long walk. I recommend you take a shuttle in from the gate when heading into the Mayan ruins, they run often.

Originally the Panchan was a large piece of land close to the ruins of Palenque where the archaeologists set up camp and residency. I am told Linda Schele, the famous scholar of Mayan art and architecture, had a workshop there where she and her crew worked on the newest finds of the time.

View from the balcony at Margarita and Ed’s.

Over the years the family that owned this piece of land sold off some tracts for homes and established a number of hotels, hostels and eateries. There is only 1 hotel of the half dozen or so in the area that isn’t owned by a member of the original family. That hotel happens to be my favorite, Margarita and Ed’s.

Tropical flowers of all kinds are in El Panchan.

Margarita taking care of business.

 

Margarita and Ed’s place is at the end of the road into Panchan and well marked. The rooms have AC, ceiling fans and are kept in very good order. Margarite is a wonderful hostess and full of all kinds of information about Palenque and the surrounding countryside. I have enjoyed a number of conversations with her, she is warm and friendly, but no nonsense. This is not a woman to be trifled with or disrespected, she runs a tight ship. In a place known for magic mushrooms and all night parties, that is a great relief. You can have all of the bohemian fun you want to and return to your clean quiet room in the jungle for a good nights sleep.

 

Pizza and live music at Don Mucho’s

For eating in the Panchan it’s all about Don Mucho’s Place. There are some other options, but I always return to Don Mucho’s. They have great pizzas, the beers are cold and they have some form of live music every night. The Panchan is not very big so it’s an easy walk from everywhere.

Jungle path to Bag End Books in the Panchan. You can trade 2 for 1 books when you go.

Another business I try and get to when I’m in the Panchan is Bag End Books. This is a funky little bookstore run out of the home of an expat woman from the states. The store is at the end of a path in the jungle and a great place to hang out and meet some of the local cast of characters. Just look for the little bookstore signs nailed to some of the trees and follow the arrows. I’m sure the owner would love to take trade ins for a reduced price on your book purchase. The selection of traveler books at Bag End is quite good.

Ancient Maya restaurant ruins :)

The bohemian jungle fun of the Panchan is not without its dangers. The green trees, little paths and streams can lull an inexperienced vacationer into a false sense of security. Just like anywhere else in the world, it is a bad idea to get intoxicated late at night and wander around by yourself. There have been reports of attacks and thefts in the Panchan late at night and they are almost always associated with people who have had too much fun. Have all the fun you want to, but don’t wander alone late at night.

Food, lodging and books are not the only things available in El Panchan!

 

 

Oh and if a little Mayan lady whispers “hongos” (Spanish for mushrooms) to you, she is not selling pizza toppings :)

 

 

 

I have had a number of requests for more info on how to book a room at Margarita & Ed’s so I have scanned in the business card. The phone number is 916 34 8 42 05.


Comments

El Panchan Palenque’s Fun in the Jungle — 10 Comments

  1. I just stayed at Margarita & Ed early July 2012. Margarita is so lovely and so is her daughter who was visiting at the time. The rooms are fantastic, set back in to the jungle where you can hear the howler monkeys in the morning. (Not too loud) From my memory, it was $40 US for a room with airconditioning so you can get ones with just fans for $30. We didn’t really need the air-con. You are a tiny walk away (seriously 1.5 mins) from Don Mucho’s restaurant which has the best food and entertainment each night. See Alan for an amazing Shiatsu massage at the door. ($10 US for 15 mins or $20 for 30 mins or you can arrange a full hour massage outside of the restaurant – it might sound pricey for Mexico however Alan happened to know a friend of the friend I was travelling with who lives on the island Caye Caulker of the coast of Belize (go Tsunami Adventures for snorkelling, cave tubing, zip lining and Mayan ruin tours if you make it to Belize) Anyway, the friend told us that Alan used to be flown to Hollywood and was a masseur to the stars. He is definitely worth the money and usually goes over the set time anyway!) And my last hot tip for contacts in this region is the awesome, amazing and knowledgeable guide, Raul. Ask for him at Don Mucho’s. He can take you on a guided tour of the Palenque ruins. I have not hired a guide personally before at any ruins I have been to however I did ask Margarite’s daughter if there were any archeologists about El Panchan as they do hang there and she said there weren’t at the moment but to ask for Raul. So I did and he came and met with me and my friend and then that night we arranged to come back and met the next morning to go to the ruins. We all had breakfast at Don Mucho’s together before heading off. Raul has the best information and is just awesome to hang with. We have stayed in contact. Say hi to him from me! We only planned to stay for 2 nights but ended up staying for 3. You can easily fall in to the charm of this place and the people. I plan to go back next year to write more books in my Celeste and Nick adventure series. I might stay for a couple of lifetimes! Thanks for this blog Dennis. I came across it when I googled El Panchan to make sure that I spelt the name correctly for my status update for Facebook where I am wishing to share my wonderful experience here with friends. It is not only the people and the amazing jungle setting, the energy at Palenque is special too! For anyone that has experienced chi energy flow in the palms of their hands brought on my certain excercise in Chi Qong for example, try just feeling and seeing the blotchyness of the palms when you are just sitting within the temple at the Palenque ruins. Raul, will tell you about it! Just go and experience this place!

  2. I am budget traveler and a woman and age is 59 old years.
    How much price is for 3 night´s and include bleakfast and tranceport-price ?
    I have not much money for jobless….am free every day but just save a money in bank for my interestings things…
    My trip start 29.4.2012 from Helsinki of Finland to CancunAirport and go to Playa del Carmen 2night´s..3nights 1.5-4.5.2012 Valladlid for Itza, not yet book after that want visit Palenque and Cuba if possible of my budget and body-energia but am not sure for it .
    Have to return to Finland from CancunAirport at 12.5.12 ,
    Please tell me your hotel price for singl and day-tour(if you have or know ) .

    Best regards
    Teruyo

    • Thank you for reading the blog, but I only wrote about the place. You will have to use the information I gave to contact them directly.

  3. Always enjoy your posts about this area of Mexico! Does Margarita and Ed’s Hotel have a website where we can get more info on it….rates, pics, etc? Thanks for any information you can provide. Keep writing.

    • Thank you so much for the compliment! I have tried to talk her into a website, they don’t have internet in the Panachan and she generally couldn’t be bothered when i last talked to her. I have scanned in her business card here.Margarita's Card

        • Thanks Dennis for your quick response to my inquiry…I really appreciate it and for taking the time to scan in the info about the hotel. You live in San Cristobal is that correct? How do you like this town? No hurry on responding or nothing lengthy is required I am just curious. My wife and I were two weeks from heading to Oaxaca City to live where we had rented an apartment but we had to go back to the Seattle area to help our daughter. So perhaps in the near future we will make it down there. Thanks again.

          • We love San Cristobal, it’s not as warm as other parts of Mexico, but the life is good. I’ll do a San Cristobal de las Casas blog post next, in honor of your question.

          • I just added her business card and phone number to the blog post. If you go at any time that isn’t peak, odds are fairly good she will have a room if you just show up, but no guarantees. Thanks for reading Asta!

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