This beautiful Mayan site enjoys a spectacular setting on the Mexican shore of the Río Usumacinta, on a densely forested horseshoe-shaped bend on the river. It was unquestionably the most important Usumacinta site in Mayan times.
At the height of its power, in the late 7th century A.D., it came to dominate much of the river’s trade and formed powerful alliances with neighboring sites as far away as Tikal  and Palenque . Sprawled throughout the site’s raised banks are several temples, plazas, and ball courts. Several palaces can be found along lower parts of the city.
Among the site’s most impressive features is the presence of superb artwork adorning several structures, including door lintels and stucco carvings on roof combs. Many of these have been removed to museums around the world. A long staircase leads from the plaza to Temple 33, Yaxchilán’s most impressive structure, featuring impressive carved lintels under its doorways.
The ruins are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission costs $3. You can pitch a tent at a campground overlooking the river if you wish to spend the night. The easiest way to get here is from the community of Bethel. The Posada Maya Bethel can arrange trips to Yaxchilán for about $100 round-trip.
A cheaper option is to book a trip on one of several boats heading downstream to Frontera Corozal . You can hire a boat from Frontera Corozal to the ruins for about $60 round-trip for up to four people. It’s about a 45-minute trip downstream to the site and an hour upstream on the return.