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Maya Ruins > Tonina


Tonina Hours: 8:00-5:00

Admission fee of $46 pesos

To get to Tonina: Access is via Federal Highway 199 and then turning West on highway 218. There were sufficient signs that we were able to find our way. It is better to pass through the town of Ocosingo and then make a left at a round-a-bout just before the Gas station (if you are coming from Palenque). the drive from Palenque is about 3-4 hours depending on whether or not you get behind slow vehicles.

Tonina is too far to see in a single day from Mahahual. It is better seen on a day trip from San Cristobal or Palenque. There is a decent hotel in the town of Ocosingo on the highway. There is not much to see in Ocosingo outside of Tonina. The market is busy and crowded and there are a few good restaurants in the square.

Tonina Google Map


It is hard to appreciate the grandeur and scale of Tonina in a picture. The scale of the complex built into the mountain side can only be experienced in person. Better yet, you may end up having the place to yourself and the archeologists working on the site. The only downside is it's location, making it only viable in conjunction with a visit to the city of San Cristobal de las Casas or Palenque.

Tonina Model

Tonina has a very beautiful museum full of artifacts found at the site. Included in the museum is a model of the layout. You can see that all the temples have been built into a hillside. The layout of the rooms and buildings can be maze-like as you explore them, looking for little treasures or newly uncovered stuccos. Most of the buildings shown at the left have been uncovered.

The museum includes a beautiful lid adorned with the chocolate god. One can only assume that this was at one time on top of a large vessel of chocolate.

Chocolate God

Active site


Tonina is an active archaeological site. Just when you think it can't get any better, you see Archaeologists working in a corner uncovering beautiful work. There are stucco carvings in several places in beautiful condition. This one looks like it will some day be spectacular when it is finished. This picture was taken in June of 2012.

Satellite view of Tonina where you can see the temple complexes. At the time I added this Google map, the marker for Tonina was incorrect, off by a couple of kilometers, so don't get confused if you see it over in the trees instead of in the Ruin itself. .

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updated 27-Jun-2012



Headless prisoner
Tonina captive

Tonina includes a very nice museum, in fact, it seems a little TOO NICE for such an out of the way Mayan Ruin. The museum is only in Spanish.

Headless prisoner

The lovely two story museum at Tonina has a definite theme. There are many remarkable pieces with extraordinary artistry. However, many of the sculptures are of captors or beheaded individuals. According the museum, the statues were made, then ceremonially beheaded and the heads taken elsewhere in the ruin. The figure to the right is not a prisoner, but the two above are. You can see their arms are bound behind their backs.
Tonina view



The picture at the left was taken only a couple of levels up the ruin, but you see even here that the view is expansive.

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