Set on a wooded hillside with good views of the surrounding area from its highest points, Tenam Puente, like nearby Chinkultic, was probably a western outpost during the height of the Maya civilization, dating back to the same period as its neighbor, 600AD.
Tenam Puente is derived from the Nauhua meaning “fort” or “fortified place”; The area covers about 2 square kilometers (about one and a quarter square miles) and was an ancient civic ceremonial center.
The most important group of buildings are the Acropolis, at the highest point of this site, offering good views across the area. The Acropolis buildings are built around a series of patios and plazas, conforming with other similar Maya architectures.
Although the site dates back to 600AD, evidence suggests that it was occupied during the early post classic period (900-1200AD), after which it was abandoned; the reasons for which are still unclear.
It will take you about two hours to see the buildings and enjoy the sights from the highest buildings in Tenam Puente.
As you enter the site, there is a large, open expanse of land—today it has been grassed over—and within this you’ll see some of the ball courts and ancient ruins of Tenam Puente.
Walking past the large open area in the middle, you reach what looks from a distance like a brick wall; it is in fact a steep pyramid like structure that acts as a staircase to the site’s next level.
Once at the top, you’ll find yourself under the cover of trees which gives respite from the heat and intensity of the sun. The site’s two main buildings and temple are up here. Climbing to the top of the largest structure will give you excellent views of the surrounding landscape and other buildings on the site.
By Air: The closest airport to Tenam Puente is Tuxtla Gutierrez. For detailed information about flights and flying, see the Mexperience guide to Air Travel in Mexico.
By Car: The closest main town to Tenam Puente is Comitan; from there, follow highway 190 for about 10km to reach this archaeological site. There are no regular buses traveling in this area, so we suggest you rent a car to be able to explore the region properly. If you don’t want to rent a car, you can negotiate a price with a local taxi driver to take you to Tenam Puente from Comitan. Also see additional information about Driving in Mexico and Mexico’s Toll Roads on Mexperience.
Car Rental: To explore the local area around Tenam Puente and Chiapas, consider renting a car locally. Having your own car will give you more flexibility than using public transport options and, in some cases, offer you access to places which are otherwise difficult to visit without the use of a car. Read our guide to Car Rental in Mexico to learn what you need to know about car rental in Mexico and connect to the Mexperience Travel Center to reserve your Rental Car.
Taxi: It’s an easy and relatively inexpensive taxi ride from Comitan; for a tip the taxi driver will wait while you enjoy the site and take you back to Comitan afterwards. See also Traveling by Taxi in Mexico.
Opening Days & Times: 7 Days a week; 8 am to 5 pm. Modest admission charges apply and there are concessions for students, children and seniors. On Sundays, admission is free for Mexican citizens and foreign residents (with proof of residency).
Photography & Video: A permit is required if you want to use a tripod to take photographs at the archaeological site. A small fee is made for the use of hand-held video equipment. Read the section on Mexperience Mexico Essentials about Video & Photography at archaeological sites in Mexico.
Ideal Clothing & Footwear: You’ll need a good, comfortable pair of walking shoes with a non-slip sole. Wear light clothes—it gets very hot and humid here. Insect repellent is also very useful as this site is located in the jungle. See Climate, below.
Travel Insurance: We recommend that you are adequately covered with travel medical insurance and/or travel assistance insurance when you are visiting Mexico. Read the Mexperience guide to Travel Insurance in Mexico for full details and links to specialist insurance suppliers.
Major Cities: Mexico City (Closest)
The local climate is similar to nearby Comitan. The lake district enjoys a temperate climate and clean, fresh mountain air. Evenings can be cool, as can winter months – so pack some warm clothes in case the weather becomes unsettled; which can happen around here. Rain can also be a feature, so pack a waterproof jacket and hat.
Weather & Climates in Mexico
Learn more about the weather and climates through the seasons and regions by connecting to the Mexperience guide about Weather and Climates in Mexico
Mexico in your inbox
Our free newsletter about Mexico brings you a monthly round-up of recently published stories and opportunities, as well as gems from our archives.