"Palenque's distinctive architectural style is immediately apparent. Despite its use of the block masonry and corbel-vaulted rooms typical of most Classic-period lowland sites, the multiple doorways, sloping upper façades, and low, open-work roof combs--all decorated with stucco relief panels--give Palenque's architecture a delicate and serene character.
By contrast with the vertical thrust of the lofty, dominating temples at Tikal, Palenque's structures are in harmony with the green hills that rise behind them like a backdrop."
Robert Sharer, The Ancient Maya, p. 278
To the North, a broad coastal plain stretches away to the Gulf of Mexico.