36 pages. 2018 Update. Everywhere in this route is safe to drive - with one major exception. By no means take the road from Palenque to San Cristobal de las Cases. It's okay to go from Palenque to Agua Azul, but no farther. Ocosingo in particular is sketchy.
There is a toll road NW of Villahermosa. Take it.
These are the two of the least-visited states in Mexico, but the most diverse. You'll see numerous native peoples who still practice the old crafts in pottery, painting, weaving and all the artistic crafts. You can experience unspoiled beaches (at least in comparison to Cancun or Baja). You can hike mountains galore. You can swim near waterfalls or visit ancient ruins in the middle of the jungle.
Explore the Mayan world of Chiapas. Besides less crowded but impressive ruins, everything is more natural, less manicured, than in Yucatan. Natural beauty abounds. Waterfalls, including fabled Agua Azul, dot the landscape. Artists are agog in San Cristobal de las Casas for the unique light that has inspired many paintings.
Indigenous people still practice the old ways of dress and customs, so there are opportunities to see the Mexico of long ago. The Lagunas de Montebello region is noted for its 59 lakes of different colors and Alpine-like setting. Nearby are more waterfalls and beautiful natural beauty.
For the truly adventurous, there are the little-visited ruins of Yaxchilán & Bonampak along the Guatemala border on the Rio Usumacinta. Rafting and kayaking trips are offered there. I don't provide a roadlog for these spots, but they are on my map. It is probably best to go with a tour from Palenque.