Palenque – Of Maya Ruins and Waterfalls

Palenque – Of Maya Ruins and Waterfalls

Palenque – Of Maya Ruins and Waterfalls

One of the numerous Maya ruins in Mexico is Palenque. I stayed there for three days with my dear blogger colleague Melanie of Good morning world and the support of Shoestring. With modules it was super easy to put our trip together and had an awesome time.

We came from San Cristóbal de las Casas on a cold Wednesday morning, to see on our way to Palenque the waterfalls Agua Azul and Misol-Ha. The ride with the van takes much longer than you would think becuase there are so many curves that it’s not possible to go fast. It took us around four hours to go 160 kilometers. If you get car sich easily don’t forget your pills or chewing gums.

Agua Azul

Agua Azul consists of 500 small waterfalls, that are between two and 30 meters high.

Agua Azul großers Felsen

Agua Azul Felsen mit Wasserfall.

Wasserfall in Agua Azul

You should preferably come here in the dry season because the water is usually brown during rain season. Otherwise it’s this beautiful intense turquoise greenish blue thanks to minerals coloring the water.

Agua Azul

Agua Azul Spiegelung

Agua Azul mit Ausblick

Between the waterfalls there are pools in different sizes in some of which you can have a nice and refreshing swim. Be sure though before going in the water that the pool is suited for swimming. There have been several deaths in the past.

Along the streams and waterfalls there are vendors for souvenirs and clothes, restaurants and people selling coconuts and fruits. Kids selling fruits are walking around to ask you if you want some pineapple.

Verkaufsstände Agua Azul

During high season it can be more than crowded so prepare to be waiting around 10 minutes till it’s your turn for the photo position. Unfortunately this is kind of destroying the whole atmosphere because there is no enjoying the silence next to a waterfall or such thing. It’s a huge tourist attraction.

Misol-Ha

Misol-Ha is a 35 meters waterfall that has an impressive width in rain season. When I was there it wasn’t very wide.

Misol Ha

Seems like it’s not possible to see both: a wide waterfall in Misol-Ha and turquoise water in Agua Azul…

It takes three minutes to go from the parking lot with an extremely expensive restaurant to the big pool, Misol-Ha is flowing in. Probably you will have to wait again to get to the photo position.

Behind the waterfall there is path leading to a small cave – that is packed with people, needless to say, right?

Tunnel hinter dem Wasserfall Misol Ha

From Misol-Ha it’s only 30 kilometers to Palenque.

Palenque

Palenque is a archeologial site with Maya ruins in the middle of the rainforest. The city was built on terraces and around 95% is still buried under the forest that grew over the pyramids and temples.

Maya Ruinen in Palenque

You can do a day trip from San Cristóbal and see Agua Azul, Misol-Ha and Palenque in only one day. Obviously that means you don’t have a lot of time at the different places what you could regret when you’re in Palenque. You should take at least three to four hours for the archeological site.

Ruinen durch die Büsche in Palenque

Palenque Ruinen

I was two and a half hours there but I could have stayed the whole day. I only left because I was late and the site was closing.

The Temple of the Inscriptions and the palace right on the other side are probably the most famous ruins of Palenque. The group is the center of the whole site.

Ruine in Palenque

Pyramiden in Palenque

Next to the temples of the Cross group there are more ruins.

Pyramide durch die Bäume

The path at some point is leading you into the forest on your right. Just go there if you have already seen the rest of the site. That’s the way to one of the exits and there is no way back.

A staircase is leading you to the lower terrace. The ruins there are still covered in parts and it almost seems like ruins and nature are one.

Ruinen in der Idylle Palenque

Next to the temples there are streams and small waterfalls. If you close your eyes there you can almost imagine how it must have been 600 years ago.

Idylle in Palenque

Brücke in Palenque

Idylle durch die Büsche Palenque

I would have loved to stay there for hours listening to the sounds of the forest.

Have you ever been to Palenque? Or to another Maya ruin that you liked as much as I liked this one? Tell me about it and leave me a comment!

 

Yours Barbara

Oaxaca – Two Days in the Colorful City in Mexico’s Mountains

Oaxaca – Two Days in the Colorful City in Mexico’s Mountains

Oaxaca – Two Days in the colorful City in Mexico’s Mountains

If you are going to the South of Mexico you shouldn’t miss Oaxaca. You can easily take the night bus from San Cristóbal or Palenque.

After my tour to all the Maya ruins I still had four days until my flight to Colombia and had to chose between Mexiko City, Aguascalientes and Oaxaca. In Aguascalientes there is a friend of mine living that I hadn’t seen in over six years. Nevertheless it wasn’t difficult for me to exclude this destination. It would have been too far away and too expensive for only four days.

The decision between Mexico City and Oaxaca was way more difficult. I had just been to San Cristóbal, Antigua de Guatemala and Valladolid so I didn’t really want to see another colonial city. The main reason why I decided in the end to skip Mexico’s capital and go to Oaxaca was  Hierve el Agua. Read about what it is and how I liked it:

Oaxaca

The city itself is pretty small. You can visit the most important squares and churches in some hours. But it’s really worth it! There is a reason why the Old Town was added to the list of Cultural World Heritage in 1987.

Oaxaca - Kirche am Zócolo im Sonnenuntergangshimmel

Oaxaca - Kirche am Zócolo im Sonnenuntergang

The streets are so beautiful that you will just want to wander around forever.

Oaxaca im Sonnenuntergang

Sonnenuntergang in Oaxaca durch einen Baum

On the main square, the Zócalo, there are big trees providing shadow from the burning sun. Under the arcades you can enjoy the atmosphere of the Old Town while having a coffee.

Am Zócolo in Oaxaca

Oaxaca Zócolo im Sonnenuntergang

 

On the main square there is always something going on – no matter if it’s day or night time. The events are not only for tourists. Locals have a lot of fun as well.

Tänzer in Oaxaca

Tänzer in Oaxaca

On the second day I finally did the short trip that brought me here. One of the stops was the Zapotec city Mitla:

Mitla

Mitla is a Zapotec city and the most important archeological site in the state of Oaxaca. The mosaic fretwork is making this placing so unique among all the other mesoamerican sites. The mosaics were made of finely cut and polished stone pieces. One was made of up to 100.000 pieces. That’s one of the reasons why this place became a  UNESCO World Heritage.

Ruinen in Mitla

Ruinen und Kakteen in Mitla

Although the site is pretty small it’s absolutely worth a quick visit.

Zapoteken Ruinen Mitla

In the Grand Hall of Columns (‘Salón de las columnas’) they found two tombs next to the six columns.

Saal der Säulen Mitla

After an one hour stay we went on to go to my Must See Hierve el Agua.

Hierve el Agua

The main reason for me to go to Oaxaca was Hierve el Agua, a natural rock formation resembling cascades of water. They are 70 Kilometer in the east of Oaxaca.

Wasserfall Hierve el Agua

Yes, you got that right: This photo shows rocks that look like a waterfall! There is no water at all in this picture… Crazy, right?

The rock formation is formes by springs. The water is over-saturated with different minerals but most important: calcium carbonate. The excess minerals are deposited on the rock as they spill over the cliff. That’s pretty much the same process in caves when stalactites are created.

As the water flows all the time out of the springs this process is ongoing.

Natürliche Pools Hierve el Agua

The pools were way smaller than I expected them to be. I admit that I was a bit disappointed expecting something huge – of the size of a baseball court.

I still liked it and if you are in the area you should not miss this! But: Be prepared that it’s a tiny attraction… Then you will have an amazing day!

Yours Barbara

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