Palenque – Of Maya Ruins and Waterfalls
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 consists of 500 small waterfalls, that are between two and 30 meters high.
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.
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.
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 is a 35 meters waterfall that has an impressive width in rain season. When I was there it wasn’t very wide.
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?
From Misol-Ha it’s only 30 kilometers to 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.
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.
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.
Next to the temples of the Cross group there are more ruins.
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.
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.
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!
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