Saturday, December 16, 2017

Mexico Diary - Palenque and the Maya Ruins

Hey there and happy weekend, adventurers! Are you all enjoying your day off? I hope so!
I have a new post for you with more cool Mexico tips, this time I'm taking you to Palenque.

We didn't actually visit the town of Palenque but did a full-day tour of the Maya ruins and other sights in this area. We booked the tour right when we arrived in the morning, it was about 180 Pesos per person, so more or less 9€. The first stop was the archaeological site of Palenque, an ancient Maya city state in the middle of the jungle. It was only a 15-minute ride there and we paid about 100 Pesos or 5 Euros entrance fee. Those were the first Maya ruins we visited in Mexico, and the first ones ever in my whole life, so needless to say that I was amazed! The weather wasn't that great when we arrived but the sun quickly came out and brought the tropical heat. I loved exploring the ruins without any tour guide. We walked the whole site, climbed up the temples and palaces, took our time to admire the detailed sculptures and fine carvings and tried to imagine what this place looked like hundreds of years ago. It somehow gives you a chill walking through this 'city' thinking of the Maya culture, how they built these huge, impressive temples and palaces, how they lived back in the days and how they disappeared from one moment to the other. We spent about two and a half hours at the archaeological site and then headed to our next destination in the jungle.

Our second stop was the Misol-Ha waterfall, which was about half an hour away from the ruins. It was never on our list but included in the tour we booked. We spent about half an hour at the waterfall which is enough time because there's really not much else to see. The waterfall is about 35 metres high and really beautiful, however, I'm sure the water is even prettier when it doesn't rain the day before. There's a path that leads to the back of the waterfall from where you have an impressive view and can hear the roaring water even better. Watch out for your camera there, it will get really wet, haha! You can also swim in the waterfall. Since we already had some amazing waterfall baths in Costa Rica last year we decided to skip this one.

Agua Azul
Last but not least we went to see the Cascadas de Agua Azul, a series of waterfalls that are about one and a half hours away from Palenque. The waterfalls are part of a river and the water usually has an intense, blue color. Unfortunately it wasn't that blue the day we went because it rained the day before, bad luck. However, the waterfalls were impressive and the walk along the river was very nice. The only thing I didn't like about this place is that it's very commercialized, there are tents, cables and garbage everywhere along the river and people are trying to sell you souvenirs, food, drinks and more, at times being very annoying because they don't leave you alone. I understand that every country or city is commercializing sights and natural wonders, I do live on a very touristy island. However, I don't like when people are turning a beautiful place into an ugly tourist spot. I prefer seeing things in their natural, peaceful and calm surroundings without being molested by vendors. This was my experience, maybe other tourists appreciate that there are restaurants and stalls everywhere at Agua Azul.
So after spending about 2 or 3 hours at the waterfalls we headed back to Palenque's bus station which took about another hour and a half. We had some tacos for dinner, the best tacos al pastor I ate in Mexico, and took the bus to our next destination, Mérida, around 9pm.

Traveling by ADO Bus
Thinking of these nightly bus tours now I have to admit that it was a crazy adventure. We spent 3 nights in a row in buses running from one destination to the next one. We didn't have any room where we could drop of our stuff and relax for a few days, we were just checking out one new place after the other. This was our third and last night sleeping in the bus and we were so happy when we arrived the next day in Mérida where we took a hotel, had a nice shower, a long nap and good night's sleep in a comfy bed and could just chill. Taking night buses was definitely a great time saver and a very convenient and fast way to get from Mexico City to the Yucatan Peninsula allowing to see other cities in between. The ADO buses we took were very safe, comfortable, modern and not too expensive (between 15 and 30€). However, I'd recommend you to stay one night in between at a hotel to relax a little. My legs and feet were very swollen after these 3 nights we spent in buses because I couldn't put them up to let them rest a little after so many hours of walking and sitting. Please consider this in case you decide to spend a few nights in a bus!
I hope you liked this post and my travel tips, more are coming soon!

Yummy fresh cacao, we ate the pulp and took the beans home with us

1 comment:

  1. What an incredible place! I hope to visit Mexico some day. Those Maya ruins are so fascinating.

    Gorgeous looks like you had fun.

    Thanks for sharing!


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