After spending a few day sin Oaxaca having the best carne asada ever we (Erica, Shaun from Over Yonderlust and I) made our way too Veracruz. We spent our 3 days there being beach bums and enjoying the free AC our hotel room came with. We knew we had ruins, rivers and waterfalls to see in Palenque and were excited to move on. We made our way to the hotel and this time we were not lucky enough to get a room with AC for free.
I’ll go head and get this out of the way. The 3 nights we spent in Palenque we literally spent them lying in bed with all windows open, ceiling fan on blast and in our underwear. Even with all that it was still unbearable, we would wake up drenched in sweat and have to shower several times a day.
Now that you know how we spent our night let’s get to the good stuff. We knew the following day we wanted to spend it visiting the ruins. For that we learned we did not need to book through any agencies. We just had to wake up early get in one of the collectivos pay $10pesos (less than US$1) and get off at the ruins. Once at the ruins you pay your entrance fee and you are set to go. So we did just that the following day and arrived at the Palenque Ruins early.
We made our way through the ruins and of course like always (at least in my case) were left in awe. My first ruins the Copan Ruins were nothing compared to these. Even though the site of the Palenque ruins is much smaller than Tikal or Copan the detail and structures were huge and impressive.
A brief history: “Palenque was a Maya city in southern Mexico that flourished in the 7th century. The Palenque ruins date back to 100 BC to its fall around 800 AD. After its decline it was absorbed into the jungle, which is made up of cedar, mahogany, and sapodilla trees, but has been excavated and restored and is now a famous archaeological site attracting thousands of visitors” (source –wikipedia).
It took us about 3 hours to make our way through the entire park. We spent about 30 minutes of that sitting a top of one of the structures that looked over the entire park (photo here). It was such an amazing view that left us in awe and imagining what this city must have been like in its prime.
After an entire morning at the ruins we were left with a free afternoon. We knew we couldn’t spend it in the hotel or in the streets because the heat was unbearable. We put on our swim trunks and were on the hunt for a hotel with a pool. Come to find out most of them would charge or not allow us at all. So we asked a few locals where we could go and everyone told us to take a cab up the road about 5 minutes to Nututun. So we made our way there it was filled with tons of people. Nututun is a very shallow river that is clean and with very cold waters. It was just what we needed we spent the remainder of the day just sitting in the river talking and staying cool.
We had booked our tour for Misol-Ha and Agua Azul before going to the river the previous day. I had heard about Agua Azul from many backpackers and was told I cannot miss it. I had seen pictures and postcards and was sure to ask the agent if that is how it was going too look like. He answered yes and that we were lucky because in about a week or two rain season would start and they will turn mud brown. Our first stop was the 35m Misol-Ha waterfall. I was relieved we visited this waterfall in a group because last time I saw a waterfall I was held at gunpoint. The waterfall was amazing. I had never seen one that big. I also liked that a paved sidewalk walked all the way behind the waterfall to the other side.
From there we made our way to Agua Azul. We got there and I could not control my excitement. It was truly amazing and fucking blue. It was a shade of blue I had never seen water in before. We got there and saw lots of people swimming at the base of the waterfalls, but were told we can keep walking up to find our own oasis. Sure enough after walking for a bit we found a part of the river that no one was in. We spent a good while there swimming around and enjoying all the waterfalls surrounding us.
After a while though we wanted more so walked backed down where we had seen people swinging from a rope. On our way down we saw people diving in from a mini cliff made by the waterfalls so we stopped there to enjoy some dives, jumps and even toe touches into the water. We then finally made it to the swing rope and had a ball doing that. We had our own little audience cheering us on and it was all captured on video. As soon as Erica from Over Yondlust edits and makes the video I will link to it here. After a few hours it was time to go back.
The 3 days spent in Palenque were some of my favorite and most memorable of the whole trip. Even though we spent the nights being miserable in the heat we had some amazing times during the day that made it all worth it. If you are planning a trip to southern Mexico I would recommend coming here.