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Palenque ruins & Agua Azul Waterfall February 25, 2012

overcast 25 °C

My favorite Mayan ruins thus far, are the incredible ruins of Palenque, Mexico, located in the mountainous state of Chiapas. We were staying in Playa del Carmen and purchased round trip bus tickets for $109 CAD. The bus departed at 9:55pm on Feb 24th, arriving in Palenque at 11am the following day. It was supposed to be a 12hr drive, but ended up being an extra 1hr long due to road construction. Night buses are the best cuz you dont waste any daylight traveling. The bus was more comfy than an airplane, as the seats reclined much farther. They played movies til about midnight (all of which were in Spanish), it had A/C (if you get cold easily like I do, pack a light blanket in your day pack), and a bathroom on board (with no toilet paper, so bring your own & some hand sanitizer). It stopped twice along the way for bathroom, smoke & food breaks. Upon arriving at the bus station in Palenque, just run across the street and wave down a collectivo (van packed with ppl). The destination will be written in marker on the windshield ... look for one that says 'Ruinas'. It only cost 10 pesos. The ride to the ruins is about 10min. It cost 28 pesos for admission. Theres vendors everywhere inside the site and outside selling food, h2o, souvenirs, etc. It was raining when we arrived so we bought rain ponchos to keep ourselves, day pack, and camera gear dry. But thankfully it stopped raining 10min later :) It was overcast all day, which was fine by me ... the last thing u want when climbing pyramids all day is hot weather!
There were approximately 8 pyramids, all of which can still be climbed (except one, which was under restoration). You can hire a guide prior to entering the site. We opted not to, as this was my 2nd time here. The 1st time I was here, I climbed every single pyramid, and my legs felt like jello by the end of the day! This time we climbed only the ones with the best views. The fact that they can still be climbed makes Palenque my fave over Chichen Itza or other ruins throughout the Yucatan! Most of the 'touristy' ruins are all roped off and u cant get within 5ft of them. So if you want the real thing ... climbing ancient Mayan ruins, seeing a tomb, pathways threw the rainforest, and even a river that leads to a small waterfall ... then go see Palenque! Its well worth the 12hr bus ride!!
Climbing the steep steps!
Me enjoying my fave view!
Next we climbed the largest pyramid ... the one in the photo above ... for the view in the photos below.
GIANT leaves ... I dont know what kinda plant / tree this was, but I loved the leaves :)
We spent about 2hrs here. But if you plan to climb every pyramid and make the hike to the waterfall, give yourself a full day. Instead of the small waterfall here, we opted to take a cab to the 7 tiered Agua Azul waterfall 1hr away. The drive is quite twisty-turny, so if you get carsick, take Gravol before heading out!
There were many lookout points along the easy walk to the top.
There were also a few calm areas for safe swimming.
My fave photo of the falls!
Dont worry about bringing lunch ... there are vendors selling everything from empanadas to fruit carved into flowers!
Thats it for the falls. We then headed back to town for our long (but well worth it) bus ride back to the Mayan Riviera.

Posted by ChantelleS 21:41 Archived in Mexico Tagged ruins mexico jungle waterfall mayan palenque

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