Sat 3-Sun 4 Nov - Day 8 to 9 - Palenque

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November 4th 2018
Published: November 10th 2018
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Sat 3-Sun 4 Nov - Day 8 to 9 - Palenque
Next we took a scenic and lengthy bus journey to Palenque. We passed through beautiful views as we travel for nine hours to the town and ruins of Palenque, famous for the tombs found filled with riches in honour of the renowned Lord Pakal and the Red Queen. We stopped several times, n one occasion buying a whole pineapple cut up. It was so sweet.
Arriving around 6.30pm we immediately noticed that the town was very small, and the main road was lined with hotels and restaurant, so very touristy. This town was mainly for the ruins.
After dropped our bags into a lovely Hotel Xibalba which was a large a/c room with a sizeable bathroom, we all met across the road for a Mexican dinner.
The next morning after a wholesome breakfast, in 2 minibuses we drove for30 minutes to the site. The local guide we had was very precise and informative with his English. He definitely had a passion for his work. This archaeological site houses more than 200 structures including a series of hilltop temples, towers, tombs and pyramids surrounded by steamy jungle. The most important constructions, which date back to the Classical period (400-700 AD) are the Temple of the Inscriptions, the Crypt, the Palace complex, the Temple of the Cross, the Temple of the Foliated Cross, and the Temple of the Sun. Decorated with elaborate friezes, sculptures and inscriptions, Palenque is unquestionably one of the most important Mayan archaeological sites.
Paths cutting through the jungle lead to various temples and the gorgeous waterfalls, where over time, strange figures have taken shape in the rock formations. There are many 100s of unexcavated ruins enveloped in jungle. The old city is massive and one of the most impressive Mayan ruins we had seen so far. Some say that it is even more impressive than Chichén Itzá which is one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, which we will be seeing in several days.
We also learned about their mathematical system (based on the number 20) and their calendar (based on 20-day months). The Mayan civilization also squashed babies’ heads with wood presses to make their heads cone-shaped!!!!! There were several very impressive sarcophaguses where they found the Lord Pakal and the Red Queen dressed in their finery. He died in his 80s and she in
Departing PalenqueDeparting PalenqueDeparting Palenque

This is how Pam travels on this trip
her 70s.
We then drove back to Palenqua and got ready for our optional afternoon trip to the fantastic Agua Azul Nature Reserve with more than 200 small waterfalls, and the incredible Misol-Ha waterfall with a 30 metre drop (optional half day tour includes both these falls) Tour by minivan to Agua Azul and Misol Ha waterfalls (350 MXP each). We first travelled 45 minute to Misol-Ha where I walked behind the impressive waterfall and into the entrance of the cave. The path as very well developed so it could cope well with the many visitors to the site.
After driving another hour through mountainous countryside, we arrived at Agua Azul. One the way was noted the clever roadside sellers of cheese and fruit, who had built their own speed humps to force all the vehicles to slow down and therefore had more chance of stopping to buy their produce.
As soon as we arrived, the group wanted lunch and the driver advised us on the restaurant. Tom & I had bought a chicken roll at the ruin’s museum so only had a drink. Tom had an extra soup. While they were eating, I decided to do a quick reconnaissance. Wow, and wow again. It was just like a mini Iguazu Falls in Zambia, Africa. There were over 20 cascades spread over a large area. After the major cascades, the river split to several smaller rivers/creeks.
I returned to the restaurant where everyone had finished lunch. Tom and I walked downstream first to see the smaller creeks and then followed the river upstream. We were awe inspired. All the way up was a well-developed path edged with stalls selling souvenirs and food, fresh fruit and juices as well as the usual cerveza (beer) which we always enjoyed. Around every corner was another cascade, another lookout and a roaring river (as it was the start of the wet season). Many photos were taken (enjoy) so I hope they capture what we saw.
We saw people swimming in some of the safer pools but even though we were prepared for swimming we decided to walk down the long path after we had reached the pinnacle of the lookouts. We sat down for a local beer and several queso tortillas which had cheese inside.
Just as we were finishing, along came the rest of the group. We walked the last bit of the track to meet our minivan driver at 5.00pm. It took around 1 ½ hours to get back to Palenque. After a quick shower, we met up with Sandra & Terry for a mojito and margarita before dinner. It was our most expensive dinner for our whole trip as we had some lovely Chilean red with our beef medallions and fish. When we got back to the hotel Terry decided to get his bottle of whisky from Scotland to share with some of our group who were sitting outside our ground floor rooms (the single people’s rooms were upstairs). As I don’t like whisky, and as they were all outside our room, I decided to pack my bag ready for our departure to Mérida to next day.

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