22 Feb Down time in Palenque
Exploring the Ancient Ruins of Palenque
After exploring the Pyramids in Tula and the Sun- and Moonpyramid in Teotihuacan, we are excited to visit more ancient sites in Mexico . This time though, we are heading into the jungle. In the morning, we set out to find the collectivo to the ancient ruins. Collectivos are small minibuses and for 25 Pesos each, we can fetch a ride to the archeological site, which sits about 10 km outside from the center of town.
The collectivo stop is easy to find. Besides getting very nice and clear direction from the hotel staff, we also have plenty other collectivo drivers point us to the right minibus.
The archeological site is also located within a national park. This means when we arrive, we have to pay for two separate tickets. One to visit the ruins, which is only a day pass. Another to enter the National Park, which theoretically allows us to hike in the forest for a couple days.
Shortly after entering the archeological site, we encounter a few local guides. Everyone is telling us they are able to give us a special tour in the jungle to see more ancient ruins…of course it is all for a special price.
Since we just entered the archeological site, we decide to wait on their offer and wander through the ancient pyramid complex on our own.
During our exploration, we also meet a young couple, Sandra and Denny, two Germans on a year long Sabatical.
Together, we decide to go on a hike through the jungle, to find some of the hundreds of other ancient ruins still hiding among the lush vegetation.
Not sure if we actually need a guide for our adventure, we head toward the office and museum area. There, a worker shows us a map of a short hiking trail through the jungle. He assures us, that it is totally fine to go hike on our own.
From what we gather, this is more than likely the same route most of the guides take as well.
Although, it is hot and steamy, we have a good time trekking through the forest.
We even hear some howler monkeys in the distance, unfortunately, they are too far away for us to see.
After hitting a dead end on our path, we turn around and follow a smaller, more hidden path, which leads to a small hidden temple.
It feels like we are on a small treasure hunt. We check out the structure and continue on up and down a narrow path through the thorny forest. Eventually, we come to what seems another dead end. Yet, to our surprise a guided tour with all barefoot participants comes drudging down the hill. The leader says it is a dead end and everybody heads back into the direction, we just came from.
Since it is getting late, and we are all hot and hungry, we follow suit and start our way back to visit the Museum, before catching a collectivo back into town.
Relaxing day at the Cascades of Roberto Barrios
After a nice evening out with Denny and Sandra, we decide to have another down-day.
Initially, we wanted to go see the Agua Azul cascades. However, after reading some reports and talking to some people, we found about the Cascades of Roberto Barrios. They are supposed to be just as beautiful, but with only a fraction of the visitors.
So in the morning, we head out to another collectivo stand and pay 50 Pesos each for an hour ride to the the waterfalls.
Once there, we encounter a few locals selling Mango on a stick….a perfect snack in this heat.
A little bit further down the dirt road is the park. There is a small building with toilets and changing areas. As we walk further, we see a waterfall. Further down another and then another… All the waterfalls are connected by small pools of water. Some appear to have a strong current while others are very calm.
Most of the water cascades down over smooth rocks, which have been polished by the water over millennia .
Today, the smooth rocks have turned into waterslides for whomever wants to dare the plunge down into the various pools….but not before donning the required swim vest.
We head to several pool areas, before we decide which one is our favorite.
We like sitting by the waterfall and occasionally taking a dip in the water. The current is surprisingly strong, until we find the right spot to relax in the water.
After a nice relaxing day at the cascades, we head back to our collectivo, but not before buying a few bracelets made by the local kids.
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