Friday, December 23, 2011

Machetes and mushrooms in the Palenque jungle

Ok - didn't see either machetes or mushrooms in Palenque. But that was the what I had basically pictured from all the Palenque stories :D I'm sure both were available, no one just thought about offering either to me :)

We arrived 6 am to Palenque pueblo after a lovely (the buses are better than in Finland) but still tiresome night bus ride. An hour late but just in time to see the sun rise behind the jungle hills, all wrapped in strips of mist. We hadn’t manage to secure a hostel (I was travelling with a Chinese girl Yuxing) so took a taxi to an area close to the ruins in the jungle, El Panchan, which was supposedly a lovely place. And again, we were not disappointed. There were couple of hostels with many cabanas spread in the jungle and amongst them some restaurants and tour agencies. Took a walk on the paths around the different cabanas and saw a nice creek teeming with fish!



 

Our hostel was fantastic, Margarita´s and Ed´s cabanas, nice room with a bath. One thing was missing from the jungle: internet. For that I took a ride to the pueblo of Palenque. The village was actually in a way cute (not to stay but to visit, yes) and found all kinds of beautiful handcrafted items. Booked a ride to the ruins, waterfalls and San Cristobal for the following day, which meant that I would arrive there two days early – fantastic, some time to rest!


 In the jungle there was a lovely Italian – Mexican restaurant (Don Mucho’s). Excellent food! There were (evry night) two live bands and a fire show. I was really enjoying myself with some nice bands J The “guardian angel” flash light I got from my friends came in handy as there were parts on the road between the house and the restaurant that had no lighting whatsoever. But it was so lovely to walk back a see tons of stars twinkling brightly between the jungle canopee.



 In the morning I left to explore the Palenque ruins. Set in the middle of the jungle I didn’t expect anything that I hadn’t seen before here. But was really excite, I’d have to say I liked them more than Chichen Itza. I got to the ruins early, right after they opened at 8 but there was already a lot of people (well after 10 there was REALLY a lot of people) but that didn’t make me like the place any less. The ruins were scattered in a large area and there was some big big temples and palaces you could actually climb on top of!! The views were amazing!






 


 I walked all around the area – was nice that the jungle provided a lot of shade but it was still extremely hot and the humidity was really killing me. At 11 it was steaming!

After that my little tour continued to the Misol-Ha and Aguas Azul waterfalls. Misol-Ha is a tall waterfall and Aguas Azul is a long set of tens of waterfalls.
 


It’s almost like a little village there at Aguas Azul and there were tons of tourists and locals. But beautifull falls and you can swim there too.



At the transport to the waterfall I met some nice other travelers that told interesting things about my next stop, San Cristobal, so was excited to hop on the minivan to get there. That was maybe one the most interesting rides, through the jungle and the mountains. The driver was either getting a big tip if he made it to San Cristobal early or then he was a local rally driver because he was driving like mad! And they should call that the “road of the speedbump”, there was one literally every 10 meters I think. But no worries, made it through and somehow even maybe slept a moment on the ride.

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