Travelling as a couple truly tests a relationship, as it would also have a similar affect on a non romantic relationship.
On the 5th of November at 1:30 am we took a bus (590 MXN/ R 433 pp) from Bacalar to Palenque and didn’t speak to each other the whole way, haha! I think at this point Frederik and I were so tired of constantly being in each other’s space, we started arguing about everything and anything. As I’ve mentioned in one of my previous posts, we have been in a long distant relationship for over 4 years, so really, seeing each other constantly is still very new to us.
Either way, we are learning a lot about each other now and I believe that when you’re travelling with someone else, chances are you grow together and make your bond even stronger or things don’t work out and you separate. We’re all good just in case you’re wondering, LOL.
Anyway, lets get to the topic…
At 9 am we arrived in Palenque, a town in Chiapas Province. Chiapas is a place for outdoor lovers because it offers amazing waterfalls, lakes, ruins and plenty more. It is also more authentic and less touristy. This, along with the change in climate and scenery can make it feel like a completely different country compared to Quintana Roo. Chiapas contains Mexico’s largest population of indigenous people.
Fun Fact: There are 68 languages spoken in Mexico, and here I was thinking that South Africa was overdoing it with 11.
Although smaller than Chichen Itza, this site is just as impressive. The ancient Mayan city of Palenque is one of Mexico’s most breathtaking archaeological parks surrounded by lush tropical forest and jungle. This site has a serene, mystical atmosphere.
The builders used plaster to obtain a smooth finish, unlike the usual Mayan tooled-limestone construction.
Entrance to the park costs 70 MXN (about R 50). If you want an in depth understanding of the ruins, you can hire a guide from outside the entrance of the ruins near where you buy your tickets. Palenque is open seven days a week from 8 am until 5 pm.
Getting to Palenque Ruins
- Day Tour: The tour agency we booked with was Trans Tulum. Our tour included transportation, pickup and drop off at our hotel, and entrance fees for both waterfalls (Agua Azul and Misol Ha). Please visit the Trans Tulum website to see their tour options and pricing.
- Collectivo: Most people take collectivos to the ruins from Palenque.
- Bus: Alternatively, you can take a bus to Palenque from any major city or town in the area. A popular place to arrive from is San Cristóbal de las Casas (Note: There are also day tours offered from there to visit the ruins).
- Car: Another option is to rent a car if you prefer to drive to Palenque on your own. This would obviously be a more expensive option compared to the ones above.
- Plane: You can also fly to Palenque from Mexico City, Tuxtla Guttierez and Cancun.
Palenque is a real Mexican town, it is not a tourist town nor is it a party town. It is a small rural town, where most tourists find themselves while making their way to San Cristóbal de las Casas from Quintana Roo (which was the case for us). We stayed in Palenque for 5 days, until the 9th of November.
We tend to book most of our accommodation through Airbnb and this time it was no different. We had a small apartment with enough space for the two of us. Honestly, there was nothing negative to say about it. Until…
One evening we noticed some ants creeping up from the wall behind our bed.
(Please note – I hate insects, like really – they give me the creeps. Even butterflies, they may look pretty but also make my skin itchy).
Before we knew it there were about a million ants all over the wall and on our bed (Oh no! I’m starting to itch as I type this). Our host came to see what all the fuss was about. From a distance I watched her strip the bed apart and I am sure she used the whole can of anti-bug spray to try kill these buggers. Not only was I scratching my whole body at this point, but I was coughing from all the fumes.
The funny part is after she cleaned up and changed the bedding, she expected us to continue sleeping on the same bed. She was so confused that a girl from Africa is scared of ants, she said: “Are there no ants in Africa? You should be used to them”. Uhm… Hahaha! I told her I had a problem with them being on the bed and in a space where I would expect to be clean and pest free.
Luckily she had another apartment available and we changed units that same evening.
Agua Azul (Blue Water) Waterfalls
This was by far my favourite part of the day trip. Agua Azul has to be the most beautiful waterfall I have seen, it certainly is my definition of paradise – watch the video below.
Numerous cascades of water flow from the Xantil River and are all interconnected and follow one another into wide ponds. The water has an amazing blue colour because of its high mineral content.
There are several restaurants and small vendors selling all kinds of hand craft. We first had lunch for about 70 MXN (R 50) pp, then explored the waterfalls while sipping on fresh coconut water. I really enjoyed cooling off in the large natural pools. The water is crystal clear. The trees surrounding this area made this location amazing and guess what? We had this whole place to ourselves. Romantic, right?
Misol Ha Waterfall
About 20 km from the Palenque ruins is another beautiful waterfall approximately 30 m high. This is a popular stopping point for travellers taking tours to the above Agua Azul waterfalls.
After exploring the town of Palenque and the surrounding ruins and waterfalls, we headed to San Cristóbal de las Casas which was our last stop in Mexico. I will be telling you all about our experience on my next post, so stay tuned.
Thank you for reading,