This is a translated post from my 2007 blog:
Wow, I did not think this city was going to be like this. The name “Palenque” does not remind us much of nature, so I was very surprised when I realized that it is a city in the middle of the jungle. So good, I LOVE NATURE.
Aah phew, having unveiled what I felt coming here, let’s start the history,
Well, as backpackers pointed out, we stayed in a place called “El Panchan”, which is 5km from the center of Palenque. It’s a hotel, but almost like a small town, with restaurants and various types of accommodation (cabins, camping). And with lots of green, trees, even a creek. Amazing. We arrived here at 6 am, set up our tent (yes we are camping!) and went to have coffee before heading to the ruins. Then a Mexican from Yucatan, who is living here, invited us to go to a waterfall before we went to the ruins. We went, took a freshwater shower to energize the day and went to see the 1st Mayan ruins of our trip. Of course, it is inevitable to think of Macchu Pichu at this time, and I sincerely thought that no further ruin was going to impress me after having seen the Inca city in Peru. I WAS WRONG. UGLY. I was very impressed with what I saw.
The ruins are also called Palenque. And I just googled “El Panchan”, still exists. HIGHLY recommend these two places.
A large Mayan city with gigantic temples built entirely in harmony with nature. The grass reminded me of Macchu Pichu. How much better everything would be if instead of asphalt everything was well-kept grass? The main difference I noticed from the Inca culture to the Maya was that the Mayans must have had more divisions of classes, and so the high temples from where the emperors could see the whole city. The best. Great indeed. LOVED IT!
We stayed about 3 hours exploring the city and, as it happened in Macchu Pichu, we just left because we got hungry.
Later, having a beer in our “resort”, the same Mexican who took us to the waterfall gave us a talk about the Maya religion and it is very similar to spiritism, with spiritual plans but with a stronger belief. He said that the Mayan temples had several levels because spirits would go through those levels and see the other lives the person has had. Cool, huh?
And there was one more thing…
We woke up early and went on a tour of Aguas Claras, Agua Azul and another waterfall that forgot the name X-Mah, something like that. The first stop was in this waterfall, beautiful, the giant fall. I was the only one of the group that went in the water.
Ice cold, but to start the day well. Then we went to Aguas Claras, but the water was not so clear, as before we arrived in Palenque it rained for 4 days, so the water was still a little cloudy. Beautiful place, but we were a little disappointed because it wasn’t as blue as the pictures. And to finish we went to Agua Azul and we stayed there for 3h, swimming and having a little sun (and a beer, of course) !! The place is beautiful, kind of like a mini Iguacu Falls, but with smaller falls where you can swim.