It must be recognized that a night bus is not the panacea of rest, so, after eight hours in the vehicle, we arrive at our destination, Palenque, a little made dust. Upon arriving at the station, the taxis asked us for 60 pesos to take us to The Panchan, but we had been told that on the sidewalk in front of the bus station the bus that took you there for 10 pesos stopped and we did so.
The Panchan it's kind of camping-hostal that is in the middle of a tropical forest that was reforested about 20 years ago. It is right at the entrance of Palenque National Park and it is a kind of refugehippy of travelers from all over the world. The bad thing about going there by bus is that I left you at the entrance of the enclosure, so we had to carry the suitcases dragging along the dirt floor for a long time.
The Panchan It is made up of different companies that have air-conditioned rooms or cabins. Several of them can be booked through the web, but precisely the cabins that we wanted to stay were not part of the web, so we showed up without a reservation.
At the bottom of the whole, at the end of the road, are the cabins and rooms of Margarita & Ed. They were the first who set up cabins there and although they are more expensive than the others, they are worth it because they are in very good condition. The problem is that they do not book, only sometimes by phone, although Margarita told me that the problem I had with reservations is that many times people did not show up. We asked him if he had a cabin for two nights and he said yes. We also told him that we wanted to make an excursion that day and precisely the one we were interested in (Palenque ruins, Misol-ha waterfall and Agua Azul waterfalls) had already left. The tour left at 8 and it was 8.30, but he told us that if we wanted to do it, that we should not worry, that they would call the agency and come to look for us at that time to add us.
Basically, in these excursions what you hire is the transport to the sites, there is no guide, no tickets, or anything else included. Although one can do it on their own with public transport, the good thing is that you can take much more time and it really is not that you save much more money doing it on your own.
The van left us at the door of the site of the ruins and there came to offer their services several guides at the price of official rate (500 pesos / 30 euros), but the truth is that we had run out of pesos and we said no. The guide gave us all kinds of facilities, he even told us that we could pay him later, but it was not a plan, so we said no again. Although it would have really been worth the visit with a guide.
The ruins of Palenque They are in the middle of a rainforest and their temples and buildings date from between 400 and 700 A.D., although they did not begin to be explored until the 19th century. The area currently discovered covers 2.5 square kilometers and it is believed that only 10% of the old city has been discovered, so if you are looking forward to being a little Indiana Jones, Palenque is the ideal place for you.
The most remarkable thing about Palenque is the Temple of the inscriptions, which is the tallest building of the entire site (although it cannot be climbed to the top) and where King Pakal's sarcophagus was found. The so-called "palace" is also very interesting because it has dark labyrinthine corridors to climb to the second floor, thus transforming the visit into an act of faith, for not wanting to think about what bug should inhabit there. Really what impresses most is to see the extension of the place and see the ruins covered with vegetation, which gives them a very mysterious aspect.
With the excursion they give you 4 hours to visit the ruins, but we only had three and we saw them quite well. At 12 we had been in the cafeteria that is one kilometer from the entrance and we went down through the natural park where the ruins are. In fact, in the park they can be done trekking and down we find waterfalls and more covered ruins. All very nice, but since we were famished (we hadn't had breakfast yet) we decided to go to the cafeteria a little earlier to eat something.
The truth is that the cafeteria was quite basic and the most we could eat was a sweet ham sandwich, a bag of potatoes and a Coke that we bought in a vending machine. The cafeteria was part of a museum, but it gave us time to visit it, and the truth is that we were so tired that when we caught a chair in the shade there was no way to get up.
After twelve they came to look for us to continue the tour. The next destination was the Misol-Ha waterfall, which is a 30 meter high waterfall about 20 km from Palenque. There we only made a 30-minute stop, just enough to take a couple of photos and walk behind the waterfall. It was one o'clock in the afternoon and it was very hot, but the truth is that the greenish color of the water did not invite to get in. While we were taking the typical photos of rigor, we met a man who offered to take the photos and we talked for a while. He was an excursion driver and made them from San Cristóbal de las Casas. We told him that in a couple of days we would go there and he recommended that we visit the town of San Juan Chamula. But that we did not hire the excursion in an agency, but that we went to the cathedral at 9.30 in the morning, we would wait on the cross and that Raul would already find us ...