Days 21, 22 and 23
From Mexico City we flew to Palenque, a rural part of Mexico with some fantastic ruins! Packed our bags (luckily), because with all the extra souvenirs I bought my bag easily weighed 15kg more and I can confirm that my luggage now sits at at more than 35kg when before it was at a nice and easy 15-18kg! Declan also has such long legs that it was tough trying to carry like 5-10kg more than him and keep up with his ridiculously fast paced walking!
The flight was half empty so we jumped to the seats at the very front and had extra leg room, which to me felt like heaps but to Declan was quite normal! The Palenque airport is quite good, they only have flights coming in twice a week so service is top notch, they booked a cab for us and so we headed off to the main street of Palenque. Found a cheap hotel for a couple dollars per night with aircon! Thank god! We unfortunately couldn't do much today because we arrived too late to book a tour to the ruins or waterfalls, instead we sat at a second story restaurant sampling all the Mexican food and drinking a wide variety of cocktails.
On day 2 of our rural Mexico experience we had booked a day long tour. Our first stop was the Aztec ruins of Palenque, one of the largest empires of Aztecs in the region due to its source of wage. We had a tour guide with a group of Spanish people and two girls from the UK. Our guide took us through all the ruins and told great stories. The buildings were originally red and the kings and queens each had their own temples with massive steps to climb up on and sacrificial areas. The Red Queen had 2 and the greatest king of the time had 7 people sacrificed after his death! They even showed us where they played the ancient game similar to basketball (like on El Dorado!). The Aztecs also had stone beds, toilets and a sewage/drainage system! Very intelligent designs for a civilisation that lived more than a thousand years ago! Picked up some great souvenirs that were cheaper here than in Mexico City! Two wooden Aztec masks and 2 leather carvings of Aztec symbols! I could've bought more but Declan keeps me grounded!
After this we headed off to Misol-Ha, a famous waterfall about 30 minutes out of Palenque. The bus we took was a minivan which was overpacked with 17 people and no zircon. I was stuck in the backseat with 3 other people squished next to me, sweating litres! We eventually all stumbled out of the van and the girl sitting next to me demanded her money back and said she'll take a taxi back to her accommodation. We unfortunately didn't see Misol-Ha as Declan and I had had no breakfast as all the shops in Palenque were closed before 8am so by the time we got to Misol-ha it was 1pm and we were starving, so we had some tacos instead.
Afterwards we headed off to Azul Agua, a series of cascading waterfalls of turquoise water in Chiapas, about 90 minutes out of Palenque and very rural. We took wooden platforms across the water and had a short tour of all the secluded waterfalls around the area. Had a great time swimming in these waters - definitely rate it as a top experience I've had travelling, even jumped off a small rock into the deep water below! Had a fantastic day here!
Spent the night in Palenque. It's a strange little town where the people all congregate on the street and play music and socialise - a very lively environment which was great! We spent the next day cooling off in the air conditioned room at the hotel, preparing ourselves for our overnight bus to Cancun which we had to board at 9:30pm. Got to the ADO bus stop at 9pm, met 3 couples from Belgium, Sweden and Denmark. The bus was 5 hours late because there were massive strikes on the road so we finally got to board at 2:30am! The bus was absolutely freezing! We eventually rocked up in Cancun, or at least what we thought was Cancun. I had fallen asleep and Declan woke me up saying we're at Cancun - I thought we were in Playa del Carmen but I got off the bus anyway. Turns out that we were in fact at Playa del Carmen and that Declan had been too eager to get off the bus - we were now stuck in Playa del Carmen! I went to the ticket counter and pleaded with the guy to let us on another bus because the "bus driver told us we were in Cancun and that we had paid to get there but instead we were incorrectly informed and got off too early". He upgraded us to the platinum bus service which was equivalent to first class!! A fantastic outcome!
That's a wrap!
- Palenque and water falls
- Souvenirs are fantastic - to Declan's dismay!
- not used to this heat!
- coke everywhere
- margaritas everywhere
- people partying in the street when they finish work!