Our post on exploring Palenque, a lesser visited, but equally fascinating site as the more famous Chichen Itza to the south. Join us on our Mayan adventure!
Buses in Mexico – The Way to Go
We took an overnight bus from Mexico City to Palenque. Bus travel in Mexico is a breeze – the stations are clean and have excellent facilities. In Mexico City, the four main terminals are huge. In fact they are more like airports than the bus stations we have seen elsewhere in the world. Security is tight, bags are checked and often passengers are video-recorded. Nevertheless, bandits and hold-ups are still a problem on certain routes. On the other hand, things have improved substantially over the last few years. On the luxury buses, you are given drinks and snacks as you board and often have a personal screen with a choice of entertainment.
Once again, we were grateful that we had made the decision to travel with day packs – the sense of freedom it gives is worth having to do a little washing every day. We can’t imagine travelling with full size backpacks ever again.
The Ancient Ruins of Palenque
Palenque is famous for its UNESCO site of Mayan temples, set amidst the jungle. We hit the ruins early in the day. Luckily for us, it was a little cloudy and the sun was not too fierce. We climbed the steep steps of the many temples and sat at the top, taking in various perspectives of the ancient city.
Walking on a path through the jungle, we passed a waterfall and saw lots of parrots and butterflies. T even caught a glimpse of a toucan. We heard a troupe of monkeys, but unfortunately didn’t see any. There were some less impressive ruins in the dense jungle, and although they were smaller, they looked cool shrouded in the foliage.
Palenque is a bargain at only fifty-four pesos ($3.00 U.S approximately). Despite a few tour groups, it is still possible to find quiet spots and enjoy the tranquillity of the jungle and the sight of those awesome monuments. There is also a decent museum to check out, just a short walk down the road from the ruins. We thoroughly enjoyed exploring Palenque and it was, without doubt, worth the stop on our way south.