Getting to Palenque seemed to take FOREVER. We left San Cristobal early in the morning to start the eight hour winding road to Palenque. The road is known for frequent closures due to protests, but we had received word that there wouldn’t be any protests on the day of our departure. That information was incorrect. About three hours into our drive, we hit a road block. Protesters blocked the only route through. If they didn’t open up the road to allow some vehicles to pass, we would have to reverse our route and return to San Cristobal, then take a nine hour alternative route around to Palenque. It would cost us fifteen hours total of driving. No thank you! Luckily, our tour guide spoke to a few women leading the protest who informed him that they would be opening the road briefly in about two hours. We sat it out and waited. Thankfully, we were able to pass through and continue our long day’s drive.
While in Palenque, we toured the Palenque Ruins. It was a Mayan city starting as early as 226 B.C. It is most notable for the Temple of Inscriptions that houses the second longest glyphic text known from the Mayan world that records 180 years of the city’s history. Like many ruins, only a mere five percent of the city is uncovered, with the remainder buried beneath lush vegetation, cedar, mahogany, and sapodilla trees.
Another gem outside of Palenque is Agua Azul. It is a magnificent waterfall with plenty of calm and serene swimming holes up above. We spent a few hours sun bathing, eating warm mangos, and tasting the local lima juice.