Today was an exciting day… we were in the Mexican jungle! The plan was to spend the morning at the Mayan ruins of Palenque, and do a jungle trek in the afternoon, with some swimming at a jungle waterfall. Alas best laid plans…
We woke to puring rain. Not just drizzle, but constant rain. We were warned that we would have to wait to see if the Jungle Trek would still be an option, as the rain made it a bit dangerous. Regardless, we headed to the Palenque Ruins.
With rain jackets done up tight, we ventured into the rain with our local guide. while they are still Mayan ruins, they could not be more different from Chichen Itza. Rather than a big open area, we were indeed in the jungle, surrounded by rainforest (more rain than forest). While nothing is as spectacular as the main pyramid at Chichen Itza, this site as a whole was arguably more impressive.
We were able to wander in to most ruins, as well as up the steps of many of the structures. The driving rain did not stop us taking the precarious climb up a number of them to check out the amazing frescos and stucco reliefs.
One of the most incredible things was that they know that relatively few buildings have been excavated, and there are many others in the jungle. To think that ruins still wait to be found is quite mind blowing.
Our tour guide was lovely, explaining it all in great detail and doing her best to keep us out of the rain.
While we were getting quite damp, it did make the jungle quite spectacular, with mist settling in on all the buildings.
Once our tour was finished we had a little time to wander ourselves, where we could climb more slippery steps to the top of more ruins. The rain ws certainly not going to slow us down!
Meeting the group back at the entrance (those of us that stuck out the rain), we had some lunch with a local street stall. Mmmm… $30 pecos for 4 tacos (so about 3 dollars). Kate and I devoured them and went back for more. The chili the vendor gave me was spectacular… chili and lemon and was tasty then hot. Perfect!
It ws now that Deiber gave us the bad news, which was that the jungle trek was off. Due the incessant rain, it was not too unsafe. One part was the risk of flash floods, but even more dangerous was that snakes were likely to be out. Here the rain sends them out of our holes, and meeting vipers and rattlesnakes was apparently likely. Hmm, sounds like a wise choice. super disappointing, but alas, that happens.
Instead we came back to the hotel to get dry and take up another option. Kate was up for a rest, so I wandered to the nearby museum with my new English pals Blaine and Jacqui. While small it housed quite a number of artefacts from the nearby ruins. Most spectacular was the sarcophogas of the most famous ruler Pakal. It was a nice way to spend a dry hour and a half.
We saw the afternoon out by chilling, having a drink, and chatting to the others. We celebrated a birthday with dinner, with one of our German gentleman celebrating a milestone. He had no idea what Deiber had planned, which was a lovely surprise for him. Cake and cerveza and tequila and mescal helped celebrate. Having your birthday in a Mexican jungle? Sounds like a perfect party to me.