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downundergal Palenque - A travel report by Kerrie
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Palenque,  Mexico - flag Mexico -  Chiapas
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downundergal's travel reports

Palenque - Revisiting the Jaguar Serpent

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Palenque travelogue picture
Personally, more than any other ancient ruin in Mexico the setting of Palenque conjures up the most vivid imagery of times long past.
Palenque, my favourite ruin was built by the Mayans in a jungle setting and is still surrounded by lush verdant tropical greenery just as it would have been centuries before.
It is so easy to imagine the original inhabitants going about their daily tasks and rituals within the temple grounds as if it were only yesterday.

Favourite spots:
Palenque travelogue picture
Favourite things about the site include being able to walk down through ancient corridors and enter the original ceremonial areas. The huge stone tablets complete with carvings that dot the site are amazing and include amongst others Cham Ba-lum the Jaguar Serpent. These stone tablets are huge between 7 - 8 feet or 2 - 2.5 metres tall.
There are also numerous smaller ones with inscriptions in the Mayan language to be found throughout as well.
It is just fantastic.



What's really great:
Palenque travelogue picture
The whole site is fascinating. As well as the above I really thought the Temple of the Incriptions and the ancient Palace was great.
It is an interesting part of the site in itself but as it is so humid here for a cooler break make sure you don't miss the Women's Baths a short walk down to the river. It is cool and peaceful with the rock walls still in place creating refreshing pools to take a short dip. You can continue on and exit out the main gate or retrace your steps back to the ruins.
This is a ruin that is not overrun with tourist hordes. When we were there we had nearly the whole site to ourselves. If you have a guide book it is not neccesary to have a guide. In fact, I don't think we even saw one to hire.


Sights:
Palenque travelogue picture
Other than the ruins there are no other attractions but it is a great place to mix with other travellers as it is on the backpackers trail with people heading in both directions.

Accommodations:
Palenque travelogue picture
The town of the Palenque is very small and really is only on the map because of the ruins.
As a tip if you do as we did we saved on a night's acommodation as we took an early morning bus down from San Cristobal de la Casas (5 hours) arrived at the site and spent the late morning and all afternoon there, ate a meal at night and took the overnight bus to Merida.
The trip to Merida took 8 hours so we arrived there about 5.30am in the morning had breakfast and then found somewhere to stay.

Restaurants:
Palenque travelogue picture
There is really only one main street with very typical restaurants. I am not sure that the restaurant where we ate had a name but they served really great enfrijoladas for about 25 pesos and chicken dishes for about 35 pesos.

Other recommendations:
Palenque travelogue picture
If you do as we did the bus station offers lockers to stow your gear while you are at the ruins or until your bus leaves.
As mentioned it is so hot, humid and sticky make sure you take loads of water with you and also a hat, the sun is a killer.



Published on Friday April 18th, 2003


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Sat, Jun 21 2003 - 10:13 PM rating by bear495

Kerrie, Do you go to all of my favorite places? It certainly seems that you enjoy the same places that I do. Russ

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