Days 29-30 of 184
21.11.2019 - 22.11.2019 31 °C
We had heard some less-than-positive opinions of Palenque town from other travellers, so weren't super excited about this leg of the trip. We imagined just using it as a base to do 2 quick day trips; we knew one day we would do the ruins and the other a waterfall or two. From what we'd heard I started to picture our stay in Phnom Penh a few years back - where we enjoyed the day trips we did but couldn't wait to get out of the city. However, by the end of our brief two days we found that we were pleasantly surprised by Palenque and really enjoyed it.
It was a bit of a flying visit. We arrived from our nightbus at 7am. Thankfully the room at the hostel was already available, so we dumped our bags, freshened up (badly needed after a nightbus - a shower makes a huge difference the morning after as to how much you enjoy your day) and then headed out for breakfast. We found a simple local cafe opposite the bus station - Rachel was jealous of my scrambled eggs and chorizo with beans and so made amends by taking us back the next day and ordering it.
After that we waited outside the bus station for a colectivo to the ruins. In the end, an Australian couple asked us if we'd like to join them in their taxi for pretty much the same price, so taxi it was! The ruins were great, extremely different to Teotihuacan in both style and also the fact that we were in the middle of the jungle. The heat was maybe a touch much, so we slightly rushed around. I think with hindsight it might have been a better decision to go for a guided tour again (we decided against it, partially due to the budget, partially just because we were tired and not sure we could be arsed). I guess we left feeling like it had been really impressive, but we hadn't taken as much away from it as we did back at Teotihuacan. As a small consolation, I had an amazing cheese and salsa tamale right outside the ruins - smashed the tamale I had in San Cristobal right out of the water.
The rest of the day was a super chilled one back at the hostel - definitely needed every now and again during a trip this long. However, in the evening we went for a walk around town and found so many lovely restaurants and shops in a row. We found what looked to be a nice enough place with decent prices. Well, it turned out to be one of our favourite meals of the trip - amazing guacamole (chunky avocado, laced with roasted red onion and nopal strips), delicious crunchy deep fried tortillas for dips and (dare I say it) maybe the best fish tacos of our trip. In typical "us" fashion, we found a place we loved and came back here the next night.
Casa Antoliana grub - just the best
On the second (and final day) we visited an animal sanctuary, recommended to us by the Aussie couple the day before. It was pretty cool - lots of exotic animals and it generally seemed like they had decent sized enclosures, though a few made us a bit unsure and uncomfortable. Apparently they only rescue animals, so hopefully it was all legit!
In the afternoon, we caught a colectivo to Misol Ha waterfalls. Rachel didn't really enjoy the ride - these were really windy hills through the beautiful Chiapas landscape, but Rachel was more focused on the drivers semi-suicidal attempts at overtaking on blind corners! She asked me how you say "slow down" in Spanish. Sadly I didn't know, but I doubt it would have helped even if I had known! We arrived unscathed. This turned out to be a delightful afternoon. In a complete fluke, we turned up whilst no tour buses were there. We had the whole pool around the waterfalls to ourselves at first and went in for a swim. Cold, but not too cold. Eventually the tour groups arrived, but at least we got to have our swim with no one else! On our way back we ended up sat in an old-school colectivo - a pickup truck with a canvas awning over the back. When we had to sit in the back, I assumed Rachel would be bricking it. However, it turned out she was far happier than on the way as the truck could only seem to muster around 30mph up the hills and so overtaking was out of the question!
Me in the water
Rachel in the water
Me and Rachel in the water!
That evening we went back to the hostel, chilled and went to the restaurant again (just as good). A lovely, yet short, trip to Palenque. Now on to Merida and the Yucatan Peninsula.