Palenque – braving the tropical heat

Im writing this before boarding the bus for Tulum. Another long night bus ride – 11 hours at least – ahead of me. The good part – I get to process some photos, write a bit – before and ON the bus. Fortunately the Mexican buses are pretty nice and comfortable. If they had WiFi I would stop staying at hostels and just be on the bus. I’m kidding, of course.

Right now I’m in Palenque – the city, not the ruins – enjoying the luxury of a high powered fan. Before yesterday I thought that the worst heat I had to endure was at Teotihuacan. Well, I was wrong. Tropical sun + jungle setting = me extremely unhappy. But that didn’t stop me from going today again at the ruins. A quick van ride from the city, the ruins are pretty easily accessible, so at around 8am I went there again. Funny thing – there were more people today than yesterday at around 3pm. Everybody hates the heat. Also today I was lucky and found 2 or 3 French groups – with guide. Yesterday there were mostly Mexican groups and German ones. Speaking of which – I always imagined Mexic is a favourite US destination, yet right now it’s flooded with Europeans. Pretty funny.

The Palenque site is split into a 3 main areas and a few smaller ones. The first group – probably the most famous – contains the Temple of the Inscriptions and the Palace, the second (my favourite, photographically speaking) is the Croces group, and the third one contains such gems as the Count’s place. This because in the XIX century a German count decided to live in the old Mayan temple. Probably not very comfortable.

A few observations about the ruins –

  • the entrance fee is low (50+25 pesos) compared to prices in Europe for museums for example
  • I didn’t find Palenque (nor Monte Alban, nor Teotihuacan) crowded. All the guides talk about when to visit to escape the crowds, but there were no crowds.
  • the hawkers – sellers, guides, etc –  are very reasonable – usually a “no gracias” is enough
  • none of the temples can be entered anymore, which is a shame
  • some of the more dramatic temples can no longer be climbed (it seems because somebody fell to death in ’96 – so many missed photo oportinities – especially Temple of the Moon or Temple of Inscriptions)
  • the surface of the walls has not survived, so all the temples have a lack of scultpures or carvings, which is a shame

I took a lot of photos, and here are the ones I like more.

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