The road (Hwy 199) over the mountains would have been a lot nicer if it was not for the hundreds of Tope’s we had to cross along the way. Every village and every house, had at least 2 of these speed bumps (sometimes difficult to see). Mostly we drove behind other cars so that we did not miss any of them and end up flying through the air. From the town of San Christobal we drove east climbing over the mountains and descending to the ruins of Tonina which are fortunately still at 900 m above sea level. This meant that the air is still cool. We found a camp spot just before the park entrance and parked underneath mango trees and surrounded by holiday cabins. There were not many customers that day. Later a couple on 2 motor bikes arrived who set up their tent underneath one of the picnic shelters next to us. We walked to the archaeological site and first had a meal at the local restaurant. After that we ran a bit short on time because they threatened to close already at 16:30. Fortunately we still managed to climb the beautiful high large temple complex climbing up the mountain side. At one level there are some tunnels we could go in to. Higher up you saw more entrances to underground tunnels but they were closed to the public. From the highest level where we were allowed to go, you had a great view of the valley below and the mountains in the distance. The next day we continued driving the curvy (and speed bumps) road through the maintains and stopped for a cool down at the Aqua Azure waterfalls. A wide stream of clear water cascaded down the mountain forming many pools and waterfalls as it flows. At the lower pool Rudy “dived” in to cool down. The temperatures had risen to over 30 deg and a cool down dip was called for. It was a Thursday so not too many other (local) tourists were there. From here it was only a slow 60 km drive to the main Maya ruins at Palenque. Originally we had planned to also see the Maya ruins at Tikal in Guatemala and Copan in Honduras but after the last hiccup with the camper we decided to drive as straight as possible to the boat. We did not want to miss this sail again. Palenque is one of the famous Maya ruins. The palace and surrounding temple structures were only built between 630 and 740 AD. They were built in-between and on top of limestone hills. Around 900 AD the whole city was abandoned and not rediscovered until 1746. Still it took till 1837 before the world really became aware of these magnificent ruins. Especially after 1952 when the hidden crypt of one of the most important rules (Pakal) was found intact underneath one of the 9 layered pyramids. From our camp site we drove the 4 km up to the jungle covered hill to the top settlement which was the palace of the ruler surrounded by large grassy plaza’s with pyramid structured built over and up against the surrounding hills. On top of these pyramids is a 3 to 4 rooms structure with carvings on the inside and sometimes outside walls. The most detailed carvings can be seen in the local museum at the bottom of the hill. You were allowed to climb up several of these pyramids, which we did (even Jamaliah despite her pinched nerve problem). At the top you had a great view of the surrounding jungle and the pyramid structures sticking up through the trees. We also entered the complex at the lower section. Here the common people lived. Many of these structures are still covered by large jungle trees. Back at our camp it was time to take a refreshing dive into the swimming pool.
Hai Jamaliah en Rudy, ik herken veel van wat jullie beschrijven. Wij waren er in 2006. Wat zijn die topes idd gemeen hoog en wat zijn er daar veel van….
Voor jouw rug niet fijn, Jamaliah 🙄.
Lieve groet voor jullie van ons!
Hallo Ruud en Jamaliah,
Wat een bijzondere ervaring moet dat zijn om de Maya ruïnes te kunnen bezoeken! Jamaliah, het is wel jammer dat jouw rug je behoorlijk beperkt, maar ik kan me voorstellen dat je je deze ervaring niet wilde laten ontnemen. Genieten jullie verder van deze bijzondere reis!
Groetjes, Ton en Elly