Visiting the ruins was one of the main reasons we took this trip. We were not to be disappointed. Overwhelmed but not disappointed.
|THE OPEN SQUARE IN THE MIDDLE IS THE “TOILET”|
|INSIDE THE MEDITATIVE STEAM ROOM|
|I couldn’t resist posing as royalty|
The Palenque ruins date back to 226 BC until its fall around 1123 AD. After its decline, it was absorbed into the jungle until Father Antonio Solis discovered it in 1740 but it was not until 2005 that 1 square mile had been exposed. It is estimated that less than 10% of the total area has been explored, leaving more than a thousand structures still covered by jungle.
We took a taxi from town. Before we got to the site, we had to go through indigenous territory and pay a fee there to be able to pass and then a fee to the parks department. Then, of course, we had to pay the entrance fee to the ruins.
We hired on of the many guides that were outside the entrance to the ruins. Money well spent. I would recommend hiring one of the guides so you can truly appreciate and understand what you are seeing. Also outside the entrance are a few restaurants and shops. You are given a wrist band and can freely go back and forth from the ruins to the outside if you want.
I was not prepared for the emotional impact as I took my first view of the site. The jungle surrounded the site and the plazas were landscaped. Walking around the site, I felt as though I had stepped back in time. Even with the other tourists, you felt as though you were back in 226 BC and walking around the city. The sheer size of the area absorbed the sounds of the humans leaving only the jungle sounds of the howler monkeys, parrots and other wild life. Tranquility cloaks the air as you explore the area.
Our guide provided us with a lot of thought-provoking insight to the Maya culture. One story he told was that the Maya would give sacrificial blood to the gods. The first area of the body that they would pierce to let the blood flow were the fingers, next was the tongue and then the penis. I can see the men crossing their legs at that one!
|NOTICE THE JUNGLE SURROUNDING THE BUILDINGS|
|NOTICE THE DETAIL|
|ANOTHER PIECE THEY ARE WORKING ON|
|YES WE CLIMBED THE MAJORITY OF THE RUINS – GREAT EXERCISE|
We decided that we would take the jungle tour, as we were right there. Fatigue from climbing all the ruins had not set in yet. So once again, outside the entrance we hired another guide to take us through the jungle. You need a guide because you will be hiking through the jungle and there are no clear paths marked. If our guide had left us, I am not sure we would be able to make our way back. If you have any mobility issues, I would not recommend taking this tour.
We did not realize at the time that we would be walking on and around history. Our guide pointed to some hills and told us that they were ruins that had not been excavated yet. There were so many of them. We walked on and saw slabs of rock that had been carved to build the ruins, some with carvings or markings engraved on them. It was mind boggling to say the least.
We arrived at the “forgotten” ruin as our guide called it. This ruin has been carbon-dated to 300 BC. We climbed the few steps to the top and took a well-needed rest.
Along the way, we spotted some howler monkeys. I cannot believe how much noise they make.
|It is called the tourist tree because it turns red and peels|