I was looking forward to a rest in Palenque. My sojourn into the jungle left me a little tired. I found a nice campsite outside of town, less than 2km from the famous ruins of Palenque. For about US$15 per day I got a sheltered campsite in the jungle, daily visits from the Howler Monkeys, wifi, electricity, a daily swim in the luxury pool and three meals a day and a beer. I’m staying at a place called Maya Bell Resort.
Early start to visit the Palenque Ruins
After a couple of days rest I removed myself from luxury to walk to the nearby Palenque Ruins. I thought I would get there early to avoid the crowds. The crowds thought they would get there early to avoid the solitude. Maybe a late afternoon visit might have suited my preference for peace and tranquility.
At 8.30am it was already hot and humid. I was layered in sweat. I visited Palenque 10 years ago on my previous visit to Mexico. It was at the same time of year and I was almost alone. Such a crowd of people was a big surprise. When I last visited Palenque some of the places were closed for either archeological work or renovations. This time I was able to walk inside one of the temples, I was unable to do this last time.
I completed a lap of the ruins in a couple of relaxing hours. I sat in a quiet section of the ruins for a good hour and read my book, The Maya (Ninth edition) (Ancient Peoples and Places), on the history and culture of the Mayan people. I was oblivious to most of the crowds that strolled past me as I read. Except, I would prick my ears up when the guides would walk past. Most were very knowledgeable and held my attention.
A Visit from Howler Monkeys
I clambered up some of the ruins to take the classic photos of the pyramids before finding solitude in the quieter, less visited sections of Palenque. Alone I sat on top of some ruins. I heard noises in the trees above. A troupe of Howler Monkeys were uncharacteristically quiet as they moved through the trees above me. For twenty minutes I sat alone observing them. They would move from one tree to another, eat some leaves, rest and repeat. Howler Monkeys are known for their ridiculously loud calls they make. These ones were silent.
Thank You Mexico – Onwards to Guatemala
I spent several more days swimming in the pool, listening to the Howler Monkeys as they moved through the forest and generally relaxing. But I feel the call to movement. The remote jungle ruins of Guatemala are calling me. I feel that Mexico is making it hard for me to leave, I have it here so much.
When I visited Central America 10 years ago, Guatemala was my favourite country. After spending so much time in Mexico and loving the place I wonder if Guatemala will continue to impress me as much as Mexico has. Thank you for the amazing memories Mexico and thank you to all the people I have met along the way, from the Farmers to the Police, from the Cyclists to the Truck Drivers. I shall return very soon for a visit before heading to USA in April for another long hike.