An early alarm call and breakfast at 7 so that we could get to the Palenque archaeological site early. It was already warm and humid as we set off in the minibus for a 20 minute drive to the site.
We’d booked a guide of for the morning to take us to both the archeological site and for a jungle walk. Before we started our guide told us about the site at Palenque.
The map shows the buildings of the city that have already been identified and number approximately 1,000 in all. However, there are estimations that there are more than 2,000 in total. Only about 3% of the buildings have actually been excavated though.
We did the jungle walk first and spent a couple of hours both on and off tracks! Our guide told us that we were walking on many of the buildings from the older post of the city, which were first built around 600 BC. When the Mayans left, the jungle simply took over. There was evidence of buildings with walls crumbling and covered in vegetation.
We were also shown the aquaduct that the Mayans used and walked through the tunnel under the path. There was also a fully constructed swimming pool!
Our last stop on the jungle was to visit a temple which, because of its size, hasn’t been completely covered in vegetation. We climbed approximately 30m and saw an amazing temple!
Finally, our guide explained that there are ongoing discussions between the agency which is responsible for architectural stress and the ministry for the environment as to whether to protect the environment or to carry out further archeological work.
We left the jungle and the next couple of hours was spent being guided around the main archeological site. We were shown the tomb of King Pakal, the red queen and others. The scale of the excavated site is truly impressive.
The site is the only place in the Americas where they have found sarcophagi. The main temple has the body of King Pakal and next door is the tomb of the red queen. There are also various temples to others and the main palace complete with a sewage system and therefore toilets!
The final buildings that we visited were built by Pakal’s son and were temples to various gods. The walk up the largest was worth it for the views of the site, but very hard work!
It was now 12.30 and so we walked back to the bus and met up with Valleria and our driver. She told us that the temperature was now 32 degrees with 99% humidity. While we had been sightseeing she had been to a supermarket for provisions and we were all very grateful for a cold beer from the cool box.
The afternoon was to be spent driving the 400 miles to Merida! Fortunately the roads here seem far better… They are certainly straighter and have less speed humps. Therefore we made good time and stopped around 3.15 at a roadside steakhouse. The steaks were excellent but rather large! The humidity seems to have dropped, but the temperature is still around 39 degrees!
After food we drive on, eventually arriving at a town on the Gulf of Mexico the road followed the coast for a while and we child see the sun beginning to set over the sea.
We finally arrived at our hotel in Merida at some 9.30pm. We’re here for three nights and the hotel seems nice. Our room walks right out onto a swimming pool!!
It was still really warm and so after a shower and freshen up Ed and I walked a couple of blocks for a beer ( the hotel bar has stopped serving and the was no changing the rather surly woman’s mind!)