I’m not sure what I expected from a visit to Palenque, but I didn’t get it. I think I expected it to be much larger, to have more ruins and to be just generally more. Rather than the wild, sprawling jungle ruins I anticipated what I found was a fairly small site that was manicured like a park. I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed.
One thing that I liked was watching the families. I went on a Sunday when entrance is free for Mexican citizens so the place was crawling with families having picnics and climbing on the ruins. I also enjoyed the walk through the woods to the waterfall. It was cool and peaceful and I could have stayed in that one spot all day had it not been for the annoying teenagers who were camped out there.
I visited the ruins during a break in the trip from San Cristobal to Merida so I was just spending a day there. Since the ruins were smaller than I anticipated I ended up with a lot of time to kill in town. Palenque is a cute little town and, as you head away from the bus station, the streets become lined with cute little shops and restaurants. It is clearly a tourist town but it has a nice atmosphere and I enjoyed my explorations. I ended up camping out in a restaurant on the edge of the plaza at the end of the main road. The bar was on the second floor and was open-air so it was nice to sit and enjoy the breeze, people watching in the plaza and the live music that started as the sun set. It was good to relax before my last bus trip to Merida.