After leaving the best pyramids in Mexico, we started the hour-ish drive to Agua Azul, a place known for its endless blue cascading waterfalls (Spanish translation: Blue Water).
The road from Palenque towards Agua Azul (and San Cristobal de las Casas) is nicely paved. It slowly climbs up and down a windy path on the forested mountainside. It was beautiful! We saw locals going about their business, some carrying firewood on their backs.
Surprisingly, there were roadside vendors trying to sell clothes, but they didn’t seem to be very busy.
One thing that surprised us was how aggressive the road-side food vendors were. We are used to people standing near topes (speed bumps), trying to sell anything from cut cucumbers to peeled oranges…but these vendors were a different class altogether.
When a speed bump wasn’t present, the locals would string a rope across the street, and with one person on each side. As you’d come closer to them, they’d pull the rope up, forcing the oncoming traffic to stop and consider their goods. We would tell them “no, gracias” and then begin to wonder if they would ever lower the rope again. You can barely catch a glimpse of the rope in the man’s hand in this photo.
I quickly learned to roll up my windows, after literally getting bananas thrust into my lap by a local woman (I figured I might as well buy them…they were already in the car…so I guess her admittedly frightening strategy worked)! Jared also learned that if you don’t slow down for the ropes, the people lower them at the very last possible second. It saved us a lot of time on the way back!
When we arrived at Agua Azul, we paid the relatively small entrance, and were greeted by more ferocious vendors in the parking lot. School wasn’t in session, and the kids were just as fierce as their parents.
As we walked up the path leading to the water, we were so excited to finally see the glorious clear blue waters that everyone had raved about. Imagine our disappointment when we saw this:
But then again…how can you be REALLY be disappointed, when you’re still seeing glorious cascades like this?
The heavy rainfall that we had experienced the night before had changed the water to a murky brown. It may not have been what we imagined or expected, but it was still worth the drive out! The girls wore their swimsuits, but we did not swim!
We started to make the drive back into Palenque and decided to grab some dinner in the city. The plaza was still bustling with holiday activity in anticipation of the upcoming Three King’s Day (and leftovers from Christmas).
We found a little street market, and we drooled over some fossilized coral for awhile, debating if we should expand our wholesale business.
While our guide book made the city of Palenque out to be a dump, we found it quite pleasant. There were many shops and eateries, and it seemed vibrant and clean to us! We left with our bellies full, and crashed at our hotel for the night. Another full day of adventure down…more to go!