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Palenque, Cascadas Agua Azul & Misol-Ha

Updated: Sep 16, 2023

With more than 1000 structures hidden in its surrounding forest, Palenque is however much smaller than its neighbors Tikal and Copan. But the quality of its infrastructure is what attracts visitors. Theories relate that the Maya might have believed that Palenque indicated where the Sun dipped in the underworld, in the realm of the jaguar.

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Temple des Inscriptions, Palenque, Mexique
Temple of Inscriptions, Palenque, Mexico

Agua Azul Waterfall

From San Cristobal de las Casas, to get there, we embarked on a day of transport lasting almost 15 hours round trip, in winding paths crossing the mountains and more than a hundred speed bumps; compiling numerous results of experiments on our patience regarding Mexican driving. A course that is however worth it to be able to observe the natural beauty of Mexico.

We were able to admire this impeccable blue waterfall due to its rich limestone content, and take a short swim. It wasn’t quite the right season yet and the water was probably too cool for some tourists…or some little lizards that we saw!

Cascadas de Agua Azul, Mexique
Agua Azul Waterfall , Mexico

Misol-Ha Waterfall

A few hours later, we are told that we are going to visit the place where one of the most famous scenes of the film "The Predator" was shot. The Misol-Ha Waterfall is unique in its particularity that it can be visited from two angles.

Misol Ha, Chiapas, Mexique
Misol Ha Waterfall, Chiapas, Mexico


When you arrive at the site of Palenque, you will dive into an ancient Maya world, and also, into the universe of the peoples who trade in the city today.

The Mayan name for the city is actually Lakam Ha, which means “Great Waters”, and the city is said to have been founded around 100 BCE. The main reason why Palenque would have developed is due to its abundant fruit farming, which allowed the people to undertake trade and sell to other cities the fruit they could afford to exchange.

The temple of inscriptions

One of the first temples that will impress you on this site is called the Temple of Inscriptions. Three limestone panels are there with 617 hieroglyphic inscriptions, one of the longest in the Maya world. Archaeologists managed to crack this code through hard work. One can read there the history of Palenque from 514 to 672, as well as a prophecy of celebration of the end of a Mayan reign in the year 4772 of our era; then a story in a mythological past recounting the ascension of one of their divinities, happening 1,246,826 years before! It is the place where the sarcophagus of Lord Pakal, who reigned over the city from 615 to 683 CE, rests in peace... or almost, because his tomb was plundered of many precious archaeological evidence in 1985. Fortunately, the famous explorer Alberto Ruz Lhuillier managed to save this magnificent jade mask as well as these few marvels, treasures reserved for the most important deceased of the city.

Group of the cross

The royal palaces are located very close to an ancient aqueduct and merchants who will try to sell you whistles imitating the cry of the sun jaguar. Because the next temple honors this deity. In Mayan mythology, the jaguar is the nocturnal aspect of the sun, associated with war.

This group of structures near this center has been named the cross group, due to the most imposing structure of the three. Early explorers of the area mistakenly thought that the central motif of a panel that adorns the back wall of this sanctuary resembled a cross. The name, however, stuck with him.

For the temple of the leafy cross, it is the god of corn who is worshiped there. The important scene stands on either side of a corn plant that grows through a mask that represents Mother Earth. The designs of the cobs have been replaced by the sympathetic face of the corn deity.

Temple de la Croix Feuillue, Palenque, Mexique
Leafy Cross Temple, Palenque, Mexico

The site of Palenque is obviously still under archaeological research projects and therefore other mysteries may be revealed to us at this renowned historical site in the Chiapas region of Mexico.

Palenque, Mexique
Palenque, Mexico

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