Palenque convokes images, scents, sounds and feelings of the purest, wildest, and most exhilarating nature. Kilometers of undeveloped, thriving rainforests, mountains, rivers, foliage, insects, and birds that adorn centuries-old trees with all the colors of the rainbow…and waterfalls, waterfalls of all different shapes and sizes; stepped waterfalls, tall showering waterfalls, wide wall-like waterfalls and all of them waiting to be explored and enjoyed. In this article, I will name a few of my favorite waterfalls in and around Palenque. Each of these waterfalls is easily accessible to all ages and pocketbooks so they are a must-see for visitors to this enchanting region.
The word “ha” in Maya means water, and many of the waterfalls in this region have Mayan names. Misol Ha literally means “waterfalls” in the Mayan dialect of Chol spoken in this region of Chiapas. Misol Ha is a tall and large waterfall that falls over a large cave into a giant pool that then spills into a series of smaller pools that later become a winding river. There are walkways under the waterfall and into the cave for those averse to swimming, but the giant pool itself is absolutely incredible for a refreshing dip, and the surrounding boulders are perfect for sunbathing. Misol Ha is located 20km from Palenque Centro with an entrance fee of 20 pesos which is approximately one euro. There are collective vans that run out to the falls throughout the day that cost around the same price as the entrance fee. Additionally, there is a restaurant on the premises as well as cabins for rent that cost around 350 pesos a night.
The waterfalls at Welib Ha are considerably smaller than those of Misol Ha, however, the surrounding pools are equally delectable for swimming. Furthermore, Welib Ha is not as well known as Misol Ha so you will likely have the falls all to yourself. There are three falls that are lined up horizontally, each one smaller than the next. There are giant boulders submerged in the pools directly under the waterfalls so that you can stand or even sit and let the falls massage your body. There are also smaller paths to explore the surrounding jungle. Welib Ha is located 18 km from Palenque Centro and directly next to a small archeological ruin site, however, there are still not collective vans that run along the highway to get out there so it is best to rent a car or look for a guided tour through an agency or your hotel or hostel. The cost is similar to that of Misol Ha; around 20 to 30 pesos.
These waterfalls are the most touristed of the region and for good reason. Agua Azul is aptly named for its electric blue waters that fall over a series of staggered limestone steps creating a giant mass of lusciously textured waterfalls. Swimming is definitely possible in the surrounding pools and there are also many viewing spots located around the falls to take pictures or to simply marvel at this grand natural masterpiece.
Agua Azul is located around 70 km outside of Palenque and can be easily visited in collective vans, buses, and guided tour packages galore. There are hotels, restaurants, souvenir shops and convenience stores all around the waterfall park so you can make this an overnight destination or a day trip. The entrance to the park is 70 pesos for adults and 50 pesos for children.
These are by far my favorite waterfalls in the area. Roberto Barrios is a Mayan community located around 40 minutes outside of Palenque Centro. There are now collective vans that run out to the community till mid-afternoon, however, a rental car is preferable so as to not cut the trip short. The community members are responsible for the upkeep of these waterfalls and you will most likely meet many of them as you walk through their village to get to the falls. Many of the villagers sell jewelry and other crafts as well as home-made snacks that you are encouraged to buy in order to support the community.
There are around 10 different waterfalls both stepped and tall showering waterfalls each spilling into a series of turquoise pools. You can scale the waterfalls as the underlying limestone has a great grip and go jumping from one pool to the next depending on how comfortable you are with heights. Many of the waterfalls have hidden caves behind them that you can only find if you submerge underwater from the poolside of the waterfall. This is the most paradisiacal place I have ever been to, and with a mere 30 peso entrance fee, it is an absolute must-see for all travelers.
Chiapas’ abounding beauty continues to prevail over the kilometers of continuous rainforests surrounding Palenque. These rainforests contain the most beautiful water sources imaginable in the form of rivers, streams and most impressively, waterfalls. Do not miss out on the chance to experience these perfect gems as they will surely make an unforgettable impression on your life.
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