Palenque is a Mayan city that was claimed by the jungle about 900 years ago. Like most of the sites, most of it is still under mounds of earth, jungle and rubble. A few years ago a team pulled out all the fancy gear and did a complete survey of the land and the building count went from a few hundred up to several thousand overnight. The vast majority of them have not been looked at. Palenque's biggest pyramid is almost invisiable and is still completely covered by the jungle, no one is sure when it will be looked at.

For me it was a toss up between Tikal and Palenque over which I enjoyed more. Palenque doesn't have as impressive temples as Tikal, but it setting is great. Up on a hillside, it looks out over the plain. One half of it is still partially enveloped by jungle while the other half is all lawn and trees, so it feels like you're walking through an ornate park.

Palenque's star attraction would have to be the Palace. Admittedly, I probably preferred the three temples in the corner more, but the Palace is a nice place to walk around, it has a maze of rooms on top with glimpses of frescos and plaster so you can get a feel for what it must have been like there.

We were there on the equinox, so much to our surprise, we had the group of people there doing whatever things you do on equinoxs; standing around in circles, holding hands, chanting, facing the sun. I have no idea what they were doing (and from the looks on some of the faces, neither did some of them), but it was a really cool setting for them to be doing it.

Inside the grounds at Palenque is a really cool waterfall. If you walk from the grounds down to the museum, you'll go past it. It's very nice, but you can't go swimming there. However, walk down the road, hang a left and you can get to a waterfall where you can go swimming. Well, a paddle really, not really large enough for a swim, but a welcome spot to dip your toes into.

The hotel we had in Palenque was as close to the ruins as you could get. It had a range of accomidation options, we were in the cabins, but they had just grass huts with hammocks or just space on the lawn to pitch a tent or park your RV (there were two massive RVs from Canada). I was glad we had a cabin, since one night a tropical thunderstorm went right over our heads.

Luckily most of us had walked back from dinner and remained dry. Some though got wet (my roommate arrived looking like a drowned rat and leaving puddles on the floor) The rain was unbelievably heavy, like standing under a firehose, you'd think it couldn't get any worse... and it would just get heavier. There was thunder going off at the same time as the lightning, the roof began to leak directly over my bed. I do love a good storm.

A protea
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Artwork at our hotel in Palenque
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This is a cane toad by the swimming pool at the hotel.
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Ruins at Palenque, Group IV in Group J, notice the tree growing on top
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Bats inside the ruins
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Another bat
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Piece of fallen bee hive on the ground
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It really is the jungle
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And as you can see, it hasn't been cleared yet
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One of the cleared, but not restored pyramids
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Another cleared building
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Temple XIII and Temple of the Inscriptions behind it
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Temple XII
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The skull (God of Death) on Temple XII
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Me at Palenque on the steps of Temple of the Cross
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Looking across the courtyard to the Palace
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The steps up to Temple XII
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This is the tomb inside Temple XIII, yes it is red inside. They found the Red Queen here
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Looking at the steps of Temple of the Inscriptions
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Temple of the Inscriptions
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Archway in the Palace
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Carvings in the courtyard of the palace
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Plaster relief of a in the palace. I think its a jaguar, but it could be a monkey
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Some of the internal ruins of the palace
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Looking across the Palace to Temple of the Inscriptions
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This is here to show the colours that the Palace was painted in
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Temple of the Inscriptions
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Temple XXI, its still under the jungle
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Temple of the Cross
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Not sure what this is, but its nice
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Relief within the Temple of the Foliated Cross
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Looking across Palenque from Temple of the Foliated Cross (Sun Temple on Left, Cross on Right)
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Looking up at Temple of the Cross
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Palenque from Temple of the Cross
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Looking down at Temple of the Sun and Temple XIV
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Top of Temple of the Cross (Green hole on the left has a pergine falcon's nest in it)
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Temple of the Sun
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Temple of the Cross
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Relief in Temple of the Sun (This is a copy, original is in a museum)
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Saara, Michael and Mathijs in Palenque
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Ruins on the way down to the waterfall
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Waterfall just below Palenque
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The North group of Temples
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It was the autumn Equinox and these people were there doing equinox things
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The Count Temple
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Looking back towards the Palace
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Temple XII
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This waterfall is just out of Palenque and you can go for a dip there
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Artistic shot of the waterfall
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Saara looking contemplative
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Saara, Michael and Christopher at the waterfall near Palenque
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Saara, Michael and Christopher cooling off
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Howler monkeys in the tree by the museum
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These are apparently incense burners
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Mayan glyphs
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This is a fresco taken from the temples, look at the colours
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Another incense burner
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I'm pretty sure that's a parrot head
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The Red Queen's Jade Mortuary Mask
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Carved relief, probably of one of the city rulers
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Scale model of the Palace
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Head of a clay statue
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More ginger flowers
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An American Eagle camper van. Its from Canada
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This is slightly smaller and also from Canada, comes with a matching jeep
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This spider guy kept trying to crawl up my leg
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The far side of this wall was a pond, the near side was the pool, it came with wildlife
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This was the hotel office, bar and restaurant
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Another cane toad
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The group having dinner
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The Common House Gecko, (hemidactylus frenatus) by the pool
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Wasps in the outside light
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This gecko was in the hotel room
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