Close to the Lacandon jungle and the Usumacinta River, which divides Mexico and Guatemala, dozens of waterfalls are part of the landscape. The drive from San Cristobal de Las Casas to Palenque takes about 5 hours of very windy roads through the jungle. Every single person, we talked to recommended that we do not drive ourselves, and we understood why. The highways are not really well maintained, with sudden bumps and sometimes local communities hijack the freeway and demand money to let you pass.
Fortunately, we did not encounter any major obstacle and we arrived at our first waterfall safely. The Cascadas de Agua Azul (Spanish for “Blue Water Cascades”) are a series of waterfalls found on the Xanil River.
The waterfalls get their name, Agua Azul, meaning Blue Water, perhaps rather obviously because the water thundering down it has a bright blue hue. Their incredible color is, in fact, because the high mineral content of the water, which deposits itself on the rock.
The limestone-rich deposits also give the waterfall an interesting, undulating shape. In the rainy season, when water pounds down the falls with a higher intensity and picks up silt, the blue color is less obvious, but the cascades are impressive nonetheless.
These waterfalls consist of many cataracts following one after another and a sidewalk that takes you to all. This path is packed with souvenir stands, something Eitan could not stand and thought it ruined nature. Sarita, on the other hand, didn’t notice there was a beautiful waterfall on the other side as she was quite excited for the shops..
There was a meteorites shop, which of course Eitan has to buy one. It ended up being fake and he learned his lesson.
In November 2017, locals began to realize that less water was flowing to the falls than usual. They were especially surprised since there had been heavy rainfall that year.
After an investigation, the general consensus suggested an earthquake that hit southern Mexico in September 2017 cracked the riverbed and changed the water’s course. Sandbags were used to redirect the river and a permanent wall will be put in place. The flow of water to Agua Azul had been returned to 100%.
We stopped at the bottom of the falls to eat some delicious risky quesadillas with a side of Cholera and Salmonella. Only Eitan was brave (and stupid) enough to eat here, and somehow he survived!
Our second stop was the Misol Ha Waterfall. lt makes an interesting sight, set against a backdrop of lush jungle in the Chol tribe area of Chiapas.
Usually, you can swim here and get under the waterfall, but this day it was so strong and majestic that the only thing we did was enjoy the view and take Aquaman style photos.
There is a little road that takes you to the other side by crossing under the waterfall, but today, unfortunately, it was inaccessible due to the water volume.
We then arrived at the small town of Palenque, where we checked-in into our nice hotel located right in the middle of the jungle. It had Costa Rica vibes!
There were some local animals like this cute huge rat called Sereque. Unfortunately, this species is critically endangered due to loss of habitat and can be found in the states of Veracruz, Oaxaca, Chiapas and Tabasco.
For dinner, we took a taxi to the backpacker’s hoster where they have a decent restaurant with live music and some local beer. We enjoyed our last night in Chiapas and we were not ready to go back!!
Bonus Pic Of The Day: The Mayan Predator