Palenque - Maybe the coolest ruin in the Americas

Temple of the Inscriptions at Palenque
We're still in San Cristóbal de las Casas, at the very south end of Mexico, in the magical state of Chiapas. We got here and it was so cool and easy that Nancy took a long breath and said "I want to stay". She had been working so hard to stay sane down in the hot lowlands, and the cool, cool temps here really appealed to her. So we're doing a couple of weeks of Spanish language school - Nancy's doing ever so well, and she loves the 50 degree morning temperatures and the cool afternoon rains.

This weekend we took the bus to Palenque, which has to be one of the most beautiful and interesting ruins of all the Americas. Yes, it ranks with Macchu Picchu in Peru. We took the bus on the 5-hour windy mountain road through incredibly lush, green brutal mountains. This would have been our preferred route for biking, but unfortunately the security situation on this road for cyclists is the worst we've heard about in all of the Americas. It's the one road that we've been warned about over and over - cyclists are robbed here every year. It's Zapatista territory, and that seems to have given rise to more lawlessness than is normal in Mexico.

But Palenque was just awesome. We spent the night and spent several hours wandering in the beautiful jungle setting. Every hill rising out of the jungle park ends up being a pyramid which has yet to be uncovered - in spite of the 3% of the ruins that we see, with incredible temples and art, the jungle still covers more than 1000 unexcavated structures, most of which will remain unexcavated due to national park protection of the land and scarce resources to open new sites.

I've been to Tikal and Chichen Itza and Macchu Picchu and Teotihuacan, and they're all incredible. But I think Palenque will remain my favorite ruin of all time. We'll have more pictures of it for you later in the month.

We'll be starting south for Guatemala either this weekend or early next week. It's not very far away, so by the end of next week, we may be posting from Guatemala!