I would have happily stayed in Merida for another month, but we had to move on to Palenque – the home of another set of super ruins.
To get there though, we hopped on a public bus for an 8 hour journey including stops. This was a very relaxing journey on a very comfortable bus. No complaints.
Where was I staying?
Xibalba, meaning Underworld (ooooh, I did experience a few spooky goings on too!) was our hotel for the next couple of nights. On a leafy road, a 5 minute walk from the main station, it was in a lovely location.
Massive bedroom, squeaky clean, pristine bathroom, and. A hairdryer! The first of the trip. To be honest I’ve enjoyed having crazy,wavy,leave-it-to-the-elements flyaway hair though!
- Grubbiness factor = non existent. Clean, no dodgy smells
- Bed = 6/10, decent night’s sleep, the creepiness factor brought the marks down a bit – so did the bright room.
- Shower = 4/10. Lukewarm water at best, and no pressure.
What did I eat?
Breakfast before leaving Merida was in the hotel – fruit, PB and toast.
We stopped in the state of TABASCO (!!!) for lunch at a truckers/bus stop kind of place. It was pollo this and carne that but there was also one soup – like a minestrone with veggies and pasta – that they assured me was 100% sin carne.
It was delicious, pimped with lime and chili, it was even better. I had it along with some plantain chips. Lunch. Sorted.
As for my meals for the next 2 days, I did something I’ve never done before. I went to the same restaurant and bar for almost all my meals and drinks. Hola Cafe Jade.
First night dinner – I went for guacamole and salbutes, topped with soya mince, frijoles, radishes, tomatoes, lettuce and avocado.
Now it might sound like I’m eating the same ingredients – which I possibly am, but the flavours are stunning. I don’t know if it is the freshness of produce or my state of bliss – but everything tastes good.
These were soooo tasty and MASSIVE – I couldn’t finish them. The other girls raved about the chaya quesadillas.
My non-veggie friend went crazy over these – so much so that she had the same the next day. I also went for a chaya,pineapple and lime juice. What a super combination.
Breakfast the next day was a little coffee place diagonally opposite the hotel. Cafe Americano – check. Very good.
Panino vegano – NO CHECK. Butter – yes. Cheese – yes. I tried to tell them butter and cheese aren’t vegan, and after a while I eventually got a toasted veggie panini on soft bread. It was ok. I only had half.
We got back from the ruins pretty late, and decided to have a late lunch/ early dinner at yes, Cafe Jade. Same drink, and Tacos Dorados, or rolled crispy tacos, stuffed with beans and veggies surrounded by this stunning tomato sauce.
Every mouthful was so tasty – thoroughly enjoyed this meal.
Breakfast before our epic ride to San Cristobal was there again, this time I went for the continental – fruit, toast and sensational coffee.
Other options – platano frito with local queso and cinnamon – I was informed it was delicious but op much!This place has definitely been generous with the portions!
And the second best snack of the trip (1st is still coconut carne)? Mango with chili and lime. Whoa nelly. Sweet, sour, spicy, addictive. And in the heat post ruins, pre jungle, it was PERFECT.
What did I do?
Other that walk around the town, we were in Palenque for the ruins and once again, they did not disappoint. We got an amazing guide, Edgar, who really knew his stuff and gave us some fascinating facts about them.
The complex of ruins were well preserved, and the views stunning. What I loved about this place was that it was surrounded by jungle, making it that much more dramatic.
I thoroughly enjoyed walking around taking it all in, the mind boggling with these amazing facts, and just when I thought it was over, Edgar suggests a jungle walk!
I loved this walk. Nothing strenous, but amazingly scenic. The jungle is full of temples and pyramids not yet excavated. We clambered over rocks to jump into small openings – at your own risk, they open into majestic yet guano and bat filled (stinky and moist) places. Still worth it I think.
We also went into an underwater cave/tunnel, and got blessed in a Mayan Pool.
There was stunning flora and fauna, giant leaves and trees – and to top it all off, howler monkeys – that we heard this time, not only saw!!!! (Don’t have a hope in hell of uploading a video, but pls google the sound). Apparently Steven Speilberg used this sound for the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park / I can understand why!
So the town itself. It is a bit dull, to be honest a bit boring after the vibrancy of the previous towns. Not catered to tourists though, it had a proper community feel to it, very personal and not at all touristy. But as I said, the main reason to be here is primarily the ruins.
Not at all like the next stop, San Cristobal De Las Casas, which had a bit of everything for everyone!