They say there is more rain here in Palenque than anywhere else in Mexico. We are in the middle of a rainforest. It is a jungle of green, and with the shroud of fog, drizzle, and mist that hangs over us all day, the archeological site is a photograph of sepia and gray tones only punctuated by occasional green grass, moss, or red lichens.
Tracey and I spent most of the morning and early afternoon in the extraordinary museum filled with glyphs and bas relief carvings and jade funerary masks. The highlight was the every half hour on the hour entry into the exhibit of the tomb of Palenque ruler Pakal that was discovered in 1952. By 2 pm the heavy rain had subsided, and covered by plastic parkas, we entered the park.
The temple steps are slippery. Were the Mayans that tall? I grab onto the stone steps in front of me for balance and foothold. Sometimes I slip on the wet moss covered stones and I look below to the ground, afraid of tumbling. I am a mountain goat, careful, one step at a time. I made it to the top of the palace! Hurray. And at the end of the day, when the park closes at 4:30 pm, the guard says it is time to leave. I say, I need your hand to help me down those steep steps. He frowns. Pretend I am your mother! I say. And he does.
Where to stay in Palenque? I highly recommend Hotel Xibalba. I booked online on booking.com and saved about 20% off the going rate. The hotel is located close to the bus station, is clean, delightful, safe, with helpful staff and a good breakfast (extra). A taxi to the archeological site costs about 70 pesos and the collectivo from the main highway a few blocks away is 10 pesos.
Right next door to the hotel is a fantastic seafood restaurant, El Huachanango Feliz. I ate dinner there three nights in a row. First night was grilled tilapia. Second night was the Caldo de Mariscos (seafood soup) and the third night was the Cazuela de Mariscos (they added cheese to the seafood soup). Each meal was fabulous and more than I could eat for 85 pesos, including a ceviche of shrimp and octopus.