El Tren Maya, Palenque y Tenosique | Ep 1

Palenque and Tenosique are two of the tourist destinations included in the Mayan Train route which, not only approaches us to the vestiges of this ancient civilization, but also invites us to to meet the exuberant nature that surrounded it Follow us to discover what to do in the railway stations of Palenque and Tenosique Palenque is a city placed in the middle of a tropical forest located in Chiapas, where one of the most important cities of the Mayan civilization flourished and today is where we start discovering the Mexican Southeast The Mayan Train is the most interesting tourist proposal that Mexico has had for many years, and far from talking about politics, or its viability, we as travelers are interested in identifying what does it has to offer in each one of its stations that is why, in this series, we are going to take you, step by step through all its sections to discover which are the best things to do in each of its stations The train route goes through Chiapas and Tabasco, and then makes its way through the Yucatan Peninsula touring the states of Campeche, Quintana Roo and Yucatán, and making a circuit that connects the most representative zones of the Mayan culture in Mexico The first section we are going to cover is Palenque-Tenosique which is the entrance to the Mayan world and one of the main accesses to this circuit that goes through one of the most beautiful areas of the Mexican Republic The Selva section covers approximately 435 km between the railway stations of Palenque, Tenosique, Escárcega and goes into the Calakmul biosphere reserve As well as approaching us to the vestiges of the Mayan culture, this route also invites us to discover hidden places in those that for millennia, nature has forged a rough paradise like nowhere else, and that as Mexicans we have the privilege of visiting and the responsibility to preserve Fortunately this same route can be done today by road, we don’t have to wait for the train to arrive, but it will undoubtedly make this trip much easier because is currently difficult to travel But is worth it, because it’ll take us to know the history of one of the most enigmatic civilizations in the world In this episode we will visit Palenque and we will use it as a base to know the archaeological zones of Yaxchilán and Bonampak Later we will move towards Tenosique, but now, without further introductions let’s begin this adventure that we started when we arrived here Guys, we’ve reached our first stop on this trip, this is Palenque, we are going to stay here at the Hotel la Aldea, it’s a very nice hotel we saw on the internet, let’s check if it really is as good at it seems We chosed La Aldea because it’s located next to the Palenque National Park It caught our attention because of its rustic and calm appearance very consistent to the inside of the jungle We were also impressed by the details in the rooms, It has all the amenities, palm roofs, terraces with hammocks, air conditioning, wifi access available and a beautiful tropical garden Oh! It has its own Jacuzzi! So fancy! Hey, how much did it cost here? Hahaha! The hotel also has an excellent restaurant where you can taste the typical dishes of the region, but what we liked most about this place, Its the outdoor pool which is a very special spot If you want to stay here like us, we’ll leave the hotel’s info in the video description Around Palenque, there are beautiful waterfalls to visit, we already met some on a previous trip so, this time, we hired a tour at the hotel reception to go the Lost City of Yaxchilán and the murals of Bonampak The tour departs from the hotel at 6 a.m and includes breakfast, lunch

and transportation to the archaeological zones To get to Yaxchilán, you must navigate on the largest river in Mexico and Central America, We are going to travel through the Usumacinta! We are already navigating the Usumacinta River, which is the natural border between Mexico and Guatelama On our way, we’ve already found some gray crocodiles, we hope to see the brown crocodile that is a huge, giant crocodile that has a jaguar like print And also, surely we’re going to hear monkey howls, because that’s what “Usumacinta” means: The place of the monkey howl In this impressive river, the ancient Mayans sailed for many centuries, and the Yaxchilán Lords dominated the commercial route of the Usumacinta And this colossal city that at some point would control trade by the river, today is a hidden ruin that few people know, but also is the key to decipher the complex life of the Mayans splendor Finally, we reach Yaxchilán. To acces, we must pay $70 pesos, but before, to enter the little town we had to pay $30 pesos each Immediately after we crossed the Yaxchilán portal, we were amazed for the generous wilderness that protects this lost jewel of the Mayan world It is hard to know if you are climbing a hill or a pyramid, because actually, they are fused by the ingenuity of the Mayans and the whims of nature This is the mysterious Building 33, the most outstanding building of Yaxchilán, for being the best preserved one and for representing the apex of this kingdom that, at its best, rivaled with Palenque and subdued Bonampak Mayan history is reconstructed by deciphering dates in the lintels which represents the deeds of the rulers, and the legacy of the worldview of this ancient world kept reflected in the steps that relate ceremonies, wars, and legends of characters that time has devoured Today only the sculptures remain as warnings that no kingdom will last forever, because at the end, nature will claim it We’re already finishing our Yaxchilán tour, It lasts about 1 hour 45 minutes if you come with a guide, I do recommend you bring anti-slip boots, because Yaxchilán means “green stones” and it’s really because all the stones are full of green scum; It’s super slippery to climb the pyramids, walk down the stairs, so please be very careful I also recommend you to bring a good mosquito repellent preferably made here in Mexico, to scare away dengue, zika and chikungunya If you want to know which one we use, in the video description , we´ll let you know where to get it Bring enough water too, it’s very hot and do not exhaust all your energies because when you finish walking Yaxchilán, you’ll go back to the Usumacinta River Now, we are going to travel to Bonampak Let’s move on! Back to the landing stage, the tour took us to eat and then, we left for Bonampak, located about 21 kilometers south of Yaxchilán It’s worth visiting this remote site to meet a very important vestige about the Mayan history, that has been key to better understanding the customs of the elites that governed the region several centuries before the Spanish invasion Getting to Bonampak is much simpler than accessing to Yaxchilán, all the route is by land What’s significant of getting here to Bonampak, is to see some incredible Mayan murals that are considered the Central America equivalent of the Sistine Chapel This is one of the murals that can be seen here in Bonampak

It’s not possible to use flash to take photographs, they do not allow you to use neither tripod or selfie sticks because of the risk that tourist, unintentionally could damage the stucco that holds the paintings So, you have to go to see this, enjoy it, study it and respect it These murals attest that the Mayan people was not necessarily peaceful as originally thought, and that in their customs were human sacrifice of captured warriors and self-sacrifice as an offering to natural forces You have to do a little bit of line because only three people can access in each turn to see the murals The detailed register embodied in these three rooms is indispensable for studying diplomatic relations between the ancient Mayan nations, and for realizing that war for resources and territory was common in the ancient civilization Maybe Bonampak is not as shocking as Palenque or Yaxchilán, but it is a key piece in the investigation puzzle and a site that deserves to be visited, because its murals and buildings arouse curiosity for the artistic quality and the architectural variety of the different nations that made up the ancient world No one can doubt that, the meticulous observation of nature and the close relationship that there was among the Mayan and their forces made them a prosper civilization We are exhausted from the journey that we made throughout the day, We are awake since 5 a.m, so I think we deserve some pampering, then, here at the Aldea Hotel they have a massage place let’s see how much it costs, let’s see if they convince us, ‘cause I do think we deserve it, don’t you? Oh yes please! I no longer feel my coccyx Now we are going to visit Palenque, the classic Mayan city, which was declared as a World Heritage Site The best time to tour this place is from 8 to 11 in the morning, at that time, you can still see the mist of the jungle, it’s not crowded, and the weather is pleasant There are fewer and fewer archaeological sites that allow visitors to explore the interior of buildings, and in Palenque there are many corridors and places to see, and let your imagination fly, that’s why Palenque remains between the most visited and recognized zones in Mexico Palenque also stands out for its varied architectural heritage, you just need to contemplate the Palace’s magnitude which is the only building in the Mayan world that’s crowned by a tower that served as an observatory Originally this city was called Lakam Ha, and it was the capital of the Bakaal region, governed by Pakal El Grande, whose territory dominated a good part of the land we know now as Chiapas and Tabasco K’inich Janaab ‘Pakal focused his government in recovering the stability and productivity of his people which had fallen out of favor, and later, he started a successful war to recover the places that had been taken away from their ancestors, managing to capture his opponents and consolidate his nation’s golden age, leaving behind one of the richest legacies of buildings, contrails tombs and aqueducts in America, that caused a lot of envy among the other Mayan states who lived on the other side of the Usumacinta The Archaeological Zone of Palenque is one of the most beautiful ones in Mexico,

not just for its lavish architecture, but for its abundant nature: it has one of the most beautiful crystal clear waterfalls you could ever see It’s because of these waterfalls that Palenque had the name of Lakam Ha, which means: The place of the great waters, and it is said that bathing here was a privilege reserved only for the rulers It also has a very interesting Site Museum that I am going to show you, and I recommend you visit this area like all the other archaeological zones in the Mayan Train route during December, January and February which are the months with the more pleasant temperature and especially because there is less mosquito population Most of the tourists who visit Palenque, they make the mistake of ignoring the Site Museum, for not knowing that it keeps the treasures discovered in Lakam Ha, and the replica of the tomb of Pakal the Great, a majestic funerary monument discovered inside the Temple of the Inscriptions, a building that visitors can’t acces It’s time to walk the first stretch of the Mayan Train in our way to Tenosique Currently there are two roads that connect both cities, and there is also a railway line whose route is quite more direct and it could would save travelers a lot of time If used correctly you would arrive faster to the next destination of the Mayan Train On the way to Tenosique we visited Boca del Cerro, to navigate again on the Usumacinta so we could admire the canyon walls by which his powerful cause advances Near the bridge there is a tourist hostel where you can rent a boat to admire the Usumacinta canyon and travel to some of the hidden beaches in the bends of the river, natural pools where people have bathed for generations since the time of the ancient Mayans The traditional stroll here in Tenosique is to take a panga and navigate the Usumacinta Canyon, we are heading to Santa Margarita pools, we’ll tell you if it’s worth traveling all this way Tenosique also offers to its visitors adventure tourism, you can do bungee jumping in Boca del Cerro and also do some rappelling on the walls of the Canyon The characteristic heat of the area was melting us, fortunately we were very close to the pools How cold is it? From 1 to 10, how cold is it? Eleven! The water is delicious! We never imagined that the river hid places like this, with crystal clear water Really, Mexico never ceases to amaze us Viajefest recommends it! For these 3 nights we spent for the two of us $9,982 pesos including lodging, activities and food We traveled by car 120 kilometers and spent 10 liters of gas, making a total amount of $10,167 pesos If you’re interested in cost details and alternative budgets, visit our blog We have hardly traveled just a small stretch of this great route of the Mayan Train, and we already understood the tourist importance of bringing all these destinations closer, however, following the path of the rail tracks also showed us that there are many challenges to solve There are social phenomena that are impossible to ignore, whose complexity makes them difficult to solve and that surely will give much to talk about meanwhile the project progresses and influences the development of this area forever Although the Mayan Train sounds to most of us as something that will be built very far from our home,

It is a mega project whose execution is of global interest for the economic impact that can generate and hopefully, it can be the engine of social improvement for the regions through which its roads cross Join us in the next episode of this Mayan Train series, we’ll discover what to do in Escárcega and Calakmul Thank you very much for sticking with us, See you on the way! Subscribe to the channel so you do not miss the next episode of this Mayan Train series The road to get to Calakmul it is the most complex of all, but watching the sky merge with the jungle in a howl, it all make sense