Trip Start Jan 22, 2011
Trip End Apr 27, 2011

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Flag of Mexico  , Central Mexico and Gulf Coast,
Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Leaving Merida, we had a really long bus trip to Palenque, a small town sharing a name with the ancient Maya ruins about 9km away in the jungle.  We stayed in a cute Maya-style hotel, Hotel Xibalba.  An early start the next day saw us at the entrance to the ruins nice and early, only to find out that the site was shut until noon as the Mexican president was there!  That threw the plans out at bit so while some people went swimming at the Misol-Ha waterfall, Caroline and I wandered around town.  We met the others later and finally got to the site of Palenque about 3pm.

The ruins date back to about 100BC when the city started as a small farming village.  The city grew steadily and eventually turned into a major political centre and home to a powerful Maya dynasty.  It is thought the site reached it's peak in the 7th century, under the rule of Pakal from 615-683AD, before being abandonded around 800AD.  The site was slowly absorbed by the jungle and remained untouched until the late 1700's.  Approximately 95% of the ruins are still jungle covered!
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