EAST COAST OF MEXICO 2009
Villahermosa to Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico
Road Trip Photos
Agua Azul Photos
We departed from our Pemex station at about our usual departure time, 9 AM, for Palenque. This leg is supposed to take about 3 hours, according to S&T. We left Tabasco and entered Chiapas at about mile 62, then re-entered Tabasco at about mile 67. Then, a mile later we re-entered Chiapas for good. All of this on Mex 186. The roads were good until we left Mex 186 and joined Mex 199. Then they dropped to fair. Up until that time it was pretty much 4 lane divided with a speed limit of 100 kph (but we were doing about 80 kph), then it switched to 2 lane country road with numerous tight curves and a few topes.
Then, SURPRISE! We were in Palenque (the town, not the ruins). A few more miles and we were at the Hotel Quiloma Ranch. And it was only 11 AM. That was the fastest 100 Mexico miles I've crossed on this trip! The ranch is just that, a working ranch where the owner has built a hotel and some motel type units. He also has a open air restaurant with excellent food. Church's says that he offers boondocking with flush toilets, cold showers, and WiFi. What we found was a little different. The cold showers had been closed down and the parking area was the grass parking lot in front of the restaurant. It was kind of tight for two 37' coaches but we managed to get in and found a couple of spots that were close enough to level that our jacks could do the rest. With the two of us in there, you didn't have room for another big rig. At least not where it could get level. A couple of class B or C's could possibly fit in. The WiFi didn't reach my coach but it did reach Kats. I solved this by comadeering a back table at the restaurant as my computer table. We got around the shower problem by talking the manager into letting us use the shower in one of the rooms that had checked out and the housekeepers hadn't cleaned yet. These were HOT showers, but after the ladies got finished I had to settle for a cold one. Small hot water tanks I guess.
We spent 2 days exploring the Palenque ruins and museum. These ruins are much more intact than the Tajin ones, and much more facinating, at least to us. The palace can be entered and climbed through to the top internally. There are all sorts of rooms with bias relief murels and other stuff. And even though the view from the top is great, you have to go to the upper level of the grounds and climb the ruin there to get a birds-eye view of the area, like the one above. There is a lower level to the grounds also but our knees weren't up to the stairs down or back up. Of course you could hear the howler monkeys all day from just about everywhere in the ruins.
On the third day we moved to Nututun Palenque Hotel to be closer to the falls. Also because of the large natural swimming hole on the river. Of course the good weather didn't last. As soon as we got there it cooled down and started raining. It never quit until the day we pulled out. A word of warning about this place. They offer 15/20 amp 120 VAC and we took them up on it. I checked voltage and polarity before hooking up but apparently the voltage rises during the night. In the morning my inverter was blocking the shore power due to high voltage. When I checked it I found 137 VAC! Luckily it didn't damage anything, at least so far as I know now. Later it dropped back to 125 VAC. For the European coaches, they also offer 230 VAC. I have no idea what that does overnight.
From the hotel we drove down 199 to the Misol-Ha falls where you can walk behind a waterfall and swim in the pool at the bottom of the falls. With the weather being so lousy, Robin was the only one willing to go into the water. We continued on down 199 to Agua Azul Cascades where swimming is also allowed (although they had the areas closest to the cascades taped off) but the weather had gotten worse and even Robin wasn't willing to go in. Both the falls and the cascades are well worth a visit.
The next day was forecast to be nice so we hung around to swim in the swimming hole in the river. So much for forecasts, it drizzled all day. The following day we were out of there on our way to Chetumal, which would require us to overnight somewhere around the town of Escarcega, Campeche.