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Sections of Palenque

The surrounding areas of Palenque, known for their dense jungle vegetation and humid climate, have beautiful scenery, including waterfalls, nature trails, and lakes, where you can explore the countryside on foot or horseback, giving you direct contact with the natural environment. Near the town of Palenque you’ll find one of Mexico’s most important rivers, where you can experience the thrill of whitewater rafting in a boat or kayak. The best time of year to hit the rapids is from July to October, when the conditions are more favorable.

Palenque provides the perfect setting to experience the rush of extreme sports, or you can take in the scenery from above aboard an ultra light aircraft. Near Palenque you’ll find ideal spots for kayaking. It has abundant jungle vegetation, beautiful rock formations, and allows you to paddle near small waterfalls and through tunnels. Thanks to the region’s mountainous terrain, Palenque offers many jungle trails that lead to hills and mountains that provide excellent opportunities for climbing. The jungle area in which you’ll find the archaeological zone and town of Palenque covers 3,500 km (1,400 mi). There in the midst of the dense jungle landscape, you’ll find rivers, waterfalls, lakes and a wide variety of flora and fauna, natural attractions that make this the ideal site for ecotourism outings.

Touring the ruins of Palenque and its surrounding areas allows you to appreciate the lush jungle vegetation of Chiapas, the blue rivers and the small lakes, all of which make this Mayan paradise the ideal spot to experience close contact with nature.

Parque Nacional Cascadas de Agua Azul (Agua Azul Waterfalls): Located 50 km (31 mi) south of the town of Palenque, off Highway 199 in the direction of Ocosingo. The Agua Azul (Blue Water) River tumbles down natural limestone steps, forming a series of amazing cascades with pools in calcareous depressions. The Agua Azul River comes from the Yax-Ha River that courses down on a limestone floor that gives the water its characteristic turquoise color, forming a series of cascades that give way to natural pools.

Because of its abundant vegetation and its impressive waterfalls, which are formed from the water flow of the Tulija River, Agua Azul was declared a national park in 1980. Thanks to its dense vegetation and spacious green areas, this is a lovely place to go camping. Here you can enjoy nature in a family setting with a strong emphasis on ecological awareness. You can appreciate an abundance of flora and fauna in a natural habitat full of mahogany, cedar and sapodilla trees, as well as birds, insects and small mammals. Moreover, you can also marvel at the beautiful blue waters, which have that color as a result of erosion; water flowing past the rocks causes small particles of lime containing magnesium salts and other chlorides to break off and dissolve. At this place you can take a tour on an ultra light aircraft, giving you a bird’s-eye view of the gorgeous blue waterfalls. For your added comfort, the park has two restaurants, cabins, crafts shop and parking lot.

Cascada (Waterfall) Misol-Ha: Reached by highway 199 from Palenque-Ocosingo and San Cristóbal de Las Casas. It is a waterfall with a height of approximately 30 m among lush jungle vegetation with tall mahogany, Palo de Agua ("Water Stick"), chicozapote, and canshanes trees. This is an ideal place for trekking, as it offers trails that lead to impressive waterfalls. During the hike, you’ll see such flora as mahogany, sapodilla and jigger wood trees. Here you’ll find tour guides offering horseback outings down long paths, giving you the opportunity to observe the jungle landscape and take in the aromas of the bountiful vegetation. Below the waterfall is a pool suitable for swimming. There are cabins available, a restaurant, craft shop, parking lot and hiking paths.

Agua Clara: Head 55 km (34 mi) west of the town of Palenque along Highway 199 and then take the turnoff at Km 27. An eco-tourist center on the banks of the Shumulja River with its turquoise waters suitable for swimming. At this place you can go horseback riding along jungle trails amongst the exotic vegetation. Experienced guides will lead you down the best paths through the tropical jungle and up the mountains, allowing to you fully enjoy the experience. This tourist zone covers 90 hectares (222 acres) and lies between the Tulija and Shumulja rivers. This is an excellent spot to go on a photo safari while hiking along beautiful trails set in lush jungle vegetation. You’ll also have the opportunity to observe toucans, doves, parakeets and howler monkeys. This jungle setting has decent camping grounds where you can enjoy nature to ifs fullest and go fishing. Surrounded by the unparalleled landscape of the Chiapas jungle, this is the perfect place to go kayaking in the crystalline blue waters of the Shumulja River. It also has cabaña rentals, a restaurant, restrooms, dressing rooms and a parking lot.

Rio Usumacinta: Considered one of the fastest rivers in Mexico and the longest in Central America, this river runs through a large part of the northeastern region of Chiapas. The river flows past the town of Palenque and then runs along the Mexico-Guatemala border. The rapids, drops and small waterfalls that you’ll come across on this river make it a truly exciting adventure.


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Amatenango del Valle Chiapa de Corzo
Comitan de Dominguez Palenque
San Cristobal de las Casas San Juan Chamula
Selva Lacandona Tapachula
Tenejapa Tonala
Tuxtla Gutierrez Zinacantan
Ç Chiapas, Tumbala, Agua Azul Waterfalls 5 - Photo by Secretaria de Turismo de Chiapas
  Chiapas, Tumbala, Agua Azul Waterfalls
Ç Chiapas, Ocosingo, Misol-Ha Waterfalls - Photo by EMD Ignacio Guevara
  Chiapas, Ocosingo, Misol-Ha Waterfalls
Ç Chiapas, Frontera Corozal, River Usumacinta, Navigating - Photo by Germán Murillo-Echavarria 0406
  Chiapas, Frontera Corozal, River Usumacinta

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