The other favorite thing to do in these parts, besides visiting ancient ruins and ruining ancient rituals, is swimming in the stunning Cascadas de Agua Azules. A series of crystal blue pools connected by waterfalls and surrounded by lush jungle, it’s an absolutely incredible and stunningly beautiful experience.
We’d booked the trip a day in advance, with one of the several tourist agencies that arrange these sorts of things. The guy we bought it from quoted a price higher than any others, but he explained it was because his shuttles were the nicest and the only ones in town with air conditioning. We liked the guy and his smile and frankly didn’t feel like shopping around, so we were happy to pay the few extra bucks.
The next morning, the cold that had been threatening me had advanced in full force, and I was feeling awful. Moment #1 in the day that we regretted booking this tour in advance. I was really anxious to visit Agua Azules though, so I sucked it up and we walked down to the main road where we were scheduled to be picked up.
We speculated at each passing vehicle which one might be ours. When a rusty old van slowed down I joked “hey maybe this is it!” And…it was. Moment #2 we regretted booking this tour. We climbed in the old clunker with torn upholstery, broken seat belts, and nothing even close to air conditioning. Every time I even tried the AC dial, it sounded like the car was going to explode. We’d been betrayed!
Our driver and I got off to a bad start, cause he insisted we pay him the national park entrance fees and I was certain he was ripping us off. We drove around town, sometimes picking up more people and other times making inexplicable u-turns without picking up anybody. The third time we passed our hostel I had had it, and told the guy to just drop us off and give us a refund. He argued with me in Spanish I hardly understood while I sat in the middle seat sneezing and sweating. Moment #3 we regretted booking this tour.
After about two hours, including a stop at a less impressive waterfall, we’d finally made it to Aguas Azules. I was dying and Reece was cranky and we were anxious to finally take a dip and let the morning’s stresses melt away. BA-BOOM!!! Thunder clapped in the distance and the skies opened up, and the moment we parked it started POURING. Of course! Moment #4 we regretted booking this tour.
We sought shelter at one of the thatched roof comedores lined up along to the path towards the water and ate some empanadas. As the rain came down harder, thunder roared and lightening struck all around us. At one point I’m pretty sure a tree nearby was hit, as the unmistakable smell of burning drifted through the air. What a perfect day to swim in a waterfall! At this point, you couldn’t do anything but laugh. I tried to find a silver lining, “Hey, maybe now everybody will leave and then the rain will stop and we’ll have the place to ourselves!”
When the downpour lessened to a drizzle, and we ventured out to get a glimpse. Even in the gloom, it was jaw-droppingly gorgeous. And I was right! Most people had cleared out, so when the lightening cleared enough for a safe swim, we had much of the place to ourselves. And it was so, so worth it. Rather than say any more about it, I’ll let the pictures do the talking.
Moments #1, 2, 3 and 4 we no longer regretted booking this tour.
For the rest of my Palenque and Agua Azules pics, click HERE.
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