In addition to Maya temples and other structures, there were plenty of other interesting sights at the Palenque Archaeological Site in Chiapas, Mexico.

We saw one of our favorite tropical birds, the Blue-Crowned Mot Mot. These birds must like hanging out at the ruins as the first one we saw was in Cahal Pech in San Ignacio.  I love the way they just sit still on a branch for so long, allowing us to take multiple shots.  Wish more birds would behave that way!
And this tree, on a closer look, revealed a fascinating fruit (reputed as a possible cancer cure), soursop.
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Soursop (graviola)
Here's a pretty tree -- no idea what it is, though.  Anyone?
It was interesting to me that vendors were allowed inside the park; we hadn't seen that at any parks in Belize.  We bought a refrigerator magnet with a hand-painted image of a Resplendent Quetzal.  Big spenders, I tell ya!
I didn't know exactly what this was until I did a little research.  Turns out that the Palenque site included an extensive system of aqueducts and channels used for water management by the Maya.
In addition to engineered waterways, there was a lovely river running through the site.  The stairs to access the river, which was much lower than the rest of the site, were extensive, but worth all the sore quads.  The jungle in this area was impossibly beautiful!
There was a very cool swing bridge over the river.
After enjoying the beautiful river walk, it was time to head back up.  By this time my quads were screaming.  It was not only the structures that had steep stairs, it was the park itself.  I was definitely "undertrained" for this site!
We got very lucky and got to see a troop of Howler Monkeys very close up at the site.  I always get very excited by a monkey sighting!
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Baby howler on momma's back
Before we leave the ruins, here are a couple of my favorite shots of multiple structures from up on high.
After a great day at the site, it was finally time to leave.  But not before a little shopping!  I bought a beautiful embroidered Mexican blouse from one of the many stalls in the parking area.  Little did I know, I'd later see the exact same thing available in San Cristobal for half the price.  Oh well, it was still quite inexpensive (approximately $14 US).
We then caught a collectivo back to town.  We were the only gringos in the van, as usual.  
Similar to taxis in San Pedro, Belize, the collectivo vans are old US mini-vans, and not in very good condition.  Rattle-traps!  And where's the license plate?  Hmmmmm....
Stay tuned...the Palenque food post is coming up next!

A note to our readers:  I thought it was odd that we hadn't gotten any blog comments in about a month.  I now realize why.  For some reason, Weebly has stopped sending me the email notifications of comments.  When I finally thought to poke around and see if I had any in a pending status, I found 50!  So, if you've commented on the blog in the past month, my apologies that you were ignored.  I am going to try to get these posted (and responded to, where warranted) as soon as I can.  Your patience and understanding is much appreciated!
Larry Merrill
1/23/2013 06:21:09 am

Great post so far. I am sure it was an exciting trip. P.S. sorry for the name dropping but I had a feeling you blogged with John Henry in the past!

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BeBelize Emily
1/24/2013 03:09:00 am

No problem, Larry -- we have each commented on each other's blogs in the past, though we've never actually met. Barry and I ride by John's build nearly every day, though!

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1/23/2013 10:24:59 am

Hi Emily,

I am so enjoying your posts about your travels through Mexico! I believe that the tree is an African Tulip tree. We have them here in Costa Rica. I am surprised they are not in Belize, but I do not seem to recall seeing them there...

Looking forward to more Mexican adventures!

*Jamie*

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BeBelize Emily
1/24/2013 03:11:49 am

Thanks for the tree identification, Jamie! I have never seen one of them in Belize, but I certainly haven't seen every tree in Belize. :) Glad you're enjoying the Mexico trip. It was a great adventure!

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Bobbie gould
3/4/2014 03:17:57 pm

I recognize the swinging bridge but can't remember what it was called.
we were there many years ago and saw crocodiles in the river below!

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