Deciding to brave the heat, we headed straight into the ruins site and were amazed by what we saw, it was like walking into an Indiana Jones film set
. Built without any metal tools, the wheel or the help of mules or horses this huge complex was built around 1500 years ago. The ruins here are some of the best preserved mayan buildings in the country and the trees around the temples are full of howler monkeys and exotic birds screeching to add to the scene. We walked around the site for a few hours climbing hundreds of stone steps, wandering through tunnels and taking in the views from the top of the temples.
Exhausted and not being able to climb a single step more, we headed back to our riverside villa for a rest and chatted to an Australian couple staying next door about their recent trip to Cuba and ours to Guatemala. Luckily the water was back on by now and we were able to take a well needed shower. The nightlife in El Panchan consisted of one restaurant serving great pizzas and calzones with a live band on stage which was unfortunately completely drowned out by the torrential downpour outside. We spent a few hours back in the cabana squashing spiders, mosquitoes, unidentified flying bugs and trying to work out what the big black shiny thing Lou had seen hide in the palm fronds that made up the roof. We crashed out and got some sleep ready for the 8am bus to Merida.
Another overnight bus journey later we arrived in a small town called Palenque right on the edge of the rainforest so very hot, very humid and very exciting. We took a collectivo taxi van from the main town to a small village on the outskirts of the Palenque mayan ruins site called El Panchan which consists mainly of small wooden cabanas right in the thick of the jungle. We found a cabin on the edge of a small river for less than $10 a night. What a bargain considering it came with its own zoo featuring frogs, lizards,spiders and other unfriendly looking creatures that had squeezed past the useless mosquito nets. We were dying for a cold shower by this time; 14 and a half hours on a bus, a half mile walk in search of a collectivo and our new jungle surroundings but alas the showers were out of water!