Saturday, 27 August 2016

Agua Azul Waterfall, Mexico near Palenque

Agua Azul near Palenque, Mexico ©Solange Hando

Barely an hour from the Maya ruins of Palenque, Agua Azul is one of the most stunning waterfalls in the Chiapas State of Mexico, south of the Yucatan peninsula.

It may not compare with Victoria or Iguazu  but at the confluence of several streams, it's an impressive series of cataracts and rapids which you can explore along a steep 7 km trail with rest and picnic spots along the way.

Rainforest and Rocks ©Solange Hando

On a site managed by the local community within the National Park, the waterfall looks almost surreal, all shades of turquoise and blue framed by lush green jungle.

The highest drop is just six metres but there are cliffs and shallow canyons, islands and here and there trees and rocks eerily coated in solidified limestone.

Agua Azul, Meeting of the Waters, Mexico ©Solange Hando

When the light travels through these mineral rich waters, all the colours are absorbed except blue (azul) which then bounces back from the river bed to the surface.

Every cascade is different but to see the colours at their best, it's best to avoid the rainy season, around June to October, when the water is often murky.

Blue, White, Green and Gold at Agua Azul©Solange Hando

The falls attract a fair number of visitors but few venture far from the first cascades and  market stalls so birdwatchers and trekkers are sure find a quiet place to relax and enjoy the scenery.

Swimming and rafting are allowed in designated areas though even there, one should beware of currents and underwater rocks or trees. Fatalities have occurred and the most treacherous stretch goes by the ominous name of 'liquidiser'. 

Agua Azul Favourite Spot ©Solange Hando

But for those who prefer to take it easy, nothing beats the obligatory photo stop by Agua Azul's favourite cascade.

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