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Palenque is a cute Mexican town that has some amazing waterfalls nearby. There are quite a few different waterfalls and it can be confusing to know which ones to go to (and which ones to miss) and how to get there. This blog has everything you need to know about visiting the best Palenque waterfalls for yourself!
When planning our time in Mexico and trying to find amazing things to see that suited our interests, I stumbled upon the town of Palenque in the state of Chiapas. It wasn’t the food or the Mayan ruins that had it at the top of my list of places to visit in Mexico – it was Palenque’s stunning waterfalls!
Palenque’s rivers are bright turquoise! And when you combine that with shallow pools and amazing waterfalls surrounded by thick green vegetation, you get some of the most beautiful swimming spots I have ever seen!
With so many to choose from (and one that simply can’t be missed) I felt it necessary to write this post on the best Palenque waterfalls!
Below I have listed the best Palenque waterfalls in order of my personal preference! I have also included some general information on visiting including fees, getting there, and simply just some general travel information about Palenque, Mexico.
Don’t have time to read the full article? There are a few different waterfalls near Palenque that are well worth visiting. Our personal favorite was Robert Barrios, and you can easily get there on this highly-rated tour that also includes a guide to show you around all the best spots to swim!
Where to Stay in Palenque, Mexico
Palenque is such a cute town! There are some incredible restaurants and things to do (more than just waterfalls!) The town itself is also just very relaxed. You’re probably going to love it (like I did) so you might as well book somewhere to stay for a couple of nights.
Related Read: If you need some ideas for your trip check out this list of the best things to do in Mexico!
Some of the best hotels in hostels in Palenque are:
Best Budget Hotel – Departamentos de la Reina Roja
This apartment is ideal for families or long-term stays because you will have the whole unit with a full kitchen to yourself. It’s very affordable at just $27 USD a night and has air conditioning, a coffee maker, a washer and dryer, and a patio garden. The only con is that it is a little bit outside of town, the nearest bus station is a 19 min walk.
You can book online in advance on Booking.com.
Best Mid-Range Hotel – Casa Hadassa La Cañada
This hotel is located right in the center of town close to restaurants, the bus station, and collectivos to get to the waterfalls. It is only 743 MXN ($40 USD) a night for a double room with air conditioning!
You can book online in advance on Booking.com.
Best Luxury Hotel – Hotel Chan-Kah Resort
This resort is pure luxury with a Maya spa on-site, a massive pool, a bar, and a restaurant. And the best part? It is located in the peaceful jungle only a couple kilometers from town. Staying here would be the ultimate holiday!
Check reviews and prices on Booking.com.
There are tons of amazing hotels in and around Palenque. You can browse them all online to check reviews, prices, and book in advance!
Related Read: If you’re visiting Mexico City for the first time this list of the best area to stay in Mexico City may be helpful.
The Best Waterfalls in Palenque (ranked in order of my favorite!)
To me, there are three main waterfalls worth mentioning and worth visiting. Here is everything you need to know about visiting them for yourself!
1. Roberto Barrios
So, when I said there was one Palenque waterfall not to be missed, I was talking about Roberto Barrios! This is the most underrated waterfall I have ever been to, the place is breathtaking! It is definitely one of the best things to do in Palenque.
The falls consist of 6 swimming areas that all have their own unique touch. Some offer high waterfalls that you can jump off and others offer relaxing infinity pools. The whole area is filled with natural slides, caves you can venture into, and waterfalls to shower in.
For all of these reasons (as well as the fact it attracts such a low amount of visitors), I rate this the absolute best Palenque waterfall!
Getting to Roberto Barrios from Palenque
Roberto Barrios is located about an hour drive outside of the town of Palenque. For those on a budget, the best and cheapest way is by a collectivo (a minibus used as public transport almost like a normal public bus.) The collectivo will set you back 50 MXN ($2.60 USD) each way.
The collectivo departure location is marked on the app Maps.me, just type in “collectivo Roberto Barrios”. You can also ask anyone on the street and they will point you in the right direction.
The collectivos allow you to spend as much or as little time at the falls as there are many going each way throughout the day. Whenever you feel like leaving head to the street and wait for the next one to drive by. Just be warned, there is no set schedule for the collectivos so you may have to wait a little while for the next one.
Your second option is to go on a tour with this reliable company. This will set you back about $22 USD. Although pricier than going on your own, your entrance fee is included and you have a guide that will show you around!
Roberto Barrios entrance fee
Roberto Barrios is not only the best waterfall but also the cheapest Palenque waterfall with the entrance fee only being 20 MXN ($1 USD).
My tips for visiting Roberto Barrios
For those wanting to explore and have an adventure, I highly recommend getting a guide. You can either go on an organized tour with a guide included (like this one) or hire a local “guide” when you get there.
These guides work on tips only and they are a good way for exploring caves or jumping off waterfalls. These “guides” just hang out at the entrance of the falls and will approach you to allow them to show you around.
The guides know the area very well. With the running currents and the water so blue, it is impossible to know how deep the water is. We had a guide show us where we could jump off and where the caves to explore are. The guide only cost 100 MXN ($5.25 USD) for both of us, but as I said, it is based on tips, so tip what you think is fair!
Related Read: For the most amazing waterfall, consider planning a trip to Iguazu Falls.
2. Misol Ha
The waterfall called Misol Ha is really something special and comes in at my second favorite choice out of all of the Palenque waterfalls.
Misol Ha differs from the other two famous falls as it is simply one magnificent fall (as opposed to many different pools.) Despite not being as large as the other falls, this place is still just as magical!
The landscape at Misol Ha is also breathtaking as you get the chance to explore a path that leads behind the waterfall to a hidden cave and get one of the most unique views and amazing photo opportunities!
Getting to Misol Ha from Palenque town
Misol Ha is located 1 hour by car from Palenque and can be visited by collectivo (head to the same location as Roberto Barrios.)
A collectivo to Mishol Ha will cost you 50 MXN ($2.60 USD) each way. While this is cheaper than a tour, it is much less comfortable. The drive to Mishol Ha from Palenque is 1 hours on a tour, but much longer on a collectivo that is stopping all of the time.
Not to mention, Agua Azul is not too far from Mishol Ha, so if you go on a tour you save yourself lots of driving time and can kill two birds with one stone!
This tour goes to BOTH Mishol Ha and Agua Azul and you will be in an air-conditioned vehicle during the drive!
Mishol Ha entrance fee
The total entrance fee is 30 MXN ($1.50 USD). 10 MXN ($0.50 USD) paid at the gate and another 20 MXN ($1 USD) paid at the falls. If you want to enter the cave it costs another 10 MXN ($0.50 USD) .
My Tips for visiting Misol Ha
If you like photography be sure to bring your tripod for some awesome slow-shutter photos. Be careful walking behind the falls, it’s really slippery and if you take your camera, keep it in your bag or it will get wet!
3. Agua Azul
Agua Azul is the most popular of the waterfalls and is one of the best things to do in Palenque, Mexico. Although really beautiful, tourists come in droves and are usually accompanied by a large bus! The entire waterfront is covered in shops and restaurants and it can be hard to find a little peace and quiet.
With that aside, the falls are huge and with lots of different trails and pools to explore – it still is really amazing. Swimming is not permitted in most of the pools and security enforces this. Even the most mischievous visitors will find themselves in the designated areas with the tourists, though, there are many allocated places to cool off.
Getting to Agua Azul from Palenque
As stated about Misol Ha, I suggest taking the tour as Agua Azul is located 2 hours from Palenque and the collectivos will simply take too much time and be super uncomfortable!
If you also want to visit the Palenque Ruins, consider booking this tour! It combines a visit to the ruins with Mishol Ha AND Agua Azul!
Why We Book Tours with Viator
Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! We almost always book our tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:
- Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
- Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
- Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
- Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.
Agua Azul entrance fee
Agua Azul is not only my least favorite but also the most expensive at 40 MXN ($2 USD).
My Tips for Visiting Aqua Azul
If you don’t like huge crowds or overly tourist places, I really suggest considering missing Agua Azul. Instead, visit Roberto Barrio and Misol Ha on two separate days using the collectivos or a hire car. This way, you could spend as much time as you would like at the two best Palenque waterfalls!
Related Read: Make sure to find out all the amazing things to do in Puebla, Mexico if you are planning a visit.
Fun Things to do in Palenque (other than waterfalls of course!)
Besides exploring waterfalls, there are a ton of other exciting things to do in and around Palenque! Some trips you should consider are:
Visit the Palenque Ruins
One of the things Palenque is most famous for is the Palenque Ruins!
Explore this amazing archaeological site and learn all about the history and culture of the Mayan civilization!
You can even book a combined tour that takes you to both the ruins, Mishol Ha waterfall, and Aqua Azul
Eat ALLLL the tacos!
I’m not going to lie, I probably ate my weight in tacos while in Palenque thanks to a tasty (and cheap!) little al pastor tacos shop called Mr Taco.
There are tons of delicious taco shops around Palenque. My best advice is to make sure you get the tacos that come with fresh pineapple – delicious!
Visit Bonampak and Yaxchilán
Although located a couple of hours from Palenque, they are located within the Lacandona Jungle making it a full-day trip and a unique experience.
You should book your tour to Bonampak and Yaxchilan online in advance as they aren’t super common to visit and tours may not be operating daily and available for last-minute bookings.
If you aren’t already planning to visit the archaeological site of Tikal in Guatemala – you should! You can visit on a two-day organized tour from Palenque so you don’t have to plan a thing!
Don’t get Caught without Travel Insurance!
We never travel without travel insurance! We’ve had a few instances during our travels when one of us has ended up in the hospital, and travel insurance has saved us thousands of dollars over the years!
SafetyWing is our go-to insurance, we both have policies with them whenever we travel.
They offer travel medical insurance that’s super affordable (only $45 USD per 4 weeks!)The only thing to note is that the insurance must be purchased once you’ve left your home country – we typically buy it as soon as we land at the airport.
We’ve personally used SafetyWing for many different trips, and we’ve been reimbursed for countless expenses when we’ve fallen ill. SafetyWing even covered our flights back to Canada in full when the pandemic first happened (when last-minute flights before the borders closed were super expensive!) While most travel insurance companies left people stranded, SafetyWing fully reimbursed us for our last-minute, pricey flights!
Also, because it is so affordable, there really is no excuse not to take out a policy. Check prices and get a quote online here with SafetyWing (you can even take out a policy if you’re already traveling!)
Thanks for reading!
I really hope this post helps you on your visit to the Palenque waterfalls.
We appreciate every reader and any feedback is great! But please, make sure you don’t miss Roberto Barrios!
If you found this blog helpful, maybe some of our other blogs on places near Palenque will be useful to you too: