Cascadas de Agua Azul (Spanish for “Blue Water Falls”) is an amazing series of waterfalls and cascades that is 69 km south of Palenque Mayan ruins. Located in the middle of the Chiapas rainforest, the water (during the dry season) is a rich aquamarine color due to the high mineral content (limestone) in the water.
Standing next to the water, it looked artificial, so rich was the color. On the day of our visit, it was overcast with occasional drizzle, but this lack of optimal conditions did not take away from the beauty of the place. None of the falls are particularly high, but there is a nice quantity of water falling over many drops like stair-steps carved into the jungle surroundings. The tan rocks accented the aquamarine water nicely and regular white-water completed the experience.
The rocks where the water flowed were coated with limestone, giving it an appearance that reminded me of cave formations or the hot spring terraces of Yellowstone. There seems to be a hundred different waterfalls and cascades along this short stretch of river. As we worked our way upstream, an amiable little beagle pup followed along with us, hopping on three legs as he had one injured. He was content for our company and never whined or begged. He made the journey all the way up and back down.
The boardwalk has been well designed and there are plenty of places where it allowed for excellent views of the falls. We stopped at each, taking pictures and video. It was pleasant, with a neutral temperature and the rain staying away most of the time we were there. Other than the row of vendors lining the boardwalk opposite the river, the entire area was rich with verdant flora and just maintained enough to allow passage but still keep a nice jungle feel.
We reached the upper end of the boardwalk, where stood an official looking gentlemen who informed us we were allowed to swim here. The water was mostly calm there, but the rich azure water remained. It felt like an eden here, away from the vendors and their structures.
Journeying back down, we revisited all of the overlooks, unable to quite pry ourselves away from the natural beauty of the place, but eventually we reached the bottom. Purchasing four empanadas made fresh (I liked the chicken better than the cheese ones), we returned to our car and made our way. Agua Azul will remain in our memory as a unique waterfall experience.
To read important tips for seeing Agua Azul, go here.
A gallery of hi-res pictures from our visit is here.
To read about or visit to nearby Palenque Mayan Ruins, go here.