We briefly wondered if we had made a mistake as we watched the large tour bus, bound for Agua Azul, pull out of our hotel parking lot in Palenque, Mexico. We, my husband, two teenage sons and I, had decided instead to go on a quest in search of a different set of waterfalls that day – Roberto Barrios Falls in the small town of (you guessed it) Roberto Barrios. We were excited about the prospect even though the town of Roberto Barrios was not on any map we could find, the Cascades de Roberto Barrios were not listed in any guide books or brochures, and other than some random blog posts and a few references on Trip Advisor, the falls seemed to be a bit of a hidden secret (which meant we absolutely had to find them!).
Here is what we did know:
- If we drove 7 km on the road towards Agua Azul there would be a right turn onto a “paved road” and 14 km later we should arrive in the town of Roberto Barrios.
2. Once in the town, we needed to find the “central park”. The central park turned out to be more of a large grassy area with a neat old church.
3. We would know we were in the right spot when local children approached us to be our guide to the waterfalls for 20 pesos (about $1.25) per person.
With that limited amount of information, we actually made it to our destination!
Since there was no actual indication of where the falls were, we decided to take up the offer of a guide. Our guide was a teenage boy named Rafael. He spoke only Spanish. As we walked down the dirt path into the jungle he explained that the people of the town owned and operated the falls together. Tourists had only started coming there in the last 4 years but (unfortunately in a way) interest seemed to be growing.
After a relatively short walk down a jungle path,
we came upon the first of the several waterfalls and it took our breath away!
At Rafael’s suggestion, we continued on the path to the lowest of multiple falls and began our exploration there.
We moved up the falls both by walking the path or (in the teens case) climbing up through the rocks and falls to get to the next level up – Going behind waterfalls into small caves to see bats and swimming in the bigger pools.
At one of the upper level pools, there were some natural diving boards to jump off of.
At every turn there was another beautiful vista.
All of water was a clear sea green, warmed by the sun.
We were loath to leave, but as we made the walk back we purchased from local merchants some sliced mango (the most amazing ever, according to Teen).
… fresh off the tree coconut water.
And homemade fried plantains.
Side note: Afraid to eat homemade food in Mexico? GOOD – that means more for me. The best food I have had in Mexico has been at the hands of locals, cooking right on the street or out of their own kitchens and no “Montezuma’s revenge.”
Teen says, in actuality, bad WiFi in Mexico is Montezuma’s true revenge.
As we were leaving, the local boys were reclaiming their watering hole. I hope it stays that way.
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