They didn't have metal tools. They didn't have horses, or any other animals that could be used for work. What amazes me almost as much; when dripping with sweat as I walk around this jungle setting today, is how they built cities like this in such heat, presumably with their bare hands too!
Palenque is the Spanish name. No one knows the real name, but it is thought to be Lakamha, meaning "Big Water" because of the water systems that were built to support life around the steep pyramids and temples. In San Cristobál, we saw a lively and entertaining re-enactment of the attack on the city by neighbouring Toniná, so we were ready to take in the scene and imagine what life was like in the land of the Maya.
The road from San Cristóbal brought us down from 2000m almost to sea level, along a winding road through very scenic jungle and villages. Along that road were two of the most impressive waterfalls I have ever seen. Aqua Azul is stunningly beautiful, and a bit surreal, and named after the turquoise water. Misol-Ha is impressive, powerful, and unusual in the fact that large numbers of people can walk behind it - assuming you don't mind a soaking!
Needless to say that the descent from the mountains has also brought us into a much hotter and very humid climate that we must get used to now for the rest of the trip.