So, you’re in Palenque and you’ve heard about these amazing waterfalls that you can swim in called Roberto Barrios. But you’re not sure how to get to them without joining a tour.
Perhaps you asked people at your hotel or hostel about how to get to Roberto Barrios and they didn’t know.
In this blog post, I’m going to tell you EXACTLY how to get to Roberto Barrios using public transportation. I’ll also tell you how much the waterfalls cost, what to bring, what to do there, and how to get back to Palenque.
Don’t worry. I went by myself and I’m not the bravest or most adventurous person in the world. If I can do it, you can. It’s perfectly safe!
Looking for more info on Mexico, check out ALL my articles on how to travel in Mexico.
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How to get to Roberto Barrios
Roberto Barrios Cascades is located about 19miles (30 kilometers) from Palenque in the town of Profesor Roberto Barrios.
To get there by yourself, you can take a colectivo from Cuarte Pte. Nte. Street (Google Maps) between 5a Avenida Pte. Nte. and Sexta Avenida Pte. Nte.
It’s about a 10-minute walk from the Central ADO Bus Station.
You’ll find white vans called colectivos usually with the words “Roberto Barrios” on the side or front. They’ll be parked along the street. The van above was the one I took, but most of the other vans I saw were completely white.
Drivers might also call out Roberto Barrios when they see someone who looks like a tourist.
My hotel told me that I could get the colectivo from the roundabout in front of the ADO Bus Station. This is NOT true.
The colectivo to Roberto Barrios cost me MXN$50 (US$2.50) one way, and it took about an hour to get to the cascades.
Pay when you exit the van.
The colectivo will drop you off right in front of the ticket booth for Roberto Barrios.
Pay the entrance fee here. It was MXN$30 (US$1.50) in July 2021.
Then to your right, walk for less than five minutes along a dirt road lined with shops selling swimming gear and toys and snacks until you get to the entrance where you’ll show your ticket.
What facilities does Roberto Barrios have?
Roberto Barrios doesn’t have a lot of facilities like at Agua Azul Waterfalls. They have bathrooms (you’ll have to pay MXN$5), someone renting out life jackets for MXN$50, and a restaurant that didn’t look open when I was there.
There are no paved pathways around the park, so it feels more like you’re in nature than at Agua Azul.
There are some wooden bridges and stairs around the park going to different levels of the cascades and going down to the water.
What should I bring to Roberto Barrios
- Food – there is maybe one restaurant inside the park, but like I said earlier, it didn’t look like it was open. I left earlier than I wanted to because I was so hungry.
- Insect repellent
- Swimsuit – yes the cascades are perfect for swimming
- Water shoes – sometimes the rocks are slippery so you’ll want some traction; I slipped and fell when I was there
- Waterproof dry bag to protect your things
- Drinking water
A friend of mine lost his phone and wallet in the water and ended up stranded at the park with no money. After spending a few nights there, he finally was able to get a ride back to Palenque by selling some of his possessions.
What can you do at Roberto Barrios
The best thing to do at Roberto Barrios is to swim and just hang out in the water or on the rocks.
Explore the different cascades.
And you’ll probably take some photos for Instagram.
Some people were jumping off the waterfalls and swinging from ropes into the water.
When you enter the park, you’ll come to an area with bathrooms and life jacket rentals (above photo). This is the only bathroom I saw in the park, and I didn’t see any other place to rent life jackets.
Basically, the park is like a maze. You take one path and it leads you to an unexpectedly deserted cascade and then you take another and another and you’re at another isolated cascade. You might even try to go back to the previous cascade only to find that you can’t find the way.
When you enter the park, you can either go left or right.
You’ll come across your first gorgeous pool and two small cascades. You might be tempted to stop there, but keep on going. There are even nicer pools and cascades to stop and swim.
You’ll cross a bridge before coming to the park’s largest cascade. I saw people sitting on the cascade and two guys who slid down it.
The large cascade falls into a nice pool that you can swim in.
Keep on going because the best part is yet to come. Level upon level of mini cascades. Don’t worry! They are perfectly safe to swim in. And the water is so clean and clear!
Do you see ANYONE in the photo?
If you go early enough, you can get these waterfalls pretty much to yourself.
You can even sit in the pools like you’re in a jacuzzi. The water is refreshingly cool
This part of the park is absolutely gorgeous. I went here. Left. Tried to go back, but couldn’t find it again. If you go to Roberto Barrios and find these pools, please tell me in the comment section below. There was no one else around when I was there.
There are more cascades and pools in the park. I don’t think I got to the end. It just went on and on.
If you go back to the entrance and take the path going to the right, you’ll come across more falls and more pools for swimming but not as beautiful as the photos above.
When to visit Roberto Barrios
Go in the morning before the park gets crowded. But stay as late as you can before the last colectivo goes back at 5:00 pm.
How to get back to Palenque from Roberto Barrios
Getting back to Palenque is really easy. Near the ticket shack, there were white vans lined up waiting to take people back to Palenque. It took the van about 30 minutes to fill up with passengers before we left for Palenque.
The last colectivo back to Palenque is at 5:00 PM. You can probably stay later if you pay more money. Double-check the time of the last colectivo.
Where to stay in Palenque
I usually book hotels and hostels through Booking.com or Agoda. Both websites have loads of hotels from budget to luxury.
You can either stay in the city of Palenque or outside the city along the road going to the ruins of Palenque.
You can read more about the pros and cons of where to stay in Palenque in this article on things to do in Palenque. I stayed in both locations and liked each. However, if I had to choose just one, I’d stay outside the city.
Budget and Mid-range Accommodations
1. Casa Janaab Palenque
Located just five minutes by foot from the ADO Bus Station in the safe and quiet La Canada neighborhood, Casa Janaab Paleqneu is a wonderful hotel with both dorm and private rooms with baths. The facilities in the private rooms on the second floor are better than the ones on the third floor. They’re spacious with comfy beds and big clean bathrooms. I paid US$35 a night.
It’s got a kitchen and the only self-service washing machine and dryer I came across in Mexico! It’s expensive, though. I paid MXN$120 (US$6) for one load of laundry.
They also charge you to refill your water bottle.
The WiFi was fast and stable enough for me to teach my classes on Zoom.
2. Cabana Kin Balam
Located halfway between the ADO Bus Station and the Palenque ruins, this wonderful hotel has both dorms and private cabins, some of which have bathrooms and some without and some with air conditioning and some without. Cabins cost between US$30 and $50.
My private cabin was in a secluded area surrounded by trees, a stream, and wildlife. I spent several days on my veranda working online and teaching classes over Zoom. As I was working, I would see colorful tropical birds flying by and lizards sneaking around in the forest. Plus there were two peacocks that live on the property and that love to come up to your veranda and plop down right next to you. It’s fabulous!
In the morning, late afternoon, and evening I could hear the howler monkeys off in the jungle. If you’ve seen the movie Jurassic Park, then you know what these monkeys sound like because the film’s creators used their howls to make the sounds of the dinosaurs. Yes! Howler monkeys sound like dinosaurs! Or at least what we think dinosaurs sounded like.
There’s a swimming pool, hammocks, a not-so-good restaurant, and a tour agency.
From the city, expect to pay between MXN$70 and $100 for a taxi or take a colectivo from in front of the ADO Bus Station for MXN$20. Tell the driver the name of the hotel and they’ll know where to drop you off. Pay when you exit the van. The last colectivo is at 6:00 PM.
High-end Priced Hotels
Hotel Boutique Quinta Chanabnal
Located in the middle of the jungle, Hotel Boutique Quinta Chanabnal is probably the most luxurious hotel in Palenque. It says it has its own waterfall along with a pool and spa. It’s designed to look like a Maya palace.
Where to eat in Palenque
The La Canada neighborhood is where you’ll find medium-priced to upper-priced restaurants serving decent to pretty good food. Here are the ones that I tried.
Café Jade (Google Maps) – (Mexican; Excellent breakfasts) Excellent set breakfasts. Best huevos ranchero in Mexico.
Hotel Xibalba (Google Maps) – (Mexican) If you want simple food at a cheaper price than Café Jade, then head to the restaurant attached to Hotel Xibalba.
Casa Antoliana (Google Maps) – ( Mexican) Really good tostadas and tacos with fish and seafood.
Trota Mundos (Google Maps) – (inexpensive Mexican, specialty is chicken) Really good local food at a decent price. It’s only a 10-minute walk from the La Canada neighborhood.
Don Mucho’s (Google Maps) – (Italian; good pizzas) Right across the street from Cabana Kin Balam. A huge menu of items like pizza, pasta, and steak dishes. The pizza is actually quite good.
ATMs in Palenque
The best ATM I could find within walking distance from the ADO Bus Station was the one inside Chedraui (Google Maps), a story that is similar to Target or Walmart that sells food, clothes, and everyday items. The ATM is near the exit.
The ATM inside the ADO Bus Station doesn’t take foreign credit cards.
Pharmacies in Palenque
You can find insect repellant and suntan lotion and whatever else you need at the large and well-stocked Farmacia Ahorro near Trota Mundos Restaurant on Benito Juarez Street. Right next to the hospital.
Grocery Stores in Palenque
A great place to get snacks, fruit, and drinks for your trip to Roberto Barrios is at the supermarket/department store called Chedraui (Google Maps)–about 10 minutes by foot from the ADO Bus Station.
PRO TIP: No one likes to think about insurance, but accidents do happen. I highly recommend getting World Nomads. This is what I’ve used for short-term travel. When I quit my job to travel around the world, I switched to Safety Wings. They’re very affordable (less than US$100 a month depending on age) especially for those of us who are over 40 years old. They now cover COVID19.
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LOOKING FOR MORE TRAVEL INFO ON MEXICO?
- You can find lots of fun things to do in Merida in my list of 23 things to do in Merida
- Looking for things to do in the Yucatan? Here is a list of 15 day trips that you can take from Merida! Includes detailed instructions on how to get to each place by public transportation–tried and tested!
- Here’s a detailed guide on how to visit some of the best cenotes in the Yucatan.
- Read this post on travel info on what fun things to do in Campeche.
- What else can you do in Palenque besides visiting Roberto Barrios? Find out 6 more fun things to do in Palenque.