Agua Azul Waterfall (Blue-water Falls) is located in the Mexican state of Chiapas, about 42 miles from the Mayan Ruins of Palenque. The exquisite turquoise color occurs because the water is heavily laden with minerals like calcium, which coat the surrounding vegetation and deposit in the stream to create calcified stepping stones. In many places the water descends in two streams, with small islands in the middle. Follow the path up the hillside to a narrow dirt path that branches off to the right. This leads to an overlook (look for the sign tacked to a tree that says “mirador”) that offers a spectacular view of the entire cascade as it tumbles down the mountain. Swimming is allowed in the lower pools and restaurants and vendors provide meals and snacks.
Most tourists visit this cascade on a day tour from the Mayan Ruins of Palenque. Taking a tour is recommended because this area of Chiapas still experiences Zapatista resistance and the locals hold ropes across the road in an attempt to extort money for crossing into their territory. Most tours combine Agua Azul with a second waterfall, Misol Ha, which is worth seeing but pales in comparison to Agua Azul. Read more about my round-the-world travels on my blog: http://holeinthedonut.com.