There’s one thing about Chiapas that offers my coronary heart that little pitter-patter. Perhaps it’s the landscapes, the unimaginable espresso, or the plentiful alternatives for journey. Between the thick jungles, distant seashores, and excessive mountain peaks, this state in Mexico has a lot to supply.

For those who’re not satisfied to return to Chiapas but, right here’s a greater concept of what’s in retailer:

Waterfalls You’ll Fall in Love With

You’ll have seen the waterfalls of Chiapas posted throughout Instagram and Pinterest. Crystal clear swimming pools nestled within the mountainous jungles, oh my! What you see on-line about these waterfalls is the actual deal. The areas the place yow will discover these magnificent falls are protected by each governmental and non-governmental organizations and it reveals. Listed below are just a few that I personally advocate visiting:

Cascadas El Chiflón

While you go to Chiapas, you can not miss a visit to El Chiflón. It’s some of the stunning locations I’ve been to in Mexico and in contrast to another waterfall I’ve seen earlier than. It’s about 2 and a half hours away from each San Cristóbal de las Casas and Tuxtla and 45 minutes from Comitán by automobile. The gap makes it a fantastic possibility for a day journey from any of these larger cities.

As you enter the park, you’ll see a small river under with a path resulting in the waterfalls. Shifting alongside the path, the waterfalls get larger till you lastly attain probably the most spectacular one, Velo de Novia (the bride’s veil). On the finish of the path, there’s an incredible view of the waterfall and the mist rising from under. From that time, you’ll be able to see the opposite trails across the falls, that are superior to discover as nicely.

As you make your manner again, you’ll be able to really zipline over the falls as a enjoyable shortcut. I discovered it was an thrilling technique to see every little thing from above. It prices 200 pesos (about $10 USD) to zipline.

The doorway to El Chiflón is 50 pesos (about $2.50 USD).

Agua Azul

Since I arrived in Chiapas, everybody stored telling me I HAD to go to Agua Azul. After visiting, I perceive the hype!

Agua Azul, will get its identify from the extreme turquoise swimming pools each above and beneath the waterfall. It’s thought-about probably the greatest waterfalls in Chiapas due to its boisterous energy and sweetness.

Nevertheless, I discovered Agua Azul to be crowded. There have been so many meals stalls, memento distributors, and huge tour teams in such shut proximity to the waterfall. It wasn’t a deal breaker for me, but it surely’s one thing to contemplate should you’re in search of a extra low-key expertise.

You will get to Agua Azul from San Cristóbal de las Casas, which is about 4 hours away. For those who’re driving via Chiapas independently, it might be a fantastic cease in your technique to Palenque from San Cris or simply as a fast day journey from Palenque. Nevertheless, if you wish to hold San Cris as your base, this tour picks you up out of your resort and can take you to each Agua Azul and Palenque in the identical day.

Entrance to Agua Azul will be complicated. On the entrance to Salto de Agua ecopark (the place Agua Azul is situated), it’s important to pay a ten pesos entrance payment. Then, you’ll need to pay once more to truly entry the falls, which shall be one other 20 pesos.

Cascadas Misol-Ha

Whereas the opposite waterfalls on this listing are brilliant blue paradises, Misol-Ha has a very completely different really feel. Right here you gained’t discover turquoise swimming pools, however you can find a picturesque waterfall surrounded by brilliant inexperienced vegetation.

Misol-Ha is about 115 toes tall and towers above a pool that you may swim in. You can too observe a small path that can take you proper behind the mighty falls, which has a spectacular view.

This one is situated near Palenque. It’s a few 45-minute drive away and is commonly included on completely different excursions going out from there. For those who’re not right into a tour, it’s simple to go to Misol-Ha from Palenque by yourself.

This waterfall is one other one the place it’s important to pay twice to truly get to it. The primary park entrance payment is 10 pesos, after which it’s one other 10 pesos to entry the falls.

Las Nubes

This beautiful waterfall and waterway is way more distant than the others and is near the Guatemalan border. It’s a few 5 hour drive from San Cristóbal de las Casas, however undoubtedly well worth the distance!

Las Nubes feels such as you’re moving into the backyard of Eden. The plush greenery surrounding the good blue waters with the spherical boulders above the cascades will take your breath away.

The most effective a part of visiting Las Nubes is swimming within the blue swimming pools above the falls. The water stays cool and refreshing year-round. It prices 30 pesos to enter the park. You can too lease a raft on the tourism heart of the park for about $1,500 pesos (about $75 USD), which may match as much as 5 folks.

Due to how far-off Las Nubes is, I like to recommend spending a pair days exploring the world. You possibly can simply camp across the park itself, or yow will discover different lodging in Lagos de Montebello (see under). I camped close by and loved it, however one other nice possibility is that this ecolodge which is correct on the river.

Chiapas’ Greatest Archaeological Websites

Chiapas is situated in southern Mexico, bordering Guatemala to the east. In actual fact, the overall area of what’s now often called Chiapas was a part of Guatemala till 1824. This area of Mexico is thought for being probably the most tied to its indigenous roots, which is clear within the native tradition. You possibly can usually discover native ladies carrying head-to-toe conventional clothes and there are various ceremonies and rituals which are nonetheless practiced right here.

Chiapas is wealthy in indigenous tradition and traditions which have been handed down for hundreds of years. If you’d like a direct look into the previous to raised perceive the roots of Mayan tradition, make a journey to an archaeological website and dive head first into the sweetness and mysticism of the traditional societies of Chiapas:

Palenque

The primary time I went to Palenque to discover the Mayan ruins there, I used to be speechless. I’ve been to my fair proportion of ruins and Palenque is by far my favourite.

The principle temple on the grounds has a tomb inside, which used to deal with the deceased kings of the traditional metropolis. You possibly can go contained in the darkish, cavelike ruins and see the place the kings used to lie. As you make your manner via the ruins, I extremely counsel hiring a information. There are numerous completely different symbols, sacred geometry, and even work which might be troublesome to decipher with out an knowledgeable current.

The town of Palenque has its personal airport, which you’ll be able to fly to from Mexico Metropolis. There isn’t a complete lot occurring there, but it surely’s within the jungle and there are fairly just a few eating places with conventional dishes to strive. For those who do go to Palenque, be ready for humid climate and numerous mosquitos!

Attending to the ruins from Palenque is so simple as driving there your self or reserving a tour when you get into city. These excursions vary from 300 to 1,000 pesos, relying on what’s included. They’re run out of native journey businesses, however it’s also possible to e book one via GetYourGuide. The doorway payment for the ruins is 75 pesos, plus the 35 pesos payment to enter the encircling nationwide park the place the ruins are.

Toniná

Which means “Home of Stone”, Toniná is the tallest archeological website in Mexico at 233 toes tall. For those who’re prepared for the climb of your life, you’ll be able to trek up the steps all the way in which to the highest! I visited Toninzá again in 2017 and was amazed on the view from the highest of the primary construction. With the attractive mountains within the background, it made the hike up completely value it.

Toniná isn’t usually crowded, and there’s a very good probability you’ll have the location to your self. It’s not a really well-known archeological website but, so it doesn’t have the identical crowds you’d discover at Palenque or different well-liked websites.

The doorway payment for Toniná is 46 pesos, which is cheaper than different massive websites. Toniná is situated simply outdoors of town of Ocosingo, which is about equidistant from San Cristóbal and Palenque, making it simply accessible from both of these cities. Excursions to Toniná are sometimes included in these which go to different archaeological websites, so it’s uncommon to seek out one that can simply go there. A kind of excursions will value round 500 pesos, which often consists of the park entrance charges.

Bonampak

Are you able to imagine these work are 1000’s of years previous?

These ruins have the most effective preserved Mayan murals which have ever been discovered. After I noticed them I couldn’t imagine how previous they had been and it felt like I took a step again in time. The murals are the primary focus at Bonampak, and it’s value hiring a information to elucidate what they imply. There are some highly effective pictures within the murals that provide you with an inside have a look at the traditional Mayan tradition.

You will get to Bonampak from both San Cristóbal de las Casas, or extra simply from Palenque. I like to recommend Palenque as a result of it’s geographically nearer and there are way more excursions accessible. Taking a tour versus tackling the ruins by yourself gained’t provide the identical freedom of being by yourself schedule, but it surely takes numerous the stress off.

For those who determine to go to by yourself, the park entrance payment to the park itself is 45 pesos, plus 25 pesos to enter the ruins themselves.

Yaxchilán

Situated near Bonampak, a visit to Yaxchilán will take you deeper into the jungle. The realm across the ruins is without doubt one of the most sparsely populated locations in all of Mexico, giving it some severe Indiana Jones vibes.

Yaxchilán is legendary for the Maya hieroglyphs which are carved into the stones of the temples. These glyphs inform the story of the completely different dynasties of the traditional metropolis. It’s fascinating to find out about these historical civilizations and likewise attention-grabbing to ponder how a lot the world has modified since then!

Each Bonampak and Yaxchilán are off the crushed path and also you gained’t discover the flocks of vacationers like you’ll at many ruins within the Yucatan peninsula, for instance. A tour that can take you to each of them from Palenque will value round $40 USD, which doesn’t embody a information. Final time I went, I paid $10 USD at every place for a Spanish-speaking information. For those who don’t converse Spanish, you’ll be able to ask for a information who speaks English.

Attending to Yaxchilán is kind of a journey and one you’ll be able to take at your personal danger. It entails crossing a river by boat, which will be costly should you’re touring alone. The doorway payment to the city itself is about 30 pesos, and there’s one other payment to enter the ruins of about 30 pesos.

For ease, security, and value, I like to recommend doing a tour that can take you to each Yaxchilán and Bonampak which incorporates park charges and transportation.

Tenam Puente

Tenam Puente is simply outdoors the small metropolis of Comitan. The identify actually interprets to “defensive bridge” and was primarily used as a buying and selling hub for practically 1,000 years. You possibly can climb the tallest temple there and get an superior view of the surroundings surrounding the location. There are additionally just a few ball courts the place the traditional Maya folks used to play the sacred ball sport.

Considered one of my favourite issues about visiting Tenam Puente was how empty it was once I went. Though it was semana santa, or spring break, there have been just a few teams of vacationers in the complete website. It was at Tenam Puente that I felt way more linked to the spirit of the location and was capable of sit with the peace and calm at this once-bustling metropolis. If you may get a little bit little bit of area, it’s cool to do a brief meditation on the high of the temple.

The associated fee to enter the ruins is 45 pesos. For those who’re curious in regards to the Mayan ball sport, take into account hiring a information who can take you thru the courts and clarify how its performed.

Historic Cities

San Cristóbal de las Casas

For those who’ve learn our submit all about San Cristóbal de las Casas, you already know that San Cris has a really particular place in my coronary heart. It’s an enthralling colonial metropolis excessive up within the mountains of Chiapas and a hub for artisans, yogis, and inventive folks of every kind.

San Cris serves as a fantastic base when visiting Chiapas due to how central it’s. From right here, you’ll be able to simply take a day journey in any course to go to ruins, waterfalls, and nature parks. Moreover, there’s a wealth of historical past and tradition right here. With loads of museums to go to and lengthy pedestrian streets to walk, you’ll be able to spend a very good period of time right here. I got here right here 4 years in the past whereas touring and I’ve simply come again to remain – it has a magnetic high quality!

San Cris is about an hour’s drive from the capital metropolis Tuxtla Gutierrez, the place the closest airport is. For those who’re renting a automobile to journey via Chiapas, I like to recommend doing so in Tuxtla as there’s (actually) just one place in all of San Cris to lease a automobile. For those who come throughout excessive season (round spring break and December), there’s a probability that the rental firm shall be out of vehicles to lease.

San Juan Chamula

You’ll see indicators in all places about excursions to go to San Juan Chamula as quickly as you get to San Cris. This charming and mystical small city is just a few 20-minute drive from downtown San Cris and will be simply visited by way of taxi.

San Juan Chamula is thought all through the area as THE place to go to expertise the center of indigenous tradition in Chiapas. The principle attraction is an previous church the place clergymen, shamans, and native observers go to follow their sacred spiritual rituals. Considered one of these rituals entails consuming Coca Cola and burping as a manner of ridding the physique of dangerous spirits. Sure, burping!

The cemeteries sprinkled all through the city are a singular characteristic of Chamula. The grave websites at these cemeteries appear to pop up out of nowhere. In actual fact, it’s widespread follow in lots of indigenous communities right here to bury family members in their very own yard. As buildings change arms or are knocked down, the graves stay.

It can be crucial when visiting Chamula to be respectful of the native tradition and customs. There’s a very heavily-enforced rule on the church in Chamula that no telephones or pictures is permitted. There are indicators outdoors that publicize this rule, and it applies to different sacred locations there, too.

Zinacantán

These waist looms date again to historical Maya civilization and are nonetheless used at the moment in Zinacantán!

The primary time I visited Zinacantán, I fell in love. This small city is finest identified for its handwoven textiles and conventional clothes. You’ll see ladies weaving materials by hand on a standard waist loom. It’s fascinating to observe them fastidiously transfer the threads out and in of each other. It made me admire the meticulous care put into the clothes. Learn extra about our favourite methods to help ladies after we journey right here.

Most individuals in Zinacantán stay off the textiles and clothes offered there, making it a fantastic place to buy souvenirs. That manner, you’ll be able to straight help the exhausting work of the artisans. The vibe of this city is way more laid again than San Juan Chamula, which made it simpler to strike up a dialog with the locals.

There’s a stunning church within the heart of Zinacantán that’s undoubtedly value taking a peek at. Throughout Catholic holidays, the church is stuffed with flowers which fills the area with a pleasant floral aroma. There is no such thing as a specific “no photos” coverage at this church. Nevertheless, it’s finest to keep away from taking photos of individuals of their place of worship, regardless of the place you go. Keep on with taking photos of the structure, the artwork, and the altars, however keep away from snapping photos of locals within the church.

You possibly can simply go to each San Juan Chamula and Zinacantán in the identical day by yourself or with a tour. This one will convey you to each and even features a conventional drink!

Chiapa de Corzo

The parachicos dancers parading via city

Don’t, I repeat, do NOT go to Chiapas with out going to Chiapa de Corzo! I may be a fan of this magical city due to its scrumptious meals, however there’s one thing for everybody there. If you wish to get a style of Mayan tradition, that is the place.

Chiapa de Corzo is legendary for its massive festive celebrations together with Dia de Los Muertos on the finish of October in addition to Christmas and Easter. Hand around in the primary plaza and catch a glimpse of the dancers referred to as parachicos transferring collectively in synchronicity whereas carrying picket masks and conventional wigs.

Past the cultural richness of the city, Chiapa de Corzo is situated proper subsequent to Cañon del Sumidero. This canyon will be explored by boat whereas floating down the Sumidero river. There you may catch a glimpse of the crocodiles, monkeys, and birds that inhabit the world whilst you gaze up on the towering partitions of rock. This tour consists of each Chiapa de Corzo and Cañon del Sumidero and operates out of San Cristóbal, which is only a 45-minute drive away.

Comitán de Domínguez

Comitán is the most effective base for exploring the wonders of southern Chiapas, as it’s nearer to most of the waterfalls talked about above. This quaint city is thought for its well-known Christmas celebrations yearly. The most effective a part of visiting Comitán is how down-to-earth and non-touristy it’s. Strolling via the streets, you’ll doubtless see only a few foreigners and never a complete lot of English occurring typically, so be ready should you don’t converse Spanish!

There additionally at all times appears to be music taking part in. The most typical music to listen to within the plaza is Marimba, which tends to illicit massive crowds of dancing folks. Take part should you can!

When you’re there, don’t miss the Rosario Castellanos Cultural Middle, which hosts completely different artwork, music, and language workshops for the area people. It additionally has a theater, cafe, and bookstore inside and is correct behind the Museo de Arqueologico de Comitan. This museum is free and has some fairly neat artifacts from close by ruins.

Espresso Farms

You don’t need to be a espresso connoisseur to know a fantastic cup of espresso whenever you style one. I’ve been ruined for all times now as a result of after tasting the espresso right here in Chiapas, there isn’t a going again. Whether or not you’re an knowledgeable on all issues espresso or merely an fanatic (like me!), listed below are a pair locations the place you’ll be able to strive some scrumptious brews and see the place all of it comes from:

Argovia

This espresso farm is by far probably the most well-known on the Ruta de Café right here in Chiapas. It may be discovered about an hour north Tapachula in southern Chiapas and has its personal resort and resort connected. The resort is a little bit of a splurge to remain at, however you’ll be able to simply take a day journey there from Tapachula and simply tour the farm. There may be nothing fairly like sipping the freshest espresso you’ve ever tasted with the backdrop of rolling inexperienced hills.

This tour consists of two nights on the Argovia Finca Resort in addition to a tour of the Encrucijada mangroves, that are the best in Mexico. Going to each places is the proper technique to benefit from the southern a part of Chiapas as you get the most effective of each worlds: nature AND superb espresso.

Finca Hamburgo

This espresso plantation is without doubt one of the oldest in Chiapas and was based by a German household. The resort on the grounds has some superb views of the espresso vegetation and mountains, that are coated in inexperienced vegetation.

In addition they have excursions of the services the place you’ll be able to study in regards to the espresso making course of, the equipment, and the completely different forms of vegetation on the farm. On the finish of the tour, you’ll get to strive a number of the freshest brews straight from the farm itself. Appears like a dream!

Finca Hamburgo is a little more distant than Argovia at about two hours north of Tapachula within the coronary heart of the espresso area. Each of those locations would make a wonderful day journey from Tapachula, however is also made into an extended journey should you fancy staying for some time at one of many lodges.

A Seaside Vacation spot Not like Any Different

For those who’re into the sort of vacation spot that does NOT embody massive resorts and crowded seashores, the coast of Chiapas is for you. Boca del Cielo and Puerto Arista are the closest seashores to San Cristóbal de las Casas–about 4 hours away by automobile.

To get to the seaside from San Cris, you’ll take the lengthy and winding freeway 190D for about 3 hours to succeed in Tonalá. This small metropolis is the final place the place yow will discover a grocery retailer and the most effective pit cease to fill up on snacks and drinks if you wish to convey something with you to the seaside.

From there, you’ll be able to drive (or take a taxi) to Puerto Arista the place you’ll need to cross a lagoon by boat to get to the lengthy strip of seaside the place you’ll discover just a few lodges unfold out alongside the coast.

My favourite place to remain there’s Entremares which has A-frame cabins and a geodesic dome. The remainder of the buildings are constructed from earth and sand, which contributes to the general eco-friendly vibe of the place.

The largest draw of Puerto Arista and Boca del Cielo is the neat distinction of the lagoon with the mountains within the background and the gray seaside on the opposite facet of the isthmus. On this space you’ll be able to take a dip within the lagoon after which stroll for five minutes to then soar into the ocean. The most effective of each worlds!

Due to how distant this seaside is, I like to recommend reserving your lodging forward of time and clarifying together with your host on the best way to get there. Boats that cross the lagoon are comparatively low cost through the day (round $3 per particular person, per journey) however can enhance at evening.

Bonus: Lagos de Montebello

Think about pulling as much as a misty lake surrounded by pine-filled mountains after sleeping within the automobile for a number of hours solely to appreciate you’ve stumbled upon paradise. That’s precisely what occurred to me once I went to Lagos de Montebello whereas on packed full-day tour.

This dreamy lake has just a few small islands on it and is a part of a sequence of lakes alongside the Guatemalan border. Due to the altitude it will get fairly chilly, particularly through the winter months. I went in December when it was freezing chilly outdoors! When the air is chilly, the temperature of the water within the lake stays just a few levels hotter, creating steam above the lake.

The principle exercise at Montebello is floating round on a picket boat, that are the identical ones the Maya folks used to cross the lake. From there, you’ll take a pair stops at completely different islands on the lake and you’ll even go for a swim!

Earlier than You Go

Since Chiapas continues to be comparatively off the crushed tub, there are some things to bear in mind earlier than touring there.

  • Highway Blockades: It’s commonplace to be driving on the freeway in Chiapas and see {that a} highway has been blocked by demonstrators. For those who’re taking a highway journey, be ready to take an alternate route if you end up in a protracted visitors jam because of a blockade.
  • Kids Promoting Souvenirs: You possibly can anticipate to see many youngsters promoting trinkets, bracelets and different souvenirs in Chiapas. Whereas some folks really feel referred to as to buy from these youngsters, I don’t advocate it. Take a look at this text or do your personal analysis earlier than deciding for your self.
  • Pictures: As I mentioned above, please be conscious when taking pictures in Chiapas. Many vacationers really feel inclined to take pictures of or with native youngsters with out the mother or father’s consent. Right here’s an article to supply some perspective.
  • Language: Whereas different locations in Mexico might cater extra to an English-speaking crowd, there are various locations in Chiapas the place it could be troublesome to seek out an English speaker. Figuring out just a few key phrases goes a good distance right here, so no have to turn out to be completely fluent. Attempt downloading the offline Spanish-English and English-Spanish dictionary on the Google Translate app in case you want a translation in a pinch.
  • Go away No Hint: The precept values of Go away No Hint should not restricted to nationwide parks within the USA. Organizations are working exhausting to maintain the pure great thing about Chiapas freed from air pollution. Take into account this whereas touring and attempt to keep away from single-use plastic every time attainable!
  • Supporting Native Communities: Chiapas has loads of alternatives to purchase straight from artisans. That being mentioned, there are many massive shops promoting low cost dupes of native handicrafts. If you wish to learn extra about supporting native ladies and artisans, take a look at our submit about it.

Questioning the best way to match all these websites into one journey? Right here’s a map of every of the locations talked about so you can begin planning:

Chiapas feels prefer it carries the center and soul of what Mexico as soon as was. Going out to those distant locations to soak up the pure great thing about the panorama introduced me numerous solace throughout a time when every little thing else felt prefer it was being turned the wrong way up. Chiapas is commonly neglected as vacationers are inclined to favor the Caribbean and Pacific coasts, however that’s what has allowed it to take care of its originality. Subsequent time you get the itch to go to Mexico, take into account coming to indulge in the great thing about Chiapas.

This submit was written by Emily Becker, a Mexico-travel fanatic primarily based out of San Cristobal in Chiapas.

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