Your Final Information to Chiapas, Mexico

There’s one thing about Chiapas that provides 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.

When you’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 a number of that I personally advocate visiting:

Cascadas El Chiflón

If you go to Chiapas, you can not miss a visit to El Chiflón. It’s one of the stunning locations I’ve been to in Mexico and in contrast to every other 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 automotive. The space makes it an amazing choice 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. Transferring 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 a tremendous 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 approach again, you’ll be able to really zipline over the falls as a enjoyable shortcut. I discovered it was an thrilling method to see every part 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 among the best 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, nevertheless it’s one thing to think about in case you’re in search of a extra low-key expertise.

You may get to Agua Azul from San Cristóbal de las Casas, which is about 4 hours away. When you’re driving by Chiapas independently, it may very well be an amazing cease in your method 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 lodge and can take you to each Agua Azul and Palenque in the identical day.

Entrance to Agua Azul could be complicated. On the entrance to Salto de Agua ecopark (the place Agua Azul is positioned), you need to pay a ten pesos entrance price. Then, you’ll need to pay once more to really entry the falls, which can be one other 20 pesos.

Cascadas Misol-Ha

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

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

This one is positioned near Palenque. It’s a couple of 45-minute drive away and is usually included on completely different excursions going out from there. When you’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 you need to pay twice to really get to it. The primary park entrance price is 10 pesos, after which it’s one other 10 pesos to entry the falls.

Las Nubes

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

Las Nubes feels such as you’re getting 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 may also lease a raft on the tourism middle of the park for about $1,500 pesos (about $75 USD), which may match as much as 5 individuals.

Due to how far-off Las Nubes is, I like to recommend spending a pair days exploring the world. You’ll be able to 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 choice is that this ecolodge which is true on the river.

Chiapas’ Greatest Archaeological Websites

Chiapas is positioned in southern Mexico, bordering Guatemala to the east. The truth is, 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 obvious within the native tradition. You’ll be able to usually discover native girls carrying head-to-toe conventional clothes and there are lots of ceremonies and rituals which can be nonetheless practiced right here.

Chiapas is wealthy in indigenous tradition and traditions which have been handed down for hundreds of years. If you would like a direct look into the previous to higher 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 justifiable share 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’ll be able to go contained in the darkish, cavelike ruins and see the place the kings used to lie. As you make your approach by the ruins, I extremely recommend hiring a information. There are a whole lot of completely different symbols, sacred geometry, and even work which might be troublesome to decipher with out an skilled current.

Town of Palenque has its personal airport, which you’ll be able to fly to from Mexico Metropolis. There isn’t an entire lot occurring there, nevertheless it’s within the jungle and there are fairly a number of eating places with conventional dishes to strive. When you do go to Palenque, be ready for humid climate and a whole lot of 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 you can too ebook one by GetYourGuide. The doorway price for the ruins is 75 pesos, plus the 35 pesos price to enter the encompassing nationwide park the place the ruins are.

Toniná

That means “Home of Stone”, Toniná is the tallest archeological website in Mexico at 233 ft tall. When you’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 beautiful 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 should have the positioning 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 price for Toniná is 46 pesos, which is cheaper than different huge websites. Toniná is positioned simply exterior of the 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 price round 500 pesos, which often contains the park entrance charges.

Bonampak

Are you able to imagine these work are hundreds of years previous?

These ruins have the perfect preserved Mayan murals which have ever been discovered. After I noticed them I couldn’t imagine how previous they have 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 clarify 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 may 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 much more excursions out there. Taking a tour versus tackling the ruins by yourself received’t provide the identical freedom of being by yourself schedule, nevertheless it takes a whole lot of the strain off.

When you determine to go to by yourself, the park entrance price to the park itself is 45 pesos, plus 25 pesos to enter the ruins themselves.

Yaxchilán

Positioned near Bonampak, a visit to Yaxchilán will take you deeper into the jungle. The realm across the ruins is likely 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 can be 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 study these historic civilizations and in addition fascinating to ponder how a lot the world has modified since then!

Each Bonampak and Yaxchilán are off the crushed path and also you received’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 price 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. When you 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 individual danger. It entails crossing a river by boat, which could be costly in case you’re touring alone. The doorway price to the city itself is about 30 pesos, and there’s one other price 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 exterior the small metropolis of Comitan. The identify actually interprets to “defensive bridge” and was primarily used as a buying and selling hub for almost 1,000 years. You’ll be able to climb the tallest temple there and get an superior view of the surroundings surrounding the positioning. There are additionally a number of ball courts the place the traditional Maya individuals used to play the sacred ball recreation.

Certainly one of my favourite issues about visiting Tenam Puente was how empty it was after I went. Despite the fact that it was semana santa, or spring break, there have been just a few teams of vacationers in all the website. It was at Tenam Puente that I felt far more related to the spirit of the positioning and was in a position to sit with the peace and calm at this once-bustling metropolis. If you may get somewhat little bit of area, it’s cool to do a brief meditation on the prime of the temple.

The associated fee to enter the ruins is 45 pesos. When you’re curious in regards to the Mayan ball recreation, 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

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

San Cris serves as an amazing 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 path 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. When you’re renting a automotive to journey by Chiapas, I like to recommend doing so in Tuxtla as there’s (actually) just one place in all of San Cris to lease a automotive. When you come throughout excessive season (round spring break and December), there’s a probability that the rental firm can be out of automobiles to lease.

San Juan Chamula

You’ll see indicators everywhere about excursions to go to San Juan Chamula as quickly as you get to San Cris. This charming and mystical small city is barely a couple of 20-minute drive from downtown San Cris and could be simply visited through 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 monks, shamans, and native observers go to observe their sacred non secular rituals. Certainly one of these rituals entails consuming Coca Cola and burping as a approach of ridding the physique of unhealthy spirits. Sure, burping!

The cemeteries sprinkled all through the city are a novel characteristic of Chamula. The grave websites at these cemeteries appear to pop up out of nowhere. The truth is, it’s widespread observe 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’s important 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 exterior that publicize this rule, and it applies to different sacred locations there, too.

Zinacantán

These waist looms date again to historic Maya civilization and are nonetheless used as we speak in Zinacantán!

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

Most individuals in Zinacantán stay off the textiles and clothes offered there, making it an amazing place to buy souvenirs. That approach, you’ll be able to straight help the exhausting work of the artisans. The vibe of this city is far 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 middle of Zinacantán that’s undoubtedly value taking a peek at. Throughout Catholic holidays, the church is full of flowers which fills the area with a pleasant floral aroma. There isn’t any specific “no photos” coverage at this church. Nevertheless, it’s greatest to keep away from taking photos of individuals of their place of worship, irrespective of the place you go. Stick with taking photos of the structure, the artwork, and the altars, however keep away from snapping photos of locals within the church.

You’ll be able to 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 by city

Don’t, I repeat, do NOT go to Chiapas with out going to Chiapa de Corzo! I is likely to 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 giant 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 positioned proper subsequent to Cañon del Sumidero. This canyon could 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 when you gaze up on the towering partitions of rock. This tour contains 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 perfect 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 by the streets, you’ll seemingly see only a few foreigners and never an entire lot of English occurring basically, so be ready in case you don’t converse Spanish!

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

Whilst you’re there, don’t miss the Rosario Castellanos Cultural Heart, which hosts completely different artwork, music, and language workshops for the local people. It additionally has a theater, cafe, and bookstore inside and is true 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 an amazing cup of espresso while 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 skilled on all issues espresso or merely an fanatic (like me!), listed here 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 lodge and resort hooked up. The lodge 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 contains 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 areas is the right method to benefit from the southern a part of Chiapas as you get the perfect of each worlds: nature AND wonderful espresso.

Finca Hamburgo

This espresso plantation is likely one of the oldest in Chiapas and was based by a German household. The lodge on the grounds has some wonderful views of the espresso crops and mountains, that are lined in inexperienced vegetation.

In addition they have excursions of the services the place you’ll be able to be taught in regards to the espresso making course of, the equipment, and the completely different forms of crops on the farm. On the finish of the tour, you’ll get to strive a few 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 may be made into an extended journey in case you fancy staying for some time at one of many motels.

A Seashore Vacation spot Not like Any Different

When you’re into the form of vacation spot that does NOT embody huge 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 automotive.

To get to the seaside from San Cris, you’ll take the lengthy and winding freeway 190D for about 3 hours to achieve Tonalá. This small metropolis is the final place the place yow will discover a grocery retailer and the perfect 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 a number of motels 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 most important 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 methods to get there. Boats that cross the lagoon are comparatively low cost throughout the day (round $3 per particular person, per journey) however can improve at night time.

Bonus: Lagos de Montebello

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

This dreamy lake has a number of small islands on it and is a part of a series of lakes alongside the Guatemalan border. Due to the altitude it will get fairly chilly, particularly throughout the winter months. I went in December when it was freezing chilly exterior! When the air is chilly, the temperature of the water within the lake stays a number of 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 individuals 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 remains to be comparatively off the crushed bathtub, 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. When you’re taking a highway journey, be ready to take an alternate route if you end up in an extended site visitors jam on account of a blockade.
  • Youngsters Promoting Souvenirs: You’ll be able to anticipate to see many kids promoting trinkets, bracelets and different souvenirs in Chiapas. Whereas some individuals really feel referred to as to buy from these kids, I don’t advocate it. Take a look at this text or do your individual analysis earlier than deciding for your self.
  • Images: As I stated above, please be aware when taking pictures in Chiapas. Many vacationers really feel inclined to take pictures of or with native kids with out the mum or dad’s consent. Right here’s an article to offer some perspective.
  • Language: Whereas different locations in Mexico might cater extra to an English-speaking crowd, there are lots of locations in Chiapas the place it could be troublesome to seek out an English speaker. Realizing a number of key phrases goes a good distance right here, so no must change into completely fluent. Strive 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 are usually not restricted to nationwide parks within the USA. Organizations are working exhausting to maintain the pure great thing about Chiapas freed from air pollution. Contemplate this whereas touring and attempt to keep away from single-use plastic each time attainable!
  • Supporting Native Communities: Chiapas has loads of alternatives to purchase straight from artisans. That being stated, there are many huge shops promoting low cost dupes of native handicrafts. If you wish to learn extra about supporting native girls and artisans, try our publish about it.

Questioning methods 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 absorb the pure great thing about the panorama introduced me a whole lot of solace throughout a time when every part else felt prefer it was being turned the wrong way up. Chiapas is usually missed as vacationers are likely to favor the Caribbean and Pacific coasts, however that’s what has allowed it to keep up its originality. Subsequent time you get the itch to go to Mexico, take into account coming to take pleasure in the great thing about Chiapas.

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

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