As you may know, we’re currently on a road trip through Mexican states of Chiapas and Oaxaca before we resume our journey to Argentina. Chiapas really caught our hearts so here we bring to you places not be missed in Chiapas. We’re both advocates of exploring Mexico beyond Riviera Maya or Yucatan peninsula. You’ll see why. And to most of them you’re able to take your dog with you :)!
Mayan ruins Palenque
Palenque appearing in this list is not a big surprise. Stunning Maya city state that flourished in 7th century was is definitely one of the most visited sites in Chiapas. It has got its charm and you will be able to enjoy it most when you come right after the opening hours. But be prepared you’ll never be alone here, more people have similar thinking how to beat the crowds. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot the howler monkeys and if not, you’ll be able to at least hear them. They sound like jaguar roaring which we learned long time ago in Tabasco when we heard it one night camping and waited for a big cat to jump out of the bush.
You’ll pay entrance fee to the national park which is 34 MXN and then 70 MXN entrance fee. For accommodation, we can recommend Margarita and Ed’s cabanas just at the entrance to the national park on the left. 270 MXN for cabaña with hot water.
Roberto Barrios waterfalls
If you’re staying in Palenque or travelling through the area, Roberto Barrios waterfalls visit is a good idea. It’s 30 kms drive or there are colectivos going that way from Palenque. It’s run by Roberto Barrios ejido (local community organisation). You’ll pay 30 MXN entrance fee per person and 10 MXN for parking. Then you’ll get to the beautiful series of waterfalls. You can do it on your own or let one of local people to be your guide who will show you where to swim, where to get into the waterfalls or where to slide down on one of the smaller ones. You can easily spend whole day there, there are picnic tables and bathrooms.
Mayan ruins Yaxchilán
To get to Yaxchilán, you need to arrive first to Frontera Corozal where Chiapas state is right across the river from Guatemala. Here we stayed in the beautiful cabaña at Nueva Alianza (700 or 800 MXN/night). There’s no mobile data service in town but the accommodation has got wifi at the reception area. They also booked lancha service for the next morning for us (1200MXN for 2 people). There’s no other way how to get to Yaxchilán than by boat (or a small plane, they’ve got a small runway). We took the first morning lancha at 7 o’clock and we rewarded by the fog above the river Usumacintha. Usumacintha separates Mexico from Guatemala here. You pay the entrance fee to the ruins before getting on the lancha and it is 70 MXN per person. When we arrived in about 30 minutes to the ruins, we were the only ones there. The ruins were still partly covered in mist and it was just magical. We saw a family of spider monkeys up in the trees, with a little baby, and could here howler monkeys from the distance. We also saw toucans and other birds. You have 2 hours to explore the ruins but if you’re keen photographers like us, it’s so so. On the way back you have an option to visit Guatemala for some pictures but we didn’t as we’ll be there in few weeks.
Las Nubes waterfalls
From Frontera Corozal, take highway 307 and in 250 kilometres you’re in Las Nubes. Take extra time, this “highway” is full of potholes or there are parts of the road missing. Last 12kms or so are on a dirt road. There’s ecotourism lodge run by local ejido but there are other options where to sleep in the village. We chose camping at the lodge for 100MXN/person. There’s a restaurant on site and also a natural balneario. In the morning we took a walk up to the viewing point Vista Hermosa. Just don’t attempt to get to the Tunnel where the river runs through a rock, in the rainy season. The path there is covered by water which we didn’t know and had some fun climbing on the rocks by the roaring river.
Lagunas de Montebello National Park
Lagunas de Montebello is a group of lakes about 60 kms from Comitán. You pay the entrance fee of 25 peso and you can visit all of them. Interesting one is International Lake where you can see the border between Mexico and Guatemala and you can pass to little Guatemalan village to purchase some artesanal products. The lakes are all of different shades of blue. By every lake, every viewpoint, you will find stalls with food and local products, You can rent a boat or canoe/kayak here and explore the lakes if you have more time. There are accommodation options by every lake but we were staying in Comitán so we can’t give you personal experience.
El Chiflón waterfalls
El Chiflón an absolute gem in this list. It’s a series of waterfalls, largest of all Velo de Novia (Bridal veil) is 120 metres high. The whole ecotourism centre is very well made, maybe a little too developed for our liking with the paved paths and a zip line but overall the waterfalls are just stunning and you can easily spend a whole day there with a balneario and restaurants on site. The entrance fee is 30 peso.
San Cristóbal de las Casas
A town in the mountains that will accommodate all your cravings for different cuisines and long walks. It’s nice just to stroll the colonial streets and enjoy the atmosphere. You will see lots of indigenous people just walking the streets or selling arts or food. Don’t forget to try local coffee and chocolate, we can recommend café Carajillo and Frontera and chocolateria Xocowa. And vegans who want to treat themselves after surviving on frijol and tortillas, should pop in to Loving Hut that will fulfil all your wildest dreams. We stayed in airbnb, but there’ s a lot of reasonably priced other accommodation in town.
There should have been one more place in this list of most wonderful places in Chiapas. Canyon Sumidero. But when we wanted to enter the park with our dogs in the car, we were not allowed to do so. Because the dogs can’t enter the park. No sufficient explanation was given, even though we really wanted just to see the viewpoints and take few pictures and not to do any hikes (it was late to do so anyway). Phoebe and Lolo would have stayed in the car for that. You know, we totally get the rules and obey them so we wouldn’t have taken them out of the car but what we don’t like is when people switch on automatic regime and don’t use their brain. Especially as we’re in Mexico and you can see the stray dogs crossing freely in and out. So there won’t be any Sumidero. Sorry. We could have rushed into our accommodation in Tuxtla (btw really beautiful Casa de Zeferina), leave them there and come back. But no. There’s no reason to support stupidity.
We hope you enjoyed this list and when planning your travels in Mexico, you’ll include Chiapas. Feel free to reach out if you have any more questions.