Ahhh.. it is finally here! Our regional highlight of places to visit in Mexico where we invite you to join us in daydreaming about being able to travel again. This time we want to pack our bags and visit further South: Chiapas.
The beautiful state of Chiapas is recognized for holding the largest federally recognized indigenous populations in Mexico, Mayan being one of their most notorious one. Chiapas is the southernmost state in Mexico, bordering with the Mexican states of Oaxaca, Veracruz, and Tabasco as well as Guatemala in its Easter/Southeastern border. Making this a land of pure contrasts, Chiapas offers stunning scenery that hold the magnificence of Mayan archaeological sites with ancient Mayan cities in the middle of rainforests.
Next to these sites, one can also find colonial charming cities where people are as friendly as can be and then move on to the next town to extreme fall in its incredible waterfalls and canyons. As hard as it is, we have gathered information on 3 places to visit in Chiapas, Mexico for those looking to immerse themselves in Mexican culture, including indigenous populated areas, history of pre-Columbian times, as well as breathtaking views of jungles and waterfalls!
Living the Town Life: San Cristobal de las Casas
San Cristobal de las Casas is a charming and lively town that is a must for anyone wanting to indulge themselves in Chiapas’ culture and atmosphere. Throughout the town, you will find pedestrian-friendly cobblestoned streets as well as colorful pastel-painted houses and buildings established in a mountainous terrain. It is also home to large indigenous groups that maintain all traditions and customs of pre-colonial times, making this the perfect place to immerse yourself in culture, history, and beautiful architecture at the same time and in the same place!
Photo by Guido HN on Unsplash
The best way to get to know San Cristobal de las Casas and its beautiful people is by taking a wondering through its streets. Start by waking along its main walkway, Real de Guadalupe, where you will be able to soak in all local life and street vendors. Here, you will be able to find an array of local markets who make a display of the most impressive works of arts and you might also be able to get to know the artist behind each piece. On these wondering of streets, you will also find the tastiest restaurants and cafes where you can sit and enjoy a relaxing time and people watching from the shadow—Chiapas’ weather is humid and hot, which is also the perfect condition for growing excellent coffee!
While roaming through these colorful streets, be sure to visit San Cristobal’s main plaza, or Zócalo, and sit down for a while to enjoy what local life is like there. Overlooking this plaza, you will also find the unique town’s central Cathedral and, if churches are your thing (as Mexico has the most beautiful structures there are), be sure to also visit the many other churches and temples, especially that of Templo de Santo Domingo with charming pink exterior, or Iglesia de Guadalupe and Iglesia de San Cristobal to enjoy the spectacular views they have to offer.
Nature Obsessed: Cañón del Sumidero
The Sumidero Canyon, or Cañón del Sumidero, is one of the most popular destinations in Chiapas for nature lovers (as well as for anyone else!). Set in a natural park with the same name, where one can take a small hike and be able to take a look at the spectacular natural formations from above. This deep canyon is fed by the Grijalva River where one can take a boat ride and witness the magnificent views of the thousand-meters tall canyon’s walls, waterfalls, caves, and even endangered species of animals. This canyon is the second most popular destination, the first one being the ancient Maya site of Palenque.
Top View of the Grijalva river going through the sumidero canyonPhoto by Girl with red hat on Unsplash
Ancient Mayan Ruins: Palenque
Set deep within the forest, this archaeological site is smaller than Chichen Itza, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in awe inspiring views and extremely detailed architecture, sculpting, and carvings. The Palenque ruins date from about 226 BC to 799 AD. However, after its decline and abandonments, it was taken over by nature. As the ruins were found (in the year 1740) it has since been reconstructed and repaired, although it is estimate that there are still thousands of ruins hidden in the jungle. As a plus, some of these still-not-renovated ruins can be found if you dare to enter further into the jungle where one is also able to appreciate the beauty of nature in its enormous trees and wildlife.
Photo by Crisoforo Gaspar Hernandez on Unsplash
Although deciding on the places to select for our cyber trip has been close to an impossible task, we are sure that these three places demonstrate the breathtaking natural landscapes, rich history, and lovely town people that Chiapas has to offer. If you would like to continue to support artisans from Chiapas, we suggest you check out our Chiapas section here! Or, you here is also some of the products we offer: