Hear about travel to the state of Chiapas in Mexico as the Amateur Traveler talks to Shelley from TravelMexicoSolo.com about this beautiful tropical region.
Shelley says, “I spent a month in Chiapas in 2019, I’ve been in Mexico for three and a half years now and I’ve been all over. Chiapas is the perfect place for people who want to go off the beaten path in Mexico. There are more tourist friendly parts of Chiapas, and then there’s super off the beaten path and so you can have both,. It’s also really great for anyone who wants to experience some “real Mexican culture”. I always recommend it to anyone looking for a culture trip. It’s really great for foodies everything in Chiapas is farm to table. There’s a lot of farms. A lot of parts of the state are really high up in the mountains so there’s a lot of coffee growing. It’s known as one of the coffee states of Mexico. So just all around for foodies for culture lovers, for nature lovers. It’s a great state and for people who like venturing off the beaten path.”
“I went by myself. I was doing solo travel a I felt very safe in Chiapas anywhere that I went. As a Mexico blogger, I’m always a little hesitant to just like blanket and say that, yes, it is safe. For me, it was very safe.”
Shelley starts us by flying in to Tuxtla Gutiérrez and then basing us in the beautiful town of San Cristóbal de las Casas. You could rent a car and visit most of the sites she mentions but she did a number of them as tours which are easy to arrange from San Cristóbal.
The first trip she recommends is a boat trip down Sumidero Canyon. The canyon walls are as high as 3,300 ft (1,000 m). The canyon is near the town of Chiapa de Corzo which is one of Mexico’s designated Pueblos Mágicos (Magical Towns). These towns are chosen by the head of Mexico Tourism every year. They have historical value, or really rich traditions, maybe like an amazing festival. Chiapa de Corzo has a major winter festival in January. San Cristóbal de las Casas is another town on the Pueblos Mágicos list.
Shelley did a tour to Chamula and Zinacantán. Zinacantán is known for its crafts, for amber jewelry and for colorful textiles. In Chamula she attended an unusual religious service at the main church which is both very catholic but also has old tribal traditions incorporated into the service.
One of the highlights of Chiapas is the Mayan ruins at Palenque. Palenque is a UNESCo World Heritage Site. Palenque is further away from San Cristóbal, over 5 hours away by car. You can stay in the town of Palenque or start in the middle of the night on a tour. Shelley says “Palenque is something special”. You stop at a few waterfalls on the way tp Palenque including Agua Azul and Misol Há. Palenque is in the middle of a jungle and has about 10 temples and pyramids. The summers are very hot, humid, muggy and buggy at Palenque, so it might be more enjoyable in the winter.
There are other Mayan ruins in Chiapas including Bonampak and Yaxchilan. These are on the border with Guatemala, around 7 hours from San Cristóbal.
If you have a couple of weeks, Shelley would recommend the waterfalls at Cascada El Chiflon. You can swim in a number of the pools at these waterfalls. These are near another Pueblos Mágicos town called Comitán. In the same region is the Lagunas de Montebello National Park which is a series of 60 lakes in a UNESCO Biosphere. The Yucatan is know for its cenotes, but there are also some in Chiapas including Cenote Chukumaltik which is also near Comitán.
If you are ready to explore Southern Mexico, and you are looking for Mayan ruins without the crowds you would see in the Yucatan or looking for color villages ready to receive tourists, consider a trip to Chiapas.
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San Cristóbal de las Casas
Chiapa de Corzo, Chiapas
Chiapas Waterfalls | 4 UNMISSABLE Waterfalls in Mexico
Temple of the Inscriptions
Cascada El Chiflon (Tzimol)
Lagunas de Montebello National Park
Cenote Chukumaltik (Chiapa de Corzo, Mexico)
Chiapas Travel Guide
I just listened to this episode during my morning commute to Nashville. I particularly enjoyed hearing about this lesser known area in wonderful detail from your guest! My family loved a TV series called “My Big Crazy Family Adventure” as the Kirkby family (including 2 young children) traveled overland to Ladakh to stay at a monastery there. More recently, I read Bruce Kirby’s account of his time at the monastery in his book Blue Sky Kingdom.
Randy Rohrer wrote:
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