Chiapas is the poorest region in Mexico, but this should not scare you. There is plenty to see: a boat ride in a canyon, colourful murals, stunning maya ruins in a luxurious jungle, indigenous villages… and more!
We landed in Tuxtla Gutierrez airport from Cancun (120€ for 2 and one baggage on hold with Vivaaerobus) end of December.
We took a taxi (18€, pre-booked inside the airport) straight to Chiapa de Corzo to take a boat ride on the Cañon del Sumidero. After quite a bit of waiting (but that was probably our most regular activity during our trip), our boat (about 13€ pp) left for about two hours in the very beautiful canyon. We saw many crocodiles, some spider monkeys from far away and some impressive cliffs. A nice ride!
We ate in a very nice restaurant with a giant buffet: Jardínes de Chiapa Restaurante.
We then took a collectivo to the Sante Fe stop along the main road going from Tuxla to San Cristobal. There we could book a space in some of the arriving collectivos. We waited about 20 minutes in a room. Total price was a bit less than 10€ pp.
What to do in San Cristobal de Las Casas?
- Walk around the centre, its pedestrian streets and enjoy the music on the Plaza 31 de Marzo in the evening
- Get waw-ed by the façade of the Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzmán
- Buy some nice artisanal craft on the Plaza de San Domingo
- Visit the Centro de Textiles del Mundo Maya
- Discover the murals in San Cristobal
- Take a collectivo (for about 20 MXN on Gral. M.Utrilla in front of the Barrio de Mexicanos street) to San Juan Chamula. The collectivo will drop you at the entrance of the small town. You then need to walk to the church and pay a small fee (around 20MXN) to enter the church. I will not spoil you but there’s a very special, but nice, atmosphere inside.
Where to eat in San Cristobal de Las Casas?
- Enjoy some good food and lovely chat with the owner of TierrAdentro Restaurante
- Taste food from the world at Cocoliche
- Get a fancy (and expensive) croissant from Oh La La! Real patisserie Guadalupe
- Enjoy the view (and, I read, eat nice brunch) at Kukulpan
- Taste pox at Café Bar Revolucion
Where to sleep in San Cristobal de Las Casas?
We slept at the Hotel Villa Murano. Our room and bathroom were big and our stay included a sauna and spa for about 40 minutes. Very nice!
Useful info in San Cristobal:
- It’s cold in December! Make sure to have a proper jacket, it freezes as soon as the sun sets!
- If you need to change some euros or dollars, the best exchange rate can be found at the end of the Elektra store, at the Azteca bank. Two tips: 1) Go late during the day to avoid long queues 2) don’t forget your passport!
- The ADO bus station is located south from the city entre, at about a 10-min walk. Don’t get fooled by the ADO express terminal you can find on Google Maps!
- If you plan to go for your next stop to be Palenque, like us, beware. The shortest way, through Ocosingo, is well-known for its roadblocks by local activists. We therefore decided to chose the safe way: we booked a 9-hour (!) ADO bus (420 MXN) passing by Villahermosa.
What to do in Palenque?
Visiting the Palenque ruins is the main reason to come over here. There’s a shuttle going from the centre along the hotel road for about 10MXN.
You have to pay twice: once for the natural park (35 MXN), once for the maya ruins (75 MXN). But it’s definitely worth it! A lot less people than in Chichen Itza, more accessible than Uzmal, cheaper than Ek Balam! If you don’t mind many steps you will enjoy some nice views and frescos. And the last part of the visit is a very nice walk among waterfalls and smaller temples covered by the jungle.
Some guides will also propose a jungle tour. I heard some positive feedback if you’re interested!
We slept at Hotel la Aldea del Halach Huinic. The hotel is located in a nice jungle/garden. I spotted a family of monkeys, an agouti, some colourful birds. There’s a big swimming pool and a nice massage service (30€ for a one-hour back massage). They also have a restaurant, but we were not very convinced. There’s a well-known restaurant next door, Bajlum, but we did not get a chance to go.
Where to eat in Palenque? We had a nice drink at Cafe Haki and a lovely brunch at Cafe Jade.
If you plan a long trip in Mexico, I really recommend passing by Chiapas. It’s totally different from Yucatan and Quintana Roo!
We then went on to spend One week in Oaxaca and Puerto Escondido. Take a look!
All recommendations are mine, no ads. Prices from December 2022.
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