Imagine arriving in Chiapas, one of the most beautiful destinations in Mexico, and realize that, to enjoy the state to the fullest, you must visit waterfalls, archaeological sites, magical towns, the jungle, beaches, lagoons, and a host of natural riches that seem impossible to cover in that short time you asked for on vacation. If you follow this route, you will notice that you can make the most of it without sacrificing the most emblematic destinations of Chiapas.
Before venturing to these lands, you should know that the best thing you can do is rent a car and book some of the incredible hotel options that we present below, to be able to expand your trip and enjoy each of the places to the maximum. In this way, you can advance to the jungle and rest after driving for a long time: 2 nights in San Cristobal de las Casas, 2 nights in Palenque, and 2 nights in the Lacandon jungle.
Also do not forget to pack an insect repellent, sunscreen, and perhaps the most important and unexpected: a sweater. Remember that Chiapas is a humid place with very high areas and ideal spaces for expeditions, so maybe beach dresses are not as necessary as comfortable sneakers and pants or shorts
Plan your arrival at Tuxtla Airport. One of the most important details is that your flight arrives in the morning; In this way, you will be able from day one to enjoy Chiapas. If so, and you already have a rental car, the nearest destination is Chiapa de Corzo, where you can also have breakfast, buy handicrafts, see the Mudéjar Fountain and embark on your next adventure.
The Sumidero Canyon
In Chiapa de Corzo you can take a boat in any of the jetties and visit the Sumidero Canyon. This place arose due to a separation of the terrestrial layers by a geological fault and is now one of the most impressive sites for its walls of 1300 meters that go from the depth and to the throat. The waters that flow through the Sumidero Canyon belong to the Grijalva River and its majesty is capable of impacting the most incredulous. While sailing, you can enjoy the local wildlife that includes crocodiles, monkeys, and dozens of birds of different species.
If the air is too intense and you are not allowed to travel the canyon by boat, you can take a tour of the viewpoints and appreciate the cliffs that surround the river. You will feel how your body must exert an almost superhuman resistance to be able to advance against the wind that, in addition to being cold, will force you to hold on to whatever rail is available.
What do you need? Insect repellent.
San Cristóbal de las Casas
In the afternoon, after the boat tour, you arrive in San Cristobal de las Casas to eat in one of its restaurants and stroll along its cobblestones. You can visit nearby churches or check-in at the hotel of your choice. One of the most beautiful is Las Escaleras, a site that is very well ranked in Trivago and with fairly accessible prices, which will allow you to have a panoramic view of the city. Each room has a terrace for guests to spend a pleasant afternoon while watching the sunset. If you wish, in addition, the hotel has temazcal and spa to spend an afternoon of tranquility and peace, the same adjectives that are breathed throughout San Cristóbal.
What do you need? Warm clothing.
Orchids Moxviquil; Grottos Rancho Nuevo; Las Golondrinas Grottos; Amber Museum; Cocoa and Chocolate Museum, Kakaw.
Although it seems ambitious, visiting these places while you are in San Cristóbal de las Casas is simple. You must follow the order marked so that the location of the places does not cause you to stumble. It is also important that you do not start your adventure in San Cristóbal on a Monday, because you will find many of these sites closed.
Moxviquil is a quiet place with greenhouses that house various species of orchids. On this site, you can also go hiking and meet various endemic species of the region. Later, transfer to the Rancho Nuevo Grottos and Las Golondrinas caves, both located 10 km from San Cristobal de las Casas. You can ask one of the children to take a guided tour to show you the figures that form on the rocks or you can simply enjoy the views of stalactites and stalagmites that are in the place.
In the Rancho Nuevo Grottos, you can take an extra tour inside the grotto - where you will need a helmet and a lamp - and you will discover the darkness, the dangers, and the minerals that form in the place. After the Amber Museum cannot miss knowing the value of this resin from Simojovel to end up in the Kakaw Museum, which in addition to offering information on the production of chocolate, is a restaurant where you can take the most beloved drink of the place.
What do you need? Comfortable shoes.
Cascadas de Agua Azul (Blue waterfall)
After leaving San Cristóbal, take the road to Palenque. It is advisable to have breakfast early and leave as soon as possible so you can enjoy Agua Azul as much as possible. For more or less 4 hours, you must follow the highway Mexico 199 towards Ocosingo. The Agua Azul waterfalls are a beautiful paradise on Earth.
With indescribable and redundant blue waters, its waterfalls are formed by the rivers Otulún, Shumuljá, and Tulijá and create natural pools that are heated by the sun's rays. Do not forget to visit the viewpoints to witness the most beautiful set of waterfalls in the country thanks to their intense color, impressive size, and jungle surroundings. After spending the whole afternoon in this place, continue your journey along the same road towards Palenque. The stretch is approximately two hours.
What do you need? Waterproof footwear, swimsuit if you want to swim in the waterfall, sunscreen, insect repellent, towel, and a change of clothes.
Stay as close to the archaeological zone without losing style. The best recommendation is the hotel Chan-Kah, which is located in the middle of the jungle and whose location makes it a great option so that the next day you can visit the archaeological zone without complications. You can compare the prices of this destination with others in Trivago by clicking on its name, but none will have the location of the facilities that this one. Consider your options.
In addition to being the ideal place to rest, this huge complex has everything a guest would want: two pools with different depths and privacy, a cafe available all day, comfortable rooms, spider monkeys next to you while sunbathing, iguanas on the side of your room and even macaws flying over the site while you eat your breakfast.
The archaeological zone of Palenque is less than 10 minutes walking from the facilities of the Chan-Kah hotel, so you will not lose time in the transfer. In Palenque, you can hire a guide that will make your trip more enjoyable and interesting. While you visit the tomb of the Red Queen, the Temple of the Inscriptions, and the Great Palace, you can meet the enemies of Pakal and the story of how this ruler may have had alien contact in antiquity.
If you hire an extreme tour, you can also enjoy the Palenque jungle, know its trees, and the channels and you can even swim a little in its clear waters next to small fish. Do not stop climbing the lianas and hug a ceiba tree.
What do you need? A change of clothes, towel, insect repellent, sports shoes, and waterproof footwear.
Misol-Ha and road to the jungle
Very early the next morning, after breakfast and check-out at the Chan-Kah hotel, you can visit the Misol-Ha waterfall. Remember to leave Palenque in time to make your stay at the waterfalls worthwhile. You must arrive at these at approximately 10 in the morning.
To get there, take the Palenque-Ocosingo highway and for one hour continue towards Misol-Ha. You can walk the waterfall from behind and enter a cave. Inside this, you will find another waterfall in the middle of the darkness in which, if you dare, you can swim next to bats. Once you have done this small tour, you can swim in the natural pool that is formed, which is about 100 meters deep. If you do not trust your water skills, you can rent a life jacket to make you feel more comfortable and safe. In this place, you can also have lunch to continue the journey that awaits you.
What do you need? A change of clothes, towel, insect repellent, sports shoes, and waterproof footwear.
From Misol-Ha you must leave at the latest at 2 p.m. so that you have time to reach the jungle with sunlight. For approximately six hours, you will have to drive to Ara Macao, Las Guacamayas, a tourist area next to the Lacantún River, set in the middle of the jungle and surrounded by nature as you had never imagined. In Ara Macao, you will be completely isolated from all the city bustle so, as a recommendation, download your maps before arriving.
In front of Ara, Macao is the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve, there is also an aviary and a deer habitat where you can see red macaws as well as whitetail deer. You can also walk around the site, but we recommend that you take it with a guide, as this will prevent you from getting lost in the jungle.
Among the tours that you can take in Ara Macao, there is one of the Lacantún rivers whose sightings of flora and fauna are always impressive; Among the most common animals, you will find eagles, crocodiles, howler monkeys, and spider monkeys. You can also take a tour of the reproduction areas of the macaws where, hopefully, you can see more than ten copies. As the area of this hotel is so close to the jungle, you will hear the howling of the monkeys, the croaking of the frogs, and, at dawn, the birds singing, so it will be a completely unforgettable experience.
What do you need? Sports shoes, insect repellent.
The jungle and surrounding sites
If you want, you can leave as early as possible from the jungle to arrive at the airport on time and be able to see other the beautiful tourist attractions that Chiapas has. On the way back to the Tuxtla airport you will see the Montebello Lakes, the Tziscao ecotourism natural park and you can even return to San Cristóbal to eat for the last time. Keep in mind that the way back is approximately seven hours.
Chiapas is a wonderful destination impossible to finish seeing in a single trip. Its beautiful beaches, archaeological zones, and jungles make it the most beautiful place in Mexico, or at least one of the most beautiful.