Visit & Exciting Things to Do in Chiapas, Mexico
Chiapas Mexico: Chiapas (Spanish officially the Free and Sovereign State of Chiapas) (Spanish: Estado Libre y Soberano de Chiapas), is one of the 31 states that, along with Mexico City, make up the 32 federal entities of Mexico. It is divided into 124 municipalities as of September 2017 and it is a capital city is Tuxtla Gutiérrez. Other important population centers in Chiapas include Ocosingo, Tapachula, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Comitán and Arriaga. It is the southernmost state in Mexico. It is located in Southeastern Mexico, and it borders the states of Oaxaca to the west, Veracruz to the northwest and Tabasco to the north, and by the Petén, Quiché, Huehuetenango and San Marcos departments of Guatemala to the east and southeast. Chiapas has a coastline along the Pacific Ocean to the south.
In general, Chiapas has a humid, tropical climate. In the north, in the area bordering Tabasco, near Teapa, rainfall can average more than 3,000 mm (120 in) per year. In the past, natural vegetation in this region was lowland, tall perennial rainforest, but this vegetation has been almost completely cleared to allow agriculture and ranching. Rainfall decreases moving towards the Pacific Ocean, but it is still abundant enough to allow the farming of bananas and many other tropical crops near Tapachula. On the several parallel “sierras” or mountain ranges running along the center of Chiapas, the climate can be quite temperate and foggy, allowing the development of cloud forests like those of the Reserva de la Biosfera el Triunfo, home to a handful of resplendent quetzals and horned guans.
Chiapas Mexico Map
Chilly pine-forest highlands, sultry rainforest jungles, and attractive colonial cities exist side by side within Mexico’s southernmost state, a region awash with the legacy of Spanish rule and the remnants of ancient Maya civilization. Palenque and Yaxchilán are evocative vestiges of powerful Maya kingdoms, and the presence of modern Maya is a constant reminder of the region’s rich and uninterrupted history. The colonial hubs of San Cristóbal de las Casas and Chiapa de Corzo give way to sandbar beaches and fertile plots of coffee and cacao in the Soconusco, and for outdoor adventurers, excursions to Laguna Miramar and the Cañón del Sumidero are unmissable.
There were a lot of things that we were expecting from the southern Mexican state of Chiapas: low prices, a colorful city in San Cristobal, and mountain views. What we weren’t expecting was to discover a destination that appears to be designed for outdoor lovers like us.
If you love waterfalls, wildlife, and bargains, here are 11 reasons to get yourself to Chiapas immediately and amazing things to do in Chiapas while you are there. Rainbow Falls at El Chiflon became our new favorite waterfall the second that we laid eyes on it. Enormous and cascading into a beautiful turquoise pool, one of our favorite aspects of the Rainbow Falls is that rather than falling in one giant bucket of water, it falls along the cliff it runs over–the effect is beautiful.
Tapachulas Chiapas Mexico
Chiapas, Estado (state) of southern Mexico. It is bounded to the north by the state of Tabasco, to the east by Guatemala, to the southwest by the Gulf of Tehuantepec and the Pacific Ocean, and to the west by the states of Oaxaca and Veracruz. The capital and largest city is Tuxtla (Tuxtla Gutiérrez).
The relief of Chiapas is dominated by the Sierra Madre de Chiapas and associated plateaus of the Chiapas Highlands. Virtually the entire state is forested, including the vast Lacondón rainforest in the east.
Among the more spectacular Mayan ruins are Bonampak, where intricate murals are preserved, and Palenque, which is part of a national park designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987. Chiapas is home to one of the largest indigenous populations in Mexico; about one-fourth speak Mayan dialects or related languages. More than half of the people inhabit impoverished rural areas, making subsistence agriculture the basis of the state’s economy. Chiapas grows a leading share of Mexico’s corn (maize), along with beans, bananas, coffee, and cacao. Also of note are livestock raising and logging. Petroleum is extracted in the eastern part of the state.
The executive branch of state government is led by a governor, who is elected to a single term of six years. Members of the unicameral legislature (the State Congress) are elected to three-year terms. Chiapas is divided into local governmental units called municipios (municipalities), each of which is headquartered in a prominent city, town, or village. Tuxtla is home to most of the state’s cultural institutions, including the Regional Museum of Chiapas (founded 1939), with archaeological and historical collections; the Autonomous University of Chiapas (1975); and the University of Arts and Sciences of Chiapas (founded 1893; university status 1995). Area 28,653 square miles (74,211 square km). Pop. (2010) 4,796,580.
Hike to El Chilfon and don’t want to head back down? Don’t worry: as long as you didn’t go up the “wrong” (left) side like us, you can zipline most of the way back down! Our wrong turn worked to our benefit, however–looking at where the viewing platform is on the opposite side of the waterfall, I think that we got a better view.
When we head back to this area at some point in the future, visiting El Chilfon again will be one of our first things to do in Chiapas. I never expected to find a view that reminded me of the karst cliffs of Thailand while in Mexico–but the Lagos de Montebello fit the bill. These lakes are said to often be covered in mist, which held true for when we visited, but they were still beautiful (even if we didn’t feel up for kayaking).
I have always loved to ride horses and took several years of lessons as a teenager. Chiapas is the perfect place to explore on horseback. Our three-hour tour took us through farmland, forest, and small villages.
Both a plus and a minus: the guides were very hands-off, and let us essentially do what we want, including trotting and cantering at will. As an experienced rider, I adored the experience, but as many of our group members had never been on a horse before, I also found it fairly risky. Make sure that you stay safe and know your own limits because you’ll need to set them yourself.
Tapachula Chiapas Mexico
Due to its location to the southeast of the country, Chiapas has seven different ecosystems, which gives it a privileged geography that is both lovely and odd. Explore jungles, forests, and mangroves as you navigate the waters of its rivers and waterfalls. Marvel at the natural beauty of this region.
Although Chiapas is part of the Mayan World, it also ranks second in Mexico in terms of ethnic diversity. In this State people, language and traditions merge into one. If you visit Chiapas then don’t miss out on the bread soup, tamales of chipilin, corn, saffron and tascalate; local sweets, pozol, coffee, fruit ice cream, the delicious chocolate or digestives like comiteco or pox. We share a list of the “must try” in Chiapas.
When you find yourself in Palenque, taste this dish also known as shuti broth, which is a dish prepared with river snail boiled and holy herb. A type of dish that is the so-called “Mexican snacks (antojitos mexicanos)”. It has the most popular recipe of the traditional food of many parts of the country, especially during the national day celebrations, in September.
In San Cristobal de las Casas, the mix of different cultures and the European influence can be seen in delicious cold meat and typical dishes such as tachilhuil based on pork giblets. Pork meat baked in a casserole claypot, seasoned with chilis, big chilis, oregano, thyme, tomatoes, peppers, onion, garlic and a dash of vinegar. Tartare Steak The dish came to Chiapas from the migration of Germans in the nineteenth century, only the chef Marta Zepeda has added Simojovel chilli sauce, lemon juice, and salt to stimulate the palate.
Mayan spirit drink used during the healing rituals in communities like San Juan Chamula and it’s made with corn, spring water, sugar, and wheat bran.
Puerto Chiapas Mexico
The archeological ruins of Palenque are the remains of one of the Mayan people’s most important cities. Surrounded by thick, lush vegetation, the ruins are a great place for visitors to hike through and practice bird watching. Particularly famous are the structures of the Templo de las Inscripciones, the Gran Palacio, the Templo XI and the temples of la Cruz Foliada, de Sol and del Conde, as well as a Mayan ball court.
San Cristóbal de las Casas
San Cristóbal de las Casas is Chiapas’ most visited and loved mountain town where you will find a variety of attractions for every kind of tourist. Take some time to wander through the town’s main plaza, visit its hilltop churches and see the sprawling municipal market selling local fruits, vegetables and regional cuisine. It’ll be best to plan on staying for a few days to enjoy all the eating, art, culture and music in one of Mexico’s most beautiful towns.
One of Chiapas’ less frequented archaeological sites, the Chinkultic ruins once made up a Mayan city from the 3rd to 9th centuries. The site is now known for its stelae carvings of the town’s rulers, a ball court and a large cenote (natural well) into which the city’s people used to throw offerings. The ambiance at Chinkultic is extremely serene because of the humid forest surrounding the ruins—it’s not a widely known place and you might just find yourself exploring it alone.
Is it safe in Chiapas Mexico?
Chiapas in general and San Cristobal de las Casas, in particular, is safe for tourists. Chiapas is probably the safest place I have ever been to.
What language is spoken in Chiapas Mexico?
While Yucatec is the dominant language spoken in northern Guatemala, Belize and the Mexican states of the Yucatán Peninsula (Campeche, Quintana Roo, and Yucatán), the Western Maya language group is the dominant tongue in Chiapas. The most common of the Western Maya languages are the Tzeltal and Tzotzil.