The Chiapas name come from the Nahuatl compound word “CHIA” and “APAN” (in the river), that is to say “Chia river”.
In this majestic state you can find all that is offered by the nature, cut through by plentiful rivers, hills and volcanoes, and impenetrable jungles. It has hundreds of lakes, waterfalls, as well as an exceptional flora and fauna.
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To the enumerated list we have to add the petroleum, since, on this state is produced a third part of the crude oil that is extracted in Mexico.
Chiapas also produce precious woods as the Mahogany and the Rosewood, that are used to make good quality furniture and beautiful carvings.
The water of the huge dams Malpaso, Angostura and Chicoasen, is here accumulated in dozen of rivers and lagoons.
Here we only mention some of the Chiapas wonders, but visit them can take several weeks, so we recommend the visitor to choose in advance the places you want to visit, depending on available time and interest. Any way, a trip along these places will be an unforgettable and enriching experience.
The prevailing climate is the tropical Sudanese and the rainy mild with rainfalls in summer. The north area of the central valley of Chiapas is dry; and the south area is humid. It average temperature is of 20° C., and the extreme maxim is 40° C., and extreme minimum is 0° C.
Places to visit in Chiapas State
In Bonampak archaeological zone you can admire some paintings in fresco inside the constructions depicting the daily life of its inhabitants.
To the west of Bonampak you can visit the archaeological site Yaxchilan, where there are interesting bas-reliefs and beautiful lintels as well as constructions such as Temples 24, 39 and 40.
Cañon del Sumidero
It covers an area of 21,789 hectares. In this park you can admire the amazing Sumidero Canyon and enjoy a two-hours trip by boat.
Agua Azul Waterfall
These beautiful waterfalls of Agua Azul are located 56 km from Palenque in the State of Chiapas, Mexico. Nearby you can admire the 40 meters-high Misol-Ha waterfall.
Comitan is located 85 km from San Cristobal and in Comitan you can visit: The San Sebastian Church, The Culture House and The Belisario Dominguez Museum.
Chiapa de Corzo
Among the interesting places you can visit in Chiapa de Corzo are:
- La Fuente Colonial (the Colonial Fountain) also known as La Pila which is considered the most beautiful Mudejar-style fountain in the world
- The Santo Domingo Temple, built in 1554
- The Museum of the Shellac which handicrafts (brought from the Orient) are only made in Olinala in the State of
- Guerrero and in Uruapan in the State of Michoacan
- The Del Calvario Temple with its polychrome wood altarpiece Chiapa de Corzo in Chiapas, Mexico / Photo by Victor H. Mireles
Nearby Chiapa de Corzo are found an interesting archaeological zone from the Maya-Olmeca cultures and La Angostura Dam, this one is considered the biggest in the world (63,000 hectares).
Chincultik archeological site
Chincultik is a Mayan archaeological site and its main constructions are:
El Juego de Pelota (Ball Game)
La Piramide Principal (Main Pyramid) with its three altars
El Aguacero Waterfall
El Aguacero is beautiful a waterfall that forms small natural pools where you can swim. Its surroundings are ideal places for picnics.
El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve
El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve encounter one of the most pristine and diverse natural areas remaining in Mexico. Covering approximately 120,000 hectares, visitors will experience several vegetation zones from one of the last remaining lowland evergreen tropical forest to the spectacular cloud forest, the most extensive remaining in Mexico.
In a mystical and ancient world, shrouded in the covering vegetation of the Reserve, emerge giant tree ferns, evergreen trees that reach over 90 meters above the forest floor, branches covered in vines, moss, bromeliads and beautiful orchids that give the image of hanging gardens in the mist.
The biological richness of El Triunfo is one of the greatest, not only in Mexico, but in the entire world.
El Triunfo is home to an equally impressive number of species of vertebrates, many of them endemic such as the horned guan and azure-rumpled tanager, as well as many species in danger of extinction such as the jaguar.
Izapa archaeological zone
You get to Izapa archaeological zone by the Mexico federal highway 200 in the State of Chiapas.
The Izapa archaeological zone main attractions are:
El Juego de Pelota (the Ball Game)
El Arbol de La Vida (the Tree of Life)
La Piedra de Los Sacrificios (the Stone of the Sacrifices)
La Encrucijada Biosphere Reserve
As you explore the canals, estuaries and beaches you will encounter enormous mangroves that reach over 35 meters. These are the tallest mangroves on the Pacific coast and showcase the ecosystem vigor and are critical to sustaining the many animals you will find at La Encrucijada such as the crocodile, jaguar, raccoon, iguana and hundreds of shorebirds.
With 323 plant, 276 bird, 61 reptile and amphibian, and 73 mammal species, La Encrucijada offers ideal habitat to ensure these species survival. Due to the scenic beauty and incredibly healthy ecosystems, the La Encrucijada Biosphere Reserve has the potential for increased ecotourism activities which represent an opportunity to obtain support for the ongoing conservation and management activities of the reserve and also benefit the local communities.
Paredon is a beautiful bay part of the extension of the shore of the Dead Sea, the beach has not sandy because of its waves, is a fishing village and supply center for seafood.
You can practice water sports and enjoy its many dishes made with seafood, served in their restaurants.
Paredon is considered one of the oldest settlements on the coast of Chiapas, confirming the findings of prehistoric tools and archaeological remains.
Nearby of Paredon is Puerto Arista characterized because of its white sand beaches.
San Cristobal de las Casas
San Cristobal de las Casas is a colonial city and was the capital of the State of Chiapas, Mexico; is characterized because of its dry and cold climate.
Among San Cristobal de las Casas main attractions are:
- The Cathedral, the Santo Domingo Temple an Ex-Convent, where embroideries and beautiful handicrafts are made
- The La Caridad and San Nicolas Temples
- The Del Carmen Church
- The Municipal Palace
- The Na-Bolom Center created for attracting scientific and students from all over the world, interested in learning about the Mayan culture
- The San Cristobal Market
Regarding its gastronomy, liquors and drinks made from corn flour are outstanding as well as delicious bread.
Ten kilometers from San Cristobal de las Casas you find the San Cristobal Recreational Park famous for its interesting caverns.
San Juan Chamula
San Juan Chamula have a mixture of Catholic and Prehispanic traditions shown in the Del Pueblo Temple, where the saints are venerated with prehispanic rites. Local artisans of San Juan Chamula make beautiful embroideries.
Tapachula city is an important commercial and agricultural center located in the State of Chiapas, Mexico.
Tapachula main attractions are: The Colonial-style San Agustin Cathedral, The Buena Esperanza Temple and the Archaeological Museum where there is an exhibition of pieces found in this region.
Driving along the federal highway 199 in the State of Chiapas, Mexico, you reach this Mayan archaeological zone of Tonina with ruins that have not been explored yet.
Tuxtla Gutierrez Mexico is located in the State of Chiapas, 1,081 km southeast of Mexico City via federal highway 190. Tuxtla Gutierrez is the capital city of the Chiapas State.
Among Tuxtla Gutierrez main attractions are:The San Marcos Cathedral building in the middle of the XVI century, and throughout the centuries it has suffered several reconstructions, and even then it is a sample of Colonial architecture of Chiapas.
The Chamula towns
Among the diverse ethnic groups that inhabit the region of Chiapas, the Chamula’s are outstanding. They are the native Indians, that like a lot of other groups, still practice their ancestral ceremonies and keep their religious believes, although you can see in their towns the presence of temples, especially Catholic.
Visiting the Chamula’s settlements is most interesting. Leaving from San Cristobal de las Casas, in a one day excursion you can visit Zinacatlan or San Juan Chamula, where you can acquire rough woolen sweaters, made by the natives, as well as hammocks, beautifully embroidered blouses and amber. (be very careful when you buy amber pieces, they could be false). While visiting the temples we recommend for you to be extremely respectful and not take pictures. It is prohibited and the inhabitants are deeply troubled by it. Avoid problems.
Other three towns you can visit are Larrainzar, Mitotic and Chenalho. We recommend that you start you trip very early and to drive carefully. The road is quite dangerous. We suggest that you hire the services of an operator of the region.
Chiapas is a state of Mexico full of nature, waterfalls, Mayan jungle, traditions, history and endless attractions of Mexico that will undoubtedly make you fall in love and true to its motto in Chiapas, you will not forget anything!