I just returned from 5 days in Chiapas and it was as beautiful as I imagined. Here is my recap, as well as my tips for traveling to this region. Our itinerary was 2 full days in Tuxtla and 3 full days in San Cristobal.
Let me start by saying Tuxtla is not a tourist town. There is really nothing to do there. However, it is a good base to visit Cañon del Sumidero and Chiapa de Corzo. Cañon del Sumidero is beautiful. We took a tour of the canyon from above and a 2 hour boat trip through the canyon. Definitely a sight to see, including the crocodiles!
The next day we went to Chiapa del Corzo. This is a small puebla of Indians and Mexicans with a tourist area of restaurants and Mexican goods. My advice is that if you are also visiting San Cristobal, visiting Chiapa del Corzo is not necessary.
The next tour we took was of a village of the Chamula Indians near to San Cristobal. The Chamula Indians do not appreciate photographs, so I have no pictures. I found these indigenous people fascinating. The tour was basically of their church. The church is catholic and they pray to Mary and the catholic saints, but with their own rites and rituals. Though it was brief, this visit was worth it.
The next village we visited on this tour is of the Zinacantán. These Indians are major producers of fruits, vegetables, and flowers. In fact, many of their flowers are shipped to Canada and the USA. It’s a beautiful area because we are now in the highlands. I am not sure, but I believe we are around 6000 ft above sea level. Men, women, and children all work.
Again, this was a brief tour simply to a textile shop to purchase handmade goods. I would have liked to have spent more time here and walked around a bit.
Now, on to San Cristobal. This is a pueblo mágico meaning the façade of the buildings cannot be reconstructed to maintain their historic values. It is definitely a tourist area with a lot of restaurants and shopping, but I still felt a strong sense of the city itself. I saw very few Americans here. I had the sense more of the tourists come from Europe and South America.
In the center is the Diocesis de San Cristobal.
Walking up the 400 steps for San Cristobal views.
The last tour was of Lagos de Montebello. Gorgeous blue lakes and waterfalls.
The best meal I had was in Lum Restaurant. I highly recommend this place. The food was excellent.
My Chiapas recommendation recap:
- I would stay in San Cristobal for my entire visit. Or stay in Tuxtla for the Cañon del Sumidero tour only.
- I would also add Palenque to my visit, staying the night there.. It is very far from San Cristobal (though they do do day trips).
- I would skip Chiapa del Corzo tour.
- For me, 2-3 full days in San Cristobal is sufficient.
- For this April 5 full day trip, I recommend 2 pair of shorts/capris and tops for 3 tours. 2 pair jeans, tops for the town including 1 long sleeve shirt, and one lightweight jacket (I actually used a pashmina scarf). Sneakers for tours and walking shoes/sandals for the town. For whatever reason, it was in the 50’s temp at night, but it never felt that cold to me.
- Any hotel in the historic center of San Cristobal is within easy walking distance to the center with a lot of the restaurants and bars. Think of the Diocesis de San Cristobal as ground zero for all the “action”.
- The indigenous people are a huge part of visiting this area. I feel it is important to repay them by purchasing goods directly from them and the local artists in the area.