The 2024 Chiapas itinerary is here! Chiapas is one of the most beautiful regions of Mexico. It’s an amazing area for its various landscapes and climatic zones. We stayed about 3 weeks in the region of Chiapas to explore all its nooks and crannies and to get to know the culture in depth. Our purpose in this Chiapas itinerary is to get off the beaten path as much as possible. So here is the itinerary we did and advise for the best experience in Chiapas!
Why visit Chiapas?
As I mentioned above, I was amazed by the difference of climat from one place to another. Sometimes it’s as little as an hour’s drive, yet the landscapes change dramatically, from tropical to mountain climates and arid zones.
One of the distinctive characteristics of this region: it is home to a number of indigenous villages. The region has a strong culture, different from the rest of Mexico. Formerly, Chiapas belonged to Guatemala. It was only 200 years ago that Chiapas became part of Mexico. And indeed, we found many similarities between Chiapas and Guatemala.
1st Chiapas itinerary stopover: Tuxtla Gutiérrez
Tuxtla Gutiérrez is the capital of the state of Chiapas. Honestly, the city itself is not really pretty. That’s probably why we didn’t meet any travelers. Nevertheless, it was still a nice place to discover as locals are great, and there are some really interesting spots to explore. Plus, its location is super convenient to visit the Canyon or other nice areas around.
We spent 5 days in Tuxtla. We arrived there with a night bus coming from Puerto Escondido in the State of Oaxaca. The journey took around 12 hours.
What to visit in Tuxtla ?
Parque de la Marimba
It’s a lovely square with some restaurants and bars all around. But the most interesting part is that, every night, people come to dance at night et listen to live music. The music played is the Marimba, which originated from the region.
Jardin Botanico Faustino Miranda
There’s a nice walk to do in the Botanical Garden of Faustino Miranda. You’ll forget that you are in the middle of a city, the garden is quite big and full of huge trees. There are different sectors in the park depending on the species (aquatic, tropical, desert plants, …).
Mercado 20 de Noviembre
One of the biggest mercado of the city, always a great place to discover the local specialities.
The Morelos Park offers a panoramic view on the city.
Where to eat
📍Taquitos de la Comisión: It’s a real institution in this town, perfect to discover the local specialities (tacos de Cochinita and the Pozol)
📍Oh La La: first time we discovered the Bakery Oh la la, there are several in the country. As French people, we were super happy to taste some good pastries again !
📍Divino Cielo Café (or other cafes on the Marimba square): the region is known for being one of the largest coffee-producing regions after Veracruz, so I would advise to stop at this spot to try the local coffee.
📍Pizzeria La Biela: Nothing typical for sure… But the pizzas are really good and the owner is super cool. We had a great time there and we definitely recommend this place.
📍 Street food (to find at several places in the city): Tamales chipilin, a speciality of the region.
What to visit around Tuxtla ?
The village of Copoya
Copoya is a neighbouring village of Tuxtla. It is where the “Glorioso Cristo de Chiapas” is located. The statue is so huge that it is visible from Tuxtla. It is a bit the pride of the region as this is the tallest Christ statue in the world. Moreover, as the town is on the heights of Tuxtla, the spot offers a great view on all the valley and Tuxtla. It wasn’t originally on our Chiapas itinerary, but was recommended to us by a local in Tuxtla.
How to get there : You’ll find colectivos near the Mercado 20 de Noviembre
Canyon del Sumidero
It was definitely the most impressive place on our Chiapas itinerary! Here is the complete guide to the Sumidero Canyon 2024.
The Sumidero Canyon is one of the deepest and most spectacular canyon in Mexico. It is about 35 million years old and formed by the Grijalva River over 13 km long, completely surrounded by a luxurious nature and cliffs up to 1000 m high. Such a place hosts a privileged and fragile ecosystem: monkeys, crocodiles, great variety of birds, endemic fauna and flores species. This National Park is a unique place in Mexico and in the world, considered as sacred for the local indigenous population.
Chiapas del Corzo
Chiapas del Corzo is a Pueblo Magico and is the closest town from the Canyon del Sumidero. If you plan to explore the canyon from the river, you’ll pass through this village as all the boat tours start from there. But it is also a lovely town to visit, we just got lost in the streets to explore it and discovered some amazing viewpoints. Check the end of this article for more information.
2nd itinerary stopover: San Cristobal de las Casas, the unexpected experience of the Chiapas itinerary
We spent 10 days in San Cristobal de las Casas, and I wish I would have stayed more. There’s so many place to explore. We took a colectivo from Tuxtla. It’s an easy trip to do, about one hour. We have been surprised by the temperature difference. It drops drastically in San Cristobal as it is at a higher altitude. We went from 30 to 15 degrees!
What to do in San Cristobal de las Casas?
San Cristobal is a lovely mountain town with an amazing colonial architecture. There are many squares, lovely colorful streets, surrounded by hills.
Wander in the squares
The town is composed of several lovely squares. Among them, Plaza de los Mexicanos and Plaza Principal. I also recommend taking the time to visit the churches in these squares.
Go to the Arco del Carmen
The Arco is an old tower, located in a nice area. The Cultural Center is located next to it.
Enjoy the view from the Mirador del Arco / San Antonio
Once at the Arco, you can take the “Andador La Penitencia de San Cristobalito” that will bring you to the Templo de San Cristobalito and the Mirador which offers a really nice view on the city.
Visit the Iglesia de la Guadalupe
Don’t miss a visit to the Iglesia de la Guadalupe, an emblematic site in the town, place of religious celebration. The church is situated at the top of a hill so you’ll need to climb quite some steps to reach it. But once arrived at the top, you won’t regret your efforts. It offers a beautiful view on the city and a great spot to enjoy the sunset.
Where to eat?
📍Kukulpan: A super cute restaurant and coffee to enjoy authentic meals for breakfast or lunch.
📍Frontera Artisan Coffee: A great place to taste the local coffee. The inner courtyard is a lovely place to take a break.
📍Viña de bacco: certainly not the place to discover the local specialities, but it is a super nice spot to enjoy a glass of wine!
📍Oh La La: Take a break and warm up to enjoy a good hot cholocat in a cosy atmosphere.
Where to stay?
📍 Casita Mamazotas: THE hostel where you should stay if you’re looking for nice company, cosy place and fair price. The two owners are great and super friendly. They shared lots of tips with us and the rooms are comfortable.
What to do around San Cristobal de las Casas?
The waterfalls El Chiflon
El Chiflon is a series of 5 waterfalls, one of which is one of the highest in the state of Chiapas, reaching a height of 120 metres. The place is so spectacular that it’s well worth seeing. The waterfalls are impressive, and the clear blue water magnificent. We loved this stop on the Chiapas itinerary.
Exceptionally, we took a day trip with an agency. The reason is that it was much simpler and cheaper than going by our own means. The park is quite huge so we didn’t meet that many people. Except at the end of the tour, where the highest of the 5 waterfalls is located. it’s always the same disadvantages of doing it with an agency, the visit time is limited. But we were able to make the most of it.
We went there on the same excursion as the El Chiflon waterfalls. Change of atmosphere arriving at the Lake Montebello. The waterfalls are located in an area with a tropical climate, but when we arrived in the Montebello lakes region, we discovered a completely different kind of weather, much more colder. This is what makes the Chiapas itinerary so special, offering a wide range of very different landscapes to discover.
But back to this lakes region. It is located on the border with Guatemala. Surprisingly, I felt like I’d arrived in Switzerland. The photo speak for itself.
Chamula, an indigenous village
Located close to San Cristobal, Chamula is known for its atypical celebrations in the San Juan church (located on the main square). It was clearly an experience out of the ordinary and different from anything else we did on our Chiapas itinerary.
So what makes it so atypical? The practice of rituals that are quite unique and unusual. The atmosphere inside the church is very special, the air is charged with the smell of incense and the smoke from thousands of candles on the floor. Families come to pray and bring offerings with them. It’s not allowed to take picture inside so you’ll find out for yourself. If you plan to visit this place, it must be done with the utmost respect. Obviously, as a foreigner, you must not disturb or bother the families.
Rock climbing session in the surroundings of San Cristobal de las Casas
As climbing enthusiasts, when we heard there were some good spots to climb in the area, we really wanted to give it a go. There are clubs, organizing climbing sessions, they organise everything, from transport to equipment.
The Canyon del Sumidero
An alternative option to our Chiapas itinerary is to visit the Canyon from San Cristobal de las Casas, if you prefer to stay there instead of making a stop in Tuxtla. The only thing is that you’ll probably visit it with a tour operator. The good point is that you don’t have to plan anything, but you’ll be visiting the Canyon at the same time of many others tourists. Except if you have or rent a car, of course. All information about visiting the Canyon del Sumidero here.
3rd stopover on the Chiapas itinerary: Palenque
We stayed in Palenque for 5 days. This stopover was another great gem of our Chiapas itinerary. The region around Palenque is absolutely amazing, surrounding by the jungle, with many waterfalls and rivers. What attracts the crowds most is naturally the archaeological site which is one of the most impressive sites I saw in Mexico.
The city of Palenque has no particular interest. For a more pleasant experience, we even recommend sleeping outside the city, closer to the jungle.
The waterfalls around Palenque
We went to the Waterfalls of Misol-ha and Roberto Barrios. We were amazed by the beauty of these places. Most people plan to visit the waterfalls of Agua Azul on their Chiapas itinerary, but we prefered to get off the beaten path, and I think we did well. We were able to get there ourselves by colectivo, even if we strungled a bit to find them. Normally, you can find colectivo near the Mercado of Palenque.
The archaeological site of Palenque
The archaeological site of Palenque is a Mayan site located in the heart of the jungle. This is probably the site who impressed me the most with Teotihuacan. Indeed most of the structures are still unexplored, hidden by the jungle. Estimations say that less of 10% of the site as been discovered!
Where to sleep?
I recommend to stay outside the city of Palenque, closer to the jungle in order to have a more unusual experience. There are several Cabañas for a full immersion. We stayed at the Cabanas Kin Balam, which was nice and affordable. Nevertheless, there are many choices in the surroundings. It was a great experience and we even saw toucans and howler monkeys (we’ve especially heard them very well!).
This was the 2024 Chiapas itinerary for the ultimate experience. That was quite an intense trip, the kind of trip that leaves you with stars in your eyes and lots of memories in your head. This state is full of natural wonders and I recommend taking your time to visit it. We did this Chiapas itinerary in 3 weeks. For more content and news about our adventures, follow us on Instagram !