MEXICOTHE AMERICAS

Must Visit Attractions In Chiapas, Mexico

San Cristobal de Las Casas, Comitan, Ocosingo, Palenque

Alright, let’s get back to my Mexico Trip! So after spending 3 weeks in San Cristobal de las Casas, I traveled to Comitan. Comitan is the fourth largest city in the state of Chiapas in South Mexico. Comitan is around 2 hrs drive from San Cristobal de las casas. So I took a Colectivo (shared minibus/van) to reach the city of Comitan. I was surprised to find that Comitan is not popular among foreign tourists as most people make San Cristobal de las Casas as their base for even exploring things relatively near to Comitan. In this post, I am listing down the must-visit attractions in Chiapas, Mexico. Read on!

Reached Comitan
Christmas decorations
must visit attractions in Chiapas comitan

Reaching my first lake of the day
Lago Montebello
must visit attractions in Chiapas lacunas de Montebello
On the way to next lake
Cinco lagos: Nothing to be seen due to dense fog
must visit attractions in Chiapas lagunas de Montebello
Lago(lake) Pojoj
must visit attractions in Chiapas comitan
Back to Comitan

Lagunas de Montebello National Park

Around an hour ride from Comitan will take you to Lagunas de Montebello (Montebello lakes). These are collections of lakes that can be found in the Lagunas de Montebello National Park. There are as many as 59 lakes but some of them have dried up and some of them are too difficult to reach. Around 15 lakes are assessable by foot or by vehicle. I was only able to visit a few due to rough weather with constant rainfall. I traveled here in December and it was really cold back then. The lakes are known for their different colours thanks to their different minerals contents. The first one I visited was Lago Montebello. From here I hitchhike to the next one “Cinco Lagos” but couldn’t even able to see the lake due to dense fog. At the entrance point, I met the security guard. We shared lunch and had such a beautiful conversation. From here, I hitchhike again to the next one called “Lago Pojoj”. This one I was able to see 🙂 The next stop was the stunning viewpoint of “Lake Tziscao”. Lake Tziscao is the largest lake in the Lagunas de Montebello National Park. One can walk to the Tziscao town from the viewpoint and visit the Mexico-Guatemala Border. Due to exceedingly rough weather, I decided to head back to Comitan instead. I would highly recommend visiting Lagunas de Montebello National Park on a sunny day to be able to see the beautiful colours of various lakes. There is a nominal entrance fee to enter each of the lakes which varies from 25-40 pesos. I took a Colectivo (sharing minibus/van) from Comitan to reach Lagunas de Montebello and it costs 80 pesos. I got down at the entrance of Lago Montebello. Another series of lakes named Lagos de Colon can be explored from Comitan.

 

Beautiful set of trees in Comitan
must visit attractions in Chiapas el chiflon
Use this Entrance!
Cascadas El Chiffon Map

Cascada velo de novia
must visit attractions in Chiapas el chiflon
Cascada Arcoiris (Rainbow waterfall) 
Beautiful creatures

Cascada Ala de Angel
Cascada El Suspiro
must visit attractions in Chiapas el chiflon
Chill zone:)
Time for some Tacos!

Cascadas El Chiflon

Cascadas El Chiflon is series of beautiful waterfalls. The entrance to the attraction costs 50 Mexican pesos. To reach here it takes 45 minutes from Comitan via Colectivo and costs 40 pesos. It takes around an hour or so to reach the highest waterfall called “Cascada Quinceanera” from the entrance. A beautiful series of waterfalls will charm you on the way. The other waterfalls includes Cascada Arcoiris, Cascada Velo de Novia, Cascada Ala de Angel, Cascada El Suspiro”. There are two entrances to Cascadas el Chiflon. I suggest entering from this entrance(see pic above). Cascadas el Chiflon is an attraction that you should not miss! One can even stay near waterfalls in cabanas. There’s also beautifully built huts to chill and eat along the water stream. A museum and audiovisual room about the region can be found on the site. Last but not least I get to see the beautiful Iguanas! It is a must-visit attraction to spend a day. In Comitan, I stayed at Hostal Casa Del Sol for 130 pesos per night.

 

Bidding goodbye to Comitan
On the way to Tonina
must visit attractions in Chiapas tonina
And it was closed 🙁
Had to make do with nearby views
Ocosingo town

Tonina

My next destination was Ocosingo. The only reason to travel to this non-touristy town was to visit Tonina. Tonina is a ruined city of the Maya Civilization. It has one of the largest pyramids in Mexico. I hitchhiked to reach the town of Ocosingo from Comitan covering 100 km. There’s a Colectivo from Comitan to Altamirano and from Altamirano to Ocosingo. After reaching Ocosingo, I took a Colectivo to reach Tonina but unfortunately it was closed due to the ongoing pandemic. I explored the nearby village before calling it a day. In Ocosingo, I stayed at Hotel Geminis for 120 pesos per night.

 

On the way to Palenque
Reaching my host’s home
Entrance to the Palenque Archaeological Zone
Going by walk
must visit attractions in Chiapas Palenque ruins
Reached!
Beautiful Artifacts
Maya Calendar
Enjoy the Maya ruins 🙂
must visit attractions in Chiapas Palenque ruins

Back to Palenque
Enjoying Baseball game in Palenque
Entering Roberto Barrios Village
Way to waterfalls
Beautiful waterfalls ahead 🙂

must visit attractions in Chiapas Roberto barriosmust visit attractions in Chiapas Roberto barrios

My companion on the way 🙂
The Omnipresent Colectivo 😉

Zona Arqueologica Palenque & Waterfalls

Palenque was the last city I explored in the state of Chiapas. It took me around 3 hours and cost me 100 Mexican pesos to reach Palenque city from Ocosingo town via Colectivo. In Palenque, I used Couchsurfing. My Couchsurfing host lives just before the entrance to Zona Arqueologica Palenque (Palenque archaeological zone). This zone contains Palenque ruins which date back from 226 BC to 799 AD. It is recognised as a UNESCO world heritage site. It costs 110 Mexican pesos to visit the site. It is one of the most famous Maya Civilization ruins in Mexico. I recommend you to walk from the entrance to the site. It takes an hour or so but totally worth it due to the beautiful and serene nature around. You need at least a couple of hours to explore the ruins. There are several waterfalls around Palenque. Misol Ha, Agua Azul and Roberto Barrios waterfalls. Roberto Barrios is a small village near Palenque. 30 minutes drive. I took a Colectivo to reach here. There are several waterfalls in Roberto Barrios village. The entrance fee is 30 pesos. I totally recommend visiting this beautiful place!

 

Archaeological site of Bonampak
Excavated stone
must visit attractions in Chiapas Bonampak

Mayan Temples
Beautiful handicrafts

Way to Lacanja chansayab village
Reached just in time of sunset
My abode for the night
Next morning, on the way to the waterfall
Wild mushrooms
Crossing the tree bridge
must visit attractions in Chiapas la selva lacandona
Crossing barefoot
At least there are some arrows but still it is really difficult to do it without a guide
Beautiful artwork by yours truly Nature 😉
Sky kissing trees
Muddy ways
Rio Cerdo waterfall
Our awesome guide 🙂

Exploring ruins deep inside the jungle
must visit attractions in Chiapas la selva lacandona
Roots dancing around the tree 🙂
Edible fruit from the Jungle
Golondrinas Waterfall
On the way back
must visit attractions in Chiapas Palenque
Probably the tallest tree I saw in the Lacandon jungle

This is the entrance to Golondrinas waterfall
This young chap gave me the ride back to the main road in his Tuk-Tuk
must visit attractions in Chiapas Palenque
Back to Palenque

La Selva Lacandona & Bonampak  

Okay, so the day came that I was eagerly waiting for. I so wanted to visit the La Selva Lacandona (Lacandon Jungle). It is the largest montane rainforest in North America and home to the Lacandon Maya people. It contains hundreds to thousands of different types of tree species, bird species, animal species, butterflies and fish species. First and foremost, don’t rely on Google maps. For some reason, Google maps are incorrect for this region. Download this region on MAPS.ME app instead. There is no mobile network and ATM in this region. My plan was to reach the Lacandon village called “Lacanja Chansayab”. Reaching here is a bit tricky via public transport. I took a colectivo from Palenque going to the town of Frontera Corozal. I paid 100 pesos. I got down at the San Javier intersection and hitchhiked to the Bonampak ruin site. It is a Maya archaeological site. The thing about these archaeological sites are you need to be interested in their history else you will be bored and likely to label them as “seen one, seen everyone”. There’s another Maya archaeological site named Yaxchilan around 20 km from Bonampak. After visiting the Bonampak site, I walked for an hour before someone gave me a ride to the “Lacanja Chansayab” village. In the village, I stayed at a place called YA’AJCHE. I paid 150 pesos to spend a night in a Cabana. The next morning, I was ready to explore the La selva Lacandona (Lacandon Jungle). My plan was to reach Rio Cedro Waterfall and return from the different route while exploring Golondrinas Waterfall. I begin my journey without a guide and lost my way pretty quickly. Then I saw a group of people with a guide who agreed to take me along for 100 pesos. I had never seen such high trees in my life. It felt like the trees are kissing the sky. Walking in the La selva Lacandona was really special. It gives you an “Alice in the wonderland” feeling. It took me an hour or so to reach Rio Cerdo Waterfall. After reaching the Rio Cerdo Waterfall, I took the services of another guide from a shop nearby to go to lost city ruins deep inside the jungle. He charged me 100 more pesos. Even after seeing so many ruins, I was curious to explore more. It was really interesting to see these ruins dating back thousands of years. I felt like Indiana Jones on a quest haha. It was 90 minutes roundtrip trip. After reaching back, I bid my amazing guide adieu and head back to the village alone by the way of Golondrinas waterfall. If you are looking to visit just Golondrinas waterfall, It can be done without a guide. There’s a different entrance for that. I made my exit from that entrance. For other trails, you need a guide. Spanish words for Waterfall and Ruins are Cascada and Ruinas respectively. Just keep it in mind as it will come in handy 🙂

San Cristobal de las casas

must visit attractions in Chiapas san Cristobal


A Detailed Guide To San Cristobal de las Casas 

The most famous and the must visit attraction/city in Chiapas has to be San Cristobal de las casas. There are many places to explore in and around the beautiful town of San Cristobal de las Casas. I spend 3 weeks in the city and wrote a detailed guide. You can read it here: A Detailed Guide to San Cristobal de las Casas.

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An Indian Traveler

Hello! My name is Saurabh and I am the voice behind the “An Indian Traveler” blog. I'm a cinephile, travel writer, an avid traveler with a song stuck in my head which I keep humming till ad nauseam :)

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23 Comments

  1. That sounds like the most amazing trip. Seeing those ruins in the jungle must have been really special. I was amazed at how few people there were at the other Mayan ruins your visited – do you think that was because it was December or are they not such well-known ones?

  2. Visiting Mexico is on my bucket list, but I hadn’t researched sites in Chiapas at all. Love all the nature photos you shared. What a great way to get some exercise to balance out all the food I plan to eat when I finally make it there. 🙂

  3. This looks like an amazing trip! We have only been to the Yucatan in Mexico, but I have heard a lot of great things about Chiapas. That waterfall is beautiful.

  4. It looks like you are far more adventurous than me. I went to Mexico but stayed on or near the resort. There is loads to see there.

  5. There are so many beautiful places to explore in Mexico. The paths are stunning…a great place to connect with nature.

  6. I would absolutely love to see the Christmas decorations in person. I just know it looks gorgeous during the holiday season.

  7. I love all the waterfalls, nature and the quaint little streets. I haven’t been to this part of Mexico before, so I hope to get there one day.

  8. Wow, I am totally amazed by the beauty of this area. The waterfalls are stunning and so is the pyramid. I can only imagine that the lakes would have been a great place to be at a different time of year. What do you think, what time of year would be best to go there?

  9. We have not yet visited the Chiapas area in Mexico. But I can see there would be much to keep us busy on a visit. Too bad you only got to see a few of the Lagunas de Montebello National Park. I would love to see all the different colours the minerals being to the lakes. But the waterfalls you saw were great. The crawling bugs not so much for me! Love that so many of the towns are still so untouristy.

  10. I aspire to visit Mexico someday, its been on my bucket list for so long. The waterfalls look amazing, Cascada Ala de Angel is gorgeous! You’ve given me the brilliant idea to visit during Christmas. Maybe I will plan for 2022! Not sure if I will make it to Chiapas but if I do, I have your brilliant itinerary and tips to refer to right here.

  11. Sadly, I have never heard of Chiapas before. I have Mexico in my list for sure and I will make sure now I add Chiapas to my list. The place looks amazing, especially the waterfalls. Loved them. And all your pictures are very nicely clicked and speaks so much about the place. Thanks for introducing me to Chiapas.

  12. Great images! Those manicured set of trees in Comitan and Golondrinas Waterfall look spectacular. There seems to be a lot of historical ruins to explore too. I have not been to Mexico yet, but Chiapas definitely looks inspiring to include in my wishlist. 🙂

  13. It would seem the highlight of Comitan is all the waterfalls and rivers –and such beautiful colors! I hadn’t heard of Palenque, but that would also be on my list of places to visit near Comitan. So far I’ve ony seen the Mayan ruins in Tulum, and they are not as impressive!

  14. Thank you for putting this together. I’m currently based in Mexico and I still have plenty more to explore and grow to love here. Your post gave me ideas! I love it that you hitchhiked from one area to another. Nice cascadas!

  15. There seems to be so much more to see in Mexico than just the beautiful Yucatan Peninsula. I’ve always considered Mexico a great destination for beaches, but seeing the stunning beauty of Lagunas de Montebello National Park I’d love to go back and see Chiapas. This is a very informative post. I found a lot about what I could explore in that area. Thanks for sharing it.

  16. I haven’t heard of Comitan yet, so, thanks for this tour through your blog. The dense fog and the wooden raft, everything gives such a feel of Kerala! Very intriguing to know about the different colors of the lakes. The waterfalls all look so spectacular. The Mayan ruins look spectacular. I’m so glad to read about the lesser-known Mayan pyramid while most blogs cover the popular ones.

  17. This place certainly now features in one of my dream destinations. A feel of San Cristobal de Las Casas, Comitan, Ocosingo and Palenque certainly is enticing. Love the woods, the walk and the streams. A good learning experience too with more knowledge of Mexico and where to go.

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