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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 🙂
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.