Sitting in bed one night discussing our upcoming holiday plans — a trip to Mexico crossed the minds of Mariana and myself. A quick check of the latest flight deals from Vancouver showed us a great price to Mexico City (then over to Chiapas) and in a few days we were booked and preparing for takeoff, two weeks of photography and new adventures ahead of us!
First off, we explored Mexico City (post coming soon) and then headed to Chiapas for a magical journey through turquoise waters, lush greenery, and grand vista canyons.
In the southern end of Mexico bordering Guatemala, you will find the province of Chiapas. We kept near the centre for our travels, staying in Tuxtla Gutiérrez (the capital) and San Cristóbal de las Casas. It almost immediately reminded me of Hawaii, specifically my trips around Maui, with the lush green rainforests and driving up the winding roads towards mountainous highlands.
If you enjoy massive canyons, waterfalls and venturing through caves — Chiapas is for you.
Boating through the Sumidero Canyon
The Sumidero Canyon is a major gem that can be seen from Tuxtla Gutierrez and an absolute must-see when in the area.
We drove to the city of Chiapa de Corzo for a boat tour starting around 2pm that day (highly recommended for December). You can find many different boats and companies along the waters, no need to book one beforehand. Bring. Your. Camera.
A large percentage of my photos from this trip came from this two hour boat trip. I recommend keeping a fast shutter speed and looking around all directions throughout the boat ride — you never know what you’ll see.
Cascadas de Chiflón
Oh, Chiflón… we thought we’d never find you. After embarking on a road trip full of no phone service, non-stop pilgrimages (see below) and mistaken alternate routes (asking for directions all around), it was a great relief to find ourselves amongst so much bright turquoise water.
Water falling everywhere. The cool misty air. Thank you, Chiflón — you were worth the crazy ride.
It seems apparent to me that Chiapas has an abundance of incredible waterfalls accessible in the region. From turquoise blue waters and massive cliffs in Chiflón to the soft misty falls of Aguacero.
We arrived at the park mid-day and made our way down the many steps winding back and forth descending into the canyon. Each one of us silent thinking how dreadful the trip back up will be.
San Cristóbal de las Casas
We took a trip up the mountains into the Central Highlands region to stay a few days in San Cristóbal de las Casas (also known as Jovel) considered the cultural centre of Chiapas. I immediately saw why as we entered the centre of the city, especially with the festivals taking place.
The Party of the Virgin Guadalupe / Fiesta de la Virgen de Guadalupe
Ok, this is probably the craziest part of the whole trip. From November to December, the “Antorcha Guadalupana” (“Guadalupana Torch”) race takes place where young pilgrims run with a torch (from what we saw alongside a truck FULL of others) taking turns along the way. Their mission is to go to Mexico City, Oaxaca, and Guatemala returning to San Cristóbal in time for the Virgin of Guadalupe party on December 12th.
We encountered the pilgrims along all of our drives to and from our daily adventures.
We encountered the pilgrims (and daily/nightly mini parties) along the streets of San Cristóbal.
We encountered the pilgrims everywhere, all the time — rogue fireworks, music, partying, and everything in between.
It was interesting.
It was (at times) annoying.
It was a special treat I didn’t expect during our trip.
Grutas de Rancho Nuevo San Cristobal
Grutas was short-lived for us, but it was worth the trip. I haven’t been inside of caves for a while and I believe it’s important to put yourself in new environments.
The majority of it has a well built path that is lit up, so no need to be worried.
At the end of the path, before turning around to go back, there was a new excavation that was available to be explored with a guide (for a nominal extra fee). I suggest going for it for a more authentic experience than the rest.
I held back from Mariana and the guide for a second, turned off my flashlight and experienced the pure dark. Then snapped my light back on and hustled back to them before freaking out.
I loved Chiapas.
For the time that we had, we packed a lot into our trip in Chiapas (although I’m sad we had to miss going to Palenque). Yet, there was still so much more on our wish list. I loved the area, the landscape, the culture, the natural beauty surrounding the area. Bueno! Mariana and I spoke briefly of living in San Cristóbal at some point. It’s a pretty amazing place.
I feel like I learned a lot during this time and I look forward to heading back to explore more of Chiapas when I get the chance!