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21+ of the Best Things to Do in Chiapas

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Chiapas is one of Mexico’s most thrilling states and also one of its least explored. For those looking for an authentic Mexican adventure full of natural beauty, jungle-covered ruins, rich indigenous culture, and beautiful colonial towns Chiapas has it all and more.

From the bustling city of Tuxtla Gutiérrez to the charming town of San Cristobal de las Casas, the ancient ruins of Palenque to the pristine natural beauty of Lagos de Colone discover the best things to do in Chiapas.

Things to Do in Tuxtla Gutiérrez and Chiapa de Corzo

The capital of Mexico’s stunning Chiapas, Tuxtla Gutiérrez is the jump-off point to explore one of Mexico’s most exciting regions. Before you set off, find out what to do in Tuxtla Gutiérrez and make sure you get to see the best of this valley city and its breathtaking natural surroundings.

Natural wonders including the Sumidero Canyon, El Chorreadero Falls and Grijalva River are all right on Tuxtla Gutiérrez’s doorstep. Also here you will find culturally and historically rich areas such as the Chiapa de Corzo and exciting celebrations and festivals including the unique Fiesta Grande de Enero.

Climb Above Sumidero Canyon

One of Chiapas’ most remarkable landmarks is the Cañon del Sumidero. The Parque Nacional Cañón del Sumidero begins where the city of Tuxtla ends. Start your day with a walk, run, cycle or drive up the Calle Al Sumidero to the top of the canyon.

Kelli, above Sumidero Canyon near Tuxtla Gutiérrez
Plan things to do in Chiapas from the Sumidero Canyon

Atop the cliffs, enjoy a breathtaking vantage of the spectacular canyon and the river which winds through it far below. Five miradors offer increasingly impressive views of the canyon which stretches 1,000 meters down. Below, the Grijalva River cuts through the limestone walls as it has for thirty-five million years.

Take your breakfast to the top to enjoy above the dramatic gorge and lush national park that surrounds it. It’s the perfect spot to plan out the rest of your day in Tuxtla.

If you are overlanding Chiapas, you can camp in your vehicle outside the entrance to the national park for free. The friendly staff are all too happy to have campers stay overnight in their vehicle as well as provide tips and info on the region. There are toilet facilities at the park entrance. Camping here gives you the chance to get the drop on the rest of the tourists, beat the crowds, and enjoy the park to yourself early in the morning.

Disover the Best Things to Do in Chiapa de Corzo

This small town, on the outskirts of Tuxtla, is steeped in culture and history. Situated along the Grijalva River it has been an important region since pre-Hispanic times. Now finding itself situated along the Panamericana route, it has become a great place to stop and explore the history and tradition of the town. Spend an afternoon exploring the beautiful architecture and colorful streets of this village which have stood for thousands of years.

Stretching out from the town center or zocolo, you will find impressive landmarks. The Moorish style La Pila fountain was constructed in 1562. Adjacent, the La Pochota Kapok Tree is said to have been the tree around which the current modern town was founded by the Spanish.

After exploring Chiapa de Corzo, grab lunch at the famous Jardines de Chiapa which offers regional fare and a lively atmosphere. The lunchtime buffet costs around 300 pesos or you can order from their extensive menu.

For a more low-key but no less delicious lunch visit Don Rafita on Calle 5 de Febrero, who serves up tacos and gorditas stuffed with barbacoa and carnitas that rival those in the west of Mexico.

If you happen to be in town in January make sure you attend some of the festivities of the UNESCO-listed Fiesta Grande Enero, one of Mexico’s most culturally significant and colorful festivals. Parades, celebrations, and observations take place between the fourth and the twenty-third of January and include masked dancers known as Parachicos, fireworks, and traditional foods.

Take a Boat Ride Through the Sumidero Canyon

The epic boat journey through the Sumidero Canyon begins at Chiapas de Corzo. The ticket counters open around nine in the morning but boats need to fill before they set off which can take hours depending on how busy it is. The two-hour trip winds through the monumental canyon past jungles hiding spider monkeys, sandy banks where crocodiles sun, and the sheer 1,000m walls of the mighty canyon.

This impressive trip costs 230 pesos and offers a different perspective on this natural wonder.

Enjoy a Picnic at El Chorreadero 

Whilst these waterfalls are not the most spectacular in Chiapas (a prestigious title to hold in this region), they are impressive, unique, and easily accessible from Tuxtla. Just thirty minutes drive from the city center, the waterfall is fed by an underground river that exits through a cave and cascades 25 meters down into several pools below.

El Chorreadero near Tuxtla Gutiérrez

You can explore a short way into the cave yourself. Or, tours are available to take you deep inside the three-and-a-half-kilometer underground canyon on a twelve-hour tour that involves repelling, swimming, and big jumps. It is, apparently, one of the highlights of Chiapas and indeed Mexico for serious cavers and canyoners.

For the rest of us, the clear waters under the falls are surprisingly mild and great for a swim after a hot day. There is a restaurant on-site or you can bring your own picnic to enjoy. The entrance to the waterfall is 25 pesos per person.

It is also possible to camp in your vehicle in the fall’s parking lot (we were not asked for any additional fees) although there are no amenities.

Take a Trip to Cascada El Aguacero

Discover Cascada El Aguacero, a waterfall one hour’s drive west of the city.

The protected waterfall is found in the El Ocote Biosphere Reserve.

The waterfall is accessed via a concrete staircase of 700 steps. The trip down is easy but the climb out can be tough. Take a picnic to enjoy beneath the beautiful falls.

The cost to enter the Cascada El Aguacero is $36 pesos per person.

Feast on Delicious Mexican Food in Tuxtla Gutiérrez

Don Rafita

For a low-key but delicious lunch visit Don Rafita on Calle 5 de Febrero in Chiapa de Corzo, which serves up tacos and gorditas stuffed with barbacoa and carnitas tho rival that in the west of Mexico.

Jardines de Chiapa

Grab lunch at the famous Jardines de Chiapa in Chiapa de Corzo which offers regional fare and a lively atmosphere. The lunchtime buffet costs around 300 pesos or you can order from their extensive menu.

Las Pinchanchas

Found in the city of Tuxtla proper, Las Pinchanchas serves up regional dishes from around Chiapas and has nightly traditional dancing.

Natural Attractions and Outdoor Things to Do in Chiapas

Chiapas is perhaps most famous for its remarkable natural attractions. Thundering waterfalls, deep limestone cenotes, and stunning lakes and waterways. Discover some unmissable wild things to see in Chiapas.

Marvel at El Chiflon Waterfall

El Chiflon is a series of waterfalls that must be considered amongst Mexico’s most beautiful. The watercolor, the beautiful jungle setting, and of course the towering falls including the 120 meter Velo de Novia.

You can reach El Chiflon with a private vehicle, public bus, or tour group from either Tuxtla or San Cristobal both of which are between two to three hours away.

It costs $50 pesos per person to enter El Chiflon and it is possible to camp here overnight for a small additional charge.

Useful Information

  • Entrance Fee: $50 pesos per person
  • Camping Fee: $70 pesos per car
  • Address: Cascada El Chiflón, 30111 Chis., Mexico

READ MORE: The Best Waterfalls in Chiapas

Dive in at Cenote Chucumaltik

Cenote Chucumaltik with its stunning blue water is a must visit on any Chiapas road trip or Chiapas two-week itinerary.
A visit to this beautiful cenote is one of the best things to do in Chiapas

Bring your snorkels, towels, and a picnic lunch to enjoy this beautiful cenote, a natural limestone sinkhole. The deep clear waters in the middle of nature beckon on a warm day exploring the beautiful Chiapas’ nature.

There is a small palapa where you can relax and while away the day, if your lucky you may not even have to share this special spot with anyone else!

Useful Information

  • Entrance Fee: $30 pesos per person

Take a Dip at Lagos de Colon

A girl wading in the series of pools at the Lagos de Colon in Chiapas. Lago de Colon are a special highlight of a Chiapas Road Trip.
Cooling down in the Lagos de Colon on our Chiapas road trip!

The beautiful Lagos de Colon can be found near the Guatemalan border. The crystal clear waterways are surrounded by lush green jungle making for a beautiful and refreshing place to swim and relax. Few international tourists make their way to this hidden gem, but it is a popular spot for locals.

Nearby the El Lagartero Ruins are a unique set of ruins surrounded by the waters of the Lagos de Colon.

Entry costs 25 pesos and includes access to the Lagos de Colon and the El Lagartero Ruins.

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See the Colors of the Many Lakes of Lagos de Montebello

A rick shore on the shores of the Lagos de Montebello
A taxi driver takes a break above the beautiful Lagos de Montebello

This collection of almost 60 lakes are distinctive for their beautiful colors ranging from blue to emerald green. Surrounding the lakes is a beautiful forested national park providing a true wilderness adventure. It cost 36 pesos to access the national park and another 25 pesos to enter the lakes.

Camping is available on the shores of Lake Tziscaco for $25 pesos per person.

Useful Information

  • Entrance Fee:
    • National Park Fee: $36 pesos per person
    • Lagos de Montebello Fee: $25 pesos per person
  • Address: Lagos de Montebello, Antelá, Chiapas, Mexico

Witness the Mighty Las Nubes

The thundering waterfall of Las Nubes in Chiapas, Mexico. Another highlight of a Chiapas road trip.
One of our favorite falls in Mexico, visiting the powerful and stunning Las Nubes waterfall is one of the best things to do in Chiapas!

You can explore the pretty waterways and walking trails and swim in the pools above the falls, but be prepared as the water is chilly. The falls are managed by an ecotourism center which looks after this special area. Access to the falls costs $30 pesos. You can camp in a vehicle here for $100 pesos per night or stay in onsite cabins for $1,400 per night.

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Be Awed by the Thunderous Misol Ha

The Misol Ha waterfall thundering down 30 meters into a pool in Chiapas
The thundering Misol Ha waterfall in Chiapas

Thousands of liters of water thunder down over thirty meters at Misol Ha, one of Chiapas’ best waterfalls. You can swim in the pool below the falls, relax in the lush surrounding jungle, or walk behind the falls to experience them up close and personal.

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Marvel at Agua Azul

The series of waterfalls at Chiapas' iconic Agua Azul known for its thunderous roar and aqua-blue waters.
Agua Azul Chiapas is one of the most famous attractions in all of Chiapas!

This sprawling set of cascadas sees beautiful turquoise blue water surge down a wide waterfall in one of the state’s most beautiful and impressive natural displays.

One of the most famous attractions in Chiapas it is easy to see why. But, beware this popular tourist destination is busy with visitors and hawkers.

We were charged $25 pesos to use the road to access the falls although this fee did not feel particularly legitimate.

Access to the falls cost another $45 pesos.

Useful Information

Find out more: The Best Waterfalls in Chiapas.

Discover the Towns and Villages of Chiapas

Authentic towns dot the countryside throughout Chiapas. A mix of indigenous and colonial culture have created unique and beautiful villages and town.

Stroll the Cobblestone Streets of San Cristobal de las Casas

Real de Guadalupe in San Cristobal de las Casas. A visit to San Cristobal de las Casas is one of the best things to do in Chiapas
A visit to San Cristobal de las Casas is one of the best things to do in Chiapas

San Cristobal de las Casas is a mountain town that has long been the cultural center of Chiapas. Today it is famous for the indigenous markets, international restaurants, museums, and charming colonial architecture.

San Cristobal is one of the best places to find beautiful, authentic, and affordable accommodation, and is centrally located to many of the state’s best attractions.

Read More: 17 of the Best Things to Do in San Cristobal de las Casas

Explore Comitan

Comitan is a beautiful colonial village and one of the best places to visit in Chiapas. Walk the old town streets, take in the lively main town square, and enjoy this authentic Mexican town. We recommend dining at Ta Bonitio for the best meal in the city! Or, if you are looking for something more authentic head, over to El Puerquito for delicious carnitas tacos!

Take in the Sunset from Uninajab

Camping in Uninajab at sunset
Camping in Uninajab at sunset

Uninajab is a village with a series of freshwater pools overlooking the valley and La Angostura. Costing just $25 pesos to enter you can paddle in the crystal clear pool and soak in the beautiful sunsets. You can also camp overnight for no extra cost.

Historical and Cultural Things to Do in Chiapas

Chiapas is home to some of Mexico’s most significant and well-preserved archeological sites. Throughout the state, hidden in dense jungle, discover the ancient cities and monuments of the Maya.

Photograph the Ancient Tenam Puente

The lesser known ruins of Tenam Puente, take advantage of having your own wheels on you road trip of Chiapas and stop by.
The beautiful ruins of Tenam Puente are one of the best things to see in Chiapas

Smaller than some other ruins in Mexico Tenam Puente is just as interesting. The beautiful vegetation that has grown over the ruins makes them particularly photogenic. Because Tenam Puente is are less popular you may also get the opportunity to explore them all by yourself.

An entry fee of $40 pesos gets you access to the ruins and a small onsite museum.

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Uncover Yaxchilán

The ruins are located on the Usumacinta River. The ruins lie hidden in a lush jungle filled with howler monkeys creating an adventurous atmosphere.

Yaxchilán is unique for the first structure you will encounter as you explore the ruins. A labyrinth is believed to have been used to test Mayan athletes who want to compete on the ball field. Contenders would enter the Labyrinth after consuming a hallucinogen. Those that made it out alive were given their chance.

To access the ruins you’ll need to reach Frontera Corozal on the Guatemalan border, a small village about three hours from Palenque. Here you will be required to pay a levy of $30 pesos. From Frontera Corozal you can take a boat ride to the ruins, the boat ride costs between $1,000 and $1,500 pesos, can take up to ten people, and will leave once filled (once the full fare is paid). Finally, entry to the ruins costs $65 pesos.

If ruins and history are your things then making the effort to see this important place is definitely one of the best things you can do in Chiapas.

Useful Information

  • Entrance Fee:
    • Frontera Corozal: $30 pesos per person
    • Boat Ride: $1,000 – $1,500 pesos per boat (can be shared)
    • Ruins: $65 pesos per person
  • Address: 29935 Frontera Corozal
  • Hours of Operation: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm (last boat is at 3:30 pm)
  • Camping is allowed in the embarcadero free of charge.

Observe The Ancient Murals of Bonampak

Thirty kilometers from Yaxchilán a small complex of ruins holds perhaps the most significant key to understanding Mayan history.

The Bonampak ruins have three chambers filled with paintings depicting in great detail the everyday lives of the ancient Mayan civilization.

A fee of $35 pesos per person is collected to enter the village of Crucero San Javier. From here you can take a private transport run by the Lancandon people to the ruin for a cost of $100 – $150 pesos. Finally, access to the ruins cost $70 pesos.

Useful Information

  • Entrance Fee:
    • Access to Crucero San Javier: $35 pesos per person
    • Transportation: $100 – $150 per person
    • Ruins: $70 pesos per person
  • Hours of Operation: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

Get Lost in Palenque

The ruins of Palenque shrouded in mist. A must see on a road trip of Chiapas. Visiting Palenque is one of the most amazing things to do in Chiapas
Visiting Palenque is one of the most amazing things to do in Chiapas

These truly impressive ruins are remarkable for their size and for how well they have been preserved. Making this experience even more special is the way the jungle has begun to reclaim the ruins. In the early morning, the light filters through the canopy creating a magical experience.

You can reach these ruins from the nearby town of Palenque and access costs $117 pesos.

Useful Information

Ascend the Ruins of Tonina

A girl walking through the ancient ruins of Tonina one of the ruins in Chiapas on her road trip in Chiapas
The most impressive acropolis of the ruins in Chiapas!

Less popular than other ruins Tonina is great to explore without hordes of tourists. You can climb the immense structure for fantastic views and an understanding of how these sites were used.

Tonina also has a labyrinth, if you didn’t make it to Yaxchilán.

It costs $65 pesos to access the ruins and guides are available for a more in-depth tour of the ruins.

Useful Information

  • Entrance Fee: $65 pesos per person
  • Hours of Operation: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

Accommodation in Tuxtla Gutiérrez

Overlanding and Camping Accomodation in Tuxtla Gutiérrez

You can stay in your vehicle close to most of the attractions in Tuxtla Gutiérrez. It is possible to camp in your vehicle at the car parks for the Parque Nacional Cañón del Sumidero, El Chorreadero falls and the car park for the Sumidero Canyon boats in Chiapa de Corzo. You can also camp in your vehicle at the Walmart in Tuxtla Gutiérrez city.

Hostal Tres Central

This centrally located hostel offers modern, clean, and comfortable dormitory beds and private rooms. They have a rooftop terrace, a bar, and free breakfast. Dorm beds start from 130 pesos.

Booking.com

MOMOTUS Hotel

Each well-appointed and well-designed room in this new hotel includes a balcony, air-conditioning, and a city view. The hotel has a great breakfast restaurant, a sun terrace, and an eco-friendly attitude. Rooms start at around 500 pesos.

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The Fiesta Inn Tuxtla Fashion Mall

This luxurious four-star hotel has large well-appointed rooms, modern facilities, and stunning views of Chiapas. Rooms start from around 1,000 pesos.

Booking.com

Accommodation San Cristobal de las Casas

13 Cielos Hostel

Hostel Trece Cielo, a travellers hostel

A true travelers hostel, 13 Cielos Hostel is a place for travelers to come together to meet and share experiences. Expect a warm welcome, friendly atmosphere, and relaxed vibe that encourages guests to be part of the community through well-designed common spaces, organized activities and charming hosts.

Hostal Corazon Corteza

A great place to stay in Chiapas

Hostal Corazon Corteza is a colorful hostel located a few blocks off the main walking street, Real de Guadalupe. Each of the five rooms is designed with reclaimed wood and locally sourced materials. The hostel has plenty of hanging-out space with a living area inside and a large courtyard. It is the perfect choice for cheap and cheerful accommodation.

Casa Azabache

Comfortable and modern accommodation

A relative newcomer on the scene is Casa Azabache. A trendy, modern hostel delivering premium accommodation without the price tag. The rooms and the hostel itself are beautifully decorated.

Hotel Sombra del Agua

Hotel Sombra del Agua located in the city center is a great option when visiting San Cristobal de las Casas. The hotel’s beautiful architecture dates back to 1907 and was one of the first hotels established in the area.

Premium accommodation in San Cristobal

Tips for Exploring Chiapas

When Is the Best Time to Visit Chiapas?

The best time to visit Chiapas is between November and May. During the dry season, the weather is a little cooler and less humid during this time as well, making days of exploring and sleeping at night more comfortable.

Is It Safe to Drink the Water in Chiapas?

Water in Chiapas, and in Mexico in general, is un-potable. Tap water should be treated by boiling, chemicals, filtration, or UV before drinking. Alternatively, bottled water and filtered water stations are readily available.

Is Chiapas Safe?

Chiapas is one of the poorer states in Mexico. In our anecdotal experience, the state is safe but travelers should be aware of a higher instance of petty crime. In our short time in the state, we found we experienced a higher number of scams, road blockades and had our car broken into one night (while we slept in it) in Palenque.

Are There ATMs in Chiapas?

You can find ATMs dispensing the local currency MXN in the major towns and cities in Chiapas. Towns with ATMs include, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, San Cristobal de las Casas, Comitan and Palenque.

Is Mobile Internet and Connectivity Reliable in Chiapas?

In towns and cities, there is fast and reliable mobile service. Wifi speeds average about 24mbps and mobile data about 5 – 20mbps (with Tel Cel).

However, between cities or at some of the more remote attractions there is limited or no coverage.

Download offline versions of maps.me or Google maps when you are heading off to explore more remote things to do in Chiapas.

Accommodation and restaurants in towns in cities usually have reliable wifi however you should enquire or test the speed if relying on these connections for work.

We hope you found some great things to do in Chiapas and enjoy this incredible state as much as we did. If you have a question or a comment, let us know below!

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If you are looking for more information on Chiapas check out these articles:

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