Let’s face it – choosing where to go on vacation is no easy call. On one hand, you want a spot that isn’t too pricey; but still adventurous and interesting. With that in mind – you should think about visiting Chiapas. An area found in the very south of Mexico, on the very border with Guatemala; you’ll find plenty of intriguing places to see here. In fact, this region has stunning rainforests that will soothe any nature lovers. But on the other hand – fans of history will find many ancient Mayan sites, as well as Spanish colonial areas. And for everyone who doesn’t know where to start; we’ve got a few suggestions on the things you should know before visiting Chiapas, Mexico!
Make a Travel Budget
Before we get into the specifics of the things you should know before visiting Chiapas, Mexico; we’ve got some general traveling advice that you might find useful, regardless of where you’re going. First and foremost – you need to make a traveling budget before you go on vacation. That goes for any kind of trip, really. If you’d decided to move to Chiapas, we’d advise you to calculate the final cost of your move months before the relocation. And on the other hand, even if you’re going on a short trip – know what kind of a budget you’re dealing with.
Sure, planning that thoroughly in advance may seem less spontaneous. But once you actually arrive on vacation, you’ll see that you have the freedom to improvise; after setting some ground rules when it comes to spending. That way, you won’t find yourself lacking money on the trip itself, or regretting how much you’ve spent afterward. Trust us – this is the best way to go on any type of trip.
Ruins of Palenque
Now that you’ve finished working on your travel budget, the next question is – what will you actually visit in Chiapas? As we’ve already mentioned above – for people who like ancient history, there’s definitely plenty to see here. In fact, there are no less than five ancient Mayan archeological sights here, in superb condition and open to visitors. If you’re up for it – we definitely recommend taking a look at Palenque.
This site is quite old – the structures that makeup today’s ruins were built during the 3rd century BC. And even though explorers unearthed numerous intriguing temples here; experts believe that most of the structures are still beneath the surface, hidden by the dense jungle. Still, though; if you want to see some ancient Mayan buildings, Palenque is definitely among the things you should know before visiting Chiapas. For history buffs, going on tours which include Palenque is an absolute must. Once you’re there, the Temple of Inscriptions will absolutely dazzle you with its ancient mysteries! This is actually the biggest stepped pyramid that the Mayans ever built. Plus, it’s got some amazing carvings and sculptures. If you’re coming to Chiapas; you definitely don’t want to miss out on seeing this.
City of San Cristobal
If you want to learn about the basic things you should know before visiting Chiapas; the city of San Cristobal is definitely one of them. Trust us – you don’t want to finish a trip to Chiapas without a tour including San Cristobal. Why? Well, if you want to experience the Mexican culture which emerged during the colonial era; there are few places better for that. Especially if you plan on exploring the entire state; this city would serve as a useful base for that.
The local architecture is quintessentially colonial. You’ll find streets with cobblestone pavement, as well as the famous roofs with red tiles which give it a distinct vibe. And once you start wandering the city; you’ll find plenty of interesting sights to see. Indeed, there are big cathedrals and churches, as well as museums and restaurants serving international food. Plus – the locals operate a huge market in the open, where you can buy all kinds of food and trinkets.
The Cultural Capital
Speaking of the locals; they are precisely the reason why San Cristobal is widely seen as the cultural capital of the region. Nearby, you’ll find settlements which are inhabited by the Tzotzil Maya. These indigenous population can give you unique insight into the rural life that once was; making for a pretty unique blend with the colonial culture of San Cristobal. In many ways, visiting San Cristobal and the nearby villages almost seems like stepping into a time machine. There’s no place where you can feel the Mexican atmosphere of old quite like here.
The El Chiflon Waterfalls
Of course, man-made culture and structures aren’t the only things you should know before visiting Chiapas. There’s plenty of astounding nature here as well; which you definitely shouldn’t miss out on. For example, the El Chiflon waterfalls offer one of the most wondrous sights you can see in all of Mexico. The park and the surrounding area are definitely among the things you should know about before visiting Chiapas.
Once you enter the park, you’ll see a long path that follows the river; that trek stretches to the very top of the waterfall. And while this starts as an easy walk; by the time you near the top it’ll get quite slippery. However, it’s well worth the effort. When you finally reach the top, you’ll be greeted by one of the most breathtaking views you’ll find in the entire country. Plus, for the adrenaline lovers among you; the park offers a zip line you can ride across the huge gap down.