Panoramic view of the cascades and waterfalls of Agua Azul, Chiapas

Things to do in  Chiapas

Mexico, uncensored

A mountain-to-sea playground with proud Maya heritage, Mexico’s southernmost state invites adventurous exploring. Chiapas is where history, culture, and nature intersect, and offers plenty of things to do whether you’re seeking vibrant markets, pine-fringed waterfalls, sandy beaches, or ancient ruins. Tucked high among the pines is the charismatic San Cristóbal de las Casa, a city whose baroque, neoclassical, and plateresque architecture backdrops bohemian spirit and traditional cultures. Palenque, Yaxchilán, and Toniná are the most famous of the region’s Maya archeological treasures, with many smaller sites and artifacts scattered across the forested landscape.

Top 14 attractions in Chiapas

Sumidero Canyon National Park (Parque Nacional Canón del Sumidero)

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With 3,000-foot (nearly-1,000-meter) canyon walls lining the Grijalva River, Sumidero Canyon National Park (Parque Nacional Cañón del Sumidero) is home to monkeys, crocodiles, and other wildlife. The best views of the canyon are from the bottom, so join the stream of boats cruising up and down the river, and take in the scenery.More

Cascada de Misol-Ha (Misol-Ha Waterfall)

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In the depths of the Chiapas jungle, the Misol-Ha Waterfall tumbles 115 feet (35 meters) into a turquoise pool below and provides refreshing respite from the hot and humid surroundings. Take a dip in the cool pool and swim beneath the falls or venture behind them on foot to explore a hidden cave complex.More

Agua Azul Waterfalls (Cascadas de Agua Azul)

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Turquoise blue waterfalls plunge to a series of pools at Chiapas’ beautiful Agua Azul. A cluster of food stalls and vendors creates a bustling atmosphere in the jungle setting, especially on busy weekends when locals go to swim and lounge by the river. To reach a quieter stretch of water, you can follow a riverside trail upstream.More

Chiapa de Corzo

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Situated on the northern banks of the Grijalva River, Chiapa de Corzo is one of the region’s oldest Spanish settlements with a rich indigenous history, which serves as a jumping-off point for excursions into the Sumidero Canyon. Highlights include the 16th-century church—among the best-preserved in Chiapas—and crown-shaped La Pila fountain.More

Comitán

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Situated close to the border with Guatemala, Comitán primarily serves as a jumping-off point for nearby attractions such as the Lagunas de Montebello National Park and Chinkultic ruins. However, charming Comitán—marked by colonial architecture and narrow streets—is also a destination in its own right, with a lively town center, plenty of great food, and a few local museums.More

Cascadas El Chiflón (El Chiflón Waterfalls)

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The relatively flat trails, lush countryside, well-kept picnic areas, and crystal-clear waters of the Cascadas El Chiflón (El Chiflón Waterfalls) offer a natural respite from the hustle and bustle of San Cristóbal. Highlights include stepped waterfalls, each more impressive than the last; a zipline; and the opportunity to take a dip in the cool turquoise pools.More

San Juan Chamula

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With its scenic streets, traditional architecture, and indigenous community, San Juan Chamula is a popular day-trip destination in Chiapas. The undeniably highlight of any tour is the central Church of San Juan, which blends colonial Catholic practice with Mayan tradition and ritual to create a truly unique and pew-less place of worship—look out for the tiny mirrors, which are said to ward away evil.More

Yaxchilán

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Only accessible by boat and situated deep in the Lacandón jungle, the journey to Yaxchilán is as enjoyable as the destination. At this off-the-beaten-path alternative to better-known Mexican ruins, admire decorative stone lintels, elaborate stucco detailing, and two ball courts, as well as carved hieroglyphic stairways.More

Zinacantán

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The majority Tzotzil-speaking Maya village of Zinacantán is known for its traditional customs, lively markets, and regional dishes. Visit with a local guide to learn more about the lifestyle—both past and present—of the Tzotzil Maya people who make up 99 percent of Zinacantán’s population, try your hand at weaving or tortilla-making, and eat alongside a local family.More

Lagunas de Montebello National Park

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Straddling the Mexico-Guatemala border, the Lagunas de Montebello National Park is home to more than 50 lakes and lagoons which range in color from powder blue to deepest indigo. Take a dip in the refreshing waters, hike through the dense pine forest, or raft across the lakes at this UNESCO-recognized reserve.More

Bonampak

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Occupying just 1 square mile (2.4 square kilometers) in the remote Lacandón jungle, the ancient ruins of Bonampak are diminutive by Mexican archaeological standards. However, this former settlement is home to some of the best-preserved Maya frescoes and murals in the country, which depict ritual sacrifice, ceremonies, and more.More

Sima de las Cotorras (Sinkhole of Parrots)

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Inhabited by thousands of green parakeets, thrushes, woodpeckers, and more, the 460-foot-deep (140-meter-deep) Sinkhole of Parrots (Sima de las Cotorras) is one of Chiapas’ most magnificent natural attractions that will entice bird watchers and adventure travelers alike. Watch as the birds take flight morning and evening, before rappelling into the sinkhole or taking a guided tour to the cave paintings.More
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Rancho Nuevo Caves Natural Park (Grutas de Rancho Nuevo)

Rancho Nuevo Caves Natural Park (Grutas de Rancho Nuevo)

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Discovered in 1960, Rancho Nuevo Caves Natural Park (Grutas de Rancho Nuevo) is home to massive limestone stalagmites and stalactites and surrounded by a towering pine forest. Wander through the caves by following the winding 2,475-foot (755-meter) walkway, before riding horseback or hiking among the trees for a rural escape just 20 minutes outside of San Cristóbal de las Casas.More
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Toniná

Toniná

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One of Chiapas’ least-visited Mayan sites, remote Toniná was once a worthy rival to nearby Palenque. Today, it offers a quieter alternative to the bigger and busier ruins across Chiapas, despite featuring some of the most impressive structures. Highlights include the Great Pyramid, one of the highest in Mexico; the well preserved Mural de los Cuatro Soles; and an on-site museum.More

Top activities in Chiapas

Sumidero Canyon Tour

Sumidero Canyon Tour

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All about Chiapas

When to visit

Cool, dry weather from November through May makes this the best time to visit Chiapas’ cities and highlands—but do bundle up for evenings that can be downright chilly. On the coast, November through March bring the finest weather, with spring ushering in hot, humid days and clouds of mosquitoes. Many cities in Chiapas also have festivals worth traveling for, including January’s Great Feast in Chiapa de Corzo and the Spring and Peace Fair held in San Cristóbal de las Casas each April.

Getting around

Located in the state capital, Tuxtla Gutiérrez International Airport is the only major airport in Chiapas. Most travelers navigate the state using its extensive bus network or by rental car; you can rent in both Tuxtla Gutiérrez and San Cristóbal de las Casas. Keep in mind that many remote areas have few services, and the region’s narrow, winding mountain roads can make progress slow. Avoid driving at night, particularly in remote areas where cars can be targets for robbery.

Traveler tips

Chiapas grows more coffee than any other Mexican state, but it can be hard to find high-quality beans outside of the biggest cities. If you want to go straight to the source, consider visiting farms along the Coffee Route through the mountains of southern Chiapas. Or, head to San Cristóbal de las Casas, where coffee shops like Amor Negro Café use handpicked beans grown on small farms throughout the state.

Local Currency
Mexican Peso (MX$)
Time Zone
CST (UTC -6)
Country Code
+52
Language(s)
Spanish
Attractions
14
Tours
76
Reviews
904
EN
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People Also Ask

What is Chiapas famous for?

Chiapas is famous for its diverse Maya cultures, gorgeous natural scenery, and ancient archaeological sites. While the state capital is bustling Tuxtla Gutiérrez, most travelers are more familiar with the smaller San Cristóbal de las Casas, a city with beautiful baroque, neoclassical, and plateresque architecture and a highland climate.

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How many days do I need in Chiapas?

Set aside at least five days for visiting key sites in Chiapas. The state sprawls between mountains, lowland jungle, and the seacoast, and transporting via winding roads means that getting around can be slow. Give yourself even more time if you’re interested in visiting far-flung places such as Bonampak and Yaxchilán.

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Should I go to Chiapas?

Yes, you should go to Chiapas. The southernmost state in Mexico is one of the country’s gems, with a blend of culture, history, and wild nature that enchants visitors. You could spend a week taking in Chiapas highlights, or stay longer to experience remote villages, sandy beaches, and creative cities.

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Does Chiapas have a beach?

Yes, Chiapas has beautiful beaches along its Pacific coastline. Two of the most famous are swimming-friendly Puerto Arista and lagoon-side Boca del Cielo. Turtle nesting season at Boca del Cielo runs from August through December, and visitors will assist locals in overseeing the seaward journeys of thousands of tiny baby turtles.

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Is visiting Chiapas safe?

Chiapas is a popular tourist destination, and thousands of people visit each year and return home safely. However, crime and violence are persistent problems. When visiting Chiapas, ask locals for up-to-date information about secure areas. It’s a good idea to avoid traveling at night.

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Can you drink tap water in Chiapas?

No, you can’t drink tap water in Chiapas. Both locals and visitors rely on purified, bottled, or boiled water for drinking and brushing their teeth. If you’d like to avoid wasting disposable plastic water bottles, bring a refillable version you can top up from a 5-gallon (19-liter) jug called a garrafón.

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Frequently Asked Questions