Our vacation in Chiapas was bitter sweet. We went into our trip with high hopes. With just one google image search for Chiapas my mind was off dreaming. There are places to visit throughout the entire state, but since our time and money are not limitless, we narrowed our visit down to three destinations in one week.
First place: San Cristobal De Las Casas
San Cristobal De Las Casas is a small town located in central Chiapas about 1.5 hours from the Tuxtla airport. What makes this town unique? Unlike the rest of the state, you can find very cool temperatures in San Cristobal. During our October vacation temperatures ranged from 70’s in the daytime to high 50’s at night.
The town is charming with a lot of shops and cafe’s. It comes to life every night with live music, bars, and restaurants that all stay open late.
We stayed at the Hotel Casa Selah. Its a small hotel located about 3blocks from the town square. We really enjoyed our stay here and I would recommend it to anyone. The staff was incredibly kind, and the hotel is kept REALLY clean. They also offer continental breakfast in the morning.
My only advice to them would be to inform themselves and have recommendations for their guests. In a place like San Cristobal, guiding guests to those secret gems can really set you apart from other hotels.
The highlight of our trip to San Cristobal was a first evening discovery of a small theatre company, Palenque Rojo. They were presenting, Pakal Corazon de Jade, at the Teatro Daniel Zebadua right in down town. The cost to see the production was $200 pesos per person, seating is first come first served. Don’t be afraid to sit in the front!
It was a really fun production with amazing costumes, and since our second destination was the Palenque ruins, this really set a nice tone for us.
Onto destination number 2! After one night and one day in San Cristobal, we bought our bus tickets to the second leg of our trip. Palenque, home of the the Palenque ruins. Getting to Palenque was a bit tough, there were protests going on in the region that resulted in road closures. Unfortunately, our bus ride was extended to about 8hrs and our half day trip turned into a day long bus ride.
Our hotel, which I will talk about a little later, is located only three kilometers from the ruins so the very next day we headed to the ruins. They are BREATHTAKING! Below are a couple of pictures, completely untouched, and snapped from my iphone.
The ruins themselves are open for exploration, you can still climb the steps and soak in the same views the ancient Mayans were ale to take in. Once you’ve explored the ruins, there is a paved trail along the jungle that will take you to more ancient structures and ends at the museum. Your entrance to the ruins includes a visit to the museum for FREE. This was the cherry atop our sunday. The walk down to the museum was really nice, and the museum itself has a lot to offer. You can see a video here. I think most people tend to leave the way they entered, and no one will tell you about the museum so you’ll have to follow the signs to get to the museum. It’s probably about a 20 minute walk down the trail.
Third place: Cascadas de Agua Azul
The third place we wanted to visit were the Cascadas de Agual Azul. However, once again due to the protests, the roads were closed and we were unable to visit. This was very frustrating to us since we traveled a very long way to see this site.
Our hotel during the Palenque leg of our trip was the Chan Kah. It’s not really a hotel, it’s is comprised of a bunch of small cabins/casitas in a lush jungle setting. I think the place was nice, but a little overpriced. You really don’t get any amenities, the bed was old and hard, and the “casitas” a bit outdated. They also don’t have a spa. Their “spa” is a just a cabin with two beds…
Palenque is a bit tough because their downtown is pretty ugly so even if you leave the hotel, there is nothing much to see or places to eat. At the hotel, the food is a bit expensive for what you get.
Ideally, I would have spend only two nights in Palenque, and I would head back down to Tuxtla for the final leg of the trip.
If you’re thinking of visiting Chiapas, I would recommend that you have a flexible itinerary. Inform yourself as soon as you arrive as to any road closures that may affect your trip and be willing to change as necessary.
I hope this helps! Enjoy your trip. 🙂