Chiapas Mexico is the southernmost state in the Latin American nation. Nestled next to Oaxaca and Guatamala, Chiapas is lush with rich historical significance, archeological ruins, and Mexican culture. Its tropical climate and mountain ranges make its rainforests and waterfalls an excellent source of natural beauty.
Chiapas Waterfalls Image: SaLLy.L.JaCk (flickr)
Nearly a third of Mexico’s fresh water resources are located in Chiapas. These rivers and streams descending the rugged terrain of the Sierra Madre mountains create numerous waterfalls that draw visitors from all over the globe. The most popular are La Cataratas de Agua Azul, or blue waterfalls, near Tumbala. Their name comes from the bright blue color fo the water, due to high mineral content. The Agua Azul waterfalls consist of a sequence of many falls, ranging in varying heights up to 20 feet. The Agua Azul waterfalls are surrounded by over 6,000 acres of protected rainforest.
Slightly more dramatic is the semicircular Misol-Há Waterfall 13 miles south of Palenque, where water falls 98 feet to a pool below. There is also a deep cave for exploring behind Misol-Há, accessible only by a dangerous, frequently wet path. Also in the state of Chiapas is the Bolón Ajau Waterfall, with a drop of 46 feet.
The state of Chiapas is home to one of the largest indigenous population of Mexico. The state’s history is filled with the cultures of twelve federally recognized ethnicities. For this reason, several ancient Mayan ruins sites can also be found in Chiapas Mexico, including Palenque, Yaxchilán, Bonampak, and Chinkultic. The most popular for visitors, however, is Palenque, located in the Sierra de Chiapas forest. With ruins dating back to 226 BC, Palenque is characterized by especially impressive architecture and detail. After the city’s decline, the surrounding vegetation slowly enveloped its ornate bas-relief carvings and stucco artifacts. By comparison, Palenque is much smaller than many other Mayan ruin sites. However, the impressive preservation of the city’s hieroglyphic inscriptions are unsurpassed, helping historians reconstruct much of the city’s history. Furthermore, it is estimated that only a tenth of Palenque has been uncovered so far.
There are types of lodging for all travelers to Chiapas Mexico, but many visitors often stay in San Cristobal de las Casas, a town located in the central highlands region and considered the state’s cultural capital. Comfortable hotels, such as Hotel Casa de Guadalupe, offer traditional colonial Mexican architecture. Those who like to be pampered will find four star service at resorts such as Hotel Bo (pictured). San Cristobal also offers multiple hostels for budget-minded backpackers. There are also bed and breakfasts throughout the city, such as Bela’s Bed and Breakfast, winner of a 2012 TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Award. Travelers choosing to stay closer to Palenque have their choice of unique cultural accommodations, such as Jungle Palace and Margaret and Ed’s Cabanas in El Pachan, or Elementos Naturales within the boundaries of Palenque Archaeological Zone itself. There are also several service related accommodations, such as Boutique Hotel Quinta Chanabnal, for those who prefer a more traditional hotel experience.