Chiapas: A Journey Through Mexico Less Visited

Region: 
Days: 7

Price:
Please inquire

Chiapas: A Journey Through Mexico Less Visited provides a diverse look at Mexico’s Southwest and the Mundo Maya regions, through active days of hiking, swimming, and waterfall explorations.

Nat Geo LogoOur journey begins with a visit relatively unknown, yet awe-inspiring Sumidero Canyon before climbing up into the highest part of the Sierra Madre Sur and arriving to the charming colonial city and commercial center of the highland Tzotzil and Tzetzal indigenous groups. We will visit local artisans in their workshops, where we learn about and even have a chance to try our hand at their crafts.  We will also have time to explore the colonial heritage found in the architecture and museums of San Cristobal de las Casas. The little known, but immensely important sites of Yaxchitlan, Bomampak, Palenque, and Edzná are as interesting as are their locations spectacular.

Highlights

Sumidero Canyon – Embark on a boat ride to witness the towering rock walls of this beautiful canyon

San Juan Chamula & Zinacantan – Visit these indigenous villages  to explore the culture and learn the traditions of the Mayans

Agua Azul  & Misol Ha – Experience the beauty of the aqua-blue waters in the Palenque jungle and further witness and explore the magical waterfall, Misol Ha

Yaxchitlan & Bonampak – Explore the Mayan culture by visiting these important sites located in the rainforest

Palenque Ruins – Visit and explore archeological sites that were important to Mayan civilization

Dates & Prices

Prices

Because this itinerary will be custom tailored to your liking, please inquire for exact pricing.

Dates

This trip can be customized for a private journey all year round.

 

Itinerary

Day 1

Arrival to Tuxtla Gutierrez
 Upon arrival to the Tuxtla Gutierrez airport, you will be met outside baggage claim by a Journey Mexico representative with your name clearly indicated. We will meet for dinner in the lobby at 7:00 p.m. and follow with a short orientation on itinerary and general guidelines. Bienvenidos a Chiapas! (D)

Day 2

Sumidero Canyon and San Cristobal de las Casas
After breakfast, we will the drive towards Chiapa de Corzo and the Sumidero Canyon. We arrive to the embarcadero (the boat dock) to board a speedy launch for a trip through the majestic rock walls of the Sumidero Canyon, towering thousands of feet above us. If we are lucky we may see fauna such as crocodiles, spider monkeys, cormorants, and herons. We return to the boat dock where we then continue into the highlands and finally to our charming colonial hotel in San Cristóbal de las Casas. Dinner is in group tonight on the town at one of the many excellent eateries for local fare. (B, L, D)

Day 3

San Juan Chamula and Zinacantán
Cultural walking in the Sierra Madre Sur and visit to the modern day Maya villages of San Juan Chamula & Zinacantán After breakfast today, we will embark on a cultural walking journey through the Chiapan country side. We will transport by vehicle  to San Juan Chamula and visit the main church, the indigenous cemetery, and the town center before setting out on foot towards San Lorenzo Zinacantan. After leaving the main road, we enter into the beautiful whispering pine forests before arriving to a beautiful overlook from where we can see our next destination San Lorenzo Zinacantan. After a few pictures from this excellent vantage point, we descend into the village to learn more about the history and traditions of the highland Maya and in particular the inhabitants of this interesting town. We will visit our friends, traditional back-strap weavers, and sample hand made tortillas and the local home brewed fire-water before heading back to our beautiful lodging in the center of San Cristobal de las Casas in the late afternoon with free time to wander the cobbled stone streets. Dinner is on your own tonight at one of the many fine local restaurants. (B, L, D)

Day 4

Misol Ha and Palenque
We will meet in the hotel lobby after breakfast and depart from San Cristóbal de las Casas then navigate the Southern Sierra Madre descending from alpine forests into the steamy lowland jungles of Palenque. In addition to the incredible setting, this national park is also hosts some of the most interesting and diverse bird species in all of Mexico. The limestone sedimentation causes this beaucolic network of streams, rivers, and cascades to turn a dazzling aqua-marine blue, thus giving the name Agua Azul or “Blue Water” during the dry season. We will hike up the river searching out our own private swimming holes and enjoy a picnic lunch before returning to our vehicle and continuing on to Misol Ha for more waterfall wonders. This single jump falls is impressive in the rainy or dry season; the projection of the water allows us to actually walk behind the curtain of water for a unique perspective of the lush river valley from behind the rushing wall of water. For the adventurous, we can continue behind the water fall and check out a river and cave system nestled into the vertical river canyon walls. Spelunking into the shallow tunnel system allows us to see the marvels of the underground river system and geological formations that run in a vast network throughout the limestone shelf of the Yucatan Peninsula. We reach Palenque in the late afternoon and check in to our hotel. We will enjoy dinner in the hotel dinning room. (B, L, D)

Day 5

Lancandon Jungle, Yaxchitlán and Bonampak

Today we will visit some of the least visited and most impressive sites in the Mayan world. We set out early to Yaxchitlán, which is renowned as much for its incredible setting as it is for its ornamented building facades, roof combs, and impressive stone lintels that depict battles and ceremonial events. Yaxchitlán straddles a U bend in the Usumacinta River, which is the natural border between Mexico and Guatemala. This ancient city’s unique position on the mighty Usumacinta allowed it to control trade throughout the region, making it one of the most important sites in the Mayan world. The inscriptions here teach us about the legendary ruling clan – the Jaguar dynasty. As you explore the ruins, the calls of the large troops of howler monkeys remind you just how far from modern civilization you are and how powerfully alive the Lacandón forest remains. We return to Palenque stopping at another fascinating and well guarded secret of the Lacandón forest, Bonampak. Bonampak was nowhere near as important a settlement as Yaxchitlán, as it was very much under the sphere of influence of its more powerful and well-populated neighbor. However, Bonampak is famous for its astonishing frescoes inside the modest looking Templo de las Pinturas (Bonampak means “painted walls” in Maya, the native language still used by the inhabitants of this isolated region). From the consecration of heirs to the throne to vivid depictions of battles and bizarre rituals of torture and blood letting, these frescoes are unmatched throughout the Mayan world. After time to take in these surprising illustrations, we continue back to Palenque to our lovely hotel in the late afternoon. During dinner together, we will recount the days adventure and brief on preparations for the following days activities. (B,L,D)

Day 6

Palenque and Villahermosa
fter breakfast today, we will be treated to a privately guided visit to the stunning archaeological site of Palenque including the Templo de las Inscripciones, one of the most renowned burial monuments in the Americas. Palenque was an important power center during the height of Mayan civilization that dates back to 100 BC. It is still unclear what led to the important city state’s fall around 800 BC. Nestled deep in jungles at the foot of the Sierra Madre del Sur, Palenque’s setting is as memorable as the site is important for the light it sheds on Mayan traditions, rituals, ceremonies, and spirituality. It is located on the western edge of the Maya empire near the important commercial hub of Villahermosa. The archaeological site left behind are very well preserved and maintained by local people as well as anthropologists. The setting of this site is truly unforgettable. In the morning, we will explore the central temple complexes of this site. After lunch, we head eastwards to the Gulf of Mexico and the bustling economic center of Villahermosa. We will visit the La Venta museum where we will learn about the Olmec civilization that has its first traces close to 3,000 years ago! The facility also houses a zoo, where we can see some of the native species from Veracruz state and others from further a field in the Mexican republic. After time to relax, we will regroup for our last group dinner and farewell fiesta at one of the many excellent restaurants in this thriving city. Optional salsa dancing into the wee hours for the hearty.

Day 7

Departure from Villahermosa
Today is departure day. We will transfer you to the Villahermosa airport according to your flight schedule for your onward flights home. Please discuss your flights before booking with one of our staff. Please let us know if you would like to extend your stay in Mexico. 

Testimonials

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Tuxtla Gutierrez

Sumidero Canyon

Private Boat Ride in Sumidero Canyon

Sumidero Canyon

San Cristobal de las Casas

San Cristobal de las Casas

San Juan Chamula

Zinancantan Family

Misol Ha

Misol Ha

Hiking down from Yaxchilán

Ruins of Palenque

Palenque

Chiapas

Agua Azul

Bonampak

chiapas tuxtla gutierrez
Boat in Sumidero Canyon
Sumidero Canyon Excursion
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Chiapas San Cristobal
Chiapas San Cristobal Casas
Church in San Juan Chamula
Chiapas Culture Zinancantan
Walking in Misol Ha Chiapas
Chiapas Spiritual Mexico Misol Ha
leaving-yaxchilan
Chiapas Palenque
Palenque Ruins
Culture in Chiapas
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Bonampak Paintings in Mexico
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