Whether you’re looking to visit the famous Mayan ruins of Palenque or brush up on your Spanish in the central hub of San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico’s southernmost state is home to some of the country’s most impressive natural and historic sights. You could spend weeks exploring the wilderness of the vast Lacandon Jungle or hiking in the region’s many protected reserves, but with just threedays to spend in Chiapas, here are the highlights.
Day 1: Discover the ruins of Palenque
Take a day tour to the UNESCO-listed ruins of Palenque, one of Mexico’s most celebrated Mayan sites, where you can learn about the ancient civilization, marvel over the dramatically-situated Temples of the Crosses and view King Pakal’s tomb in the exquisitely decorated Temple of the Inscriptions. Combine your trip with a visit to the nearby waterfalls of Misol Ha and Agua Azul, both equally impressive natural landmarks, where you can cool off after a long day’s sightseeing with a swim beneath the falls.
Day 2: Cruise through the Sumidero Canyon
Get an early start and take a stroll around the pretty colonial town of Chiapa de Corzo, before hopping on a boat tour through the Sumidero Canyon, Mexico’s deepest canyon. With the cliff-sides towering up to 1,000 meters high, the gorge makes a dramatic backdrop for a boat cruise, dotted with unique landmarks like the Cave of Colours and aptly named Christmas Tree waterfall, which has to be seen to be believed. Next, head to nearby Tuxtla Gutierrez, the state capital, where you can admire the colonial architecture, stock up on souvenirs at the arts and crafts markets and visit one of the country’s best zoos.
Day 3: Take a day tour to Yaxchilan and Bonampak
Travel to the south of the state to visit two of Chiapas most interesting Mayan sites, tucked away in the depths of the Lacandon Jungle. Yaxchilán is the biggest of the two and as it’s reachable only by boat, getting there is an adventure in itself, whereas nearby Bonampak is most famous for its impressive murals. If you’ve still got energy to burn, there are ample options for hiking, horseback riding or boat trips in the surrounding rainforest.