On this quick itinerary of Chiapas, you'll explore the highlights in and around San Cristóbal de las Casas, featuring striking natural landscapes and culturally significant indigenous communities. Discover the imposing Sumidero Canyon, trek to azure-colored waterfalls, and tour the many lakes of Montebello Lakes National Park. You'll also roam vibrant markets, try traditional food, and visit historic colonial town centers.

Highlights

  • Ride a boat through the Sumidero Canyon on the Grijalva River
  • Join a walking tour of San Cristóbal de las Casas
  • Discover the ancient Mayan ruins of Palenque
  • Learn about San Juan Chamula's indigenous Tzotzil culture 

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive; Explore Sumidero Canyon; Drive to Cristóbal de las Casas San Cristóbal de las Casas
Day 2 Walking tour of San Cristóbal de las Casas San Cristóbal de las Casas
Day 3 Day trip to Agua Azul & Misol-Ha waterfalls and Palenque San Cristóbal de las Casas
Day 4 Day trip to San Juan Chamula and San Lorenzo de Zinacantán San Cristóbal de las Casas
Day 5 Excursion to Montebello Lakes and El Chiflón Waterfalls  San Cristóbal de las Casas
Day 6 Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive - Explore Sumidero Canyon - Drive to Cristóbal de las Casas

Sumidero Canyon, Mexico
View of the Sumidero Canyon from the Grijalva River 

Welcome to Mexico! Without wasting any time, meet your driver at the Tuxtla Gutierrez airport and head out on your first excursion. You'll drive to Chiapa de Corzo to board a boat and explore the Sumidero Canyon, a natural wonder of Mexico. You'll navigate the Grijalva River, dwarfed by the vertical walls of the canyon, some heights reaching over 3000 feet (914 m). Along the way, you will pass by impressive waterfalls and a number of caves, formed by the powers of erosion. Surrounded by the Sumidero Canyon National Park, you may get lucky and catch a glimpse of an endangered or threatened animal, like the river crocodile, spider monkey, or ocelot.

Afterward, you will be transferred to the historic town of San Cristóbal de las Casas in the highlands of Chiapas and to your accommodation.

Day 2: Walking tour of San Cristóbal de las Casas

Market in San Cristobal de las Casas
A traditional market selling fruits and handicrafts in San Cristóbal de las Casas

Join your guide for a morning walking tour of San Cristóbal de las Casas for an intimate look at this colorful city.  Appreciate the fine examples of colonial architecture as you work your way through the many pedestrian-friendly streets, stopping to check out the wares in the bustling markets. You will have the rest of the day to yourself to further take in the town, though you'll want to make it an early night for tomorrow's excursion.

Day 3: Day trip to Agua Azul & Misol-Ha waterfalls and Palenque

Mexico - Chiapas - Agua Azul Waterfalls
Be captivated by Agua Azul

Bright and early, you will meet your guide and drive six to seven hours north to the city of Palenque, stopping for breakfast along the way in Ocosingo. Your next stop will be the atmospheric Agua Azul waterfalls. The colors of the water and surrounding vegetation, combined with the constant breeze and endless sound of the water, contribute to making this place an enchanting one. From there, you will continue north to the Misol-Ha waterfall, breaking to explore the natural setting, before carrying on to Palenque—home to the ruins of a pre-Hispanic Maya city.

You'll end the day wandering this stunning archaeological site, exploring temples like the Temple of the Skull, ancient tombs, elite residences, and a ballgame field. With a full day behind you, return to your hotel in San Cristóbal de las Casas for a much-needed rest.

Day 4: Day trip to San Juan Chamula and San Lorenzo de Zinacantán

San Juan Chamula, Chiapas, Mexico
Tzotzil women  sell handicrafts in San Juan Chamula

After breakfast, you will be picked up at your hotel and driven a short distance to two indigenous villages in the highlands of Chiapas. Your day of cultural immersion will begin in San Juan Chamula, a Tzotzil community of pre-Hispanic origin that is still strongly connected to its traditional customs. Explore the town, noting the form of Catholicism practised here, a blend of pre-conquest Maya customs and Spanish Catholic traditions, like the giant crosses that represent Chul Metic (God Mother) and Chul Totic (God Father).

Next, you will visit San Lorenzo de Zinacantán, another Tzotzil village. Here, the sacred spaces are marked by the hills that surround the small valley and the distinctive group of colonial churches and chapels. 

Day 5: Day trip to Montebello Lakes and El Chiflón Waterfalls

El Chiflón Waterfalls
El Chiflón Waterfalls

Meet your guide first thing in the morning and head south toward the Guatemala border (2.5 hours) and to Montebello Lakes National Park. The park is home to two Maya ruins and 59 multi-colored lakes. If you're up for it you can join a two-hour tour of a cork pond at one of the lakes. From here, drive to El Chiflón Waterfalls and trek up to a panoramic viewpoint to admire the highest in Chiapas, made up of a number of differently sized cascades. Take a dip in the water, before making your way back to San Cristóbal de las Casas for your last evening. Spend it well, perhaps trying a glass or two of pox, a local liquor.

Day 6: Depart

San Cristobal de las casa - Mexico
The well-preserved Spanish colonial buildings in the city center

Depending on your flight details, spend one last morning enjoying a cup of Chiapan coffee strolling the markets for last minute gifts before you say hasta luego to your time in Mexico. 

Map

Map of Highlights of Chiapas - 6 Days
Map of Highlights of Chiapas - 6 Days