Experience the best of Chiapas with this 10-day itinerary. Start with a mix of nature and culture in San Cristobal de las Casas with a walking tour of the city and day trips to Sumidero Canyon and Montebello Lakes National Park. From there, spend four nights in Palenque, where you’ll visit craft markets and archeological sites, and learn about the indigenous Tzotzil people.

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 Welcome to Chiapas! San Cristobal de las Casas
Day 2 San Cristobal de las Casas San Cristobal de las Casas
Day 3 Sumidero Canyon Natural Wonder & Chiapa de Corzo San Cristobal de las Casas
Day 4 Excursion to Montebello Lakes and El Chiflón Waterfalls San Cristobal de las Casas
Day 5 Visit to San Juan Chamula and Zinacantan indigenous towns  San Cristobal de las Casas
Day 6 Agua azul and Misol-Há waterfalls  Palenque
Day 7 Palenque's archaeological site  Palenque
Day 8 Yaxchilan & Bonampak Palenque
Day 9 Lacandona Forest exploration Palenque
Day 10 Goodbye Mexico  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Chiapas!

A traditional convent in Chiapas
A traditional convent in Chiapas

Welcome to Chiapas! You will be picked up at Tuxtla Gutiérrez Ángel Albino Corzo airport and transferred to your hotel in San Cristobal de las Casas. The afternoon is free to stroll around the historic center, stopping to try regional dishes and shop for local handicrafts.

Day 2: San Cristobal de las Casas

Go on a walking tour of San Cristobal de las Casas

Today, you will do a walking tour of colorful San Cristobal de las Casas. Stroll past colonial houses and visit important historical sites, such as San Cristobal’s Cathedral. Stop into Los Altos Museum, located in the former convent of Santo Domingo de Guzmán, to learn more about regional history. Then shop for handicrafts and textiles at the open-air marketplace outside. 

Day 3: Sumidero Canyon Natural Wonder and The Magic City of Chiapa de Corzo

Sumidero Canyon
An aerial view of Sumidero Canyon

Head towards the islet of Cahuare near Chiapa de Corzo, where you'll board a motorboat to navigate along the breathtaking Sumidero Canyon. A stunning natural formation that dates back 136 million years, its walls soar high above the Grijalva River amid thick vegetation. During the journey, you'll see a wide diversity of wildlife, flora, and fauna, including bromeliads, pines, river crocodiles, and spider monkeys. You'll also see waterfalls, caves, and interesting rock formations.

Later, continue to charming Chiapa de Corzo for lunch. Explore downtown, where you can taste the ancestral Mayan beverage pozol con cacao before returning to San Cristobal de las Casas for the evening.

Day 4: Excursion to Montebello Lakes and El Chiflón Waterfalls

A lookout point over Montebello Lakes

Your day will begin early in the morning: you'll drive to Lagos de Montebello (Montebello Lakes) and appreciate the beauty of this natural park, which was created in 1959 and later a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. There are 59 lakes, each with different colors created by currents, flora, and sunlight reflection. You'll visit several lakes, including Tziscao, Pojoj, and Montebello. 

Afterward, head to El Chiflón Waterfalls to admire the tallest waterfalls in Chiapas. You'll have the opportunity to see the main waterfall, called “Velo de Novia"—a towering curtain of water formed by the San Vicente River. 

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Day 5: Visit to San Juan Chamula & Zinacantan indigenous towns

Tzotzil handicraft
Tzotzil handicraft

Today you'll visit two indigenous villages in the highlands of Chiapas. Your day of cultural immersion will start at San Juan Chamula, a Tzotzil community of pre-Hispanic origin that's still strongly connected to its traditional customs. There are three main neighborhoods—San Juan Bautista, San Pedro, and San Sebastián—in the ceremonial center. Each one has its own pantheon presided over by giant crosses that present Chul Metic (God Mother) and Chul Totic (God Father). 

Next, you'll be taken to San Lorenzo Zinacantán, another Tzotzil village. Here, the sacred spaces are marked by the hills that surround the small valley, as well as by its distinctive group of colonial churches and chapels. You'll stop into a local home to learn more about handicraft and textile traditions before you head back to San Cristobal de las Casas.

Day 6: Agua Azul & Misol-Há waterfalls

The striking blue Agua Azul waterfalls

Very early in the morning, your transportation will take you to Palenque. Today you'll visit Agua Azul waterfalls, known for its bright blue water, bright green vegetation, and the endless sound of water. Continue with a visit to the towering Misol-Há waterfall. Then head back to Palenque to relax at the hotel and go out for dinner.

Day 7: Palenque's archaeological site

Palenque
Exploring the ruins of Palenque

After breakfast, go to the archaeological site of Palenque to learn more about the Mayan world. The pre-Hispanic city and Palenque National Park were inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1987—you'll hear about myths, rituals, and commonly held beliefs as you admire the architecture, including more than 200 architectural structures. The Temple of the Inscriptions and the Grand Palace are special highlights. Then go trekking on the nearby path of Motiepá: keep your eyes open for jaguars and howler monkeys.

Day 8: Yaxchilan & Bonampak

Yaxchilan
Yaxchilan, the "Place of Green Stones"

You will leave your hotel very early in the morning today to get to the Chól Community in Frontera Corozal, where you'll take a motorboat along the Usumacinta River to Yaxchilan, the so-called "Place of Green Stones." At this amazing archaeological site in the jungle, you'll visit the Acropolis and various temples.

At the end of the visit, continue to the second archaeological site of the day: Bonampak, located in the Lacandon jungle. There, you'll be able to see original paintings that date at least 1,100 years. 

Day 9: Lacandona Forest exploration

Lake
A lake bordered by Lacandona Forest

Spend the first part of the day in Lacandona Forest, stopping to see a small archeological area called Lacanja and going for a dip in a waterfall. Your guide will explain the region's fauna and flora, including medicinal plants. You'll have lunch in the great outdoors before returning to Palenque, where you'll have one last night in Mexico before catching a flight out the next day.

Day 10: Goodbye Mexico

Today the adventure ends. You'll be transported to Villahermosa's airport to make your connection home. Safe flight!

Map

Map of Highlights of Chiapas - 10 Days
Map of Highlights of Chiapas - 10 Days