Curious about what you’ll find in Chiapas? This travel guide covers all the best things to do in Chiapas, Mexico!

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The Mexican state of Chiapas is known for its lush jungle, Mayan culture, and incredible natural attractions. Here, you’ll find the famous Cañon del Sumidero, the Palenque ruins, and an abundance of beautiful waterfalls and lakes. Chiapas is also known for coffee production and its strong connection to indigenous cultures.

Even though there are tons of incredible things to do in Chiapas, the state is still a little under the radar for Mexico travel. It’s popular with backpackers and nature-lovers looking to experience the lush jungles and soak up the scenery. 

San Cristobal de las Casas is one of the main towns in Chiapas and a popular hub for travelers and digital nomads in MexicoIt makes a fantastic base for exploring much of what this dreamy state has to offer.

Whether you’ve been dreaming of a trip to Chiapas or are just learning about it for the first time, this guide will help you fill your itinerary!

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Where is Chiapas?

Chiapas is the southernmost state in Mexico, and it is bordered by the Mexican states of Oaxaca and Veracruz on the West and Tabasco to the North. Guatemala is located just to the East of Chiapas, and the state is a popular destination for backpackers planning to cross the border.   

Is Chiapas Safe?

Chiapas is generally safe for travelers. Of course, there are no safety guarantees anywhere in the world, so you should always stay alert. Purchase travel insurance, carry a theft-proof purse and practice general travel safety to avoid incidents.

Traveling soon? Don’t forget to buy travel insurance for Mexico. Insurance gives you peace of mind knowing you can get the help you need if anything goes wrong. SafetyWing is the provider that I recommend.

Because Chiapas is located in the mountains, the roads can be windy and sometimes fall in disrepair. Car accidents and blocked roadways are not out of the ordinary, especially during the rainy season. If you rent a car, drive with caution. 

Related Reading: Essential Travel Safety Tips for Mexico

Busy streets of San Cristobal del las Casas in Chiapas Mexico

When is the Best Time to Visit Chiapas?

You can have a magical trip to Chiapas at any time of year, but the dry season, November through April, offers the most comfortable weather in all of the regions.

Chiapas has a really varied geography, with some regions being mountainous, others at sea level, and several different microclimates throughout the state. Overall, it has a tropical climate, so it’s usually hot (though this varies by altitude), and it’s always humid.

During the rainy season, May through October, humidity (and bugs) are intense. You can still have a great visit at this time of year, but the rain can be punishing.

Best Things to do in Chiapas

If you’re interested in outdoor adventures, Chiapas is the place for you! The state has incredible scenery, complex biodiversity, and an abundance of natural wonders to gawk at. Along the way, you’ll have opportunities to learn about the region’s indigenous cultures, visit impressive ruins, and enjoy one of Mexico’s most charming cities: San Cristobal de Las Casas. The following are some of the top attractions in Chiapas.

Sumidero Canyon is one of the best biggest attractions in Chiapas, Mexico

View of Sumidero Canyon from the water
In some places, the walls of Sumidero Canyon are over 2,500 feet high!

1. Take a Boat Tour Through Sumidero Canyon

By Janine

The spectacular Sumidero Cayon, or Cañon del Sumidero, sits within a national park by the same name. The canyon itself is incredible, with its steep walls rising over 2,000 feet in certain sections and the Grijalva River flowing through the bottom. The area is known for its biodiversity and offers the opportunity to spot all kinds of native flora and fauna, including crocodiles, butterflies, monkeys, and many different species of birds. 

The most popular way to experience Sumidero Canyon is on a boat tour. These trips take about 2 hours, and you will venture deep into the canyon. You’ll experience the immensity of the canyon walls, and your guide will point out wildlife and interesting natural features along the way, such as waterfalls and rock formations. You’ll also learn a bit about the history and majesty of the canyon.

Sumidero Canyon is located just north of Tuxtla Gutierrez and just over an hour west of San Cristobal de las Casas. Chiapa de Corzo, just outside of Tuxtla Gutierrez, is where most boat tours depart from. 

You can arrange a visit to the canyon on your own, but coordinating transportation to Chiapa de Corzo and the boat tour independently can be tedious, and it won’t necessarily save you any money. Instead, simplify things by booking a canyon tour from San Cristobal de las CasasYour transportation, boat tour, and park fees will all be lumped into one payment, and all you have to do is show up at departure time! 

La Pila, a Moorish-style fountain in Chiapa de Corzo is a must-see attraction in Chiapas
Photo Credit: Adventurous Kate

2. Visit Chiapa de Corzo

By Kate of Adventurous Kate

One of the pleasures of traveling in Mexico is exploring its pueblos mágicos. These magical towns have been chosen because they have something special to share with visitors, which could be natural beauty, cultural richness, unique cuisine, or art.

Chiapa de Corzo, sitting on the Río Grijalva near Sumidero National Park, is a beautiful little town with an impressive plaza. Centered on the plaza is La Pila, an unusual Moorish-style fountain with eight sides and several spikes. It’s the kind of structure you don’t forget, and back in the day, it served as a watchtower.

Around the corner, you can find the white and red Santo Domingo Temple, which is just as impressive on the inside. Don’t miss exploring the courtyards and the Museo de la Laca! 

A day trip to Chiapa de Corzo can be filled out with a visit to the Marimba Museum, a stroll around the shops and markets, and a boat trip to Sumidero Canyon.

It’s common to visit Chiapa de Corzo as part of a day trip visiting Sumidero Canyon from San Cristobal de las Casas. If not part of a tour, you can drive or take a bus from San Cristóbal or Tuxtla Gutiérrez. 

Aguas Azules Waterfalls in Chiapas, Mexico
Las Cascadas de Agua Azul is a popular Chiapas attraction that many travelers visit as part of a tour. Photo Credit: The Discovery Nut

3. Visit Las Cascadas de Agua Azul

By Daria of The Discovery Nut

Las Cascadas de Agua Azul (or Blue Waterfalls in Spanish) is a turquoise waterfall made from a series of levels that is one of the most incredible natural sights in all of Mexico.

Many visitors combine a visit to Agua Azul with a stop at the nearby waterfall Misol-Ha and Palenque ruins. While guided tours of Agua Azul are popular with tourists who visit San Cristobal De Las Casas, you can also visit Agua Azul by a colectivo from the town of Palenque if you are traveling on a budget. 

Colectivos (small shared vans) leave every 30-40 minutes from one of the bus terminals in the center of Palenque, including the main ADO bus station. Catch a colectivo toward Ocosingo and ask to drop you off at Agua Azul. 

After you get dropped off, you will have to take a taxi toward the entrance of the waterfalls, which should cost you no more than 200 Pesos. Like a colectivo, a taxi has to be paid in cash, so make sure you have enough money for your trip. 

Due to safety reasons, I don’t recommend walking toward the entrance.

In addition, the admission fee to Agua Azul costs 50 pesos, and there’s a good chance you will get hungry after taking a dip in the waterfall and will want to grab some food at one of the local restaurants near the waterfall. 

To get back to Palenque, you have to get back to where you were dropped off and flag down a colectivo on the opposite side of the road.

Experience Agua Azul as part of a tour:

market selling textiles in San Cristobal de las  Casas
Shopping in the markets is a must-do activity when visiting San Cristobal, Chiapas. Photo Credit: Latin America Backpacking

4. Explore the local markets in San Cristobal de las Casas

By Dan of Latin America Backpacking

When exploring Chiapas, one place you can’t afford to miss is the magical town of San Cristobal de las Casas. This town, a hub for the Chiapas region, is surrounded by luscious pine forest and is known by many for its conserved architectural beauty. 

Many travelers who are backpacking Mexico enjoy spending time here to get closer to the region’s indigenous cultures and explore the many local markets. The pedestrian street is lined with restaurants, clothing shops, and cafes offering some of Mexico’s finest coffee. 

The Tianguis Organic market is the place for high-quality food products, including local fruit and vegetables, fresh bread, and other natural goodies. The Municipal Market sells everything you can imagine, from food to electronics. The adjacent Artisan Markets are where you can find treasure troves of handmade garments, artwork, and leather goods, most of which are handmade. 

The great thing about San Cristobal is that it always has something going on, and the nightlife is as equally entertaining as the daytime. 

Photo Credit: The Discoveries Of

5. Learn about Chiapaneco history and culture at Casa Na Bolom

By Julianna Barnaby of The Discoveries Of 

San Cristobal de Las Casas and the wider Chiapas region boast a rich heritage – that much is clear from any time spent in the area – however, finding out about that heritage isn’t always the easiest task.

Casa Na Bolom brings this rich and storied history to life. It’s a small museum in San Cristobal de las Casas that showcases the Chiapas region through the works of former residents Frans Blom and Trudy Blom. It’s a must for anyone spending time in Chiapas.

Archaeologist Frans and conservationist Trudy met in the Chiapas jungle in 1943. They wed several years later, and they moved into an 1891 Spanish colonial-style home– a home that was to become Casa Na Bolom.

In 1951, the pair formed an organization to protect the San Cristobal, Chiapas, and Lacandon cultural heritage. This community project– formed to spread knowledge and understanding about Mayan culture, past and present– still thrives in the extensive library, photographs, and Mayan artifacts scattered throughout the museum.

Today, the museum still focuses heavily on the community and thus has a community garden, shop, and restaurant on-site. Ticket proceeds also go back to the Lacandon community.

Tickets can be purchased from the Jardin del Jaguar next door.

Entrance to Casa Na Bolom costs $60 MXN per person, $30 MXN for concessions, and is free for residents of San Cristobal de las Casas.

San Juan Chamula is an intriguing place to visit near San Cristobal de las Casas. Photo Credit: The Best Travel Gifts

6. Visit the Church of San Juan Chamula

By Lara of The Best Travel Gifts

One of the most interesting things to do in Chiapas is to visit the church of San Juan Chamula.  

Now I can imagine that visiting a church may not sound very exciting, especially in Mexico, where you can find multiple churches in pretty much any town. 

But hear me out. 

The reason why this church is such a fascinating place to visit is not due to the church’s aesthetics but because it’s an excellent example of how Christianity and local religions have merged in Mexico. 

Inside the church, you won’t find any furniture. The floor is covered in pine branches, and the air is filled with smoke from the thousand candles and incense in the church. You will see local Tzotzil people in small groups, doing their traditional prayers and rituals, such as sacrificing a chicken and spraying coke or pox (a Mexican liquor made from corn, wheat, and sugar cane) to eliminate bad spirits. 

To enter, purchase a ticket to the church at the kiosk next to the church, and remember that it is not allowed to take pictures inside the church. From San Cristóbal de las Casas you can take one of the many organized tours or simply take a local bus.

Editor’s note: Outside, on the church grounds, you’ll encounter vendors selling all kinds of artesanías that make great gifts and souvenirs. When I visited, a particularly pushy young girl vendor had a verbal scuffle with my pompous tour guide when he tried to shush her sales pitch. I purchased several bracelets from her because I liked her feisty attitude. 

Check out these awesome San Juan Chamula tours:

If you want to experience the Chiapas beaches, Boca del Cielo is a good place to start. Photo Credit: April Vera Lynn Travels

7. Visit Boca del Cielo, one of the best beaches in Chiapas

By April of April Vera Lynn Travels

Boca del Cielo is a beautiful beach to relax at, and it’s not super well-known by foreign tourists compared to other beaches in Mexico. I learned about it because my husband’s grandpa lives in Chiapas and took us there for a day trip once. 

Boca del Cielo literally means ‘Mouth of Heaven,’ and it really is heavenly. 

Boca del Cielo is located quite close to Tonalá, another small town just a few hours from Tuxtla Gutiérrez. You can get there easily via bus or taxi or by renting a car. Click here to see the route from Tuxtla Gutierrez. 

The beach is quite unique because it’s located on a very thin strip of land parallel to the coast. You can pay to take a boat from the main town to the beach area at high tide. 

Boca del Cielo is positioned so that you can frolic in both protected waters and the open ocean.

Due to the unique nature of the beach being on such a thin strip of land, you can enjoy the ocean’s vastness on one side and calmer waters between the strip and the coast on the other. It’s easy to walk between the two beaches on each side and enjoy both all in one go. 

There are plenty of restaurants and shaded picnic tables on the beach, and there are also lots of comfortable hammocks to kick back in. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can pay a fee to go tubing or banana boating too!

Boca del Cielo is well off the tourist track, so be sure to brush up on some basic Spanish phrases before you go!

Tonina is a fascinating and oft-overlooked ruin in Chiapas. Photo Credit: My Adventures Across the World

8. Tour the Tonina Ruins

By Claudia Tavani of My Adventures Across The World

If you have a thing for Mayan ruins yet would like to get away from the crowds that the most popular Mayan ruins in Mexico receive, make your way to Tonina, in the heart of Chiapas. This impressive archeological site can be seen on day trips from San Cristobal. It is close to Ocosingo and a short detour from the main road that connects San Cristobal to Agua Azul and Palenque. 

Back in its heyday, during the Maya classic period (between 700 and 900 AD), this was one of the most influential towns in the area and Palenque’s main enemy. The site itself is impressive. Completely immersed in the mountains of Chiapas, it’s home to several pyramids which can still be climbed (as opposed to in many other sites). The tallest one reaches 70 meters (230 feet), so the views from up there are actually impressive. 

Unless you have a car, getting to Tonina independently is a bit of a challenge and requires several changes. The easiest thing is probably joining a guided tour departing from San Cristobal. 

Zinacantán is known for its textile production. Photo by ALAN DE LA CRUZ on Unsplash

9. Learn about artisan weaving in Zinacantán

By Alex of Just Go Exploring

Nestled in the hills above San Cristóbal de las Casas, the traditional Tzotzil Maya town of Zinacantán is a unique and fascinating place to visit.

Zinacantán is probably best known for its artisan weaving and manufacturing of handmade textiles and clothing. It’s also a major producer of flowers sold throughout Mexico.

Be sure to visit the workshops of some of the women who make traditional textiles. Their products are all hand-woven and embroidered with beautiful patterns and motifs. These make fantastic souvenirs and gifts, and by purchasing directly from the people who make them, you support the highly-skilled producers and their communities.

Other places to visit in Zinacantán include the two attractive whitewashed churches (San Lorenzo and San Sebastian), both located just off the central square. Note that photography is strictly prohibited inside the churches.

If you’d prefer to visit Zinacantán as part of a guided tour, you’ll find many operators along the Real de Guadalupe street in San Cristóbal that can arrange this. Most of these tours are available in English (and other languages) and typically include a visit to Chamula.

If you’re traveling under your own steam, there are several ways to get to Zinacantán.

With your own car, it takes about 25 minutes to drive from the center of San Cristóbal to Zinacantán (about 11 kilometers in total). Take the main road from SC to Chamula. A few kilometers after leaving SC, keep an eye out for a sign to Zinacantán (it’s a turn on the left).

A taxi from San Cristóbal to Zinacantán should cost around $100-150 pesos. (Agree on the price before getting in the car.)

Alternatively, you can take a colectivo, which costs about $25 pesos. The easiest way to find one that goes to Zinacantán is to head to the main San Cristóbal-Chamula road, as they all go via that way.

You are supposed to pay a tourist tax of $15 pesos to visit Zinacantán, although the little booth at the entrance of the town only seems to be manned some of the time.

structure at the Palenque ruins in Chiapas, Mexico
Palenque is one of the most impressive ruins in Mexico.

10. Learn about Maya history at the Zona Archaeologica de Palenque

By Janine

Palenque is a Mayan ruin in the Mexican state of Chiapas. In 1987 this archaeological site was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status for its incredible art and architecture, testimony to Maya mythology, and considerable influence throughout the Maya empire. It is one of the most important Mayan ruins in Mexico. 

The most notable structure within Palenque is the Temple of the Inscriptions, a pyramid built to honor the ruler Pacal the Great. The pyramid holds Pacal’s tomb and carvings and hieroglyphs that illustrate events from his life.

Another collection of pyramids, the Temple of the Cross Complex, contains hieroglyphs and carved tablets detailing the purpose of each temple and information about the gods that were believed to rule Palenque. 

The small museum on-site will help you contextualize what you see on the grounds. 

Palenque is a compelling ruin to visit not just for the variety of different structures but also for the setting. The site is surrounded by lush jungle, where you can spot native birds and all kinds of plants. It has a true Lost World feel!

The admission fee for Palenque is about $3.50 USD, but you will also have to pay a National Park fee, a camera fee (if you want to snap photos), and a fee for a van from the gates into the archaeological zone. Altogether, this will cost about $10 USD. Make sure you carry cash.

If you’re in a hurry, take a full-day Palenque ruins tour from San Cristobal de las Casas. The site is about 4 hours from San Cris. A more popular option is to spend a couple of nights in the neighboring town of Palenque and take a tour of the ruins from there.

Palenque is also an excellent base for visiting other popular sites like Agua Azul and Misol-Ha. These stunning natural features both deserve a spot on your Chiapas itinerary!  

Getting to the Yaxchilán and Bonampak ruins is an adventure in itself! Photo Credit: Off Path Travels

11. Tour the Yaxchilán and Bonampak Ruins

By Kristina of Off Path Travels

Yaxchilán and Bonampak are two must-see ruins deep in the jungles of Chiapas that will make you feel like you’ve stepped onto the set of an Indiana Jones movie.

Exploring the hidden ruins in Yaxchilán and Bonampak is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. But you’ll need to get there first, and that’s half the adventure!

Yaxchilán is only accessible by a scenic boat ride along the Usumacinta River (on the border between Mexico and Guatemala), during which you get to see howler monkeys and other wildlife.

Once at Yaxchilán, it’s time for the next adventure: a Maya labyrinth. Go through the dark labyrinth (bring a flashlight) to enter the ancient city and explore the Gran Plaza, ball courts, and Central Acropolis. Yaxchilán is open Monday through Sunday from 8 am to 4:30 pm (the last entry is at 4:00 pm), and there is no entry fee.

After exploring Yaxchilan, head to the Bonampak Archeological Zone to see some of the best-preserved Maya murals in Mexico with colorful paintings of festivities, battle scenes, and ritual bloodletting. Bonampak is open Monday through Sunday from 8 am to 4:30 pm (the last entry is at 3 pm), and the entrance fee is 85 pesos.

You can reach both sites from Palenque. Take a colectivo or drive 60 kilometers (99 miles) from Palenque to Frontera Corozal. From there, take a 45-minute boat ride to Yaxchilán. To get to Bonampak from Frontera Corozal, take a colectivo or drive to Crucero Bonampak. From there, it’s an 8 kilometer (5 miles) dirt road to the archeological zone of Bonampak.

The Roberto Barrios falls are some of the most popular waterfalls in Chiapas.
There are many waterfalls in Chiapas and the Roberto Barrios falls are some of the best! Photo Credit: Let’s Travel to Mexico

12. Admire the Roberto Barrios Waterfalls

Contributed by Isabella of Let’s Travel to Mexico

Among all the amazing things to do in Chiapas, visiting Roberto Barrios waterfalls is one of the most underrated places to visit, not to be missed.

It is located just a 45-minute drive from Palenque, and it is one of the excursions offered by the local travel agents in town.

The spectacular waterfalls consist of six amazing natural infinity pools surrounded by caves, natural slides, and waterfalls surrounded by lush tropical vegetation. It’s an incredible place where you can spend all day, and sometimes you even get the chance to be entirely on your own. 

You have a few options to reach the falls: a taxi, colectivo (local bus), and an organized tour.

Remember that the organized tour is nothing more than a return trip on a shared bus organized by a travel company– more comfortable than a colectivo and cheaper than a taxi. 

Roberto Barios is definitely one of the lesser-known waterfalls in Mexico, but it’s among the best. 

Photo Credit: Zoe Goes Places

13. Cascadas El Chiflon

By Zoe of Zoe Goes Places

Close to the Guatemalan border in Chiapas are the stunning Cascadas El Chiflon. With 5 waterfalls located along a 1200-meter stretch of river, it makes for a great day out. 

A tour of the waterfalls from San Cristobal will likely be combined with visiting the nearby Montebello Lakes. Alternatively, you can go without a guide or tour. Simply take a bus to Comitan and then a colectivo to the entrance of the waterfalls, both parts will cost less than 100 pesos per person each way. With an entry fee of just 50 pesos, this makes for a budget-friendly day out. 

Once inside, you can enjoy food from the stalls and eat at the riverside palapas. Or, you can experience the thrill of 3 different zip lines crossing the waterfalls. And, you’ll soon reach the best part of the park – the 120-meter tall Cascada Velo de Novia waterfall. Here, you can stand on the viewing platform and experience the power of nature. However, it’s important to remember this isn’t the last waterfall in the park; there are two more further up the river. Follow the signs, so you don’t miss out!  

Photo Credit: Packing Up the Pieces

14. Hiking Lagunas de Montebello

By Megan of Packing Up the Pieces

​​One of the more popular things to do in Chiapas is to visit Lagunas de Montebello National Park, a sprawling landscape comprised of forests, caves, and over 50 unique lakes. This landscape sits close to the Guatemala border, and one of the lakes shares a border between both countries.

The National Park is 3 hours to the south of San Cristobal de las Casas, but the mountain village offers frequent day trips to the lakes. Since much of the journey is spent in the car, most tour companies only stop at the most famous lake, Laguna Montebello. However, independent travelers can reach the park on a colectivo to Comitán. Here, transfer to another one that goes into the reserve. The entrance fee for the National Park is 50 pesos.

Independent travelers looking for something a little more off the beaten can hike the Cinco Lagos trail from Pojoj Lake. The trail weaves through beautiful forests and is dotted with breathtaking lookout points that twist past 5 bright blue lakes. At the end of the path, take a dip in the lake. The trail access fee is 25 pesos.

To really make the most of a trip to Lagunas de Montebello, sleep in the tiny border town of Tziscao along another lake in a cabaña or bring a tent.

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What to Pack for Chiapas, Mexico

Packing for Chiapas can be challenging because the climate varies dramatically depending on your elevation. In areas of high elevation, like San Cristobal de las Casas, it is typically warm during the day and cold at night. Meanwhile, you can count on high temperatures on the coast or the high plains. 

Pack clothing that you can easily layer. Additionally, since most of the activities you’ll be enjoying are outdoors, activewear and hiking attire is the most practical clothing. Comfortable footwear is essential.

Here are a few items to pack:

  • Patagonia Nano Puff jacket: This insulated jacket is a staple for me in Canada. It’s super warm and packs down into a small pouch. I never leave home without it.  
  • Merino layers: Merino is breathable and incredibly warm despite being lightweight. It makes the perfect base layer for a fluctuating climate. Click here to shop for merino bottoms. Click here to shop for merino tops.  
  • Rain shell: Even in the dry season, rain is a risk. Pack a light rain jacket or poncho just in case. 
  • Sunscreen: Protect your skin with biodegradable sunscreen. Sun Bum is my favorite, but you can browse other great brands here
  • Chacos: Comfortable footwear is essential when roaming cobblestone streets or hiking in the Chiapaneco junglesChacos (or something similar) are a practical and reliable option because they offer good traction and support, and you can get them wet.
  • Daypack: The Osprey Daylite pack is my favorite daypack for active adventures. It’s super comfortable to wear and fits snacks, a water bottle, a camera, and an extra layer– everything you need for a day trip! 
  • Water bottle: Staying hydrated will help you combat heatstroke and maintain your energy on a busy day out. I recommend a Lifestraw bottle so you can refill it right from the tap. 

Transportation: How to get to Chiapas

Below, I’ve included a quick overview of getting to Chiapas and getting around within the state.

I recommend speaking to locals when you get to Chiapas to see which transportation methods and/or routes they recommend. The road conditions vary, and roadblocks occasionally happen (whether due to protests or gang activity). Asking people on the ground is the best way to get up-to-date information about the current conditions. 

Flying to Chiapas

Tuxtla Gutierrez International Airport (TGZ) is the main airport in Chiapas. It is located in Tuxtla Gutierrez and is served by several Mexican airlines, including AeroMexico, Viva Aerobus, and Volaris. It has flights to and from Mexico City, Monterrey, Guadalajara, Cancun, Guatemala City, and more. Use Skyscanner to find flight deals to Chiapas. 

Buses in Chiapas

The bus is one of the best ways to travel to Chiapas and an excellent way to get around within the state. Buses are an efficient, safe, and reliable way to get from one destination to the next. They run frequently, and there are different service levels available, meaning there’s always an option that will suit your budget. I recommend paying for the highest service that your budget affords because it will make your trip more comfortable. 

The ADO bus company is the primary operator within Chiapas (along with their subsidiary, AU), but there are other, smaller companies too. Use Busbud to plan your trip. 

Colectivos (Shuttles)

Colectivos are shared passenger vans that run between towns throughout Mexico. These are a popular transportation method in Chiapas. The schedules (if there are any) aren’t typically published anywhere, so this is something you’d investigate further once you get to Chiapas. When I visited, I used shuttles to get from San Cristobal to the surrounding towns, including Chiapa de Corzo, Palenque, and beyond.  

Rent a car

A rental car is always a good option if you want complete control over your itinerary. Renting a car in Chiapas would allow you to poke around in some of the more remote parts of the state, but keep in mind that the roads are narrow, windy, and not always in great repair. If you’re not a confident driver, opt to use public transportation and tour operators to get around. The best place to rent vehicles in Chiapas is the airport in Tuxtla Gutierrez. 

I recommend using Discover Cars to find the best rates and reserve your rental in advance. 

San Cristobal de las Casas is one of the most popular places for travelers to base in Chiapas.

Where to Stay in Chiapas

Tuxtla Gutierrez, San Cristobal del las Casas, and Palenque are the three most popular cities to stay in within Chiapas. 

San Cristobal de Las Casas

San Cristobal is the most central city and offers plenty of charm and amenities. I recommend basing here for at least a few days while you check out some of the top attractions in the area, including Sumidero Canyon, San Juan Chamula, and Chiapa de Corzo. 

Where to stay in San Cristobal de Las Casas:

  • Posada del Abuelito: This beautiful hostel is located just a few blocks from the busy center of San Cris. Reviewers love its laid-back atmosphere (they emphasize that it’s NOT a party hostel) and rave about the breakfast. This accommodation caters to travelers of all ages, too, so if you’re worried that you’re “too old” for hostels (you’re not), I’m sure you’d feel welcome here. Click here to check rates.
  • Hotel Grand Maria: Located in the center of San Cristobal, the Hotel Grand Maria occupies a romantic, colonial building with rooms surrounding a lush courtyard garden. There is an on-site restaurant and bar and a 24-hour front desk. Reviewers compliment the exceptional service, comfortable rooms, delicious breakfast, and the convenience of coordinating tours through the hotel. Click here to check rates and availability. 
  • Hotel Casa Margarita: Another gorgeous colonial property right in the center of San Cristobal. It has beautiful, rustic decor and a lovely courtyard. Past guests loved the location and helpful staff and commented on how safe they felt in the area surrounding the hotel. Click here to check rates.


You might also spend a few days in Palenque to be closer to the attractions around there. Palenque is a must-visit place if you’re keen to experience the nature of Chiapas. There are tons of waterfalls and lakes nearby and several jungle-oriented accommodations where you can soak up the ambiance. It also makes a good base for visiting Misol-Ha, the Palenque ruins, Agua Azul, etc. 

Here are a couple of cool places to stay in Palenque:

  • Cabañas Kin Balam Palenque: Located less than 2 miles from the Palenque ruins, this rustic lodge is set in the jungle and offers peaceful gardens, a pool, and an on-site restaurant and bar for guests to enjoy. The rooms are basic but comfortable and provide the option of either a private or shared bathroom. Past guests were particularly fond of the awesome setting and the fact that the Cabañas made it so easy to meet fellow travelers. Click here to check rates and availability. 
  • Hotel Chan-Kah Resort: This resort is ideal if you prefer a more luxurious nature escape. It’s located near Agua Azul and offers comfortable rooms, and the on-site amenities include multiple restaurants, pools, and a spa. There is also air conditioning! Guests rave about the beautiful rooms, excellent amenities, and the fact that you can spot wildlife like monkeys and birds in the garden! Click here to check rates.  

Tuxtla Gutierrez

Tuxtla Gutierrez is the capital of Chiapas and where the airport is located. I haven’t spent any time there personally, but it’s a logical choice if you’d like to spend a night close to the airport. You’ll find several well-known hotel chains there, including Holiday Inn Express, Marriott, Hilton Garden Inn, and more. 

If you’d like somewhere a little more unique to stay, here are some promising options:

  • Hotel Palapa Palace Inn: Located a few minutes outside downtown Tuxtla, this hotel has basic rooms at reasonable prices. There is an on-site restaurant, and airport shuttles are available on request (for an additional charge). Past guests praised the hotel for being clean, comfortable, and convenient for airport stopovers. Click here to check rates.
  • Hotel Momotus: This hotel offers stylish, modern rooms with air conditioning and has a restaurant on-site. It’s not particularly close to the airport, but you can walk to downtown Tuxtla and a few other attractions from the property. There’s an on-site restaurant for your convenience, and parking on the property is free! Past guests praised the beautiful rooms and location and expressed that it offers excellent value for the price. Click here to check rates. 

Are you excited to check out all these incredible things to do in Chiapas? What are you most interested in adding to your itinerary?

Continue Planning Your Trip!

Mexico Guide Books

This Mexico phrasebook will help you communicate, even if your Spanish skills are lacking.

This Mexico travel guide is packed with all the info you could ever need.


I use a combination of Booking, Airbnb, and VRBO to find accommodation throughout Mexico. is awesome for booking hotels and resorts, while Airbnb and VRBO specialize in apartments and villa rentals, making it a great place to find long-term stays.

Some cities in Mexico have more listings on VRBO than Airbnb (or vice versa), so it’s best to check both to find the perfect place!

Car Rentals

Rental cars add tons of flexibility to your travel plans. If you opt to rent one, I recommend using Discover Cars to find the best rates!


Skyscanner is my favorite tool for finding the best deals on airfare.

Travel Insurance

Never leave home without travel insurance.

SafetyWing offers super-affordable policies that cover things like medical expenses, trip interruption, and lost luggage. They even offer coverage for some expenses related to COVID-19. Their policies are particularly great for long-term travelers, making them a great option for Mexico.

Learn Spanish

There’s no question that knowing basic Spanish is wildly beneficial in Mexico. It helps you stay aware of your surroundings, solve problems, and make friends!

RocketSpanish has a well-structured program that will take you from bumbling to conversational in just a few modules. Start your free trial today!

Still have questions?

Join my Female Travelers in Mexico Facebook group, a supportive community of fellow Mexico travel enthusiasts, where you can find answers to all your travel questions!

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