Christmas Trees and Crocodiles at the Sumidero Canyon

As much as I love the immense All Inclusive resorts, Caribbean waters and boisterous nightlife in my current state of Quintana Roo, the lush state of Chiapas holds what many believe to be the most impressive natural beauty in the entire country.

Chiapas is filled with tall mountains, sparkling waterfalls, ancient Mayan ruins, colonial cities and small mountain towns untouched by modern culture, the perfect place for an adventurous getaway. A few years ago, I got to see them all… and I’ve been dying to go back ever since.

Misol-Ha Waterfall

One of the state’s most impressive natural attractions is the Sumidero Canyon, whose stone cliffs reach heights of more than 3,200 feet. On my visit, our group got to take a boat tour along the river that winds through this breathtaking canyon. We drove to the town of Chiapa de Corzo, where we hopped into some boats and headed down the river.

Chiapa de Corzo central square

Our boat ride began on a wide stretch of river, flanked by soft mountains on either side. Once we passed under the bridge, I began to see the steep rock walls that this canyon is known for.

After a few twists and turns, we came across the canyon’s deepest point. This natural gateway is one of the symbols of the state of Chiapas, proudly displayed on its state seal. A simple photo doesn’t come close to describing what it feels like to see this in person, looking up from a tiny boat in the middle of the river. (Somewhere in the back of my mind, I could hear Wallace Shawn screaming “the cliffs of insanity!”)

My favorite part, however, was probably El Arbol de la Navidad (The Christmas Tree), a unique waterfall spilling down the side of the canyon.

The rest of our boat tour is filled with tiny caves (including one with the Virgin Mary), rock islands and even crocodiles.

Can you see it?

Chasing flocks of birds with a motorboat was fun, if not somewhat frightening.

The Yucatan Peninsula, where Cancun is located, is almost completely flat with hardly any hills, much less mountains and cliffs. The fact that I hadn’t seen mountains in years made this trip all the more exciting for me. I hope to go back to Chiapas with Jorge someday, and take our time to really explore everything this state has to offer.

What’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever traveled to?

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Chiapas, Mexico

I don’t think I’d blogged about this yet, so I think it’s about time.

When I was in my second year of college here in Cancun (in 2006), my class took a weekend trip to the state of Chiapas. Chiapas is absolutely AMAZING. I’m dying to go back someday and spend more time there. I would argue that it’s even prettier than my state of Quintana Roo. It’s not known for its beaches, but the Mayan ruins, the cultural cities and the waterfalls make up for it.

As a tourist destination, Chiapas is still in its early stages. I kinda hope it stays that way.

I took hundreds of pictures, but these are my favorites:

A panoramic view of the Mayan ruins of Palenque

Misol-Ha waterfall... there's even a path that will take you into a cave behind the waterfall. Amazing.

Agua Azul is a huge series of small waterfalls. This picture only shows a small part of it. It's lined with paths and a bunch of shops/small restaurants, and there are some bridges you can cross to get an overhead view.

My class at Agua Azul

Our hotel was located in the city San Cristobal de las Casas. It's an amazing colonial city set in the mountains. This picture is of the central square.

We took a boat ride down the Sumidero Canyon. It was probably the most amazing thing I've ever seen.

As we drove along the river through the Sumidero Canyon, massive amounts of birds would go flying ahead of us.

That’s my quick tour of the state of Chiapas. We did a lot more, but these were definitely the highlights. One of the best weekends I’ve ever had, for sure.