Chiapas: Mexico’s hidden gem
Situated between Oaxaca and Guatemala, the state of Chiapas is Mexico’s best kept secret. To make the most of your visit to Chiapas, it’s best to begin your trip in the city of San Cristobal de las Casas. This colonial city with its stunning architecture, unique museums and colorful outdoor markets features a culture with a rich history. Sitting on the main plaza is the Cathedral consisting of a golden-metallic interior made up of five altarpieces and 18th century paintings by the artist Miguel Cabrera.
Other attractions worth visiting include the Museo del Ambar de Chiapas, featuring over 300 pieces of the region’s millennia-old amber fossils. The Museo de la Medicina Maya is dedicated to the preservation of traditional Mayan medicine applied by native people of the Chiapas highlands.
Visitors can discover much more history while traveling throughout the region such as the remarkable Mayan World ruins. Located on the state’s northern border sits the ancient Mayan city of Palenque dating back to 226 BC to around 799 AD. Explore the ancient palace with its four-story tower, and discover ancient artifacts and many more treasures.
Bonampak an ancient Mayan archaeological site is renowned for its well-preserved murals inside the temple. Not too far away is the ancient Mayan city of Yaxchilan famous for its decorated doorways consisting of carved lintels. Each of these well-preserved carvings tells a story of Mayan civilization.
Explore the highland region of Los Altos, home to today’s modern Mayan people. Visit San Juan Chamula, one of the largest indigenous communities in the region. The community is independent from the rest of the region with a modern governing body. It’s easy to identify a Chamulan by their traditional dress. All of the clothes worn by the people are locally hand made. Visitors can stroll through the market and purchase local goods. Watch local artisans at work handcrafting top quality embroidered blouses and bags. Be sure to sample some of the local food.
Explore the Lacandon Jungle and view the amazing flora and fauna or see the awesome waterfalls at Agua Azul National Park. The Sumidero Canyon National Park offers visitors a look into the depths of the steep canyon walls.
No matter what, Chiapas provides visitors with a richness in beauty, culture and history that will surely make this for an unforgettable experience.