Chiapas Journals

Chiapas, land of water and trees

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A February 2011 trip to Chiapas by JesusW

Palenque Site Museum Photo, Palenque, Mexico More Photos
Quote: This part of Mexico is still triving with life thanks to abundant water and a mighty jungle that struggles to survive, the landscapes are amazing and the state is full of history and culure

Hotel Maya Tulipanes

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Hotel | "Exactly the hotel I need and could afford"

Maya Tulipanes Photo, Palenque, Mexico
Quote:
I arrived at Palenque and didn't want to stay at El Panchan (very rustic rooms, but really cheap) as I wanted to rest after too much driving and climbing pyramids (plus all the climbing and walking in Palenque) so I searched for a good but affordable hotel in the road to the ruins, to my dismal all were on the extremes: cheap hostels or very expensive hotels, so I went back to town knowing that there were more options in the hotel zone.Just wanting to have a reference price to compare, asked at Maya Tulipanes (had been here many years ago) and got hooked, 925 pesos (Jan 2012) including breakfast for two (and not just coffe and toast, but also fruit and eggs) that sealed the deal and I ended my ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 17, 2012

Hotel Maya Tulipanes
CANADA STREET 6
Palenque, Mexico 29960
52-916-345-0201

Pozol, the original energy drink.

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Story/Tip

Pozol con cacao Photo, Palenque, Mexico
Quote:
Forget the Red Bulls and such, there is a drink that really gives you energy plus it's very nutritious, it was part of the basic supplies for the long distant merchants and armies of Mesoamerica, the Pozol.All the trade and war that took part in the evolution of the Mesoamerican cultures: Maya, Zapotec, Olmec, Aztec, etc. was based on one staple for energy and nutrition: maize.In this era and part of the world, there were no carriages and animals were not used for transportation. So every army and trade caravan had to walk and carry all it's goods and weapons, the most practical way to bring lunch was to grind maize into a dough and wrap it in banana leaves or similar. At an...Read More

Taquería Tropitacos

Restaurant | "Tropitacos"

Taquería Tropitacos Photo, Palenque, Mexico
Quote:
This place is very typical of Mexico. You can get tacos, fruit salads, and drinks. In the entrance you see the tacos al pastor rotisserie tempting you inside. The variety of tacos includes al pastor (pork marinated with achiote and then roasted with pineapple), chicken, steak, chorizo, etc. There are different combinations that include several vegetables, like sweet peppers, onion, tomatoes, mushrooms, nopales (cactus), etc.Price for tacos is mxp$4.00 (less than US$0.40 January 2003); Gringas (Al Pastor meat with melted Manchego cheese) mxp$12; Sincronizadas (Flour tortilla, with thin sliced Ham and melted cheese) mxp$10; Tortas simples (Sandwiches with one ingred...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 3, 2005

Taquería Tropitacos
49 Benito Juárez
Palenque, Mexico
+52 916 345 0204

Palenque Site Museum

Attraction | "Site Museum"

Palenque Site Museum Photo, Palenque, Mexico
Quote:
The museum has very good lighting and nice shelves to show the artifacts, but the glass windows make it a little difficult to take photos, and flash photography is forbidden, making it harder for film cameras. My advice: use a digital camera with high ASA/ISO settings (800-1600 works nicely). There are some nice models of the palace and other buildings.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 3, 2005

Palenque Site Museum
1.5 Km before site entrance
Palenque, Mexico

Palenque Site Museum

Attraction | "Site Museum, Part 2"

Palenque Site Museum Photo, Palenque, Mexico
Quote:
The symbols and drawings you can see all over the temples and walls do relate the story of the kings and their activities. Some of the little figurines were modeled after the royal people and include detailed clothing and jewelry.

The artisans of the time were highly skilled, note the realism of the human representations, both in the ceramic and the carvings, when compared with the paintings recently found in many new excavations.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 4, 2005

Palenque Site Museum
1.5 Km before site entrance
Palenque, Mexico

Yaxchilan Mayan Ruins

Attraction | "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, not, mostly."

Yaxchilan Mayan Ruins Photo, Chiapas, Mexico
Quote:
The site is located on the shores of the Usumacinta River. It is the natural border between Mexico and Guatemala and a very wide but calm river during the dry season. The Mayans selected this place to build their city because the river is the best way to travel in this region, and they had very busy commerce routes and military expeditions.The place is so isolated that the local wild fauna and flora are still very buoyant and present; I was able to photograph a family of howler monkeys just a few meters from the main pyramid of Yaxchilan and a crocodile in the river in our way back to Corozal. You have to walk a lot to visit the major temples on this site, but it is worth the effort. Bring wa...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 5, 2005

Yaxchilan Mayan Ruins
Bank of the Usumacinta River
Chiapas, Mexico

Ruinas de Palenque (Palenque Archaeological Ruins) Photo, Palenque, Mexico
Quote:
This hotel is nicely located and decorated. It's about 100 meters (yards) from the main highway and about 5 miles from the ruins of Palenque. You don't get all the traffic going downtown, but you're close enough to the restaurants, Internet cafes, little souvenir shops, and banks. The area around the hotel is an ecological reserve, so you will feel more comfortable without the city noises.The distinctive thing about this hotel are the various replicas of carvings and stelae found at the ruins; here you can look closely at all those inscriptions in the walls and monuments that you're forbidden to touch at the pyramids and museum. It's a big plus because these replicas are life size and ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 13, 2005

Maya Tulipanes
Cañada No. 6
Palenque, Mexico
(916) 345 0201

Quote:
This small hotel sits in the middle of the downtown tourist area. It's close to all servicies and is quite cheap, at MXP$120 per night (2001). Being cheap doesn't translate to bad service, nor to being unclean. Quite the contrary--it's a good place to stay in town while visiting the region. It's one of the few hotels where the laundry service is not expensive (I paid MXP$20 per kilo in 2004), and they return your clothes nicely folded in a plastic bag. The staff is very accommodating, and they do a great job helping you.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 13, 2005

Posada Shalom
Juarez 156
Palenque, Mexico
(934) 9345-0944

Posada Kushul-Ha

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Hotel

Quote:
This is a very economic hotel, but also low-quality in terms of the beds and the service. The best part of this small hotel is the location, less than a block from the main street (Ave. Juarez) and very close to good places to eat, the bakery, grocery store, and photo shop, and a few blocks from the bank area and a good laundry. The bad points go to the mattress of the bed--very old and in need of being replaced (I left a note at reception one early morning before my trip to the ruins of Bonampak, but nobody took the slightest interest on it)--and I had to turn it over to sleep on the other side, but the springs were almost all missing, so it was the same. The room has a fan, color TV (l...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 2, 2005

Posada Kushul-Ha
Av. 20 de noviembre #131
Palenque, Mexico
(916) 345-0483

Ruinas de Palenque (Palenque Archaeological Ruins)

Attraction | "Cascade of the Queen or Bath of the Queen"

Ruinas de Palenque (Palenque Archaeological Ruins) Photo, Palenque, Mexico
Quote:
Inside the archaeological zone you need to hike to the little creek that divides the reserve to find this little jewel, is a small waterfall with interesting rock formations, the shapes are of round conical layers, caused by the high mineral content of the water (same phenomena like in Agua Azul waterfalls and stalactites and stalagmites) in which the mineral add layers to the existing surface and create capricious formations. Some years ago it was allowed to bathe here, but the park rangers discovered that the fish population declined severely in part to the chemicals in sunblock lotions used by the tourists, so today is totally banned to take a dip in this refreshing ponds.There are other sm...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 6, 2006

Ruinas de Palenque (Palenque Archaeological Ruins)
Palenque
Palenque, Mexico

Ruinas de Palenque (Palenque Archaeological Ruins)

Attraction | "Temple of the Cross"

Ruinas de Palenque (Palenque Archaeological Ruins) Photo, Palenque, Mexico
Quote:
This temple is constructed on the base of a hill and merges with it. Inside the building on top you can see replicas of the stelae, huge rectangular slabs of stone nicely carved and telling a story.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 6, 2006

Ruinas de Palenque (Palenque Archaeological Ruins)
Palenque
Palenque, Mexico

Ruinas de Palenque (Palenque Archaeological Ruins) Photo, Palenque, Mexico
Quote:
There are many sculptures around the palace, mainly in the walls, unfortunately some are highly damaged but what is left is amazing.When you enter the main plaza of Palenque you are facing both the Temple of the Inscriptions (tomb of Pakal, the most recognized king) and the Palace. if you climb the palace from that side, you will find a series of columns and doors to enter the building, take a closer look at the walls between those doors, there are representation in stucco of bigger than life-size persons, some still retain the original paint (red, blue mainly) and please don't touch them as they are the original ones, unfortunately the guards are not always around the area to forbid people of...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 6, 2006

Ruinas de Palenque (Palenque Archaeological Ruins)
Palenque
Palenque, Mexico

Ruinas de Palenque (Palenque Archaeological Ruins) Photo, Palenque, Mexico
Quote:
The palace is an unique building in all the Mayan zone, it's architecture is like no other place and has a lot of special details that make it so special.The series of buildings were constructed over several generations and different influences, so there are many styles present. One of the more uniqueness aspect is its tower, nobody knows for sure the real appearance but there is no other building such as this in the Maya World. There are a lot of wall decorations made of stucco (plaster molded and painted) and you can see a lot of details around the place if you pay close attention, even to the ceilings. There is a patio called "of the Captive Warriors" because there are slabs of carved stone...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 6, 2006

Ruinas de Palenque (Palenque Archaeological Ruins)
Palenque
Palenque, Mexico

Ruinas de Palenque (Palenque Archaeological Ruins)

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Attraction | "Temple of the Inscriptions"

Ruinas de Palenque (Palenque Archaeological Ruins) Photo, Palenque, Mexico
Quote:
This pyramid is the most famous in the area, first there were several carved slabs of stone discovered inside the temple at the top thus naming the building the Temple of the Inscriptions due to the large number or glyphs found carved there, but an archaeologist found an interesting feature in the floor of that temple: some holes in a slab, after some trial and error he figured the holes were to hold some sticks in order to set it in place, like the lid of a tomb. He was completely right!Inside the pyramid he found after many months of excavations a stairway full of rubble that he had to slowly remove to reach the bottom of the pyramid, the place of the richest treasure found on site: the inta...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 7, 2006

Ruinas de Palenque (Palenque Archaeological Ruins)
Palenque
Palenque, Mexico

Ruinas de Palenque (Palenque Archaeological Ruins)

Attraction | "Temple of the Red Queen"

Ruinas de Palenque (Palenque Archaeological Ruins) Photo, Palenque, Mexico
Quote:
This is a small pyramid on the side of the Temple of Inscriptions, it's smaller and less ornamented, but it still is the tomb of Pakal's Queen, the name Red Queen was given because the body of the Queen was covered with cynaber, a red Mercury compound that was used by the Mayans to preserve the body of those who passed away to the other world.

The entrance is very low and inside you find a corridor with the Mayan False Arch and a small chamber with a sarcophagus, inside all that is to be seen is the red pigment and the lid (not as grandiose as Pakal's), the chamber is off limits fenced by an iron gate.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 8, 2006

Ruinas de Palenque (Palenque Archaeological Ruins)
Palenque
Palenque, Mexico

Palenque Site Museum

Attraction | "At the Museum: The Incense Burners"

Palenque Site Museum Photo, Palenque, Mexico
Quote:
At the museum entrance you will be amazed by the Incense Burners, they are huge offers 3 feet tall and highly decorated.

Normally they depict a God or a King, with headdress in the form of birds and a smaller representation of other Gods riding the birds.

On top of this "totemic" column a receptacle was positioned and it that the incense (frankincense) and blood were burned to invoke the gods.

Hundreds of this burners were located in the excavation of the platforms of the Cross Groups, the best are displayed at the museum and the rest are stored in the warehouse.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 14, 2007

Palenque Site Museum
1.5 Km before site entrance
Palenque, Mexico

Santuario del Alba Hotel & Spa

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Hotel | "Small and cozy hotel, like being at home"

Santuario del Alba Hotel & Spa Photo, San Cristobal De Las Casas, Mexico
Quote:
A very small hotel, it just have 9 rooms, and parking for only 2 cars.In San Cristobal de las Casas I was looking for a small and quiet hotel, not necessarily in the Downtown area, but I found one right in the old part of town -narrow streets paved with cobble stones and ancient houses). I was very lucky, they only have space to park two cars and the night I arrived there was none, even then, getting the car inside was a bit challenging due to the street being so narrow and a car was parked almost in front of the gate, I have a small car, I can't imagine with something longer.The price for the room was more than great, mxp$400 for one person and that includes breakfast. The ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 31, 2011

Santuario del Alba Hotel & Spa
Julio M. Corzo No. 1-d. Centro Historico
San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas
(967) 631-6178

Parque Nacional Lagunas de Montebello

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Attraction | "The most relaxing lakes in Chiapas"

Parque Nacional Lagunas de Montebello Photo, Comitan, Mexico
Quote:
Chiapas state is full of mighty rivers and powerful waterfalls, but also there is a corner where the lakes are peaceful and very quiet, a little paradise.The area is dotted by dozens of lagoons in the middle of pine forests, the air may be cool but very refreshing. Each lagoon has it's very particular shade, some bluish, others a bit red, some clay, a bit emerald, all of them vary because of the type of mineral, deep of the water, shape of the bottom, etc.In a some of the lagoons beside the usual food stands and souvenir vendors, there are also people renting kayaks and offering you a ride in a barge or raft, well, some tree trunks tied together and a trunk section as a seat -t...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 27, 2011

Parque Nacional Lagunas de Montebello
Parque Nacional Lagunas de Montebello
Comitan, Mexico

Parque Amikuu

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Attraction | "Amikúu - a different theme park"

Parque Amikuu  Photo, Chiapas, Mexico
Quote:
Amikúu (friend in Maya) is not traditional theme park with tons of rides, this is more like a blend between a eco-park, a zoo and a few extreme experiences like petting a boa or holding a toucan or doing a zip-line in the river.The park is located between Tuxtla Gutierrez (capital of Chiapas) and Chiapa de Corzo a small village where the boats to Cañon del Sumidero departs. You have several different piers to start you trip, the park has it's own and I choose it as you can pay for the boat trip (there is no other way to get to the park) and park entrance at the same place. They accept credit cards, there are different packages that include the activities (rapell, zip line, kayak, petting...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 7, 2011

Parque Amikuu
Chiapa de Corzo Pier
Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico
52(961)(600-6708

Miguel Alvarez del Toro Zoo (ZOOMAT)

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Attraction | "Zoo with no elephants or kangaroos "

Miguel Alvarez del Toro Zoo (ZOOMAT) Photo, Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico
Quote:
Yes, this is a very special zoo, there are no elephants, pandas, kangaroos, whales, tigers...Then, What animals do they have? Only animals of Chiapas, yep, this is a regional zoo and the idea is to promote the knowledge about the animals that live in the state so the people living here have a better understanding of the fauna that still lives in the area.The displays are very good, there are separated museums/buildings for some specialties like crocodiles, birds, insects, snakes, night animals, and a botanical museum.As far as I saw, the spaces are adequate, not as extremely roomy as I would prefer, but at least the animals don't feel cramped and can stretch ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 27, 2011

Miguel Alvarez del Toro Zoo (ZOOMAT)
Calzada Cerro Hueco Colonia Zapotal S/n
Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, Mexico

Mayan ruins

Attraction | "Mayan ruins never looked so colorful"

Mayan ruins Photo, Chiapas, Mexico
Quote:
You travel by a nicely kept road into the middle of the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve, one of the least disturbed jungles in Mexico. On the last portion of the trip, you arrive at the gate of Bonampak Reserve and are switched to local van (only the official vehicles of the reserve are allowed inside) for the few kilometers to the ruins. There you are met by local Lacandon natives selling their handmade souvenirs, which are very nice and range from wooden flutes to paintings on Amate paper to wood carvings of Jaguars or birds and serpents to small hand-decorated pottery. This is a very small archeological site, it wouldn't arise any interest save for one reason, the mura...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 5, 2005

Mayan ruins
Bonampak Nature Reserve
Bonampak, Mexico

Yaxchilan Mayan Ruins

Attraction | "Temple of the Bird Jaguar, Yaxchilan Ruins"

Yaxchilan Mayan Ruins Photo, Chiapas, Mexico
Quote:

The temple of the Bird Jaguar is the main building of the zone, it was the place to honor the god Bird Jaguar whose statue is still inside.


The head is in a different room from the rest of the body and there is a legend stating that if both are reunited one day, the end of the World would happen. Just outside the temple don´t miss the steps leading to the building, some of them are carved with scenes depicting stories of the king and the city.


The view form the temple is amazing as it rests on the top of the hill, the stair leading to the temple is a very steep one but it's worth the climbing.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 5, 2006

Yaxchilan Mayan Ruins
Bank of the Usumacinta River
Chiapas, Mexico

Yaxchilan Mayan Ruins

Attraction | "The city by the river"

Yaxchilan Mayan Ruins Photo, Chiapas, Mexico
Quote:
This place is located in the middle of the jungle, you really feel isolated from the world, except for the motor boat that brings you to the archaeological site and for the smallish guard house at the entrance, beyond that you are in a very secluded and remote area.Yaxchilan was one of the strongest city/states in the Usumacinta region and most of the towns in the area brought tribute to its king. One of the most famous and powerful was Bird Jaguar IV, whose statue lies broken in temple 33. The head is kept separate from the body, as there is a tale that if both pieces get reunited the world will come to an end, and so far nobody has tried to prove it wrong.The archaeological site is a...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 3, 2006

Yaxchilan Mayan Ruins
Bank of the Usumacinta River
Chiapas, Mexico

Yaxchilan Mayan Ruins

Attraction | "Stelae"

Yaxchilan Mayan Ruins Photo, Chiapas, Mexico
Quote:
There are some amazing stelae (carved stone columns) in excellent shape after so many centuries in the jungle, fortunately for us, the place was just abandoned, not destroyed by war like in other places. The restoration works are still taking place in several buildings and you can see the findings almost as fresh as they can.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 5, 2006

Yaxchilan Mayan Ruins
Bank of the Usumacinta River
Chiapas, Mexico

Yaxchilan Mayan Ruins

Attraction | "Temple of the Bird Jaguar II"

Yaxchilan Mayan Ruins Photo, Chiapas, Mexico
Quote:
The building in itself is not too big, there are three chambers without decorations or carvings (maybe the stucco was destroyed by the pass of time). But the structure of the building is amazing, it has stood almost intact after many many centuries withstanding earthquakes, hurricanes, and the invasion of the jungle. The style involved having a tall "crest" on top of the building, adding height to the structure but in an efficient way so to elevate the top without adding too much weight to the roof.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 5, 2006

Yaxchilan Mayan Ruins
Bank of the Usumacinta River
Chiapas, Mexico

Cascadas de Misol Ha, Misol-Ha Waterfall

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Attraction | "A paradise in Earth"

Cascadas de Misol Ha, Misol-Ha Waterfall Photo, Chiapas, Mexico
Quote:
This tall waterfall is totally worth visiting if you are in the area, even if you have gone to Agua Azul because it's a totally different experience.This is a tall waterfall that falls in an almost circular pond where you can swim. The nice detail is that you can walk behind the waterfall and reach a little cave where there is another (much smaller) waterfall sprouting from the rock, literally. The water falling on the main cascade hits the rocks and water on the pond so hard that the noise is impressive when you walk behind it. Make sure you bring good water shoes or sandals as it is slippery because of all the water and the profuse vegetation growing on the rocks....Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 6, 2011

Cascadas de Misol Ha, Misol-Ha Waterfall
Highway From Palenque To San Cristobal De Las Casas
Chiapas, Mexico

Cascadas de Agua Azul (Blue Water Falls)

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Attraction | "Where the water is really BLUE"

Cascadas de Agua Azul (Blue Water Falls) Photo, Palenque, Mexico
Quote:
The waterfalls at Agua Azul are a miracle made by mother Nature, not just the formations but also the coloration of the water, it is so blue you can not believe it.If you are visiting Palenque or San Cristobal de las Casas, this is a must, everybody in the party will agree that a dip in this waterfalls is a must, even if you don't know how to swim. From Palenque is a bit more than an hour drive, it's just 60 Km away but is a mountain road with lots of curves and "topes" (speedbumps), the view is very interesting in the way in, as you get great panoramas of the valleys and if you pay attention you will catch a glimpse of the river a few minutes before arriving there, it's a children's paint...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 6, 2011

Cascadas de Agua Azul (Blue Water Falls)
Reserva Especial De La Biosfera Cascadas Agua Azul
Palenque, Mexico

Las Guacamayas

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Hotel | "In front of the mighty jungle"

Las Guacamayas Photo, Chiapas, Mexico
Quote:
Las Guacamayas is located at the banks of the Lancantun river just in front of Montes Azules nature reserve, one of the last untouched jungles in México.The hotel consists on several "cabañas" (cabins) linked by a elevated wooden path, this minimizes people getting off track and is very useful in the rainy season with critters and floods. The cabins are on the very civilized side of the range, they have electric light (compact fluorescent lamps of course) and comfortable beds. for walls you get a mosquito mesh, making them cooler and minimizing the need to use the electric fan, which is available on the room. The ceilings are high to dissipate heat and they are made of palm leaves, makin...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 6, 2011

Las Guacamayas
Ejido Reforma Agraria
Chiapas, Mexico