Trip Report


Trip Report

Waterfalls, Jungles, Mountain Hikes, Chocolate and Mayan Culture all Await in Very-Affordable Chiapas!

Two weeks of exploring the earth's natural abundance and the beauty of Mayan culture in South Mexico.

by wishingoceansAbout Me:Hi, my name is Oriana! I like working in and exploring the best that nature has to offer - hiking, trekking, climbing, diving, swimming, paddle boarding, and volunteering on farms. read more

Mexico13 days / March 2021

Highs & Lows

Chiflon Waterfalls, Palenque Jungle, and the Indigenous Church cannot be missed!

Child labor and begging is very common here everywhere, so prepare your coin purses and heart accordingly.

Itinerary Overview

San Cristobal is a backpacker's dream. Very cheap ($1 laundry), great street food (delicious nutella, strawberry and banana crepes for $1, quesadillas 50cents), amazing views everywhere, colorful colonial architecture, authentic indigenous culture, lively party atmosphere with a great blend of locals and travelers, and too many day trips to choose from! I recommend Chiflon Waterfalls 100%, most stunning waterfall and you can swim and jump in it too! The indigenous Mayan church is stunning to behold. You can also visit local caves for camping or climbing. Great hiking to be had everywhere. There is also Lago Montebello (59 differently colored lakes), Sumidero Canyon, and a jungle in a giant sinhole that you can rappel into! Plus, there are awesome raves twice a week every week. 

We came around Tuxtla Gutierrez to visit Sumidero Canyon, which you can see on a very inexpensive and lovely boat tour. You can also take pictures from the Mirador, but only on certain times/days of the week, so check beforehand. They say no swimming in the canyon area, however we went around back and found several restaurants as well as someone swimming, however beware as the current is extremely strong and will take you over very quickly! I wouldn't recommend staying in Tuxtla Gutierrez, as the city lacks the charm and character of nearby San Cristobal; but, it is good for a day tour, and you will likely fly into this airport!

Palenque is a must-visit while you're staying in Chiapas. I traveled there by night bus, which saved me a night of accommodation, but once you get there you'll be so tired you'll end up sleeping most of the day. So, you might want to go by taking two colectivos. The ruins are well-preserved and worth a visit; the waterfalls are truly beautiful and perfect for swimming in! This is a good place to take a hammock and chill out for a few days enjoying the hot weather and gorgeous cascades (Misol-Ha and Agua Azul are the two favorites). The local town is also fun and bustling with many inexpensive restaurants and street vendors. The hotels/hostels however are located a few miles from the city center, and therefore you can really only easily get food at or right next to your hostel; therefore, the prices are higher. 


  • 10 Nights: San Cristobal de las Casas
    Caves, Cascades, Hikes, Local Culture
  • Day trip: Tuxtla Gutiérrez
    Canyon, Waterfalls
  • 3 Nights: Palenque
    Jungle, Ruins, Waterfalls

Q & A

  • What would you have changed?

    This is the place to go out every day and every night, really make the most of your time here! There is so much to do and take advantage of. If you're short on time, skip the Sumidero Canyon as it's not as unique/fun as some of the other activities. Try to eat the street food or the food from the local market as often as possible, as it is delicious and crazy cheap! Be sure also to look for temazcal ceremonies while you're here.

  • What tips would you give a friend?

    Some people renting motorcycles encountered problems where they were blocked from driving by groups of people who demanded money. Be careful if you're traveling by motorcycle, make an effort to blend in as a local. Be sure to have the hot chocolate here - Chiapas is known for its cacao, and it is super good! The airbnbs here are also incredibly nice and crazy cheap!

  • Packing tips?

    Bring secure swimsuits for the waterfalls, long clothes for climbing and rappelling, conservative clothes for the indigenous church, warm weather clothes for the jungle, and party clothes for going out to the bars! In short, you need it all here! The weather in San Cristobal itself is quite nice - warm, almost hot during the day, cooler, almost cold, at night. Never too too hot or too too cold.

  • Transportation Tips?

    This is a great place to rent a car - we rented one, and instead of taking tours we just went to the same places as the tours, and did it for almost free! But, the cost of gas can be a bit high, and you absolutely must get full insurance on the rental - the roads here are terrible and have speed bumps absolutely everywhere, and you will more than likely cause some damage to the car at some point. Besides rental cars, the main way to get around Chiapas is on "Colectivos." These vans are pretty comfortable, cheap, and easy, costing typically only $1/hour of travel. You can either hop on one that's driving by, or walk to the colectivo "area" in the center of town where all the colectivos are waiting to take people all over the place. We used two colectivos to get all the way from Chiapas to Guatemala, all for $6 dollars. The taxis here are also not bad and pretty cheap, but in this city it's easy just to walk or take the very cheap colectivo for longer distances....Read More

  • Any surprises?

    Expect to travel quite far for all of the day trips. The only nearby ones are the Indigenous villages, the caves and the hikes. All the waterfalls, jungles, lakes, cenotes, you will be driving a solid 2-5 hours to get there, so it's best if you find a really fun group of people to come with you or bring headphones and download an audiobook for the ride! Also, the traditions at the indigenous Mayan church include sacrificing live chickens - perhaps avoid if you can't handle seeing this. Also, prepare yourself for pushy vendors (particularly child vendors) and begging in many places.


  • Puerta Vieja Hostel, the best hostel in San Cristobal and possibly anywhere! They have very nice comfortable rooms, working areas, and social areas, plus a delicious restaurant-style breakfast and dinner included for free, plus unlimited cocktails twice a week, plus their own temazcal sauna, plus the best social atmosphere in town! You cannot go wrong with this hostel.

  • Kin Balam Cabanas, lovely and quiet hostel with an on-site restaurant. They organize anything you might need, very convenient.