The scenery in Chiapas is amazingly beautiful. Ranging from clean beaches to rain forest to pine tree topped mountains it has something for everyone. One of the most famous natural beauties in Chiapas is the Canyon Sumidero. Located between San Cristobal and Tuxtla, the canyon is a must see in the area.
While I viewed the canyon on a day trip from Tuxtla, there are several tour agencies from San Cristobal that offer trips and, while I’m generally not a fan of organized tours, considering how confusing the transportation can be, I think it’s a good alternative.
You start your adventure in the canyon in the small town of Chiapa de Corzo. There are your typical tourist amenities such as shopping, internet, hotels, restaurants, etc. but I think that generally people only come for one reason.
The launches for the boat trips all leave from one location. As you make your way past the restaurants along the river you’ll see a ticket desk on the right but most likely someone will stop you before you get there to ask if you need a ticket. Tickets are 150 MXN for the 3-hour ride.
The first few kilometers of the trip are pretty but nothing spectacular. However you do have the chance to see some of the local fauna in the form of Crocodiles, Deer, Herons, Vultures and other wildlife. We didn’t see any deer on our trip but plenty of the others.
The real reason for the trip will slowly become apparent as the hills on either side of the river begin to get higher and closer until eventually you’re in the middle of the canyon looking at the 800m high walls on either side of you. You suddenly feel very small.
The cliffs are covered with greenery and the exposed rocks are streaked with mineral deposits left by hundreds of years of erosion. Along the cliffs you see caves (one of which has been turned into a religious shrine) and rock formations taking on the appearance of various people and objects (including a Christmas tree).
At the turn around point your guide will give you a little history of the area (in Spanish) while you float around the small lake formed by a dam in the river. My trip included a stop at one of the restaurants located before the dam but apparently that doesn’t happen on all of the trips so make sure you hit the bano before you get on the boat.
Unfortunately it started to rain on the way back so I spent the entire time huddled under a tarp rather than enjoying the scenery but it was still a highlight of the trip and I highly recommend taking a day out of your schedule to visit Canyon Sumidero.