Chiapas – Tuxtla Gutierrez and San Cristobal

Tuxtla de Guerrtez

Clean Sheets, Fluffy Pillows and Mirimba in the Park

Crossing the border from Guatemala to Mexico was easy and soon we were on our way into the state of Chiapas. Leaving the shuttle bus experience behind us we found the bus terminal in San Cristobal and we were off to Tuxtla. We knew we were in Mexico once we boarded the posh ADO bus with wifi, movies and a five star bathroom. I know I say it often but I love the front seat because you can see where you are going and in such beautiful country it is paramont to enjoying the stunning views of Chiapas.

We had read that Tuxtla was not much of a place, but we disagree with the guide books. It is a Mexican City and we loved it. A beautiful parque centro, miles of commerce and street vendors. A hustle and bustle but still time to stop and smell the roses. We found a steal on Hotels.com for a new hotel and some unexpected luxury. Not since we left have I slept in a bed that was comfortable, clean and surrounded by North American type conveniences. What a hoot, I had forgotten the small pleasure of courtesy shampoos and creams, white fluffy towels, hot water and a toilet that flushes. Oft times along the road you are given a dipper and you ladle water from a barrel to flush what you’ve left behind. And you pay for the priviledge! But I digress! Breakfast included, and cheap taxis made the Tuxtla hotel an otherwordly valhalla at a great price relative to some of our digs.

The only reason went to Tuxtla was to rent a car, there not being one avialable in San Cristobal, and although we changed our plans and didn’t rent the car we were happy to have seen Tuxtla. Not only did It have a delightful parque central where mirimba bands played every night and Tuxtlans danced with rhythmic ease, we had easy access via collectivos to the countryside and some spectacular sights.

Chiapa de Corzo Excursion

Short on time we managed one excursion to the town of Chiapa de Corzo where we took a motor launch up the Sumidero Canyon. The launch was realtively small so not a great hoard of people and everyone was required to wear a life jacket! A safety standard!

Straight Up Walls and Barenaked Waterfalls

Rounding the first corner of the Grijalva River we could see suddenly what we were up against. Plunging skyward at 90 degree angles or less, 1000 meter tall, time layered walls erupt from the river. Etched, layered, weathered, inhabited by birds, clinging trees and plants, all daring to make these great heights their home, the walls are an open book into the earths crust.

R

To the casual eye the faces of these cliffs provide an unreadable hisotry of epic proportion. Word has it that the local Maya warriors threw themselves off these cliffs instead of succumbing to Spanish rule. The color of the water in the river ran from emerald green to aquamarine blue depending on the depth and the angle of the sun in the canyon. It seems that in the world of travel, there’s always some subtle reminder that paradise has its limits and sure enough at the end of the river is an ugly hydro dam and close to the dam, a boat tied to a moor, selling snacks, refreshments and souveneirs with two enterprising young men at the helm.

The end of the dry season is upon the canyon and an enormous waterfall is naked in the sun. Nary a drop of water to cover its bare hide. Our second dry waterfall, the first being in Cuba, was not as disappointing however as the structure that is created in the rock face by countless years of water erosion is quite fascinating. The bed of the absent waterfall is a lumpy conglomeration of warped rock in a scalloped pattern resembling shelf mushrooms on forest trees.

The two hour boat trip landed back at Chiapo de Corzo giving us enough time to walk the pleasant streets of town before returning to our luxury digs at the Hotel Divorxe.

San Cristobal – I’m In Love

Picture a Mexican Banff. Mountains surround the town, the air is crisp and clear, it cools off in the evening and you need a blanket at night. There was even a fireplace in my room at the lovely hacienda style hotel, Rincon de Los Arcos. The old part of town is home to Maya vendors from the pueblos that dot the hillsides around the city. It has an uptown flair that comes from tourism and several of the streets in el centro are pedestrian traffic only. They are lined with expensive shops and restaurants. I spent two lovely days just wandering on foot, visiting churches, museums and window shopping. Tom took a tour to the countryside to see a spectcular waterfall that was not as it turned out, barenaked.

Special Bulletin

Wanted – Groomed or Not

Young lady of indecipherable nationality, last seen performing contortunist poses in the San Cristobal bus terminal. Suffering from ealry on-set dreadlocks and a lethal fashion sense (plaid harem pants) was last seen barefoot and with ankles behind her head. She is armed, legged and dangerous. The public threat is serious as exposure to what lies beneath the overstretched seams of her harem pants could cause pandemonium in a bus terminal full of modest Mexican’s. If you spot this young backpacker do not approach her but if she approaches you throw some shoes at her and report her immediately to an ADO staff member as a non Canadian. (Lie if you have to)

Author: scbates

I love to travel, solo or together with friends. I seem to have fallen into a pattern (at least for now) of Europe in the fall, Latin America in the winter and home on beautiful Vancouver Island for spring and summer...but this could change anytime.

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