The verdant state of Chiapas features cool mountain highlands, coffee plantations and lush rainforest. Visit the highland colonial city of San Cristobal de las Casas and traditional Tzotzil Mayan communities, where the people proudly wear distinctive traditional outfits with elaborate decorations and beribboned hats.
Explore the mysterious Mayan ruins of Palenque, reached by road from San Cristobal or Villahermosa, and marvel at the Sumidero river canyon or the beautiful waterfalls of Agua Azul and Misol-Ha.
Deep in the Lacandon jungle on the river border with Guatemala lie the remote ruins of Yaxchilan and Bonampak, resplendent with vivid-coloured murals, ornate carvings and superbly preserved stelae, and home to an abundance of tropical birds.
Explore Palenque & San Cristobal
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Places to Visit
Palenque is the magnificent ancient city of the Mayas. Palenque was built with admirable aesthetic sensitivity to the site's natural setting at the foot of the Chiapas Mountains. The buildings, of which only a few have been excavated and restored, are enchanting by virtue of their light, graceful appearance and their marvellous painted stucco decorations. The Great Palace dominates the site. From its interior courtyard rises a unique, four-storey tower believed to have served as an astronomical observatory. Throughout the palace you will find finely detailed reliefs depicting human figures and scenes from the life of the city, and several as yet un-deciphered pictograms. Another imposing building on the site is the Pyramid of the Inscriptions
San Cristobal de las Casas
San Cristobal de las Casas was founded as Ciudad Real (Royal City) in 1528 by Diego de Mazariegos, a Spaniard who was sent to punish the natives of the region, after they revolted against the conquistadores. The Indians were compelled to do heavy labour, part of which was the construction of the fine baroque churches that are still standing proudly today. The cause of the Indian slaves was taken up by Father Bartolome de las Casas, after whom the city is now named
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