Chiapas’ Lacandon Jungle

Into Chiapas’ wonders

Chiapas is a paradise located in the South of Mexico, next to Guatemala. It hosts the Lacandon Jungle, along with many lakes, rivers, and waterfalls: the home of many animals and plants. Howler monkeys, guacamaya parrots, crocodiles, iguanas… The list of species living there is quite long, and not all of them can be seen by humans, however, some can be spotted easily in their natural environment. The best way for that is probably taking a ride on a boat along the rivers that flow through the jungle. In the Lacadon Jungle, water and forest become one.

A long yet delightful journey

The journey into the Lacandon Jungle starts in San Cristóbal de las Casas or Comitán de Dominguez (if you have time you won’t regret visiting both; if not, make sure you spend at least one day in San Cristobal). The journey from San Cristobal to Comitán is around 2.5-3 hours by car, and from San Cristobal to Lagunas de Montebello, a must-see, is about a 4-hour ride.

Lagunas de Montebello National Park

Surrounded by mountains, there are 59 multicolored lakes in this National Park. Their colors change several times a day, and even from one minute to another. The area was first open in 1959 and today it’s a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

This lake, known as the “International Lake”, is between Mexico and Guatemala. The picture was taken from the Mexican side of the border, showing the Guatemalan mountains.

Travelers are welcome to swim or row on the lakes. It is also possible to eat traditional food around the lake or get something to drink while you watch the lakes change color as time goes by.

After spending the day around the lake area and maybe crossing the border by foot to explore a Guatemalan market, it’s time to continue the journey to the east to find a way into the jungle.

Down the river. The best way to explore the Lacandon Jungle.

Even if there are many ways of exploring the area and many possible spots where to do it, we recommend a small hidden place that is not to be missed. We are talking about Las Guacamayas, an ecotourism destination next to the Lacantun river. It was named after the project from where it originated: the conservation of the red guacamaya parrot, a beautiful and colourful bird that is severely threatened because of illegal trafficking. Las Guacamayas offers accommodation in the form of huts but it is always possible to find some more conventional hotel rooms in the area for cheaper. Here, there are many activities on offer, including hiking, kayaking, bird watching, and river boat rides. If lucky, some monkeys, birds, macaws, fish, and iguanas can be observed in this wild environment.

The best time to explore Lacantun river is during sunset: the animals are getting ready for dinner and going to bed before nocturne predators begin their hunt.

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