Although extremely different, especially in terms of climate and identity, the southern states of Mexico, Chiapas and Yucatan, have several attractions in common. For lovers of typical Mexican colonial cities, adventurers who want to immerse themselves in lush nature and curious in search of the main Mayan archaeological sites, Chiapas is without a doubt a very attractive alternative to the famous Yucatan Peninsula.
Here are 3 reasons why Chiapas could be the new Yucatan.
1. Chiapas and Yucatan, a journey into the heart of the Mayan World
Those who travel to the Yucatan peninsula to discover the remains of the Mayan cities of Ek Balem, Uxmal or Coba in the middle of the jungle, or to admire the archaeological site of Chichen Itza, one of the new wonders of the world, will be satisfied in Chiapas. In fact, this mountainous state is also home to important ancient Mayan cities.
Among the most incredible is the pre-Hispanic city of Palenque, listed by UNESCO as one of the most influential Mayan sites. Even more lost in the middle of the jungle, accessible after a boat trip on the Usumacinta River, the first Mayan city, Yaxchilan, is an incredible archaeological site and a true jewel still very well preserved. The ancient city of Bonampak is also majestic and it is possible to contemplate original paintings, stelae and very ancient and unique lintels.
2. Immersion in the exuberant nature of both states
The Yucatan peninsula is home to several million hectares of jungle, the Selva Maya, which is one of the main lungs of the continent after the Amazon. In Chiapas, the Lacandon Jungle also plays an important role in the oxygenation of our planet. It is a marvel of biodiversity that protects hundreds of species of butterflies, birds, mammals, reptiles and plants that can be observed in their natural habitat. Another example of the natural treasures of Chiapas, El Triunfo is considered the most diverse forest in North and Central America.
Chiapas has nothing to envy the Yucatan when it comes to the famous cenotes. Geologists may argue, but in that state, these deep, wide, water-filled chasms are also called cenotes. The Chukumaltik cenote is an extraordinary place where it is possible to observe, under the crystalline waters, a magnificent statue of the Virgen de los Dolores.
3. Beautiful Mexican colonial cities in the south of Mexico
If Merida, Valladolid and Campeche are the must-see colonial cities of the Yucatan, Chiapas also has some jewels you should not miss. In fact, San Cristobal de las Casa is the most beautiful colonial city in the state, but also one of the most beautiful in the country. Founded by the Spaniards in the 16th century, this magical town fuses traditions with its architecture, making it one of the most emblematic sites in Chiapas. Its colorful houses, numerous churches and cathedral are splendid.
The center of Comitán also stands out for its colonial and baroque style. Finally, the Fuente de la Pila, a work of Spanish-American colonial art, is one of the reasons to visit Chiapa de Corzo, a town said to have been abandoned by the Spaniards because of its heat.
The state of Chiapas is a unique place for those looking to disconnect from their daily lives and discover Mexico beyond the Yucatan. With its cultural heritage and legacy of Mayan customs in addition to its exceptional landscapes and natural resources, Chiapas has everything that gives Mexico its charm.
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