My family and I went to Chiapas for the holidays. Chiapas is located in the southern part of my country, very close to the border with Guatemala. We stayed in the capital city, Tuxtla Gutiérrez. The first day, we visited Cascadas Agua Azul, Misol-Há and the pyramids of Palenque where the emperor Pakal of the Mayan dinasty K’inich ruled for 68 years. The bus picked us up at 4:30 in the morning and dropped us off at the hotel at 12:30 a.m., almost a whole day traveling.
The following day I stayed at the hotel and went sightseeing in Tuxtla. Nothing interesting to see but the cathedral and the Marimba Park where a group of musicians play every night. According to Foursquare, Las Pichanchas Restaurant was a must, so I gave it a go. It liked it so much that I went back the next night with my family. We all enjoyed their traditional (and copyrighted) drink called ‘Pumpo’. It is made of pinnaple, vodka, mineral water and ice. I strongly recommend it.
The third trip we took was to Cañón del Sumidero. They say if you go to Chiapas and you don’t go to this place, you really didn’t go to Chiapas. It was an hour length trip on boat across the Grijalva river. We saw crocodiles, buzzards and spider monkeys.
We became friends with our tour guides. Juan, whose mother tongue is tzoltzil, spoke better English than Spanish because he spent 6 years working in the U.S. as a waiter and as a policeman. He is from San Juan Chamula and is a father of 5 kids. He’s just 31 years old. The other tour guide was Victor, a former sympathizer of the EZLN (a social movement that started back in 1994). He told us he believed in miracles because four years ago he fell down in the mountains and couldn’t walk for about two months. Now, he is in perfect health.
In our last day, we went to San Cristóbal de las Casas. This place doesn’t look like the rest of Chiapas. I don’t know why but there are LOADS of Italian people living there and, accordingly, there are lots of Italian restaurants around. It has like an European atmosphere. We went shopping to the Handicrafts Market. My family bought so many clothes, amber, coffee and gifts that we were charged at the airport for excess of baggage. Oops!
We also went to Zinacantán which means ‘Land of bats’. Women elaborate their own wedding dresses and, usually, they get married before turning 20 years old (if you’re older and unmarried, you’re considered a spinster). They are great artisans and I believe they should charge more money for their work because it takes them a whole month to make ONE tablecloth.
After Zinacantán, we went to San Juan Chamula. In this town, women are sold. Men don’t pay money for them, but Poch and Coke (I’m not kidding). Poch is an alcoholic beverage, similar to hard liquor. Likewise, Chamula men are allowed to practice poligamy. They can have up to 5 wives with whom they can have up to 9 children (with each of them). The government pays them 20 pounds a month for every child. Also, they don’t allow tourists to take pictures of them. They believe it takes their souls away.
In summary, I really liked this mystical place and hope to come back soon since we didn’t have the chance to go to Selva Lacandona and La Venta.
If you want to see more pictures of Chiapas, feel free to visit my Flick page.
Happy New Year!