This active Chiapas trip in Mexico combines mountain biking, rafting, and hiking as you explore the Mundo Maya (Mayan World) and experience first-hand Chiapas' traditional cultures. This is an ideal Mexico tour for travelers interested in multisport activities who also want an authentic experience with visits to local villages, Maya ruins, and remote rainforest.
Take a cultural biking journey through the Chiapan countryside
Hike Montebello Lakes, a cluster of over 50 lakes ranging in size and color
Search for wildlife at Lacandona Rainforest, a protected area
Boat to Rio Lacantun for bird watching and wildlife viewing
Activities that provide a reasonable level of physical challenge and elevate the heart rate. Focused on more active pursuits including multisport tours. Travelers may be active 5-7 hours total each day. Recommended for travelers with active lifestyles.
Upon arrival at Tuxtla Gutierrez airport, meet your guide and transfer to Chiapa de Corzo and Sumidero Canyon. After exploring the canyon, return to the dock and head to the picturesque town of San Cristobal de las Casas. Conclude the tour with a drop-off in San Cristóbal de las Casas, having experienced a boat trip down the Grijalva River through the lush Sumidero Canyon.
Start your day with breakfast and set off on a cultural and biking adventure through the Chiapan countryside. Begin with a vehicle transfer to San Juan Chamula, where you'll explore the main church and indigenous cemetery. The biking journey to San Lorenzo Zinacantan spans approximately 10 km, with flat stretches, stony up-and-downhill slopes, and scenic pine forests. Take a moment at a beautiful overlook before descending into Zinacantan to learn about the history and traditions of the highland Maya. Visit traditional back-strap weavers, relish handmade tortillas, and share lunch with a Zinacantecan family. Don't miss the chance to sample local home-brewed Pox (Agua ardiente) before returning to San Cristobal de las Casas in the late afternoon. Enjoy some free time to explore the charming streets independently, and for dinner, choose from one of the local restaurants at your leisure.
Explore the stunning Montebello National Park, home to 59 lakes showcasing a mesmerizing array of colors and sizes. Visit 7 to 9 of these lakes, immersing yourself in the diverse local flora and fauna. Marvel at the water's hues, ranging from greens and blues to purples and blacks. Within the park lies the Chinkultic archaeological zone, featuring over 200 structures. Climb the Mirador for panoramic views that overlook the multitude of lakes in Montebello.
Descend from the Chiapas highlands with a drive into the Lacandona Rainforest. Stop at the Las Nubes Waterfall on the Santo Domingo River, famous for its vibrant turquoise color, for a 1.5 hour hike in the area. After lunch at a local restaurant, continue for two hours to Las Guacamayas, an environmental education and ecotourism center and your home for the next two nights. This lodge focuses on the conservation of habitat for the macaw in this region. Relax in your cabanas with a private bathroom and hot water, and fall asleep to the sounds of the jungle as you prepare for the next day’s Chiapas adventure.
Lacandona Rainforest is a protected area with tremendous opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife viewing, including jaguars and eagles, both important symbols for the Maya. Tucans, red macaws, curassows, tucancillo collarejo, and cojolite (turkeys) are all found in this area, species sought by the Maya for their traditional headdresses.
Enjoy a full day in Las Guacamayas with options to tailor the experience to your preferences. If relaxation is your goal, kick back in a hammock. Alternatively, choose from various included activities. Embark on a two-hour boat trip along the Rio Lacantun for birdwatching and wildlife viewing—maybe even catch a glimpse of a jaguar if luck is on your side. Or, opt for a hike to spot the reserve's vibrant macaws. The day is yours to design based on your interests and desires.
Bid farewell to Las Guacamayas and depart to Yaxchitlan, a Maya complex known for its strategic (and scenic) location on a bend in the Usumacinta River. The site displays ornamental facades and stelae (or carved stone slabs) that depict Maya battles and ceremonial events. Due to the remoteness of this site, Yaxchitlan is less-visited than other Maya ruins of similar importance and size, giving you more quiet and freedom to explore Yaxchitlan with your local guide.
Day 7: Rafting the Lacanja River | Bonampak Maya Ruins
Hit the river with a half-day rafting trip on the Lacanja River. This scenic river cuts through lush rainforest and passes through small waterfalls and pools, giving a nice variation between meandering stretches and exciting drops. Most drops are 3-5 feet high with one at 8 feet and a Class II-III rating depending on the water level.
This afternoon visit Bonampak, a Maya site meaning “Painted Walls” in a Maya dialect. The site is famous for its vivid frescoes showing the consecration of the ruling elite’s heirs, depictions of battles, sacrifices, and ceremonies and displays some of the finest murals found in the pre-colonial Americas. Many murals remained unfinished due to the fall of the classic Maya civilization. In the evening, travel to Palenque and overnight.
Palenque was an important power center during the height of Mayan civilization that dates back to 100 BC. It is still unclear what led to the important city state’s fall around 900 AD. Nestled deep in jungles at the foot of the Sierra Madre del Sur, Palenque’s setting is as memorable as the site is important for the light it sheds on Maya traditions, ritual, ceremony, and spirituality. A massive complex spread over 15 sq. km., only the central area has been excavated. Peruse the Templo de Las Inscripciones, a burial monument that is Palenque’s tallest building, and El Palacio, the residence of Palenque’s rulers built in stages from 400 AD until 900 AD and restored in 1955. The palace’s tower is believed to have been constructed so Maya royalty and priests could watch the falling sun during the winter solstice.
After Palenque, continue to the Mishol-Ha Waterfall that cascades 115 feet into a pool surrounded by lush, green vegetation. An optional path winds behind the main falls that acts as a curtain and leads into a cave. Be prepared to get wet, but it is a nice break from the tropical heat. Bring your swimsuit and take a swim in designated areas during low flows.
Day 9: Transfer to Villahermosa
Transfer to Villahermosa (two hours) for a late morning or afternoon flight out of the airport to your next destination in Mexico or to return home.
The trip was terrific with great planning on your part. Most of the adventures were not mainstream and somewhat off the beaten path which made it especially enjoyable!! We felt taken care of and you all were readily available to respond to questions and issues. I would highly recommend your company and friends have already expressed interest based on our pictures and excitement.
TrustScore 4.6 | 107 reviews
TrustScore 4.6 of 5
Based on 107 reviews on
20 hours ago
Clara and Rhenee were gracious and available. Phone contact is so important to answer questions and discuss all aspects of trip. If not immediately available they scheduled a time to speak.
They were knowledgeable, honest, realistic and very friendly. They are both very professional and take their role seriously.
20 hours ago
Jason has been wonderful. He is full of information and was very willing to listen to what was of interest to us.
2 days ago
The ability (of Kassandra) to tailor a guided trip to my exact preferences is very valuable to me, as well as the ability (of Kassandra) to provide expert guidance on destinations and travel dates. I also appreciate the ability of the backup staff (Maria Ignacio, Exito Travel) to coordinate all the details to make the travel logistics easy for the customer.
2 days ago
Our Costa Rica trip was amazing! Kassandra planned everything and the excursions, hotels, overall organization were outstanding. Everything worked out smoothly, the excursions guides were knowledgeable allowing us to see so much of the fauna and flora of the country. The hotels were great as well, all in fantastic locations and with beautiful views.
2 days ago
This is our 7th trip Kassandra has planned and she is wonderful to work with. She is responsive, helpful, patient and knowledgeable. We are so grateful to have the opportunity to work together with her. We love Adventure Life!