4 Things to Do in the Authentic Town of Chiapa de Corzo

Authentic Chiapa de Corzo is a small town that’s been pretty popular among Mexican vacationers, but we think it’s unjustly underrated. Even though there’s not a ton of things to do, it’s still a great place to stay while visiting the Sumidero Canyon and the El Aguacero waterfall.

Especially useful when traveling around in a rental car

Chiapa de Corzo is just an hour’s drive from San Cristóbal de las Casas and you’ll pass through it on the way from Puerto Escondido or Mazunte to San Cristóbal. Here boats leave for the famous Sumidero Canyon that many travelers want to visit.  However, the majority of people visit this gorge from San Cristóbal de las Casas usually by bus. But if you’re driving a rental car, it’s better to stay in Chiapa de Corzo for one or two nights. This way, you’ll save an hour of driving and won’t have to make another hour-long trip to the canyon and back to San Cristóbal. Plus, from Chiapa de Corzo, you can easily reach the El Aguacero waterfall, which is only a 2-hour drive from San Cristóbal anyway.

What to do in Chiapa de Corzo?

We stayed in Chiapa de Corzo for three nights but found it to be a bit too long. If you want to see all the sights, we recommend two nights. If you’re just visiting the gorge or the waterfall, one night is enough. You can check out in the morning and head to San Cristóbal de las Casas.

Fuente Mudéjar and the central square

The coziest spot in town is Plaza Central de Chiapa de Corzo, which is the central square, as the name suggests. In the late afternoon, around sunset, the square comes alive and can get pretty crowded. The main attraction is the Fuente Mudéjar fountain, which was built in 1562 in the Moorish style. It’s a great place to sit and people-watch for a while.

Visit Cascada El Aguacero

An hour’s drive from Chiapa de Corzo is the breathtaking El Aguacero waterfall. It’s a small natural wonder located in a gorge, where several streams of water fall over the edge into the river below, surrounded by lush tropical plants. During the dry season from December to March, you can lounge on the riverbed, sunbathe, and cool off under the waterfall. But during the rainy season, the river is wider and there’s less room to swim. Don’t forget to bring plenty of water and snacks, as there are no food or drink vendors by the waterfall.

Tip: El Aguacero is not yet a very well-known waterfall but I’m sure it won’t be for long. We were there right when it opened at 9:00 and had this magical place all to ourselves for the first 1.5 hours. Highly recommended! It’s always better to avoid the weekends because it gets quite busy. 

Boat tour of the Sumidero Canyon

The Sumidero Canyon, or Cañón del Sumidero in Spanish, is a 1,000-meter-deep gorge that the Grijalva River runs through. Here monkeys swing through the trees, tropical birds flying around, and crocodiles bask in the sun. The best way to see the canyon is with a 2-hour boat tour, and there are two departure points to choose from. The first boat leaves around 10 Am from here and at 11 Am other boats leave from here. Remember to bring some change as a tip for the guide, and sunscreen and a hat or cap can also come in handy.

Check out the Sumidero Canyon viewpoints

Another great way to view the Sumidero Canyon is from above. You can drive (or take a taxi) to five different viewpoints, with the last one being the most impressive. From this viewpoint, you’ll have a straight-on view of the 1,000-meter-deep gorge. If you have a rental car, this is the way to go, but you can also take a taxi. 

The five viewpoints, in order from the first to the farthest, are:

  • Mirador La Ceiba
  • Mirador La Coyota
  • Mirador El Roblar
  • Mirador El Tepehuaje
  • Mirador Los Chiapas (the most impressive)

Opening hours: 8 a.m.-4 p.m. but closed on Tuesdays.

Tip: At the boat trip and at the viewpoint, you have to pay an entrance fee to the national park. You will then be given a band that allows you to visit both sites. So leave these on because otherwise you will have to pay twice.

Best restaurants in Chiapa de Corzo

Chiapa de Corzo isn’t quite set up for foreign tourism yet, and as a result, the dining options are limited. The only restaurant we were reasonably happy with was D’Avellino Ristorante Italiano. If you have any other recommendations, we’d love to hear from you.

Our favorite places to stay in Chiapa de Corzo

Chiapa de Corzo doesn’t have many hotels to choose from, unfortunately. There are two hotels that are good for a one or two-nights stay. Hotel Mansión del Valle Chiapa de Corzo  is a nice hotel located right on the central square, but it can be noisy, so bring earplugs. Hotel La Ceiba has a beautiful large garden and simple but decent rooms. However, at the end of the dry season, the nearby river can smell quite bad, so it may be a problem in March. The rest of the year it doesn’t smell that bad in Chiapa de Corzo. If you plan to stay in March, ask for a room on the street side to avoid the odor.