Photo of Chiapas

About Chiapas

Chiapas is Mexico’s southern most state, and, it’s something of a Mexico in miniature - just missing an expanse of desert and a city of global proportions. Chiapas has moist jungles hiding ancient Mayan ruins - this is where you’ll find Yaxchilán and Palenque - and opening out onto long stretch of sandy coast. It has graceful colonial cities, Chiapas de Corzo and San Cristóbal de las Casas are particularly rich in charm and Spanish history; coffee and cocoa plantations, and the pristine Laguna Miramar, a remote biosphere reserve packed with wildlife. Choosing the best places to stay in Chiapas really depends on what sort of experiences you want to have while you’re here, as your options range from all-out, beachside luxury to remote eco lodges.

What Not to Miss

Writing about what not to miss in a state this size and diverse is challenging - do you want to see as many Mayan ruins are you can fit in? Explore the lush interior and strike out for new ground and new discoveries? Experience the best a Mexican beat holiday can offer, follow the path of the Spanish colonials, or do a bit of this and a bit of that? But this state’s list of highlights is quite something, so let’s start there.

  • The impressive Mayan temples at Palenque are arguably the top Mayan site in Mexico. Beautifully preserved, it’s laid out so that when you enter you see a row of magnificent buildings leading towards the Temple de las Inscripciones, which is the site’s grandest sight, and also one of its most significant. You will recognise it from photos, and it really is bucket-list-worthy. It’s incredible that the construction of these huge monuments was even possible.
  • Yaxchilán is the other great Mayan highlight. It’s also surrounded by dense jungle, though this time its location, on a loop of a great river, plays a part in the majesty of the place as well as the ornate designs to its architecture and archaeology.
  • If your Mayan interest is now bubbling up you’ll want to visit the less-visited Toniná, which is actually the city that did for Palenque. The ruins are spectacular, but of some reason hardly anyone comes here.
  • Once you’ve appreciated the skill and stories of the ancient Mayans you might want to see what the Spanish brought with them, and what the indigenous Mexican population contributed, and a good place to do that is San Cristóbal de las Casas. This small city’s highland valley setting, surrounded by traditional Tzeltal and Tzotzil villages, and its markets and cobbled streets, have been drawing visitors for decades.
  • If you’re here for an adventure - and Chiapas certainly has an air of needing to be explored - then the Sumidero Canyon might be a highlight. It’s spectacular. But also damned, so you can now speed along the canyon floor on a boat, and really appreciate the sheerness and drama of its walls.
  • And while you’re admiring stunning natural wonders you might also want to visit the waterfalls of El Chiflón, which tumble 120metres off the edge of an escarpment. Or the almost magically pristine Laguna Miramar, with its howler monkeys, tapirs, toucans, macaws, butterflies and crocodiles - among a myriad of species to choose from. Come on in, the water is warm, but make sure you’ve booked to stay for a few days, there’s a lot to see, but it’s also a long way to come.

The Best Places to Stay in Chiapas

In San Cristóbal de las Casas

  • The Hotel Bo is an architectural masterpiece nestled in a colourful garden in gorgeous San Cristóbal de las Casas. It has 22 contemporary rooms decorated with vibrant colours, and there’s plenty of light everywhere. There’s also an excellent Mexican restaurant.
  • The Casa na Bolom is charming, 16 room boutique-style hotel with its own museum! The rooms have some nice decoration, and the odd indigenous artefact or handicraft, and a fireplace. And in the dining room there’s an enormous dining table arranged under lampshades made from old hats. Rooms start from under £50 per night.

For Palenque

  • Quinta Chanabnal is a luxurious property surrounded by lush gardens. The decor and design is inspired by Mayan architecture and there’s plenty of beautifully carved wood in the eight suites. And private plunge pools. And spa treatments based on traditional Mayan techniques. And exemplary local cuisine.

For Traditional Charm

  • The Parador Santa Maria occupies a picture perfect historic building in lush gardens. It also has just eight rooms - and its own museum. The rooms have heavily draped four-poster beds, antiques in dark wood, exposed stonework and cool tiles. There’s also a serene pool and you’re close to time impressive local ruins.

For Great Value

  • The Casa na Bolom is charming, 16 room boutique-style hotel with its own museum! The rooms have some nice decoration, and the odd indigenous artefact or handicraft, and a fireplace. And in the dining room there’s an enormous dining table arranged under lampshades made from old hats. Rooms start from under £50 per night.

For an Apartment or Villa

If you’d prefer to stay in an apartment or private villa we recommend you visit our online partner, booking.com.

Travel Information

  • There’s a small international airport in Tuxtla, the state capital, but you might consider travelling into the state via Tabasco, like Graham Greene did in the 30s. Or via one of Chiapas’ neighbours, Oaxaca, Yucatán and Veracruz, or you might even travel in from Guatemala.
  • If you’re thinking about hiring a car we recommend checking what our online partners, Rentalcars have to offer.
  • Chiapas has a fairly tropical climate with warm, dry winters and hot, wet summers. February, March and April are lovely and sunny, but November and December are lovely too, offering a relief from the winters of the northern hemisphere.

Still not sure which is the best place to stay in Chiapas for you?


Monthly Weather in Chiapas

Best Hotels in Chiapas

  • Casa Na Bolom San Cristobal de las Casas 16 rooms from £42

    Local markets  -  Explore San Cristóbal and its fascinating markets where you can purchase beautiful handicrafts.
    Great walks  -  Take a guided tour of mountain villages, where you’ll visit indigenous churches and homes.
    Full of character
    House party feel  -  Be prepared to meet people.
    RestaurantGardenViewsParkingNo pets
    Recommended by  -  I Escape, Fodors

    A charming boutique hotel and museum of Lacandon people (to whom the proceeds go). A treasure trove of indigenous art, artefacts and handicrafts. Each unique bedroom has a fireplace. Dinner is served at the enormous dinning table under lampshades made of old hats! See More

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  • Parador Santa Maria Chiapas 8 rooms from £62

    Museums  -  Visit the hotel's own Museum of Sacred Art set in a converted chapel and displays works of important Mexican artists.
    Country Escape  -  An atmospheric country house in a stunning remote location.
    Sights nearby  -  Visit the archeological site of Chinkultic just 10km from the property.
    Great walks  -  Embark on picturesque walks besides the Monebello Lakes.
    RestaurantSwimming PoolGardenViewsParkingNo pets

    A picture perfect historic building set in lush gardens. Traditional rooms feature heavily draped four-poster beds, dark antique furniture, exposed stonework and cool tiled floors. Boasting a serene pool, its own museum and plenty of grounds to explore. Just minutes from Mayan ruins. Rural bliss. See More

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  • Quinta Chanabnal Palenque 8 rooms from £117

    Local exploring  -  A Mayan inspired property just minutes from the real thing (ruins of Palenque).
    Sights nearby  -  Discover the Mayan ruins of the ancient city of Palenque.
    Birdwatching  -  The nearby lagoon attracts a host of birds.
    Secluded setting  -  For escaping.
    Air conditioningSpaSwimming PoolGardenParkingNo pets
    Recommended by  -  I Escape

    A luxury property set amidst lush gardens and inspired by Mayan architecture. Comprising of just eight suites which feature plenty of wood, natural auburn hues and the best have private plunge pools. Spa treatments use traditional Mayan techniques. Dine on exemplary regional dishes. Superb. See More

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  • Hotel Bo San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas 22 rooms from £148

    Local exploring  -  A cool contemporary hotel providing easy access to some of Chiapas' best archealogical and historical sights.
    Sights nearby  -  Visit the impressive Cathedral that overlooks the main square.
    Local markets  -  Scour the handicrafts market for local artefacts.
    Full of character
    RestaurantGardenParkingNo pets
    Recommended by  -  Tablet

    An architectural masterpiece nestled in colourful gardens amidst the historical town of San Cristobal de las Casas. Contemporary rooms feature vibrant colours, plenty of light and luxury bathrooms. A fantastic Mexican restaurant also holds a great wine and tequila list. Fabulous. See More

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