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When you think of waterfalls, there are a few countries that probably come to mind: Iceland, Croatia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Venezuela… Okay, I think we can agree there are a lot of countries known for their waterfalls. And I think we can also agree that Mexico wouldn’t usually be one of them.
As it turns out, however, the Chiapas region of Mexico has some waterfalls that could compete with the big guys. I’ve never been as impressed by a waterfall as I was in Chiapas – and it happened more than once.
These are my four favourite Chiapas waterfalls, and are reason enough to make time to visit Chiapas on your trip to Mexico.
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Let’s jump in with the waterfall you’ve most likely heard of, shall we? The Agua Azul waterfalls are one of the few places in Chiapas that have made it on to the tourist trail.
There’s a good reason why a visit to Agua Azul is one of the most popular things to do in Chiapas. The name Agua Azul (“Blue Water”) really doesn’t do these waterfalls justice; the turquoise hues really have to be seen to be believed. If you’re all about getting the perfect Insta-worthy shot, then you’ll definitely want to spend time at Agua Azul.
And you could easily spend half a day there. This series of waterfalls stretches further than the eye can see, so much that it will take you at least a good hour or two to see them all. Pack your swimsuit, too, because you can swim in some of the smaller pools at the edge of the waterfall.
Agua Azul: The best waterfall in Chiapas?
Maybe – but not for me.
Although Agua Azul may be the most famous Chiapas waterfall, I can’t honestly say it was my favourite. Far from it, in fact. There’s no denying that it’s an impressive waterfall and the kind of place you talk about for a long time, but it felt very commercialised compared to the rest of Chiapas. One of the most amazing things about visiting Chiapas was just how quiet and untouched it felt, but Agua Azul was a little overcrowded and the best views (and photos!) were blocked by the large number of stalls lining the path next to it.
That said, it’s still well worth the visit, especially if you combine it with a visit to the Palenque ruins and/or Misol Ha waterfall (which we’ll get to soon).
Cascadas El Chiflon
If you like big, badass waterfalls, Cascadas El Chiflon are the Chiapas waterfalls for you. El Chiflon is another series of waterfalls but, unlike Agua Azul, each one sits apart from the others and has its own distinct character.
There are five waterfalls at El Chiflon in total. At around 120 metres, the biggest of them all is the Velo de Novia (Bride’s Veil, above), and you’ll probably hear it long before you see it. If you’re feeling brave – and don’t mind getting wet! – step up onto the viewing platform to take in its enormity.
As you make your way up the El Chiflon trail, you’ll also stumble across the other El Chiflon waterfalls: El Suspiro (The Sigh), Ala de Angel (Angel’s Wing), Quinceañera and my personal favourite, Arco Iris (Rainbow – because there’s a permanent rainbow across it!).
If you’re prepared for the wind and noise of the waterfalls, it’s possible to camp inside the grounds of El Chiflon. The town of Comitan is only 30km, however, so it also makes for an easy day trip. San Cristobal de las Casas is around 2 hours away and, if you’re staying for more than one night, it’s worth taking half a day to visit El Chiflon waterfalls.
Misolha – or Misol Ha or Misol-ha – is another waterfall close to Palenque. Surrounded by thick trees and a little bit off the main path, it’s a the Misolha waterfall is starting to become more known as one of the best things to do in Palenque aside from the ruins. It’s fairly easy to get to, which I why I think every Chiapas visitor should make a point of stopping to see it.
For me, Misolha was probably the least impressive waterfall on this list, but don’t let that put you off! More than just a waterfall, it’s a fantastic spot to stop for an afternoon swim or a waterside picnic on one of the large rocks that circle it. Misolha isn’t a waterfall you need a lot of time to explore, but it’s one that’s worth saving an hour or two to relax beside and enjoy. Because that’s what it is – enjoyable.
Las Nubes “Causas Verdes”
And finally we make it to my favourite Chiapas waterfalls: Las Nubes “Causas Verdes”. The craziest thing about Las Nubes is that it wasn’t on our original Mexico itinerary. We almost didn’t go there and only ended up doing so because it was one of two hotels we could stay in that night.
If we’d known what Las Nubes would be like, we all agreed that we would have spent at least a couple of days there.
Las Nubes is an ecolodge and ecotourism centre on the edge of the Lacandona Jungle. Yes, it’s on the edge of the jungle, but you’ll feel like you’re right in the heart of it. There’s not much at Las Nubes apart from the turquoise waterfalls, the cabins (or cabañas)… and the beauty of the natural surroundings. But if waking up to the sound of colourful birds singing and the sight of tropical green trees shining in the morning sun sounds as heavenly to you as it does to me, Las Nubes is a stop you shouldn’t miss.
As you rise from your cabin, you can enjoy a traditional Mexican breakfast right next to the waterfalls, before taking a mid-morning hike up to the Vista Hermosa viewpoint. Spend the afternoon walking in the nearby area, exploring the jungle and listening to the sound of the waterfalls breaking the silence.
Las Nubes is on the pricier side of accommodation in Mexico – especially in Chiapas – but it’s worth every peso. You’ll also have to plan a little to get there, but you’ll leave there feeling refreshed and smiling about the world around you, which will be a very welcome break after navigating the chaotic streets of any Mexican city.
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