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Chiapas Research - October 2019

Bob's MayaWorld isn't huge on improvisation. I mean, its great in music but the last thing a guest needs is to find out her guide doesn't direct experience with all the destinations and the associated tourism infrastructure. Last month I traveled with Adolf Jonsson with Mexiday throughout Chiapas on a 9 day adventure. Highlights included:

1) Palenque and Tonina. These sites are both crucial to an understanding of Late Classic Maya history. While Palenque is well know to most, Tonina is strangely under visited.

2) Tour of some "minor sites". Sak Ts'i', Chinkultik, Tenam Puente and Chiapa de Corzo.

Tonina is a great site located between San Cristobal de las Casas and Palenque, just outside of the large pueblo of Oscosingo. Most of the site that we can visit is a vertical city with multiple plazas with pyramids and temples. The height of the pyramid complex is 75 meters and new discoveries now conclude that the complex is much larger than previously believed.

On the ground level near the pyramid complex is the biggest ball court that I've ever seen. It's a very well preserved structure with fascinating details

There is so much to see in Tonina that I can't share in this media. Suffice to say that the stuccoes, stelas, and hieroglyphic staircase are must see.

On the road to Yaxchilan I highly recommend the Maya site "Sak Ts'i'" or "White Dog". An active participant in the warfare between Palenque, Tonina and Yaxchilan among others. The area open to the public is on the top of a steep hill that can be a bit tricky. However, the access road is actually better than I thought so there is no reason not to invest a few hours to see some unique architecture.

The biggest problem we faced on this October trip was the rain we had for two days. It forced us to push on without seeing Yaxchilan. Bummer. Subjecting ourselves to a travel experiment we decided to push on to the southeast through Benemerito all away around the border with Guatemala to Comitán. Dear reader, unless you are extremely interested in seeing the security presence of Mexican forces along the border, don't take this route. It's much preferable to backtrack from Yaxchilan to Palenque and continue your journey.

However, we did take the opportunity of seeing the beautiful site of Chinkultic which is located adjacent to the Montebello National Park. It is indeed beautiful.

Photos from Chinkultic

Comitân is a nice town to stay for a few days. The site of Tenam Puente turned out to be a real surprise to me; it is much larger than I could have anticipated:

Of course no trip to Chiapas would be complete without a boat tour of Sumidero Canyon. Here's a shot of my Viking friend Orvar, looking great as usual.

For information on the Group Tour to Chiapas from Merida on February 22, 2020 check out this page:

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