After five relaxing days hanging out in San Cristobal De Las Casas, we packed up the Subaru and made our way towards Tapachula; our final stop in Mexico before heading to Guatemala! Buuutttt, not before we paid a visit to Cascada El Chiflon.
The drive from San Cristobal De Las Casas to Tapachula was estimated to be around 8 hours, so it made sense to break it up into two days since we had 72 hours until our COVID tests expired. Our drives through Mexico have mostly been through mountain ranges, so it was a pleasant surprise when this leg was mostly flat bumpy farmland and small towns. We also passed an enormous wind farm that stretched for miles and miles. It was pretty cool to see.
We couldn’t find much information on accommodations in the area since it is pretty remote, but after some digging around on the internet we found out there were hotel rooms inside the park and we reserved one of them for $30/night. It would have been nice to camp around here as well, but I had my period and was in a lot of pain, so we opted for the more comfortable stay.
Cascada el Chiflon is a natural waterpark comprised of five tiered waterfalls in Chiapas. You can literally see the tallest of the waterfalls “Velo De La Novia” (Bride’s Veil) from miles away as you’re approaching the park. Inside there are a few food stands with snacks, a restaurant, a few hotel rooms, parking, wifi and ziplines.
We dropped our stuff off in our room and made our way towards the waterfalls. At the base of the waterfalls there are multiple pools you can swim in. The water is a crystal clear turquoise. It doesn’t look real. It’s also insanely cold. Brrrrrr.
The waterfalls are set up so you can climb up stairs along the side until you get to the tallest waterfall El Velo De La Novia, which stands at 120m/393 ft. It’s insane how big it looks when you get to the top. You can barely hear anyone around you because the sound of water rushing right next to you is so intense. You can also feel the pressure from the water falling down and we got completely soaked standing at the highest view point. It was honestly kind of terrifying. There is also a rainbow over the waterfall that supposedly never disappears. Pretty sweet.
The park was super fun and filled with families enjoying themselves while also cooling off from the hot hot weather. If you’re traveling with kids this is definitely a stop you want to make.
We made whatever food we had leftover in the cooler for dinner and got to sleep early.
The next morning we had some fruit, got in the car and got on the road towards Tapachula. Now this drive was not flat at all. The entirety of it until we got to Tapachula was through really windy roads which we were used to, but we were also at 8,000 ft or so elevation throughout so we were driving through clouds making it a liiiittle hard to see.
At one point we reached a bridge connecting a valley that had a bunch of traffic on it. We thought it might be construction or something until we got closer and realized that goats were blocking the road! It was soooo cute. They were running all over the place not caring at all that they were blocking the road. Little cuties.
So we finally made it to Tapachula around 5:30/6 PM and were sooo hungry. We didn’t have any groceries left because we weren’t sure if we could bring fresh produce into Guatemala or not and we figured there would be something to eat in Tapachula. We were wrong. The only thing we could find that was open on this lovely Sunday evening was Dominos. Now Dominos is never my first choice of what to eat, but in this instance I guess it was my only choice.
I ordered a pizza w/o any cheese on it and opted for olives and pineapple. Don’t ask me why. It was pretty gross, but I didn’t want to just eat dough and sauce. Keith got a taco pizza and ate the entire thing.
We prepped our documents for the border crossing in the morning and went to bed. A few hours into being fast asleep I could hear Keith getting up to go to the bathroom repeatedly. I thought to myself “Oh shit.” Literally.
In the morning when I woke up Keith let me know he hadn’t slept at all and was having some intense food poisoning from that delicious meal. I felt so bad. It was really hot out and we had to cross the border because our COVID tests were expiring the next morning so staying an extra day wasn’t an option.
So like the trooper he is, Keith powered through the day. We had to run around Tapachula for a bit and find some electrolyte drinks so that Keith wouldn’t totally dehydrate himself. We also found a really cute little vegan/organic shop called Loveganics. They had vegan nut based cheese, kombucha, vegan snacks, fresh baked bread, pastries and like everything I wanted. It was perfect. We stocked up on a few things for the drive that would be easy on Keith’s stomach and made our way to the border.
Tapachula is pretty much right on the border with Guatemala, the crossing there is called Tecun Uman and it is located in Ciudad Hidalgo about an hour away from Tapachula. Tapachula is the main commercial border crossing in the area connecting Mexico to Central America. I was so excited, but also so nervous to enter a new country! I was also worried Keith’s stomach wasn’t going to make it through the day…
Tapachula is definitely a great place to stop for the night if you’re planning on crossing the border into Guatemala. The city has everything you could need/want as along as you’re not there on a Sunday night 😉 The few people we interacted with were so kind. I stopped at a bakery to make a few copies right before we left and the woman who ran the shop refused to accept any money for the copies she made me. Instead she gifted me a box of cookies, but I insisted on paying for them and picked up a few other fresh baked goods. She told me she wanted us to always feel like we had a home waiting for us in Tapachula. It was such a heartwarming way to end our month in Mexico. Little interactions like that are what traveling is all about for me.
Miles driven: 3,872
Days on the road: 31 – 33
Next stop: Quetzaltenango, Guatemala