Puerto Chiapas Mexico
A key commercial port for Mexican trade near the Guatemala border, Puerto Chiapas has realized a very different allure since its inclusion upon Mexican Riviera cruise routes. Framed by soaring palm trees and thatched cabanas, the beaches of Puerto Chiapas are comparable to those of an exclusive Caribbean paradise – punctuated by the odd affluent hotel resort garden or beach-front restaurant. Golden sands comprise much of the scenic coastal stretch along Playa Linda, with warm crystal clear foamy waves lapping gently at the shoreline and the occasional crustacean basking in the constant sunshine.
Puerto Chiapas lies upon the Southernmost stretch of Chiapas State, just 14 km from the Sonusco region's coastal town of Tapachula. Largely a fishing town until developmental upgrades of 1975, the port city retains that quintessential close community spirit and traditions that have carried for centuries.
The cacophony of cheer and mariachi rhythms transforms the relatively placid port town during the last week of February each year, when its inhabitants lay on the Fiesta de Charro – a festival celebrating the history and competition of “Charrería” (rodeo). Dressed in Meso-American flamboyant garb, participants gather at the main plaza to commence upon a parade through the streets, riding horses, bulls and floats, bedecked with floral art. Canvas Charros (the rodeo stadium) transports visitors to the heart of the action. Charro's proudly guide their steeds on a lap of honor, prior to disappearing for preparation. Finally, the first contestant emerges for the “Jineteo de Toros” (bull-riding) round – a contest notorious for its danger and unpredictability. “Cala de Caballo” presents riders with the opportunity to demonstrate their cowboy prowess, in a round judged entirely upon skill.
Since its inclusion upon the Panama and Regent cruise itineraries, Puerto Chiapas has enjoyed a steady boom in tourism and unprecedented levels of interest in its cultural heritage. Gateway to a world of mystical rainforests and volcanic plains, the verdant exterior of Chiapas reaches right across the Southern coastal plain to the border of Guatemala. It is here they say the Mayan prophecy pertaining to the end of the world in 2012 originates – the table like, rectangular ruins of Izapa facing the Tacaná volcano. Central to the layout is the Long Count Calendar, said to have been constructed in predicted alignment with the Sun at Winter Solstice and “Snakes Head” star formation above Tacaná, on December 12th, 2012. An excursion to Palenque is also recommendable, since it's here the guardian of Chiapas is alleged to sleep. Built around 100 A.D, the ruinous pyramids are purported to possess strange healing powers, curing terminal ailments within all who touch the 7th step.
The sound of music is an almost constant background noise within Puerto Chiapas and surprisingly, it isn't always a mariachi or mamba five-piece striking up for tourists. Both Asian and German ex-pats comprise a significant proportion of the current population, their culture beautifully woven into that of the indigenous Chiapan natives. Chatuchak Pier Market remains the ultimate place to experience the melting pot of cultures side by side, with vendors selling everything from coffee (grown nearby) to exotic Asian sweetmeats and stylish, traditional textiles.
Attractions & Things To Do in Puerto Chiapas
Temple of San Agustín – located within the central Plaza Cultura, Temple de San Augustin is one of the earliest colonial buildings within Puerto Chiapas. Extensive restoration has uncovered a myriad of murals and ancient art-work thought to be of pre-Columbian origin. Open: Daily, 9 am – 5 pm.
Ruins of Izapa – Mexico's famous Mayan outpost features a splendidly preserved Ball Court, along with the temple foundations that once held the main altar for Chaac – the Mayan long-lipped god. It is widely regarded the most important Mayan ruin site in Mexico, for it is here the Long Count Mayan Calendar was found, supposedly the monumental prediction for the end of the world in 2012. Open: Daily, 8 am – 5 pm.