Tuxtla Gutiurrez Mexico
Tuxtla Gutiérrez is the capital of the state of Chiapas. It’s Chiapas largest and most modern city. The town is not really a tourist destination, but is more of a pass-through point for travelers on their way to Guatemala, San Cristobal, or the Sumidero Canyon, using Tuxtla’s first-class bus services to get wherever they are going. With the 24-hour ability to cross into Guatemala, the bus station is often packed with Europeans with backpacks heading that way. One Mexican travel guidebook noted that once you have seen the statues of the Apostles come out of the cathedral tower as the clock strikes the hour, there is nothing else to see or do in Tuxtla. Perhaps they have not given the city enough credit as Tuxtla is a traditional Mexican town filled with interesting people, especially people under 30.
In 2011, Tuxta Gutierrez became the first Mexican city to be certified as a “safe city” by the federal government and the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. Key considerations in obtaining this certification were the city’s very low crime rate and its crime prevention programs. According to major financial publications, like the Financial Times and FDi magazine, Tuxtla is considered a “city of the future”. Cities awarded this prestigious title were evaluated based on their “economic potential, human resources, cost-benefit ratio, quality of life, infrastructure and business environment.”
The town was originally named Tuxta by the Aztec Indians that had invaded the area previously occupied by the Zoques. The town’s struggle to remove itself from Spanish control and the regional colonial government of Guatemala was turbulent, with sectors of the community disagreeing on the best country for their city. For most of the 19th century, liberal and conservative factions struggled for power in Mexico. The city’s first newspaper was published by liberalist Joaquin Miguel Gutiérrez in 1827. In 1838, Gutierrez died fighting for Liberal ideals. Ten years later, he would be honored for his services with his name being added to the town’s name. In 1829, the state governor officially declared Tuxtla Gutierrez a city. Today, most of the population is mestizo (a mix of South American and Native American ancestry) with a significant percentage being ethnic Zoque.
Tuxta Gutierrez has a population of approximately 480,000 and 75% of that population is employed in government, commerce, or service positions; many inhabitants are also administrators, teachers or students. Other economic activity is derived from coffee exports and recent oil discoveries in the area.
Attractions & Things To Do in Tuxtla Gutiérrez
San Marcos Cathedral – this 16th century landmark is the most important one of the city and is named for the patron saint of the city, Mark the Evangelist. The original Dominican parish church has undergone significant structural changes, and its apse is the only part of it that has been preserved in the colonial area design. In the apse visitors can see remnants of frescos. The cathedral was last remodeled in the 1980’s, and is known for the 48 bells that ring every hour, whereupon a procession of the 12 Apostles makes an appearance on the bell tower.
Antiguo Palacio de Gobierno – the governor’s palace is an interesting neocolonial design, featuring the state of Chiapas’ coat of arms that can be seen on a balcony off the building’s main entrance.
Chiapa de Corzo – explore the ruins of an ancient Mayan ceremonial center consisting of stone platforms and terraced pyramids.
Zoológico Miguel Álvarez del Toro (Zoomat) – this zoo is located in the El Zapotal Forest and is considered one of Mexico’s best zoos. Jaguars, howler monkeys, owls, red macaws, toucans snakes, crocodiles, and many more animals are on display in large pens replicating their natural habitat. The animals are usually in view as visitors meander through lush vegetation. The zoo also has over 1200 butterfly species and more than 600 birds - many in danger of extinction.
Museo de la Marimba – a small museum exhibiting this widely-used instrument and its history over the last century. Photographs of the areas most venerated marimba performers are on display, along with antique and more recent models of the instrument.