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Chiapas Highlands and Archaeology


Chiapas Highlands and Archaeology

A wonderfully exciting 9 day / 8 night combination tour of the living Maya peoples of the Chiapas Highlands with the impressive archaeological sites of the area, including Palenque, Piedras Negras, Bonampak, Tonina and Yaxchilán.

This tour begins on the first and third Sunday of each month.

Begins in Tuxtla Gutierrez. Ends in Villahermosa 9 days later on Sunday.

Physically active program; light hiking, 2-4 hours per day on undulating trails; climbing old, uneven steps at some ruins.

  • DAY 1 SUN. ARRIVAL TO TUXTLA GUTIERREZ, Mexico.   Meet at Tuxtla Gutierrez Airport and transfer to hotel in San Cristóbal de las Casas for overnight. 

  • DAY 2 MON.  MAYA VILLAGES and SUMIDERO CANYON, Mexico.  Just 7 miles from San Cristóbal de las Casas, the Maya village of San Juan Chamula is located and it is a good example of Religious syncretism, where the Maya people were forced to become Catholic and managed to preserve their own ancient religious traditions by combining them with the new rites.  Visiting the church of San Juan Chamula is a good experience, but please keep in mind that by no means pictures can be taken inside. The other Maya Village in the area that will be visited is Zinacantan, where the weavers show with price the exquisite hand woven textiles they make for their daily use.  Lunch will be served at Chiapa de Corzo, after which a boat tour through the Sumidero Canyon will be taken.  An impressive geological formation, the canyon walls have over 3,000 feet high walls.    Overnight in San Cristóbal de las Casas.  (B,L)

Chiapas, San Juan Chamula, Catedral de San Juan Bautista - Foto por German Murillo 

  • DAY 3 TUE.  SAN CRISTÓBAL DE LAS CASAS, Mexico.  San Cristóbal de las Casas is a charming city with Spanish Colonial Heritage.  Morning walking city tour, including the Santo Domingo Church and Convent, the Cathedral and the Na Bolom Museum.  Free afternoon to enjoy the city and to visit the colorful handicrafts market.  Overnight in San Cristóbal de las Casas.  (B,L)


Iglesia  de Santa Lucia    Chiapas, San Cristobal de las Casas, Cathedral - Photo by Secretaria de Turismo de Chiapas    

  • DAY 4 WED.  AMATENANGO, COMITAN and CHINKULTIK, Mexico.  Traveling through a scenic area of pine tree forests, visit the Amatenango del Valle village where ceramics are made keeping old techniques and designs, followed by visit to the lively city of Comitan and the Chinkultik Archaeological Site, from the late Classic and built by a Cenote or Natural well considered an entrance to the Underworld by the Ancient Maya.  The accommodation of this night is itself another attraction, the Santa Maria Hacienda is a well kept 200 years old mansion with 7 beautiful rooms for guests.   (B,L)

 Mayan woman potter                               photo of chinkultik

  • DAY 5 THU. MONTEBELLO LAKES and GUACAMAYA RESERVE, Mexico. Before descending from the highlands to the lowlands visit to the Montebello Lakes National Park.  Mexico’s first National Park, there are dozens of relatively small lakes, surrounded by a pristine forest.  The different depths and the natural white limestone of the area, make the lakes look as if they have different colors.   Afternoon scenic ride through the Guacamaya (Scarlet Macaw) Reserve.   The day’s journey ends at the Usumacinta River banks, with overnight at the Escudo Jaguar Lodge, owned and run by a cooperative of Lacandon Maya People. (B,L)

   Chiapas, Selva Lacandona, Marques de Comillas, Las Guacamayas, Red Guacamaya - Photo by Rosa Ripoll

  • DAY 6 FRI.  YAXCHILÁN and BONAMPAK, Mexico.  The Usumacinta River defines the border between Guatemala and Mexico.  After a brief boat ride on the river, visit Yaxchilán in Mexico.  Yaxchilán, set above the jungle banks of the river, was first inhabited around 200 AD and the central plaza holds statues of jaguars and crocodiles.  Adventurous travelers will want to climb Yaxchilan's highest temple as the view of the Rio Usumacinta and surrounding jungle is magnificent.  Afternoon boat ride to Frontera Corozal Town to continue with a scenic ride into the Lacandon Forest Reserve, home to the Lacandon people and  Bonampak Archaeological Park.  Bonampak’s ruins are situated around a rectangular plaza.  The southern buildings are well preserved.  The "Templo de los Frescos" contains three rooms covered with paintings depicting ancient Maya ceremonies and customs.  Overnight in the Valle Escondido Area.  (B,L)

  Roofcomb on Building 33 on hill in Mayan city , Yaxchilan , Mexico stock photo  Chiapas, Yaxchilan, Archeological zone, Building 6, Red Temple of the Shore - Photo by German Murillo-Echavarria 0406       

  • DAY 7 SAT. PIEDRAS NEGRAS, Guatemala and SAK TZI, Mexico.  An all terrain vehicle is required to drive through a rural area in Mexico to reach again the Usumacinta River, followed by a short boat ride to visit a hidden jewel of Piedras Negras Archaeological Site in the Guatemalan side of the river.  Extensively explored and excavated during the 1930’s, very little has been done since then, making it the largest unrestored Classic Maya city and a magic place to visit.  Every visitor must climb the tallest structure, where Tatiana Proskuriakov ashes were buried following her will.  Back to mainland, visit to Plan de Ayutla Archaeological Site, which is believed to be a site called Sak Tzi in the steles of Piedras Negras.  Overnight in the Valle Escondido Area.  (B,L)


  • DAY 8 SUN. PALENQUE, Mexico.  Although not a river city itself, Palenque was the Classic Maya dominant polity over the Tabasco coastal plains and wetlands were the Usumacinta and Grijalva Rivers meet and form a fertile delta.  Palenque is a World Heritage Site prized for its well-preserved buildings, carved stucco ornamentation, delicate bas-reliefs and lengthy hieroglyphic texts.  Palenque reached its zenith during the reign of Pacal the Great (AD 615-683).  His tomb in the Temple of the Inscriptions opened in 1952 and stands as one of the greatest discoveries of Mayan archaeology.  Overnight in Palenque.  (B,L)


  • DAY 9 MON. DEPARTURE FROM VILLAHERMOSA, Mexico.  Transfer to Villahermosa International Airport.


Begins in Tuxtla Gutierrez. Ends in Villahermosa 9 days later on Sunday.


Per Person Tour Prices - Standard Category Accommodations - Double Occupancy

Number of Tour Participants

2 Persons - $2,315; 4 Persons - $1,690; 6 Persons or More - $1,405

Hotels on tour are 4* or similar and will be confirmed according to the availability.

Economy and Deluxe accommodations are available as well.

Single and triple rates are available.


This Tour Includes:  

·        Services of a professional archaeological guide.  

·        Hotels and lodges, hotel taxes service charges, and tips for baggage handling.

·        Breakfasts (B), Lunches (L) and Dinners (D) as detailed in the tour itinerary.

·        Carefully maintained air-conditioned motor coach; maximum 10 tour members per vehicle.

·        Experienced driver. 

·        All entrance fees to parks and archaeological sites are included in the program.

·        Complete program of sightseeing and cultural events as described.


Please call us at 1-888-843-6292 or email us at with your questions or for more information or click the button below to go to our Tour Information Request Form. 

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