A multi-tiered waterfall of fast-flowing waters tumbling down a series of natural limestone steps, the Agua Azul (Blue Water) waterfall stands in striking contrast to the lone cascade of the nearby Misol Ha Waterfall and is often combined with a tour of Palenque. Named for its startling turquoise-blue waters created by minerals in the limestone bed, the waterfalls make a popular photo spot, but be aware that if you visit during the rainy season (June through October) the excess flow and silt can result in a rather less-appealing murky-brown shade.
At the foot of the falls, a series of pools and bathing holes make an ideal spot for swimming and during the weekends the area is filled with both locals and tourists, picnicking by the waterside, buying food and handicrafts from the cluster of market stalls set up nearby and cooling off in the shallow waters.
A popular day trip from the state capital of Tuxtla, the small colonial town of Chiapa de Corzo lies on the Rio Grijalva and is the starting point for boat rides through the Sumidero Canyon National Park. Although inhabited since prehistoric times, Chiapa de Corzo is best known as the region’s oldest Spanish settlement, founded in 1528, and traces of its past can be seen in its exquisitely preserved colonial architecture. The red-brick mudejar-style La Pila Fountain (Fuente Colonial) is the grand centerpiece of the central Plaza Ángel Albino Corzo, dating back to the 16th century and shaped like the Spanish crown, while one block south, the Santo Domingo Church (Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzman) is famous for its original copper and silver bell and now houses a traditional handicraft museum.
The town is also renowned for its annual Feria de Enero festival, a colourful carnival held each January in honour of the feast of San Sebastian.
With its remote location, hidden away in the Lacandon Jungle, it’s not surprising that Bonampak was only discovered by explorers in 1946. Encompassing a mere 2.4 square kilometers, the ancient Mayan settlement pales in comparison to the sprawling ruins of nearby Yaxchilán, but despite its diminutive status, Bonampak still stands out.
The undeniable highlight of Bonampak is its remarkably preserved murals, which rank among the most important of all Mayan artworks, dating back to 800 AD. The series of colorful frescos inside the Templo de las Pinturas are the most famous, featuring detailed depictions of court rituals, ceremonies and human sacrifice previously unseen by archeologists.