It may be off the tourist radar but that’s not always a bad thing. Let’s take a look at the top ten reasons to visit Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Mexico. This often overlooked city in the southern state of Chiapas is bursting with natural beauty, vibrant culture, and fascinating history. So let’s find out more about this mysterious place!
We didn’t know anything about Tuxtla, except that it looked like a good enough place for a short stop on our epic Mexico road trip as we travelled between Oaxaca and San Cristobal de las Casas. Further research had uncovered at least one point of interest near the city but what we found was much more than we expected.
It is also the capital of Chiapas State and has an international airport, which makes it the ideal starting point for any adventure in Mexico’s south.
Where is Tuxtla Gutiérrez?
1. Majestic Natural Wonders Await
Tuxtla Gutiérrez is a city surrounded by an abundance of natural wonders that will leave you in awe. One of the standout attractions is the magnificent Sumidero Canyon. As you venture along the Grijalva River, the towering cliffs on either side create a dramatic backdrop that is simply breathtaking.
The immensity of the canyon is humbling, and the sheer beauty of the rugged landscape is truly mesmerizing. Keep your eyes peeled for the wildlife that calls this place home, including crocodiles basking in the sun along the riverbanks, monkeys swinging through the trees and the occasional glimpse of an eagle soaring above.
A visit to the Parque Nacional Cañón del Sumidero is a must. Take a boat tour through the narrow canyons and marvel at the towering cliffs that seem to touch the sky. The emerald green waters of the Grijalva River create a striking contrast against the rocky walls, creating a picture-perfect scene.
If you are travelling as a couple, a family or a small group we highly recommend paying a higher price for the boat and booking it as a private tour. This costs about ten times the price of a single passenger but we found the price was money well spent.
The price is around 300 pesos per person and we negotiated 3100 for a private tour. We discovered the difference when our driver would stop in interesting places, and even reposition the boat, for us to get the perfect photo, or even take photos of us. While the group tour boats would stop quickly in the spot and passengers would have to make do with a quick snap from their allocated seats.
2. Unique Local Cuisine
When it comes to food, Tuxtla Gutiérrez will tantalize your taste buds with its rich culinary offerings. Prepare for a mouthwatering journey as you explore the diverse flavours and traditional dishes this city has to offer. From street food stalls to charming local eateries, Tuxtla Gutiérrez is a haven for food enthusiasts.
One must-try dish is the famous Cochito Chiapaneco, a succulent roasted pork dish that is sure to leave you craving for more. The pork is slow-cooked to perfection, resulting in tender and flavorful meat that is often accompanied by a variety of salsas and tortillas. It’s a culinary experience that truly embodies the essence of Chiapas cuisine.
No visit to Tuxtla Gutiérrez is complete without indulging in tamales and chalupas. Tamales, a traditional Mesoamerican dish, are made from masa (corn dough) filled with various ingredients such as meat, cheese, or vegetables, wrapped in a corn husk, and steamed to perfection.
Chalupas, on the other hand, are small tortillas topped with a variety of ingredients such as shredded meat, salsa, cheese, and beans. The combination of flavours and textures in these dishes is a true delight for the senses.
To quench your thirst and cool off from the tropical climate, be sure to try Pozol, a traditional corn-based beverage. This refreshing drink is made from ground maize, water, and sometimes cacao, resulting in a slightly thick and satisfying beverage. Many say it’s a perfect accompaniment to your culinary adventures in Tuxtla Gutiérrez. Personally, it’s not my thing at all.
Whether you’re a fan of street food or prefer a sit-down dining experience, Tuxtla Gutiérrez has something to offer for every palate. Embrace the flavours of the region, and immerse yourself in the vibrant culinary scene of Tuxtla Gutiérrez.
3. Immerse Yourself in Culture
Tuxtla Gutiérrez is a city that offers a wealth of cultural experiences, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the traditions and history of the region. From exploring historical sites to attending colourful festivals, there’s something for every culture enthusiast.
A must-visit attraction is the Museo de la Marimba, where you can delve into the rich musical heritage of Chiapas. This unique museum showcases the marimba, a traditional instrument that holds great cultural significance in the region.
Learn about its history, witness captivating performances, and even try your hand at playing this melodic instrument. It’s an opportunity to connect with the local culture and appreciate the artistry behind the marimba.
Another cultural gem in Tuxtla Gutiérrez is the Centro Cultural Jaime Sabines, a vibrant hub for arts and literature. Named after the renowned Mexican poet, this cultural centre hosts art exhibitions, literary events, and live performances throughout the year.
Immerse yourself in the local art scene, attend poetry readings, or simply wander through the galleries to admire the works of talented artists. It’s a place where creativity flourishes and the cultural pulse of the city comes to life.
For a taste of the local traditions, time your visit to coincide with one of the colourful festivals that take place in Tuxtla Gutiérrez. The Fiesta Grande de Chiapa de Corzo, held in January, is a vibrant celebration of dance, music, and costumes.
Marvel at the intricate folkloric dances, adorned with vibrant outfits and masks, and let the infectious rhythms transport you into the heart of the festivities. It’s a cultural spectacle that showcases the rich folklore and traditions of the region.
Whether you’re exploring museums, attending cultural events, or joining in the festivities, you’ll find yourself surrounded by the vibrant heritage of the city.
4. Step Back in Time
Immerse yourself in the rich history of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, where time seems to stand still and echoes of the past resonate through the city’s architectural treasures and cultural heritage. Strolling through its streets feels like a journey back in time, as you encounter beautifully preserved colonial buildings and experience the charm of a bygone era.
One of the architectural marvels that showcases the city’s historical significance is the magnificent Catedral de San Marcos. Its grand façade and intricate details reflect the colonial influence that shaped the region. Step inside this majestic cathedral and be captivated by the serene ambience and exquisite altars adorned with religious artwork.
It’s a place where you can immerse yourself in history, appreciating the architectural splendour and reflecting on the significance of the past.
Another must-visit historical gem in Tuxtla Gutiérrez is the Palacio de Gobierno, the government palace. This impressive structure not only houses the offices of the state government but also boasts a rich history and breathtaking murals that depict significant moments in Chiapas’ past.
Take a guided tour to delve into the region’s political and cultural heritage, marvel at the intricate artwork that adorns the walls, and let the stories of the past come to life.
To deepen your understanding of the city’s history, a visit to the Museo Regional de Chiapas is highly recommended. This remarkable museum houses a vast collection of artifacts, spanning from pre-Hispanic times to the colonial era, offering a comprehensive glimpse into the cultural heritage of the region.
Explore the exhibits that showcase ancient pottery, sculptures, and artifacts, and gain insights into the indigenous cultures that have shaped Chiapas’ identity throughout the ages.
In addition to the Museo Regional de Chiapas, another prominent historical and cultural institution in Tuxtla Gutiérrez is the Regional Museum of Anthropology and History. This museum is a treasure trove of knowledge, presenting a captivating journey through the region’s anthropological and historical narratives.
Delve into the displays that highlight the customs, traditions, and archaeological findings of the indigenous peoples who once thrived in the area. It’s an opportunity to appreciate the depth of the city’s historical legacy and gain a profound understanding of its cultural roots.
Tuxtla Gutiérrez invites you to step back in time and witness the captivating remnants of its past. Embrace the opportunity to immerse yourself in history, allowing the tales of the past to unfold before your eyes and leaving you with a profound appreciation for the historical tapestry of Tuxtla Gutiérrez.
5. Embrace Ecotourism Adventures
Tuxtla Gutiérrez is not only a city of rich cultural heritage and historical significance but also a gateway to breathtaking natural wonders and opportunities for eco-tourism. The region’s diverse ecosystems, lush landscapes, and abundant wildlife make it a paradise for nature lovers and those seeking sustainable travel experiences.
One of the highlights of eco-tourism in Tuxtla Gutiérrez is the Sumidero Canyon which we mentioned earlier. As you navigate through the canyon, marvel at the sheer rock formations and cascading waterfalls, while keeping an eye out for the diverse bird species and wildlife that call this place home. It’s a captivating experience that allows you to immerse yourself in the pristine natural beauty of the area.
For those who appreciate lush greenery and the tranquility of the forest, a visit to the El Ocote Biosphere Reserve is a must. This protected area is home to a vast array of flora and fauna, including rare and endangered species.
Take a guided hike through the dense forest, accompanied by the sounds of chirping birds and the rustling of leaves underfoot. Breathe in the fresh air, marvel at the towering trees, and connect with nature on a deeper level. The reserve also offers opportunities for birdwatching, wildlife spotting, and camping, allowing you to truly immerse yourself in the natural wonders of the region.
Another eco-tourism gem near Tuxtla Gutiérrez is the El Chorreadero Waterfall. Located within a lush jungle, this stunning waterfall cascades down from a height, creating a mesmerizing spectacle. Explore the surrounding trails, meander through the dense vegetation, and listen to the soothing sound of rushing water.
It’s a tranquil and rejuvenating experience, perfect for those seeking a connection with nature and a break from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Tuxtla Gutiérrez and its surrounding areas offer a wealth of eco-tourism opportunities, allowing visitors to explore and appreciate the region’s natural wonders in a sustainable manner. Each eco-adventure promises a deeper connection with the environment and an appreciation for the importance of preserving these natural treasures.
Embrace the call of the wild, tread lightly on the land, and let the beauty of Tuxtla Gutiérrez’s eco-tourism experiences leave a lasting impression on your soul.
6. Celebrate Colourful Festivals
The capital of Chiapas is known for its lively and colourful festivals that showcase the region’s rich cultural traditions and celebrate the spirit of the local community. Throughout the year, residents and visitors alike have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the festive atmosphere, where music, dance, food, and joyous celebrations take centre stage.
One of the most anticipated festivals in Tuxtla Gutiérrez is the Fiesta Grande de Chiapa de Corzo. Held in January, this week-long event is a true extravaganza that pays homage to the city’s cultural heritage.
The festival features traditional dance performances, vibrant parades, and the famous “La Parachicos” dance, where men don intricately adorned costumes and masks, symbolizing the integration of indigenous and Spanish traditions. The streets come alive with music and laughter, and the aroma of traditional food fills the air, creating a sensory experience that fully immerses you in the local culture.
Another notable festival in Tuxtla Gutiérrez is the Feria Chiapas, a grand fair that takes place in November. This event showcases the best of Chiapas’ agricultural, artisanal, and cultural offerings.
Visitors can explore the various exhibition booths, sample delicious regional cuisine, admire handicrafts made by local artisans, and enjoy live music performances. The Feria Chiapas is a true celebration of the region’s diversity and a fantastic opportunity to experience the flavours, talents, and traditions that define Chiapas.
For those interested in religious festivals, Semana Santa (Holy Week) is an important celebration in Tuxtla Gutiérrez. During this time, the city comes alive with religious processions, elaborate street decorations, and solemn ceremonies.
People gather to commemorate the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The streets are adorned with colourful carpets made of sawdust and flowers, creating stunning visual displays. It is a time of reflection, religious devotion, and a unique cultural experience.
Additionally, Tuxtla Gutiérrez hosts an array of other festivals throughout the year, each with its own distinct character and theme. From the Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations in November to the Independence Day festivities in September, there is always something exciting happening in the city.
In Tuxtla Gutiérrez, festivals are more than just events; they are a reflection of the city’s vibrant culture, rich heritage, and the joyful spirit of its people.
7. Visit historic Chiapa de Corzo
Located just a few minutes from the departure point for many Sumidero Canyon adventures, Chiapa de Corzo is a charming town that holds a significant place in the region’s history and culture. Stepping into Chiapa de Corzo is like entering a time capsule, where centuries-old traditions blend harmoniously with the vibrancy of contemporary life.
This picturesque town, with its colonial architecture and rich cultural heritage, offers visitors a glimpse into the essence of Chiapas.
One of the iconic landmarks in Chiapa de Corzo is Parque Central, a lively town square that serves as the social and cultural hub. The square is surrounded by colourful buildings, including the Municipal Palace and the iconic La Pila Fountain, adorned with intricate stone carvings. It’s a perfect spot to sit, relax, and soak in the atmosphere while enjoying the local flavours from nearby food stalls and vendors.
Another significant aspect of Chiapa de Corzo’s identity is its vibrant folk art and craftsmanship. The town is renowned for its traditional pottery, known as “chaquira,” which is meticulously crafted and adorned with colourful beads.
Visitors can explore workshops and galleries to witness the intricate process of pottery-making and even purchase unique pieces as souvenirs. The town’s artisans also specialize in weaving, creating exquisite textiles that showcase their exceptional skill and creativity.
Chiapa de Corzo is steeped in history, and the La Pila Museum is an excellent place to delve into its past. Housed in a beautifully restored building near the Parque Central, the museum showcases archaeological artifacts, exhibits on the town’s history, and displays on the traditions and customs of the indigenous communities that have shaped the region. It’s an immersive experience that provides a deeper understanding of Chiapa de Corzo’s cultural heritage.
As you wander through the streets of Chiapa de Corzo, you’ll encounter lively markets offering local handicrafts, mouthwatering street food, and vibrant traditional dresses worn by the locals.
The town’s festivals, particularly the Fiesta Grande de Chiapa de Corzo in January, bring the streets to life with vibrant dances, music, and cultural celebrations. It’s a time when the entire community comes together to honour their heritage and share their traditions with visitors.
Chiapa de Corzo captures the essence of Chiapas, blending history, artistry, and natural beauty in one captivating destination. Its colonial charm and proximity to natural wonders like the Sumidero Canyon make it a must-visit place for travelers seeking an authentic and enriching experience.
8. Shop like a local… or a tourist
Shopping in Tuxtla Gutiérrez is a delightful experience that combines the charm of traditional markets with the convenience of modern shopping centres. Whether you’re searching for unique handicrafts, vibrant textiles, or trendy fashion, the city offers a variety of shopping options to cater to every taste and preference.
One of the most popular places to shop in Tuxtla Gutiérrez is the Mercado de Artesanías (Crafts Market). Located in the heart of the city, this bustling market is a treasure trove of handmade goods and traditional crafts.
You’ll find an array of colourful textiles, intricately woven baskets, hand-carved wooden sculptures, and beautiful pottery. Bargaining is a common practice here, allowing you to test your negotiation skills and score some fantastic deals. Exploring the Mercado de Artesanías is not only an opportunity to purchase authentic souvenirs but also a chance to engage with local artisans and learn about their craft.
For those seeking a more modern shopping experience, Tuxtla Gutiérrez boasts several shopping malls that cater to diverse tastes. Plaza Crystal is a popular choice, housing a wide range of national and international brands. From fashion boutiques and shoe stores to electronics and home decor, Plaza Crystal offers a one-stop shopping destination. Additionally, Galerías Boulevard is another well-known mall in the city, offering a mix of retail outlets, entertainment options, and dining establishments.
If you’re looking to immerse yourself in the local culture while shopping, make sure to visit the Bazar del Oro, also known as the Gold Bazaar. This vibrant market showcases an impressive collection of indigenous art, jewellery, and traditional clothing.
Here, you can find unique pieces adorned with intricate beadwork, colourful embroidery, and precious gemstones. The Bazar del Oro is a true haven for those seeking authentic Mexican craftsmanship and a chance to support local artisans.
The city also boasts a wide range of street markets and flea markets, where you can find everything from fresh produce and local delicacies to clothing, accessories, and household items. The Mercado San Juan and the Mercadito de la Marimba are worth exploring for their lively atmosphere and the opportunity to sample traditional snacks and regional specialties.
Shopping in Tuxtla Gutiérrez is not just about acquiring goods; it’s an immersive experience that allows you to connect with the local culture, witness the craftsmanship of talented artisans, and explore the vibrant markets that showcase the soul of the city.
9. Get your adrenaline pumping
Around Tuxtla you will find thrilling adventure sports that cater to adrenaline enthusiasts seeking an exhilarating experience. With its diverse natural landscapes and rugged terrain, the city provides an ideal playground for outdoor adventurers.
One of the most popular adventure sports in Tuxtla Gutiérrez is white-water rafting. The mighty rivers that flow through the region, such as the Grijalva River, offer exciting rapids and breathtaking scenery. Rafting enthusiasts can navigate through thrilling Class III and IV rapids, experiencing the rush of adrenaline as they conquer the wild waters.
The combination of thrilling rapids, stunning canyons, and lush greenery creates an unforgettable rafting experience that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.
For those who prefer to keep their feet dry, zip-lining is another popular adventure sport in Tuxtla Gutiérrez. Imagine soaring through the treetops, suspended from a steel cable, while enjoying panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes.
Zip-line parks in the area provide a variety of exhilarating routes, allowing you to glide through the forest canopy and experience the thrill of flying. It’s an adventure that combines adrenaline, nature, and breathtaking views, making it a must-try activity for thrill-seekers.
If you’re a rock climbing enthusiast, Tuxtla Gutiérrez offers fantastic opportunities to test your skills on rugged cliffs and towering rock formations. The region is known for its challenging rock climbing routes that cater to climbers of various skill levels. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced climber, you’ll find routes that offer both a physical and mental challenge, rewarding you with stunning vistas as you reach new heights.
The city is also a gateway to exploring the stunning caves and underground rivers of Chiapas. Cave exploration, also known as spelunking, is a thrilling adventure sport that allows you to venture deep into the Earth’s hidden realms.
Guided tours take you through intricate cave systems, where you can witness stunning rock formations, underground rivers, and other geological wonders. It’s an opportunity to immerse yourself in a mysterious and captivating world, discovering the hidden treasures that lie beneath the surface.
For nature lovers and adventure seekers alike, Tuxtla Gutiérrez offers an abundance of outdoor activities and adventure sports that provide an adrenaline rush and an opportunity to connect with the natural beauty of the region.
10. Gateway to Chiapas
Situated in the southern part of Mexico, Chiapas is renowned for its rich cultural heritage, breathtaking landscapes, and diverse ecosystems. Tuxtla Gutiérrez, with its strategic location and excellent transportation connections, welcomes visitors and serves as the gateway to this enchanting Mexican state.
As the largest city in Chiapas, Tuxtla Gutiérrez offers a range of amenities and services that make it an ideal starting point for any adventure in the region. The city is home to an international airport, making it easily accessible to travelers from around the world. From Tuxtla Gutiérrez, visitors can embark on a journey to explore the natural wonders, historical sites, and indigenous communities that define Chiapas.
Tuxtla Gutiérrez also offers easy access to the mystical archaeological site of Palenque. Nestled in the lush rainforests of Chiapas, Palenque is a UNESCO World Heritage site that showcases the ancient Mayan civilization.
Visitors can explore the well-preserved ruins, marvel at the intricate carvings and impressive structures, and immerse themselves in the history and culture of this ancient civilization. Tuxtla Gutiérrez provides a convenient launching pad for exploring Palenque and the surrounding archaeological sites.
Chiapas is also home to some of Mexico’s most jaw-dropping scenery from the Montebello Lakes to the incredible waterfalls like El Chiflon, Agua Azul, or Roberto Barrios. Chiapas is widely held as the most naturally beautiful state in Mexico.
Beyond its natural and historical attractions, Chiapas is known for its vibrant indigenous cultures and traditional communities. From Tuxtla Gutiérrez, visitors can venture into the highlands to discover the picturesque villages of San Cristóbal de las Casas and Zinacantán.
These communities offer a glimpse into the rich indigenous traditions, colourful handicrafts, and traditional ceremonies that have been passed down through generations. Tuxtla Gutiérrez acts as the gateway to these cultural experiences, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the diverse tapestry of Chiapas’ indigenous heritage.
Common questions about Tuxtla Gutierrez
What is the best time to visit Tuxtla Gutiérrez?
Tuxtla Gutiérrez boasts a delightful climate that makes it a pleasant destination to visit year-round. However, certain times of the year offer specific advantages and experiences. Here’s a breakdown of the seasons to help you determine the best time to visit Tuxtla Gutiérrez:
Dry Season (November to April): The dry season is considered the best time to visit Tuxtla Gutiérrez. During these months, the weather is mostly sunny with lower chances of rainfall. The temperatures are comfortable, ranging from 70°F (21°C) to 85°F (29°C), making it ideal for outdoor activities and exploration. It’s a great time to visit attractions such as the Sumidero Canyon and enjoy the city’s parks and outdoor spaces.
Rainy Season (May to October): The rainy season in Tuxtla Gutiérrez brings lush greenery and occasional showers. While rainfall is more frequent during these months, it often occurs in the form of short afternoon showers, allowing for plenty of enjoyable outdoor experiences during the mornings and evenings. The rain also enhances the beauty of natural landscapes, including waterfalls and rivers in the surrounding areas.
Festivals and Cultural Events: Tuxtla Gutiérrez hosts various festivals and cultural events throughout the year, adding vibrant colours and cultural richness to your visit. For example, the Fiestas de Enero in January celebrates the city’s founding, featuring parades, music, dance, and traditional food. The Chiapa de Corzo Parachicos Festival in January showcases traditional indigenous dances and customs. Consider checking the festival calendar and plan your visit accordingly to immerse yourself in the local culture.
It’s important to note that Tuxtla Gutiérrez can be visited during any season, and each offers its own unique charm. However, if you prefer pleasant weather with minimal rainfall, the dry season from November to April is the optimal time.
How do I get to Tuxtla Gutiérrez?
Whether you’re traveling from within Mexico or arriving from abroad, here are the primary ways to get to Tuxtla Gutiérrez:
By Air: Tuxtla Gutiérrez has its own international airport, Aeropuerto Internacional Ángel Albino Corzo (TGZ). Several airlines operate regular flights to and from major cities in Mexico, including Mexico City, Cancun, Guadalajara, and Monterrey, as well as international connections. From the airport, you can easily reach the city centre by taxi or pre-arranged transportation.
By Bus: Tuxtla Gutiérrez is well-connected to various cities in Mexico through an extensive bus network. Several reputable bus companies offer comfortable and affordable journeys to and from Tuxtla Gutiérrez. The city has two main bus terminals: Terminal de Autobuses OCC and Terminal de Autobuses AEXA. You can find buses serving routes from destinations such as Mexico City, Oaxaca, San Cristóbal de las Casas, and Palenque, among others.
By Car: If you prefer a road trip or have the flexibility to explore at your own pace, driving to Tuxtla Gutiérrez is an option. The city is accessible via well-maintained highways, and you can rent a car from major cities or airports in Mexico. The journey to Tuxtla Gutiérrez by car can be a scenic experience, allowing you to appreciate the natural beauty of Chiapas along the way.
We visited Tuxtla as part of a 5000 km epic road trip through Mexico. If you are wondering if it is safe to rent a car in Mexico then read about our experiences and decide from there.
By Train: While Tuxtla Gutiérrez does not have a train station, the nearby city of San Cristóbal de las Casas has a train station called Estación San Cristóbal. The Ferrocarril Chiapas-Mayab operates a train service between San Cristóbal de las Casas and the archaeological site of Palenque. Once in San Cristóbal de las Casas, you can easily travel to Tuxtla Gutiérrez by bus or taxi.
By Shared Vans (Colectivos): Colectivos, or shared vans, are a popular means of transportation in the region. They offer convenient and affordable rides between nearby towns and cities. You can find colectivos operating routes to Tuxtla Gutiérrez from destinations like San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapa de Corzo, and other nearby towns. It’s a great option for short distances or if you prefer a more local travel experience.
No matter which mode of transportation you choose, reaching Tuxtla Gutiérrez is relatively easy and convenient. Consider your preferences, budget, and travel plans to select the option that suits you best. Once you arrive in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, you can begin exploring the city’s captivating attractions, natural wonders, and vibrant culture.
Where do I find the town name letters in Tuxtla Gutiérrez?
You can find the big letters sign at the Parque de la Marimba, a popular public park located in the city center. The park is known for its vibrant atmosphere and is home to the iconic “Tuxtla” sign. The large letters are usually situated in a prominent area of the park, making it a popular spot for visitors to take photos and capture memories.
The sign serves as a symbol of pride for the city and offers a unique backdrop for your pictures. So, head to Parque de la Marimba and don’t forget to strike a pose with the impressive “Tuxtla” letters!
Is it necessary to know Spanish to visit Tuxtla Gutiérrez?
While knowing Spanish can certainly enhance your experience when visiting Tuxtla Gutiérrez, it is not necessarily a requirement. Tuxtla Gutiérrez is a tourist destination, and you will find that many people in the city, especially those working in the tourism industry, can communicate in English to some extent.
However, it is always beneficial to have some basic knowledge of Spanish, as it can greatly facilitate your interactions with locals and allow for a more immersive experience. Simple phrases and greetings in Spanish can go a long way in making connections and showing respect for the local culture.
If you don’t speak Spanish, it’s a good idea to carry a pocket-sized English-Spanish phrasebook or use translation apps on your mobile device. These can help you navigate common situations such as ordering food, asking for directions, or interacting with locals. Locals will appreciate your efforts to communicate in their language, even if it’s just a few words or phrases.
Additionally, joining guided tours or hiring local guides who speak English can be a valuable resource. They can provide insights, translate information, and ensure smooth communication during your explorations.
The locals are generally welcoming and accommodating, and they will appreciate any effort you make to engage with them in their native language.
What is the local cuisine like in Tuxtla Gutiérrez?
Tuxtla Gutiérrez offers a diverse and flavorful local cuisine that showcases the vibrant culinary heritage of Chiapas. The local dishes incorporate a blend of indigenous, Mexican, and international influences, resulting in a delightful gastronomic experience. Here are some highlights of the local cuisine in Tuxtla Gutiérrez:
Tamales: Tamales are a staple in Mexican cuisine, and in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, you’ll find a variety of mouthwatering tamales. They are made from masa (corn dough) filled with various ingredients such as chicken, pork, cheese, or vegetables. Tamales are wrapped in corn husks or banana leaves and steamed to perfection.
Cochito: Cochito is a traditional dish from Chiapas that features slow-cooked marinated pork. The pork is seasoned with a rich blend of spices and herbs, giving it a flavorful and tender texture. Cochito is often served as a filling for tacos or as part of a hearty plate accompanied by rice, beans, and tortillas.
Pozol: Pozol is a refreshing and traditional drink made from fermented corn dough mixed with water and flavoured with cocoa. It has a slightly tangy taste and is often enjoyed as a midday refreshment. Pozol is a beloved beverage in Chiapas, and you’ll find it being sold at local markets and street food stalls.
Chalupas: Chalupas are a popular street food in Tuxtla Gutiérrez. They consist of small, fried tortillas topped with various ingredients such as shredded chicken, beef, or pork, along with salsa, cheese, and lettuce. Chalupas are a delicious and convenient option for a quick and satisfying snack.
Cacao-based Dishes: Chiapas is known for its rich cacao production, and Tuxtla Gutiérrez offers an array of cacao-based treats. From hot chocolate made with locally sourced cacao to chocolate bars, truffles, and other confections, chocolate lovers will be in heaven exploring the chocolate delights available in the city.
These are just a few examples of the local cuisine in Tuxtla Gutiérrez. The city is also home to numerous restaurants and eateries offering a wide range of international cuisines to cater to diverse tastes. Exploring the local food scene is an essential part of experiencing the vibrant culture of Tuxtla Gutiérrez and immersing yourself in the flavours of Chiapas.
Are there any markets or shopping areas in Tuxtla Gutiérrez?
Absolutely! Tuxtla Gutiérrez is home to several bustling markets and shopping areas where you can indulge in a vibrant shopping experience. Here are some of the notable markets and shopping areas in Tuxtla Gutiérrez:
Mercado de los Ancianos: Located in the heart of the city, Mercado de los Ancianos is a popular market known for its handicrafts and artisanal products. Here, you can find a wide range of traditional items such as textiles, ceramics, woodcarvings, and woven goods, all created by skilled local artisans. It’s a great place to purchase authentic souvenirs and immerse yourself in the local culture.
Plaza Las Américas: Plaza Las Américas is a modern shopping centre that offers a mix of national and international brands. From clothing stores and shoe boutiques to electronics, cosmetics, and home decor, you’ll find a variety of shopping options here. The mall also features restaurants, cafes, and entertainment facilities, making it a convenient one-stop destination for shopping and leisure.
Plaza Galerías Boulevard: Another popular shopping destination in Tuxtla Gutiérrez is Plaza Galerías Boulevard. It is a spacious mall that houses a wide selection of stores, including fashion retailers, department stores, and specialty shops. You can explore the latest fashion trends, shop for accessories, or even catch a movie at the cinema complex within the mall.
Tianguis de los Martes: If you happen to be in Tuxtla Gutiérrez on a Tuesday, don’t miss the Tianguis de los Martes, a weekly street market. It takes place along Calle Central Poniente and offers a vibrant atmosphere filled with local vendors selling fresh produce, clothing, handicrafts, and a variety of other goods. It’s a fantastic opportunity to immerse yourself in the local hustle and bustle.
Bazar del Oro: Bazar del Oro is a unique shopping experience that specializes in jewellery and precious metals. Located in the city centre, this market features a wide range of gold, silver, and gemstone jewellery, both contemporary and traditional in design. It’s a great place to find unique and beautifully crafted pieces to take home as cherished keepsakes.
These are just a few examples of the markets and shopping areas in Tuxtla Gutiérrez. Whether you’re looking for traditional handicrafts, modern fashion, or unique treasures, Tuxtla Gutiérrez offers a variety of shopping options to cater to different tastes and interests. Enjoy exploring the markets and uncovering hidden gems during your visit!
Can I visit nearby attractions from Tuxtla Gutiérrez?
Tuxtla Gutiérrez serves as an excellent base for exploring the nearby attractions and natural wonders of the Chiapas region. Here are some of the exciting destinations you can visit from Tuxtla Gutiérrez:
Sumidero Canyon: Located just a short distance from Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Sumidero Canyon is a breathtaking natural wonder. Embark on a boat tour along the Grijalva River, surrounded by towering cliffs that reach up to 1,000 metres in height. Marvel at the impressive rock formations, spot wildlife such as crocodiles and monkeys, and immerse yourself in the stunning beauty of the canyon.
San Cristóbal de las Casas: A picturesque colonial town nestled in the mountains, San Cristóbal de las Casas is a must-visit destination. Explore its charming cobblestone streets, visit its magnificent churches, and soak up the vibrant atmosphere of the central plaza. San Cristóbal is also renowned for its indigenous culture, traditional markets, and nearby indigenous villages.
Palenque Archaeological Site: Travel back in time at the Palenque Archaeological Site, a magnificent ancient Maya city surrounded by lush jungle. Explore the well-preserved temples, palaces, and structures adorned with intricate carvings. The site offers a fascinating glimpse into the rich history and architectural achievements of the Maya civilization.
Montebello Lakes: Nature enthusiasts will delight in visiting the Montebello Lakes, a collection of stunning turquoise-coloured lakes nestled in a national park. Take a scenic hike through the forested trails, marvel at the crystal-clear waters of the lakes, and enjoy picnicking in the serene surroundings.
Agua Azul Waterfalls: Located in the Chiapas Highlands, the Agua Azul Waterfalls are a true natural gem. Witness the cascading turquoise waters as they flow over a series of stepped rock formations, creating a mesmerizing sight. Take a refreshing swim in the natural pools or simply relax and soak in the beauty of this natural wonder.
These are just a few of the many attractions you can explore from Tuxtla Gutiérrez. Whether you’re interested in nature, culture, or history, the region offers a wealth of experiences waiting to be discovered.
What is the local transportation like in Tuxtla Gutiérrez?
In Tuxtla Gutiérrez, you’ll find a variety of transportation options to help you navigate the city and its surroundings. Here are the main modes of transportation available in Tuxtla Gutiérrez:
Taxis: Taxis are a convenient and widely available mode of transportation in Tuxtla Gutiérrez. You can easily find taxis throughout the city, and they can be hailed on the street or found at designated taxi stands. It’s recommended to negotiate the fare or ensure the meter is used before starting the journey.
Colectivos: Colectivos, also known as shared vans or combis, are a popular means of transportation for short distances within the city. These vans follow set routes and pick up passengers along the way. Colectivos are an affordable option and offer a chance to experience local transportation while interacting with fellow travelers.
Public Buses: Tuxtla Gutiérrez has a network of public buses that provide transportation within the city and to neighbouring towns. The buses are colour-coded according to their routes, and fares are usually paid directly to the driver when boarding. Buses are an economical option, but it’s important to check the route and ask for assistance if needed.
Rental Cars: If you prefer more independence and flexibility, you can opt to rent a car in Tuxtla Gutiérrez. Several car rental agencies operate in the city, and having your own vehicle allows you to explore the region at your own pace. However, be aware of local driving rules and regulations and consider parking availability in certain areas.
Walking and Bicycles: Tuxtla Gutiérrez is a relatively compact city, and many of its attractions can be easily reached on foot. Walking is a pleasant way to explore the city centre and soak in the local atmosphere. Additionally, some hotels and rental services offer bicycles for rent, which can be a fun and eco-friendly way to get around.
Navigating Tuxtla Gutiérrez is generally convenient and accessible, with various transportation options available. Consider your needs, budget, and preferences to choose the mode of transportation that suits you best for each journey.
Are there any accommodations options in Tuxtla Gutiérrez?
Certainly! Tuxtla Gutiérrez offers a range of accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences. Whether you’re looking for luxury hotels, mid-range accommodations, or budget-friendly options, you’ll find a variety of choices in the city. Here are some of the accommodation types you can consider when visiting Tuxtla Gutiérrez:
Hotels: Tuxtla Gutiérrez boasts a selection of hotels, ranging from luxurious establishments to more affordable options. Luxury hotels often offer spacious rooms, modern amenities, on-site restaurants, and facilities such as swimming pools and spas. Mid-range hotels provide comfortable rooms, convenient locations, and amenities that cater to travelers’ needs. Budget hotels and guesthouses offer simpler accommodations with basic amenities, providing a cost-effective option for those on a tight budget.
Bed and Breakfasts: Bed and breakfasts are a charming accommodation option in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, offering a more intimate and personalized experience. These establishments typically have a limited number of rooms, allowing for attentive service and a homely atmosphere. Bed and breakfasts often provide comfortable rooms, delicious homemade breakfasts, and a warm ambience.
Hostels: For budget-conscious travelers or those seeking a more social environment, hostels are a popular choice. Tuxtla Gutiérrez has a few hostels that offer dormitory-style rooms as well as private rooms. Hostels often provide communal spaces, such as shared kitchens and lounges, where guests can interact and connect with fellow travelers.
Vacation Rentals: Another option to consider is vacation rentals, which provide the opportunity to stay in apartments, condos, or houses. These accommodations offer more space and amenities such as kitchens and living areas, providing a home-away-from-home experience. Vacation rentals can be a great choice for families, groups, or travelers who prefer the flexibility and independence of self-catering accommodations.
When choosing accommodation in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, consider factors such as location, amenities, and proximity to attractions or transportation. It’s recommended to book in advance, especially during peak travel seasons, to secure your preferred choice and ensure a comfortable stay. With the variety of accommodation options available, you’re sure to find a place that meets your needs and enhances your experience in Tuxtla Gutiérrez.
Is Tuxtla Gutiérrez a safe destination for travelers?
Tuxtla Gutiérrez is generally considered a safe destination for travelers. Like any city, it is important to exercise caution and follow basic safety practices to ensure a pleasant and secure visit. Here are some points to keep in mind:
Stay in Well-Populated Areas: Stick to well-populated and well-lit areas, especially at night. Avoid venturing into unfamiliar or isolated areas alone, particularly if you are not familiar with the surroundings.
Keep Valuables Secure: Take necessary precautions to keep your valuables secure. Keep your belongings close to you, avoid displaying expensive items openly, and use hotel safes or secure lockers whenever available.
Use Reliable Transportation: Opt for registered taxis or reputable transportation services. If you’re using ride-hailing apps, verify the driver and vehicle details before getting in. Avoid accepting rides from unmarked or unofficial vehicles.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings: Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings at all times. Trust your instincts and avoid any situation or person that makes you feel uncomfortable. It’s always a good practice to have a plan and know the emergency contact numbers for the local authorities.
Follow Local Customs and Laws: Familiarize yourself with the local customs, traditions, and laws of the area. Respect the local culture and adhere to any specific guidelines or regulations in place. This includes respecting religious sites, cultural practices, and local norms.
While Tuxtla Gutiérrez is generally safe, it’s advisable to stay informed about the current situation and any travel advisories that may be in effect. Checking with reliable sources, such as official government travel websites, can provide up-to-date information and guidance for a safe and enjoyable trip.
Road Trip Possibilities
Not only is Tuxtla Gutiérrez the capital of Chiapas, but its International Airport makes it the ideal location to be the starting point of an amazing road trip through this beautiful state. A road trip that takes in some of Mexico’s most stunning scenery, incredible historic ruins, and a few of the prettiest pueblos mágicos.
Take a couple of easy driving weeks and discover ancient cities like Palenque and Tonina, get swept up in the natural beauty of Sumidero Canyon, Cascadas Roberto Barrios, and the imposing El Chiflon waterfalls, and experience a simpler way of life in the enchanting towns of Comitan and San Cristobal de las Casas.
We did the majority of this itinerary as part of our 5000 km epic Mexico road trip that began in Queretaro. Before arriving in Tuxtla we had been in Oaxaca, and then after Palenque we headed east to the coast to see Bacalar and more of the Yucatan.
This suggested plan heads to the nearest airport after Palenque for those of you who wish to experience the best of Chiapas but have time constraints. I wouldn’t use Villahermosa as anything but a departure point as, from what I have read, it offers very little to appeal to travelers.
This entire road trip is only 550 km / 350 miles and it is possible to squeeze the highlights into a 7-day vacation, but to do justice to this magnificent state you should allow two weeks. And even then there are places you will wish you could have spent more time.
Our opinion of Tuxtla Gutiérrez
The first time we noticed Tuxtla during our research phase for our epic Mexico road trip was as a convenient place to have a rest stop between Oaxaca and San Cristobal de las Casas, which were both very firmly set as part of our plan.
We ended up staying three nights here which gave us plenty of time to do the two things nearby that really appealed to us, take a boat ride through the Sumidero Canyon and visit the Pueblo Mágico of Chiap de Corzo, which can easily be done in a single day.
Our extra day gave us a chance to rest up after a big day of driving before our arrival, and to get some washing done at a local lavendaria. It also happened to be my birthday, and the best gift was a day without driving at all since I am the lone wheelman of our party.
Overall Tuxtla does not rate as anything particularly memorable for us. We visited dozens of more interesting towns, and definitely prettier ones. That being said, there is nothing bad, dangerous, or dirty about the city, it’s just not overly interesting except for the nearby attractions that we did as a day trip.
If this is your arrival city and you intend to explore the wonders of Chiapas then don’t take up too many of your travel days here. Two or three should be plenty and save your extra days for San Cristobal, Comitan, or Palenque. Just be sure to experience Sumidero Canyon.