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Introducing Chiapas

Mismatched siblings, the neighboring states of Tabasco and Chiapas are almost a study in contrasts. Smaller Tabasco – between central Mexico and the Yucatán Peninsula – is less diverse than Chiapas, and prone to flooding, as demonstrated by the catastrophic flood of October 2007. A largely flat, steamy, well-watered lowland, it has fewer visitors, but those who do drop in discover a place with fascinating pre-Hispanic heritage from the Olmec and Maya civilizations, a relaxed tropical lifestyle, an entertaining capital city in Villahermosa, and a unique environment of enormous rivers, endless wetlands and good beaches heading out into the Gulf of Mexico.

In Chiapas, pine forest highlands, wildlife-rich rainforest jungles and well-preserved colonial architecture highlight a region of incredible variety. Palenque and Yaxchilán are evocative vestiges of powerful Maya kingdoms, and the presence of modern Maya a constant reminder of the region’s rich and uninterrupted history. The colonial hubs of San Cristóbal de Las Casasand Chiapa de Corzo give way to fertile plots of coffee and cacao in the Soconusco, and for outdoor adventurers, excursions to Laguna Miramar and the Cañón del Sumidero are unmissable.

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