Seniors Adventurers Explore Chiapas

Seniors, do you know where Chiapas is located? In south Mexico, boarding Guatemala to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the south. Chiapas is unique and it’s on my “travel bucket list.” Senior explorers are discovering that Mexico’s southernmost state is a  fascinating visit. 

The city of San Cristóbal de las Casas is a natural base — not only an endlessly appealing city with everything from centuries-old churches to hip wine bars, but perfectly located for exploring the rest of the state. The capital of Chiapas, Tuxtla Gutierrez, has a population of approximately half a million inhabitants.

Why Would Seniors Travel to Chiapas?

The state is a compact area that packs in plenty for the adventure loving senior traveler, from pristine lakes, rivers and national parks, to fascinating and friendly Mexican pueblos.  Chiapas is home to several famous ancient Mayan ruins: Palenque, Yaxchilán, Bonampak, Chinkultic, and Toniná. Getting around the state is fast and hassle-free with places of interest conveniently close to each other.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Palenque is the state’s most important archeological attraction with buildings from the Classic Mayan time, hosting the famous Inscriptions Temple. Originally called La Kam Ha (the place of much water) before the Spanish renamed it Palenque “The Palace”, it is one of the largest and most beautiful buildings in Mayan architecture.

Seniors Encounter a Colonial Domain

San Cristóbal de las Casas is a colonial city with narrow streets and colorful one-story houses with tiled roofs that enclose lovely courtyards. It offers senior visitors not only a journey back in time with its many churches and museums but also a contemporary bohemian ambiance of art galleries, bars and sophisticated restaurants catering to an international crowd of travelers and expats.

Relatively isolated until tourism began to influence its economy in the 1970′s, visitors find San Cristóbal to be one of the most attractive towns in Chiapas. A stronghold of Mayan culture, San Cristóbal contrasts with the surrounding villages, which remain home to a wide array of Mayan-descendant Indians.

The State of Chiapas is one with the most biodiversity in the country, hosting part of the Lacandona Jungle with more than 20% of the Mexican fauna. Chiapas is a state of extremes: stunning colonial cities, important archaeological sites, scenic beaches, tropical rainforest, lakes and high mountains with an active volcano as well as a large indigenous population where no fewer than 10 different dialects are spoken.

Seniors Explore Palenque Up Close

Palenque is a “must.”  The site is famous for the ruins of a Mayan city dating from 600 AD to 800 AD, containing  some of the finest architecture, sculpture, roof comb and bas-relief carvings the Maya produced. Set amidst thick trees, Palenque still evokes some of the wonder that the early Spanish visitors must have felt when they first came across the ruins.

So you may have visited Mexico; now come and see “The Real Mexico” in Chiapas. jeb

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