Montebello Lakes (Chiapas): The Ultimate Guide + My Tips


Lagunas de Montebello: How to visit the National Park

Lagunas de Montebello National Park is one of the most beautiful natural places in Chiapas.

This area of 6,022 hectares was the first national park in Chiapas, and it has also been recognized as a Ramsar site and a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. It boasts 59 lakes that sparkle with different shades of blue, surrounded by green mountains full of pine trees.

It’s a unique landscape that resembles Canada and that I never expected to see in Mexico! I have to admit that I felt a bit emotional when I saw the similarity. If you also live far from home, I’m sure you can relate…

In this guide, I will show you how to visit the Lagunas de Montebello, with the must-see lakes and the best options to get there with a tour or on your own from San Cristobal de las Casas.

So, are you ready to discover Montebello Lakes?

What to see in Montebello?

Montebello Lakes Park is a place where you can enjoy nature and culture.

You can hike or bike around the lakes, or rent a boat, such as a kayak or a raft, to explore them from the water.

You can also visit the archaeological site of Chinkultic, where you can see the ruins of an ancient Maya city, hidden by the jungle.

The park has more than 50 lakes, but you can’t see them all in one day. I visited four of them, and I will share them with you below:

1. Lake Tziscao

This is the largest and deepest lake in the park, located on the border with Guatemala. You can see the neighboring country from the shore. The lake has a beautiful blue color and is surrounded by pine trees.

lago tziscao chiapas
lago tziscao chiapas

You can find some small restaurants near the lake, where you can enjoy local, cheap and simple food. I had a wonderful meal there!

Xplor Park
The dish I ate in a small restaurant near Lake Tziscao

2. Lake Pojoj

Lago Pojoj is another stunning lake, which you can admire from above or from the shore, after descending some stairs.

In the middle of the lake, there is Isla Orquídeas, which you can reach by renting a boat (100-150 pesos per person, depending on the duration) or a kayak (1h, 80 pesos).

You can also find some stalls selling various products, such as soft drinks (but no water 😑), chocolate, etc

lago pojoj montebello
lago pojoj montebello

3. Cinco Lagos

This was the most stunning lake we visited that day, without a doubt.

As the name “5 Lakes” suggests, it consists of five interconnected lakes that create a magnificent scene with different shades of blue and green, reflecting the sky and the mountains.

Like at Lake Pojoj, you can enjoy a boat ride for 150 pesos per person.

And here’s some good news: you can fully appreciate the tranquility of the place by staying overnight in a rustic cabin (click here to book!) by the lake, for up to 5 people.

cinco lagos montebello chiapas
Cinco Lagos in Lagunas de Montebello National Park, Chiapas.

4. Lake Montebello

Lago Montebello is the ideal place to end the day!

With its wooden dock, beautiful green landscape and cool wind, this place reminded me of Canada more than any other place in the park.

lac montebello
The view from Lake Montebello

What better way to warm up a little while enjoying the view than with a cup of typical Mexican hot chocolate?

By the way, if you want to take some chocolate with you, this is the perfect place to buy it: there is a lady who sells it for a much lower price than in San Cristobal de las Casas!

I also tried the fried bananas with cajeta, a delicious caramel sauce made with goat’s milk. It was a treat for my taste buds!

chocolate caliente mexico
hot chocolate mexico
cajeta mexico
cajeta mexico

Where to stay to visit Montebello

If you have time and want to enjoy the national park more, you can stay at Cabañas Cinco Lagos. They are cozy cabins for up to 5 people, with wifi and a beautiful view of the lake. The manager is very friendly and can help you organize many activities.

If you prefer more comfort, you can spend the night in San Cristobal de las Casas. Here are some of the hotels that I recommend:

  • The Coffee Bean Hostel: A very cozy hostel with nice common areas, a restaurant and bar, a garden, terrace with hammocks, pool tables and several breakfast options, starting at 12 $usd in a shared dorm!
  • Parador Margarita: Only 3 blocks from the main square and the bus station, it is a small haven of peace with a garden and very comfortable beds. Wifi and breakfast are included, only 46 $usd per night!
  • Hotel Diego de Mazariegos: A magnificent 18th century mansion with a preserved Mexican colonial style, a charming interior courtyard with a fountain and classic decoration in warm tones. The hotel has two restaurants and a bar. Wifi and breakfast included, from only 73 $usd per night!
  • Casa Lum Hotel Boutique: My favorite hotel in San Cristobal de las Casas! It is a small and sophisticated hotel decorated between modernity and traditional design. Includes a great restaurant, a terrace with a panoramic view over the city and a garden. A few steps from the main square, it is the ideal place for lovers, from 164 $usd per night!

How to get to Montebello Lakes

You can visit Lagunas de Montebello National Park by public transportation, by car or with a tour. However, the best option is to book a tour from San Cristobal de las Casas (click here!), as the distances are long and the transportation is limited.

But don’t worry, I just want to give you all the necessary information so you can choose what ever suits you best:

By public transportation

It is possible to visit Lagunas de Montebello National Park by public transportation, but you should know that it will take you a lot of time and that you will have limited mobility once there.

You will have to walk between the lakes, hitchhike or stop one of the vans that occasionally pass by. The return trip is also likely to be more difficult. You will have to plan your schedule well to avoid traveling at night. 

If you want to try this adventure, here’s how to do it:

  • First, you have to take a van from San Cristobal to Comitan de Dominguez (2 hours). You can find them on the highway between Insurgentes Avenue and Benito Juarez street, or take an ADO bus.
  • In Comitán, take another van to Lagunas de Montebello (1h15). Departures are from Calle 13a Sur Poniente, between 5a and 4a Sur. Departures every hour from 8:40 am to 4 pm. They will drop you off on the route where you can access 5 lakes: Pojoj, Cinco Lagos, Internacional, Tziscao and Ensueño.

With a guided tour

This is the option I picked because I didn’t have a car and I think it’s better!

This tour is great because it is a small group tour and it covers El Chiflón (a must-see place in Chiapas!) and four gorgeous lakes of Montebello.

Since the trip is quite long (departure at 8 am and return at 8-9 pm), being able to nap or just admire the scenery without driving was a real pleasure.

If you are like me and don’t have much time in the area, I suggest you book the tour to Montebello National Park and El Chiflón in advance so you don’t miss out. You can do it by clicking here:

By car

From San Cristobal de las Casas, it takes between 4h and 4h30 to get there, as there are many curves (be careful!) and many bumps in the road.

You will have to go towards Comitán de Domínguez, then Trinitaria, before reaching the Lagunas de Montebello.

How much does it cost to visit the Lagunas de Montebello?

The entrance fee to the park is 34 pesos per car.

You also need to buy a 60 pesos ticket that gives you access to Montebello, Conco Lagos, Pojoj, Tziscao, Lago Internacional and Cascada Cristal.

If you book the tour to Montebello Lakes National Park, these fees are already included in the price.

What to bring to Montebello Lakes?

Prepare for various temperatures.

The weather at Montebello Lakes can be quite chilly, so pack some warm clothing.

However, if you also intend to visit El Chiflón, be aware that it is hot and humid there, so wear light layers underneath, apply sunscreen and use mosquito repellent.

Of course, do not forget to bring comfortable shoes.

Rent a car in Mexico

Renting a car is for sure the best way to explore Chiapas and make the most of your stay!

To rent a car, I always use Cars, for a few reasons:

  • You can easily compare the rental cars prices between all the agencies: for sure the easiest way to find the best rate!
  • Cancellation is often offered free of charge: no need to worry if you change your mind
  • Booking Cars offers full insurance coverage at a lower price than the rental companies, so it’s an instant saving with no effort

Simply click on the green button to find your rental car at the best price:

How to get to Chiapas by plane

There are no direct international flights to Chiapas, you have to fly first to Cancun or Mexico City and then take an internal flight (Tuxtla Gutierrez, Palenque or Tapachula).

To find a cheap flight to Chiapas, as well as your international flight to Mexico, I recommend you to use our flight comparator in partnership with Skyscanner – it’s the guarantee to pay the best price!

Book your trip now and save money!

You’re traveling in Mexico? These articles will help you!

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visit lagunas montebello mexico
visit lagunas montebello mexico

I have created this blog to give you all my best tips to plan your next trip to Mexico, regardless of your budget. I share detailed itineraries, advice about places to visit as well as recommendations for transportation, hotels and restaurants. I hope I will also help you to discover amazing off the beaten path destinations in Mexico!

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