Sumidero Canyon (Chiapas): The Definitive Guide


How to visit Sumidero Canyon in 2024+ My Tips

The Sumidero Canyon National Park is a natural wonder in Chiapas, Mexico.

This protected area spans 2,789 hectares and encompasses the towns of Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapa de Corzo, Nuevo Usumacinta and San Fernando.

The canyon dates back to 35 million years ago and is one of the most scenic attractions in Chiapas. It dazzles visitors with its breathtaking views!

In this Complete Guide to the Sumidero Canyon, I will share with you my personal experience of exploring it during my stay in San Cristobal de las Casas.

I will tell you why it is a must-see, what are its main highlights, how to get there by tour or on your own, what to pack and where to stay to visit it.

Are you ready to discover the Sumidero Canyon?

Book the Sumidero Canyon Tour

If you want to book the Sumidero Canyon tour without reading the article (although I suggest you do to learn about all the attractions and practical information) here are the available tours.

Both tours offer the same package (the only difference is the starting point): round trip transportation from your hotel, boat ride and viewpoints, and a stop in Chiapa de Corzo.

To book, just click on the name of the tour that interests you:

What to see and do in the Sumidero Canyon?

The Sumidero Canyon offers two different ways to enjoy its beauty: by cruising on the river and by driving along the viewpoints.

Both options are amazing and I strongly suggest doing both to make the most of your visit.

The boat ride

The boat ride is a 2-hour journey that takes you through several miles of the canyon, from inside, between its towering walls that reach up to 3280 ft high!

We board the boat and sail under the Belisario Dominguez bridge.

It is important to know that the river is calm today only because of a hydroelectric dam that was built in 1980. Before that, the current was strong and it was risky to cross it. The dam also made it easier to travel between Chiapa de Corzo and San Cristóbal de las Casas.

The area is home to various animals, such as scavenger birds, the Great gurassow, the Lowland paca (also called tepezcuintle in Mexico), the ocelot, the white-tailed deer, crocodiles (we saw a HUGE one) and spider monkeys.

In fact, we met two very cute little monkeys, one of them is called Pepe! 😄

On the walls you can see several small caves and natural formations. The two most impressive ones are El Árbol de Navidad and the Cueva de Colores, where the guide stops:

  • La Cueva de Colores, also called Capilla de colores or La Cueva del Hombre: it is a natural chapel with walls of pink tones, due to the natural infiltration of different minerals. A Virgin of Guadalupe has been placed there and on December 12 a big mass is celebrated in her honor, to which the participants arrive by boat.
  • Arbol de Navidad (The Christmas Tree) is a 2460 ft high limestone formation located on the wall and created by a 656 ft waterfall. At the time of my visit there was no water (you can only see it during the rainy season), but the huge structure is impressive, all covered with moss!

Useful information for the boat tour:

  • There are 4 piers (Chiapa de Corzo, Unidad Deportiva, Cahuare, Belisario Dominguez) managed by local cooperatives. They operate from Monday to Sunday, from 8 am to 4 pm.
  • There are boats of different sizes (15, 20, 30 or 40 people). They only leave when they are full, so if you go alone, you may have to wait.
  • The price of the boat ride can be from 200 pesos to 600 pesos, and includes the 67 peso bracelet from CONANP (National Commission of Natural Protected Areas) which also gives access to the viewpoints.

You can also book this tour to the Sumidero from San Cristobal de las Casas which includes transportation, the boat ride, the viewpoints and a stop in the town of Chiapa de Corzo:

Cañon del Sumidero
The Grijalva River in the Sumidero Canyon
arbol de navidad sumidero
sumidero christmas tree
cueva de colores sumidero
color cave sumidero
mono cañon del Sumidero
sumidero canyon monkey

The viewpoints

The canyon is not only impressive from the inside… but also amazing from above!

There is a route with 5 viewpoints at different heights, which let you admire the curves of the Grijalva river that flows between the green walls of the Sumidero: La Ceiba, La Coyota, Roblar, El Tepehuaje and finally Los Chiapa.

Dress warmly, especially for the last one, Los Chiapa, which is the highest of them all (3280 ft), and where the wind is very strong!

By the way, at this viewpoint there is a store and I heard that amber (one of the main products of Chiapas) is cheaper and of better quality than in San Cristobal de las Casas.

Useful information for visiting the viewpoints

  • The viewpoints are open from 8 am to 5 pm (except Tuesdays)
  • Access costs 67 pesos. Or free if you have already paid for the boat ride.
The Sumidero canyon seen from the mirador

Chiapa de Corzo

Tours to the Sumidero Canyon from San Cristobal de las Casas often include a stop in the charming town of Chiapa de Corzo.

Some people went to the handicraft market, others sat down to eat. It was already 3 o’clock in the afternoon and, of course, everyone was hungry. I was too, but I chose to use my hour to explore the place.

The main square is surrounded by souvenir shops and several kiosks selling local sweets. There is also a stricking structure: “La Pila”, a Mudejar style fountain built in 1562 and which is the symbol of the town.

But I suggest that you walk through the narrow streets. There are some beautiful murals and the town is lovely, so you should enjoy the stroll!

dulces de chiapa de corzo
dulces de chiapa de corzo
chiapa de corzo chiapas
chiapa de corzo chiapas
chiapa de corzo street art
chiapa de corzo street art

Where to stay to visit the Sumidero Canyon?

There are two options to visit the Sumidero Canyon: stay in Tuxtla Gutierrez or in San Cristobal de las Casas.

Where to stay in Tuxtla Gutierrez?

  • Hostal Tres Central: Is a cozy and colorful hostel, it has a terrace with hammocks and a view over the mountains. Shared dorms and private rooms, very clean and with wifi. It offers the best value for money in town for its category, from only 13 usd!
  • Hotel Madrid: If you are looking for a little more comfort, this hotel is very well located in the center of Tuxtla Gutierrez, a few steps from the Marimba Garden and the main square. King bed and breakfast included, from only 35 usd per night!
  • Marriott Tuxtla Gutierrez Hotel: A high-end hotel at very affordable prices with very comfortable beds, very good wifi, gym, pool, restaurant open also for dinner. With breakfast buffet, starting at 73 usd per night!

Where to stay in San Cristobal de las Casas?

  • 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 visit the Sumidero Canyon?

The best option: take a guided tour

Getting to the Sumidero, and especially to the viewpoints, is a bit tricky. So, unless you have a car, the best option is definitely to join a tour, as I did.

I’m not a big fan of organized tours, but this one saved me a lot of hassle and let me fully enjoy the place. It is not really a “guided tour”, but more like an “arranged transport”.

The tour starts at 9 am and ends around 3 pm. It includes transportation, the boat ride, the visit to the viewpoints and free time in Chiapa de Corzo. A little tip: bring some snacks and water!

You can book the tour from Tuxtla Gutierrez here:

You can book the tour from San Cristobal de las Casas here:

How to get there on your own

If you want to get to the Sumidero on your own, here’s how:

  • By public transportation:

For the boat ride: the easiest way is to go to the pier in Chiapa de Corzo.

First you have to go to Tuxtla Gutierrez (1h15 from San Cristobal), and then take another local bus that drops you off at the main square of Chiapa de Corzo (45min).

You can also take a cab from Tuxtla to Chiapa de Corzo, which is not very expensive. For the return to San Cristóbal de las Casas, you have to take a colectivo from the highway (there is none inside Chiapa de Corzo).

To go to the viewpoints: take the R-69 bus that leaves you 330 ft from the park entrance.

The first viewpoint, La Ceiba, is little more than a mile uphill and the last one, Los Chiapa, is 10 miles from the entrance. So be ready to walk a lot.

My advice
Arrive early, as the park closes at 5 pm.

If you want to get to the last viewpoint, your only option will be to stop a car on the way, but you will have less chances if you arrive after 15h.

So, I insist, manage your time carefully.

  • By car: take the “Libramiento Norte” highway, then follow the sign “Calzada Al Sumidero” to the northeast.

If you are already in Tuxtla, it is 30 min – take Avenida Central to the exit where Plaza Poliforum is located. Go straight ahead and you will reach the bridge over the Grijalva River, there you will see the signs for Chiapa de Corzo.

What to bring?

Since it is a mountainous place with altitude variation, so the weather can change from very cold and very hot. The sun is strong during the boat tour, and the wind blows at the viewpoints.

So pack light clothes, but also a good sweater, comfortable shoes, good sunscreen, and a cap or hat. And, of course, water.

Video of the Sumidero Canyon

Still not convinced to visit the Sumidero? Here is a video of the canyon that may change your mind 😉

Visiting Chiapas by car

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

To rent a car, personally, 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, so you have to fly first to Cancun or Mexico City and then take a domestic flight to Tuxtla Gutierrez, Palenque or Tapachula.

To find your cheap flight to Chiapas, or your international flight to Mexico, I suggest you use our flight comparator in partnership with Skyscanner, which guarantees you the best price! You can also check out some of the web search results I found for you below:

Book your trip now and save money!

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

Discover all my articles about Mexico: All my articles to help you plan your trip to Mexico are listed there.

You’re using Pinterest? Here is the picture to pin!

visit Sumidero Canyon Chiapas
visit Sumidero Canyon Chiapas

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!

Leave A Reply