Get ready for an action-packed trip to Tuxtla Gutiérrez! You will test your limits, see the most beautiful place in Mexico, try exceptional dishes, and depart full of memories. We prepared a step-by-step guide to show you what to do in Tuxtla Gutiérrez to enjoy it to the fullest—including photos, detailed itinerary, opening hours and other useful stuff. Let’s dig into it!
First, let’s start with the itinerary. Then we’ll move on to the locations and their wonders.
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You may stay for a week in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, but in this case, less is more. It’s best to plan two days in Tuxtla. Tuxtla Gutiérrez is located in the state of Chiapas—check my itinerary so you can travel it all!
Let’s start with Tuxtla Gutiérrez sightseeing.
Here are the highlights!
This tour starts and ends near the same place: The Regional Museum of Anthropology and History. I recommend parking there.
Check on the map how to get to Sima de la Cotorra
In the afternoon, let’s take a trip to Sima de las Cotorras. The best time to observe the parrots is just before dusk.
Mariott Tuxtla Gutiérez Hotel: The most beautiful atrium I’ve ever seen!
Hotel tip for Tuxtla Gutiérrez: We enjoyed our stay at Mariott Tuxtla Gutiérrez Hotel. Great location, nice personnel, gym, pool, and tasty breakfast—what else could you wish for?
Prices start at 55 USD per night for 2 people.
Just so you know, if you book a hotel (any hotel) using our booking.com affiliate links sprinkled throughout this article, we receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. It keeps our blog free and shows us you love us, so thank you!
Let's go to Sumidero Canyon!
Get ready for Sumidero Canyon!
Our to-do list for Tuxtla Gutiérrez included a half-day boat trip in Canyon Sumidero National Park. Armed with a camera in one hand and a boat ticket in the other, I embarked on the boat setting off from Chiapa De Corzo. I didn’t know yet that Canyon Sumidero would be the absolute highlight of our journey. I loved it so much I’ve written a separate article about it.
Canyon Sumidero is definitely number one of all the things to do in Tuxtla Gutiérrez. It’s a river surrounded by 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) high walls, welcoming you with rapids, waterfalls, caves, rock formations…
The canyon is accessible by boat, by car, or on foot. Depending on the option you choose, the starting point of the trip is in Chiapa De Corzo (by boat), or in Tuxtla Gutiérrez (the road to the miradors—watchtowers—starts there). The entrance fee is 34 pesos (1.7 US dollars) and the boat trip costs around 500 pesos (30 US dollars) per person.
Hotel tip: Less than an hour by car from Sumidero Canyon there is a Hotel Hilton Garden Inn. It has a great pool, cozy rooms, and look at that fancy breakfast!
The prices range from USD 58 per night for two people.
Me and Karin visiting El Aguacero with all the trimmings
The visit of El Aguacero is one of the best activities to do around Tuxtla Gutiérrez. Why? It includes a hike, bathing in the river, and a roaring waterfall.
I’ll describe your way there: You’ll drive a very poor road—bumpy, dirty, full of potholes, narrow and steep. The road will be so bad that you won’t believe it could possibly lead to any tourist attraction, and you will want to turn around and head back to Tuxtla—at least a hundred times. But you’ll drive on.
Then you’ll park the car, and scramble up a steep hillside, in the jungle and in 30 °C (86 °F). And that’s where mosquitoes will come in, trying to eat you alive. Bring repellent—it’s the key to survival.
However horrid the way may sound, the result is absolutely worth it. You’ll get in a canyon with a warm river in which you can bathe. And if you follow the river, it will lead you to the most beautiful waterfall: El Aguacero.
Me taking the stairs to El Aguacero waterfall
Time frame: You might need around five hours for the visit. The hike takes about two hours (depending on your fitness condition), and you will need some time for bathing in the river, taking photos, and admiring the waterfall. Find out more about the hike to El Aguacero and other places in my top 10 hikes in Mexico article.
Warning: Never go to El Aguacero after it has been raining. Obviously, it’s a canyon. And you don’t want to be there when a flash flood comes, trust me.
The park managers are super kind and helpful. They work hard to keep the place tidy and run a bistro with an absolutely remarkable view. It’s therefore surprising that the entrance fee into the canyon is only about 50 pesos (2.5 US dollars). I guess the managers’ salary is nothing special (read about the economic disparsity in Mexico) so don’t be a miser and buy something from them.
Sima de las Cotorras
Sima de las Cotorras are, very simply put, large holes in the ground. Or, more scientifically if you want, sinkholes produced by tectonic and erosive processes on the limestone. What it means is that there are caves, and their ceilings collapse—creating sinkholes.
Sima de las Cotorras near Tuxtla Gutiérrez is not the largest sinkhole in the area, but it has parakeets living there. It’s therefore nicknamed the sinkhole of parrots. You can visit the local ecological park, observe the parrots, explore the cave on guided tours, or admire tropical plants.
In Sima de las Cotorras live parrots like these!
Sima de las Cotorras has one thing in common with Cascada el Aguacero: a poor road with non-existent signage.
Sightseeing in Tuxtla Gutiérrez should always start with Catedral de San Marcos, Tuxtla’s most prominent landmark. Its neoclassical white walls, remnants of frescos, and 48 bells that ring every hour attract visitors and pilgrims from all corners of the country. And in 1990 they attracted the pope, John Paul II, as well. Or maybe it wasn’t the walls, frescos, and bells that attracted him, maybe it was the fact that the cathedral serves as a local archdiocese. Who knows.
It goes without saying that Chiapas has a long history. You can see it with your own eyes: in Tuxtla, you’ll bump into a museum at every turn. I’d like to mention three of them:
Museo Regional de Antropología e Historia de Chiapas exhibits over 200 fossils, some of them older than dinosaurs. It’s the largest museum in Tuxtla and consists of three halls:
The museum is open from 9 AM to 6 PM from Tuesday to Sunday.
Tip: Are you into the ancient civilizations of Mexico? Instead of staring at the shards of their culture through the glass, take a trip to Chichen Itza built by the Maya or visit one of the ruins of bloodthirsty Aztec cities.
Museo del Café
Museo del Café is a curiosity of its kind and a must-visit for all coffee lovers. Prepare for a rather short visit that takes an hour at most. The descriptions are in Spanish only, but English-speaking guides will show you your favorite bean.
Opening hours are 9 AM – 5 PM from Monday to Saturday, and the ticket costs 25 pesos (1.3 US dollars).
Museo de la Marimba
Museo de la Marimba includes five galleries, an audiovisual room, a workshop, audio libraries loaded with marimba music, and other interactive stuff. It’s a great place to go to if you’ve had enough of admiring the exhibits from a respectful distance and not being allowed to touch anything.
It’s open from 10 AM to 9 PM daily, and the entrance fee is 30 pesos (1.5 US dollars).
Cactuses, cycads, palms, orchids and other plants—all can be seen in Jardín Botánico Faustino Miranda. A series of walkways, that cross 10 acres (4 hectares) of land, will lead you to many endemic and endangered species from Chiapas. Explore the botanical treasures the garden has to offer or just zonk out. Do as you please.
It’s open between 8 AM and 4 PM from Tuesday to Friday.
My sarcastic smile in my not-so-favorite city—San Cristóbal
San Cristóbal is one of the most promoted Mexican cities; it even belongs in the list of Pueblos Mágicos, some kind of Mexican UNESCO. It’s between Tuxtla Gutiérrez and Comitán, approximately an hour drive from each.
Let me say two words about San Cristóbal: It sucks.
The only thing I found interesting in San Cristóbal was the museum of amber, exhibiting pieces of amber with insects captured in. Like in Jurassic Park. Otherwise, there are plenty of tourist attractions which are… just okay. Nothing horrible, but nothing special either. The question is: Do you want to travel to a Mexican city only to see mediocre sites? Check my San Cristóbal article and make your own opinion.
Another minus point for San Cristóbal: It’s absolutely crowded. There’s no room for an apple to fall, let alone for you to walk around and take pictures. San Cristóbal was the only place in Mexico where we had to deal with really bad gridlocks. And we were there on January 31 in covid time. I don’t want to see what local traffic looks like under normal conditions.
Warning: San Cristóbal lies at the altitude of 2,200 meters (7,218 feet) above sea level, which means it’s cold as a well digger’s… you know what. It was 12 °C (53.6 °F) when we were there, and I believe it must be the coldest place in Chiapas.
My personal tip: Instead of San Cristóbal, visit Puebla or Oaxaca. They are kind of similar to San Cristóbal, but have much more places to see.
Luxurious Hotel Bo, San Cristóbal de Las Casas
Hotel tip: If you still want to visit San Cristóbal (I’d recommend not to, but if you really really do) here’s a tip for the nicest hotel there—Hotel Bo that’s located about a 5-minute walk from the cathedral. It's cool design (inside and out!) is complemented by its wonderful staff and a great on-site restaurant that serves Mexican and international dishes.
Prices start at USD 207 per night for 2 people.
Tuxtla has countless good restaurants, full of Mexican food (which left me disappointed, by the way). I will name two:
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