Visiting Mexico’s Stunning Sumidero Canyon in Chiapas

Sumidero Canyon is a spectacular canyon located in the state of Chiapas, just north of the city of Chiapa de Corzo, and is protected by the Sumidero Canyon National Park.

Before coming to the area I had never heard of the Sumidero Canyon, but it is another incredible wonder of Mother Nature.

The canyon walls stand between 600 and 2,100 feet deep, but stretch up to 3,000 feet deep in some places.

The walls are a lush green, tropical and jungle like throughout most, and you will find crocodiles and other wildlife along the river.

Sumidero Canyon is formed by erosion by the Grijalva River, and began forming around the same time as the Grand Canyon.

Chiapa de Corzo

There are boat tours which leave from the river front in Chiapa de Corzo (the cheapest way to do it), or you can connect with tour agencies in Tuxtla Guitierrez or San Cristobol de las Casas.

Since we were on the road, we stopped and spent the night in Chiapa de Corzo, a small and pleasant little pueblo. We found lodging at Posada la Tradicion for just 250 pesos per night, and they let us park the truck literally in the hallway of the hotel — that was a first! The hotel was quite pleasant, cheap, with fans, TV, and strong WiFi.

Sumidero Canyon Boat Tour

The next morning we headed down to the waterfront to arrange for a tour with Turistica del Grijalva. We had tried the night before at a different location, but we didn’t have the minimum number of tourists and didn’t want to pay for a private trip.

Along the waterfront we were able to purchase our boat tour of the canyon which cost us 190 pesos per person, which included the 30 peso wristband for entry to the national park — there is a guard station you pass by and everyone must raise their hands to show their wristband.

The boats hold about a dozen people and seem to be in decent shape — they give you life jackets at least, so there are some safety standards.

As you make your way up the river, the low lying landscape quickly rises up with rocky walls and outcroppings before you make your way into the canyon proper and everything towers overhead.

There are ample opportunities to see wildlife, which the eagle-eyed guide will be quick to point out.

There are numerous waterfalls along the route which the boat pulled up to and idled for photo opportunities.

Toward the end of the canyon you will see the “Christmas Tree waterfall” which is a wispy waterfall with mineral deposits that has built up shelves below that give it the shape of a tree, complete with big green branches. It is a quite unusual sight!

At the end of the tour, we pulled up near the dam where an enterprising boat was parked selling all manner of snacks and refreshments, including chips and beer. A few eager people grabbed up some beers and then one guy couldn’t hold it and the boat had to make an emergency landing on the way back so he could pee. Don’t be that guy.

The boat turned around after the shopping break and we made it back to the dock in 2.5 hours round trip.

Visit Sumidero Canyon

Sumidero Canyon was an unexpectedly cool surprise, the first of many in the State of Chiapas, and one that I would highly recommend if you are in the area.

If you decide to do the tour while based out of San Cristobol de las Casas, you can expect to pay a premium for the trip due to the transport to and from Chiapa de Corzo.

But if you have more time or are more enterprising, you can easily organize the tour yourself by visiting Chiapa de Corzo — which is in itself a pleasant little stay that is off the normal Gringo Trail.

Traveling to Chiapa de Corzo on your next trip? Book the perfect room on today!

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Mexico is full of natural wonders for the nature lover, and Sumidero Canyon in Chiapas is no exception!


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Author, Writer, and Head Honcho at Desk to Dirtbag
Ryan is an author, adventurer, and wanderer. Originally from Seattle, he headed to Washington D.C. where he spent five years working for Congress before heeding the call of the wild. He set out living in his pickup truck and road tripping across the American West. Since then he backpacked through Colombia, drove across all of Central America, and also wrote a best selling book: Big Travel, Small Budget. Right now you can find him driving his old truck across all of South America -- support the adventures by visiting the D2D Shop. Follow the adventures on social media or read more.

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