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Puerto Chiapas, on the Pacific Coast near Mexico's southernmost point, is only a few miles from the Guatemalan border and has one of the highest gross domestic products per capita in all of Mexico.
 Formerly called Puerto Madera, Puerto Chiapas is a relatively new stop offered by a few cruise lines. As of the date of publication, Holland America, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceanic Cruise Line and Regent Seven Seas sail to Puerto Chiapas, and all offer shore excursions to nearby attractions.
 
Puerto Chiapas has a hot and humid tropical climate. The rainy season goes from June through October, making things even balmier. The pier offers local vendors, a restaurant and entertainment upon the ship’s arrival.
The closest town is Tapachula, a culturally diverse city whose history and heritage has been influenced not only by the Mayans, Mestizo's and Spanish but by German, Chinese, Japanese and French immigrants as well. Take the opportunity to visit the town square where you find an historic church, the city hall building as well as vendors and small stores. You may choose to walk, sit in a café, shop or explore the archeological museum (entrance fee charged).
 
In December 2012, the world's attention was drawn to Chiapas--and particularly the Izapa ruins--as this site is believed to be where the Mayan calendar was developed. The calendar is 5,126 years long, and its last day is December 21, 2012. This was to be the end of the world, and people and media from near and far made their way to witness this cataclysmic event at the ruins. Alas, the end has yet to come, but that just gives you extra time to visit Puerto Chiapas and all that it offers. Many cruise passengers say that this is at the top of their favorite ports.
The Soconusco region is also the entry point for many undocumented aliens transiting from Central America to points north. After all, in this area you're only several miles away from the Guatemalan border.
 
This town plays host to Holland America cruise ships when their Americas and Panama Canal cruises trips that start in September of each year. The Regent Cruises’ ships visits this lovely town for their Panama Canal cruises in December while en route from Fort Lauderdale to San Diego.
This small port town is in close proximity to the mystical tourist and archeology destinations of Mexico. Vehicles are readily available for your exploration of the area.  Puerto Chiapas is a boutique port for Holland America, NCL, Regent Cruises' and Princess Cruises' ships, as well as ships from the smaller luxury cruise line Oceania Cruises.
 
As a general rule, ships arrive at the port's cruise ship pier between 7:00 am and 8:00 am, and depart between 4:00 pm and 5:00 pm.In 2015, Puerto Chiapas is slated to host 37,000 passengers sailing on 22 ships, down 18% and 19%, respectively, from 2014
 
Where You're Dock
Your ship will dock at the Puerto Chiapas Cruise Terminal. On arrival, don't be surprised to see musicians and dancers in colorful costumes performing on the pier as you disembark. The park-like terminal consists of two buildings: one is home to the pier market, with several vendors selling their wares, as well as a performance space. The other building features a bar and restaurant, along with internet access. All of the tours offered by the cruise lines will begin ship side in the terminal. Here you'll also find the desks of several tour agencies that offer guided excursions (with English-speaking guides) to the area's sights, as well as taxi drivers who also offer day tours of Tapachula, the Izapa ruins and the area's beaches.
 
Puerto Chiapas is located at the southern tip of Mexico on the Pacific coast and in the State of Chiapas. The port is located 32 kilometers from the city of Tapachula. Its Cruise terminal has an impressive infrastructure made of wood and palm, which makes it unique; Here you'll also find the desks of several tour agencies that offer guided excursions (with English-speaking guides) to the area's sights, as well as taxi drivers who also offer day tours of Tapachula, the Izapa ruins and the area's beaches.
 
Puerto Chiapas is the staging point for all of your day's activities for the area. Tapachula, the main commercial center of the area, is a 30-minute drive away. Paradoxically, despite the general poverty of the area, the city has one of the highest per capita gross domestic incomes in Mexico. The archaeological ruin of Izapa is also nearby.
 
In December 2012, the world's attention was drawn to Chiapas--and particularly the Izapa ruins--as this site is believed to be where the Mayan calendar was developed. The calendar is 5,126 years long, and its last day is December 21, 2012. This was to be the end of the world, and people and media from near and far made their way to witness this cataclysmic event at the ruins. Alas, the end has yet to come, but that just gives you extra time to visit Puerto Chiapas and all that it offers. Many cruise passengers say that this is at the top of their favorite ports.
The Soconusco region is also the entry point for many undocumented aliens transiting from Central America to points north. After all, in this area you're only several miles away from the Guatemalan border.
 
Things to See and Do
This small port town is the gateway to exciting destination ranging from beautiful rainforests and picturesque beaches such as la Playa Linda to the exploration of ancient civilization.
 Well preserved archaeological sites regularly amaze visitors. Explore the ancient Mayan, Izapa and Olmec ruins, where vibrant colored murals offer a preview to these ancient civilizations; many inscriptions are yet to be deciphered.
 
The Sonocnusco Archaeological Museum is located next to the Municipal Palace and features a collection of pieces from a variety of archaeological zones. Some examples are a turquoise and gold decorated skull and an ancient whistle.
 
Sumidero Canyon
Cañón del SumideroThe deep caverns of the Sumidero Canyon are ideal places to stimulate the imagination and refresh the spirit, and the rock formations with their mystical figures are truly impressive yet at the same time graceful and delicate. The Grijalva River passes through the Canyon on its tireless journey to the Gulf of Mexico. This area was declared a National Park in 1982, and is filled with beautiful flora and fauna and many interesting species, among which there are crocodiles, spider monkeys and sea birds.
 
Agua Azul Cascades
Agua AzulThese impressive waterfalls are formed by the Agua Azul River which meets at its end the Shumulha River. The indigo blue color of the water, the green vegetation, the constant breeze, and the never ending sound of the water makes this site one of the most spectacular and unforgettable in Mexico. It is located 64 kilometers (40 miles) south of the city of Palenque. Around this area there are regional arts and crafts for sale, you can also go camping and it's an excellent spot for photography, and swimming.
 
Comitan de Dominguez
ComitanThe city of Comitan de Dominguez was dismissed as an Indian village by the Dominic Monks; nevertheless, it later went on to become one of the most important cities in the Colonial Provinces, famous for its large estates and haciendas. Nowadays you can tour the actual route of independence, retracing Friar Matias de Cordova's steps as he proclaimed this territory's independence from Spain. This is a small but interesting city and there are many natural attractions in the surrounding areas.
 
Palenque
PalenqueThe great Mayan metropolises were built in the forested areas of Chiapas. The closeness these people were searching for to their gods, their refined architectural taste and the perfection of the sculptures are marvelously reflected in the site at Palenque. Among its well preserved buildings, travelers can see El Palacio, which features an intricate structure that includes patios, corridors, sculptures, and towers.
 
The Temple of Inscriptions, presents the most refined architecture in the entire complex, and it is the site where an enormous mausoleum was found underground in 1949 containing the King Pacal's Tomb. When it was opened they discovered a whole treasure trove of precious offerings and jade decorations, which can now be seen at the National Anthropology Museum in Mexico City. Other outstanding buildings include the Temple of Skulls, the Temple of the Sun, and the Fourteenth Temple. All theses vestiges are reminders of the Mayan wisdom and talent, for they are one of the most interesting and mysterious civilizations of all times
 
Park M. Hidalgo
If local relaxation is what you seek, go to Park M. Hidalgo where you can sit and take in the sights and sounds of town as well as walk to the nearby Municipal Palace and a local outdoor theater where mamba concerts often occur.
 
Tapachula City Tour
A 40-minute drive from Port Chiapas takes you to the city of Tapachula, the second-largest city in the state of Chiapas and its commercial center. The Tapachula city tour typically includes a walking tour of the city with some free time for shopping and sightseeing. Passengers visit historical landmarks that put Tapachula's rich cultural history on display such as Saint Augustine Church and the Soconusco Archaeological Museum. Regent Seven Seas and Oceanic Cruises offer the Tapachula City Tour alone or coupled with a drive to one of the area's local banana plantations.
 
The city of Tapachula lies partly on the Sierra Madre and partly on the Pacific Coastal Prairie; hence it has a variety of different terrain, and weather ranging from warm to chilly in the same day. The architecture consists of brightly painted houses with wooden motifs and wrought iron balconies. The Tacana Volcano, which can be seen from different vantage points in the city, has an altitude of 4,100 meters above sea level, and spans an area from Mexico to Guatemala.Tapachula is predominantly a business destination, and considered one of Chiapas' most prominent cities, mainly because of its impressive coffee plantations, exuberant natural attractions and the breathtaking scenery that surrounds the city.

Coffee Tour
La Ruta del Cafe (The Coffee Route) is an ecotourist project created by the coffee farms in the beautiful region of Soconusco, in southwestern Chiapas. The main purpose of the project is to promote ecotourism as an instrument for conserving natural and cultural resources of the area, which in turn, helps preserve the ecological heritage of the state. The tours are conducted across the protected reserves and through the coffee plantations, crossing rivers and waterfalls, and sharing the jungle with unique endangered species.
 
TapachulaThis excursion is ideal for travelers seeking adventure, fun and full interaction with nature. In contrast with other ecological trips, the Coffee Route aims to create a unique experience that leaves the participant with a sense of environmental awareness. There are also special techniques implemented for a proper agronomic management of resources. The coffee farms that currently participate in the project are: Hamburgo, Irlanda, San Francisco, Chiripa and Argovia. They offer rustic cabins, restaurants, spas, temascal and infrastructure for lodging and special events.
 
The state of Chiapas, Mexico, is an agriculturally rich area well-known for its coffee production. The town of Argovia in the Sierra Madres Mountains is a 2.5-hour drive from Puerto Chiapas. A visit to the Argovia Coffee Estate, a family-owned agricultural estate, offers the opportunity to walk through fields of coffee trees. On this tour, you will learn about the process of making a cup of coffee beginning with the harvesting of the beans, taste Argovia's coffee and visit the estate's private greenhouse before heading back to the ship.
 
Izapa Ruins
The Izapa ruins are the largest and most important Mayan and Olmec archaelogical sites in the area. Believed to be the birth place of the sacred Mayan calendar, Izapa is located at the base of the Sierra Madres Mountains near the Tacana volcano. All of the cruise lines that stop in Puerto Chiapas offer excursions to Izapa. Excursions include a visit to several large Mayan pyramids, religious altars, thrones and stone carvings. In some cases, trips to Izapa may be paired with a walking tour of Tapachula or a visit to the town of Tuxtla Chico.
 
Tuxtla Chico
Chocolate lovers and connoisseurs will likely choose the shore excursion that takes them to Tuxtla Chico, which includes a visit to Mi Pueblito, where local women demonstrate the process of turning cacao beans into chocolate. Holland America, Regent Seven Seas and Oceanic Cruises offer shore excursions to Tuxtla Chico. Regent offers a stand-alone excursion to Mi Pueblito and Holland America and Oceanic pair their chocolate discovery tours with trips to the Izapa ruins.
 
Tuxtla Gutierrez
Capital city of Chiapas, has grown and evolved throughout its history with vigor and energy. Proof of this can be seen in the modern constructions in the city, created by a down to earth, vibrant population. Although modern, the city retains its charm and the special magical flavor of the state. As in most Mexican cities, it has a central square (Zocalo) in the heart of the city.

San Cristobal De Las Casas
San CristóbalFounded in 1528, San Cristobal was named after its first bishop, Bartolome de la Casas, who was a fervent supporter of the local natives' rights. This town is home to the Santo Domingo Church, an elaborate baroque structure that now houses an excellent museum of Mayan culture.
 
Today San Cristobal is a classic Spanish Colonial town with a lively and celebrated Indigenous heart. It is a city of cobblestone lanes, red tile roofs, opulent churches and small tree-filled plazas. Surrounding San Cristobal are many traditional Indigenous villages, where no fewer than 10 different dialects are spoken.San Cristobal is a wise choice to use as a base for exploring the numerous, spectacular, intimate and seldom visited wonders of Chiapas, as well as the colonial city itself.
 
Mangroves
Some cruise excursions take passengers on an hour-long boat ride through the mangroves of Chiapas to observe the native flora and fauna, including the tropical birds that are indigenous to the area, including herons, pelicans and egrets. The mangroves of Chiapas are considered to be the most productive ecosystems in the world. Holland America, Regent and Oceanic offer a mangroves shore excursion.
 
Eating Out
Dining in the area offers a chance for both regional and international cuisines. Some local specialties are seafood stews, fried fish with red or green pepper sauces, crawfish and lobster. The regional specialties are mostly for those with somewhat more adventurous palate. Examples are armadillo stew, iguana tamales and snail broth.
 
Restaurante El Cafetal offers international, Mexican national and Mexican regional cuisines. Located at the Hotel Loma Real, this eatery offers a panoramic view of the area.
 For lunch, try out La Parilla Restaurant, known for their unique tortas (sandwiches). El Navegante is a highly recommended seafood restaurant, which is not far from Puerto Chiapas. El Jardin de Estefania Restaurant is known for its large, international menu that fits a wide range of tastes. If you're just looking for a tea time snack, they have you covered with homemade sponge cake and a native Chiapas cup of coffee.Although Puerto Chiapas is not known for their nightlife scene, there are plenty of restaurants with bars on premises and extensive tequila menus for bargain hunters and perfect
 
Shopping
Colorful items like shoes, dresses, rebozos and sarapes await your shopping spree while in Puerto Chiapas. These beautiful finds are rooted in the folklore and tradition of this mystic town. The town is also known for its quality leather works, beautiful crafts which include fine weaving and embroidery. One of the famous shops in town is La Casa de las Artesanias, located in Tuxtla Gutierrez and it offers you a variety of finds. Rope tote bags, hand woven items such as hammocks, elaborately carved gourds and attractive rugs and hats made from palm fronds are among the beautiful souvenir items that are sure to delight your friends at home.
 
It should be no surprise that the local shopping reflects the varied culture of the port. Many of the crafts you can find while looking for souvenirs at the Puerto Chiapas stalls and vendors have distinct Asian influences. Look for Morraletas de pita (rope tote bags), hand woven hammocks, ornately carved gourds and rugs and hats made from palm fronds.






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