I'm going to tell you about one of the places that has captivated me the most in these years of getting to know Chiapas, a place that I know will be forever in the heart of my memory: El Castaño.
To each of the travelers we mark a place for different reasons; we in El Castaño we found a place of surprising nature and a local environment committed to its natural environment to the point that it stole our hearts. It is not a well-known place, I hope to discover the place to some reader eager for adventures and places with soul.
We arrived at El Castaño on the recommendation of our friend Jordi, owner of the El Cau restaurant in San Cristóbal de las Casas. Pablo and his family, who run the Costa Verde resort of El Castaño, they are delighted to be able to live in such a special place of nature.
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Where is El Castaño?
El Castaño is located in the La Encrucijada Biosphere Reserve, on the Pacific coast of Chiapas. This Reserve boasts of having the highest mangroves of the American Pacific and the highest in the world. They can reach heights of 30 meters, it is a mangrove forest that breaks your head of how beautiful it is.
In the small town of El Castaño, Costa Verde tourist center, where you can stay and do nature activities. The host house is in front of the estuary, as is the restaurant. Awakening here is simply delicious, of those places that transmit a great energy. The sounds of the birds are the soundtrack of the place, and your inner smile dawns with those sounds of luxury.
Pablo and his family, who run the restaurant and lodging, are an example of conservation and knowledge of the environment. Thanks to the actions carried out, education and care of the natural environment, with the support of the rest of the community, they have made El Castaño an exemplary place. Here we can enjoy a place where you are part of nature, and not a simple natural viewpoint for the human being.
What activities to do in El Castaño?
The Costa Verde tourist center offers different nature activities. In a world where the word is used "echo" as a symbol to attract tourism, here it is not used, but they have more awareness of the natural environment than any company that goes green. Pablo is a bird enthusiast and a person with deep knowledge of nature and its environment. With him you can learn a lot.
BIRD OBSERVATION: this place is a bird festival and one of the points of the migratory route of the aquatic birds of Canada and north of the United States, and the passage of the same towards the coast of the Atlantic. As well as the nearby Triunfo Biosphere Reserve, ornithologist friends will enjoy El Castaño like children. All excursions from here, birds are the protagonists
RUNNING BOAT RIDE: leave early in one of the Wooden cayucos is ideal for bird watching. You can go between the ramifications of the estuary, where a festival of animals and mangrove forms awaits you.
BOAT TRIPS TO THE BEACH: are also boat rides with motor to go to the entrance of the estuary, where you get to the beach. In Boca del Cielo or The Madresal You have the opportunity to sleep on the beach on this magnificent Pacific coast.
WALKS IN KAYAK: another activity is rent kayak and navigate the beautiful estuary. We, who went in December, were crocodile breeding season, and we could only go at certain times of the day by kayak, and we could not get around. In the breeding season crocodiles are much more active and aggressive. More than one villager who was in his fishing boat warned us about it, and if the local advises you, you better listen and do what they tell you.
THE GAPS: On the dirt road that leads to El Castaño there is an area of lagoons where several species of herons and roseate spoonbills are agglutinated. You will see a poster of crocodiles, which indicates that they are there, and that's the way it is. Well, this beautiful area is a good place to watch birds as well. You will verify the little habit that birds have to the human being, and how they immediately take flight when they feel our presence.
SIMPLY STROLL: Stroll through the town and its surroundings, where children will easily follow you and you can have a good time living with them. And learning, because they tell you about their trees and animals, they offer you the almond that falls from the tree and they tell you stories about the place. Or you can stay on the banks of the estuary and spend whole evenings sitting without more.
La Encrucijada Biosphere Reserve:
The Encrucijada Biosphere Reserve was formed in 1995, taking an important step in the conservation of this crossroads of estuaries that run along the Pacific coast. Here you find a very powerful natural habitat due to the height that the mangrove reaches, reaching 35 meters, the highest in the American continent on the Pacific coast.
Personally, mangrove landscapes seem very captivating to me, because of how dreamlike they are with their impossible shapes. The mangrove is the regulator of the coasts, a tree capable of growing between salty and fresh waters thanks to the fact that its leaves perspire salt. Hundreds of aquatic and bird species take refuge, reproduce and inhabit its branches. I tell you that this area is a festival of nature, with enviable fauna: anteaters, spider monkeys, coatis, crocodiles, armadillos, eagles, kingfishers, herons, parrots, frogs, foxes, porcupines. Good luck in the observation, enjoy it 🙂
73 mammal species
more than 300 bird species between residents and migrants
13 amphibian species
20 invertebrate species
42 reptile species.
The most usual way to visit the La Encrucijada Biosphere Reserve es from the pier of Las Garzas, that you find announced on the coastal road 200. If you take the detour to El Castaño you will not regret it.
When to go to El Castaño
La coastal region it has a hot-humid climate, and during summer presents abundant rains. In May the pattern is set for the beginning of the rainy season and generally lasts until November, however between July and August, the famous intra-market drought is presented, the other months can present either dry weather or in February and March occasional rains . The average temperature throughout the year is greater than 22 ° C. Source Wikipedia
The inhabitants of this region give the name of winter to the rainy season and summer to the dry season.
To observe migratory birds you must go in the months of October-November-December.
I feel fortunate to have known El Castaño. The Pacific coast gave us fantastic places of nature, infinite Thanks for those fantastic days, we hope to return soon, these will always be in us.
The chestnut, natureLOCATION: Costa Verde, the tourist center in the El Castaño community, is located in front of the San Nicolás stream, at 23 km from the city of Mapastepec, from where you take the dirt road that passes through the communities of Ibarra and Roberto Barrios. You can also arrive by boat, enjoying a walk of 50 min. (25 km) through the estuary from the "Las Garzas" jetty in Acapetahua.
HOW TO GET IN PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION? From Tonalá or Tapachula depart collectives that cross the federal highway 200. You must download at Mapastepec. From there ask for groups that bring you to El Castaño, or taxi (there are about 23 kilometers).
CONTACT EL CASTAÑO: Pablo Valdovinos Rogel Telephone: (918) 1012161 and (918) 64 80803 Email: [email protected] There is very little phone and internet signal. Page of Facebook of El Castaño
ACCOMMODATION: some cabins have private bathrooms, others shared. From 400 pesos the night, I think I remember.
WHAT TO BRING? Light and light clothing, hat, insect repellent, sunscreen (I am one of those who prefer to cover themselves well that potingues throw), closed and comfortable shoes to protect you from insect bites.
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