From Palenque there is an interesting road to the southeast bordering the Usumacinta River, a natural border between Mexico and Guatemala, with many corners to discover. The South Border Highway is a cultural and visual adventure.
The most usual route among travelers in Chiapas is to travel the serpentine road from Palenque to San Cristóbal de las Casas. From Palenque another road that is increasingly popular among travelers who do not want to lose the treasures of this area. Road South Border it runs along the Usumacinta River, natural border between Mexico y Guatemala. The borders are always moved, it is universal law.
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Highway from Palenque to Comitan by Montebello Lagoons:
The South Border Highway travel the 470 kilometers that separate Palenque of the lagoons of Montebello and Magic Town de Comitán, to 55 kilometers. There are many speed reducers along the Su Frontier Highwayr, be patient. The low cars are possible that they touch with some disproportionate stop, that so well they construct, the trick is to happen them inclined. With rains and wet asphalt extreme precautions.
Along the road there are numerous checkpoints from Marine Secretary and Mexican Army, they are very bulky in view of someone not used to it. The borders are the borders, and this road runs along the Usumacinta River, the area is not easy.
There are few local checkpoints due to the presence of the army, which carries out severe controls.
What to visit on the South Border Highway?
La South Border Highway from Palenque to Comitán the We are going to divide into two sections: Palenque to Frontera Corozal (164 km), and the next one Frontera Corozal to Comitán (351 km). The 525 kilometers, many in the Montes Azul Biosphere Reserve, deserve to go slowly: it treasures amazing Mayan landscapes and cities.
Section from Palenque to Frontera Corozal:
Cascade of the Swallows (Ch'en Ulich): a 117 Kilometers at South Border from Palenque and you come to a detour before New Palestine, where you have to detour to the Ch'en Ulich Ecotourism Center (about 9 km). There is lodging and taxi service from the road.
Lacandon village Lacanjá Chansayab: in the town of San Javier, before Frontera Corozal, the detour comes to this population of Lacandon Maya enabled for tourism. You can go hiking in the jungle, interesting experience.
Bonampak archaeological site: one of the most emblematic Mayan vestiges for the painted murals that were preserved in three bedrooms of this wonderful site. It is located near Frontera Corozal.
Yaxchilán archaeological zoneFrom the town of Frontera Corozal the boats go to Yaxchilán, my favorite Mayan place in Mexico, a spectacular archeological zone.
Archaeological site of Piedras Negras: for the Mayan adventurers, it awaits you upstream for more than two hours to Piedras Negras, the remarkable city of the Classic period where the remains of Tatiana Proskouriakoff lie.
Mexico-Guatemala border: one of the most popular border crossings when making a section by boat and connecting with Tikal, in Guatemala. Join the population of Frontera Corozal in Mexico, with Bethel in Guatemala. In Frontera Corozal there are lodgings. Bethel better in step, make way to Flowers (Tikal) or Sayaxche
Frontera Corozal to Comitán section:
This section is the least traveled by travelers. From Frontera Corozal to Comitan, other great destinations await you, which are hard to say no to.
Las Guacamayas Ecotourism Center: past Benemérito de las Américas, there is this center for the preservation of the red guacayama, in the Montes Azules Reserve. There are cabins to stay.
Las Nubes Waterfall: one of the most secluded and sought after places in Chiapas, Las Nubes. The pleasure of sleeping on the banks of the Santo Domingo river. There is accommodation in the ecotourism center, run by locals. Before arriving at Montebello Lagoons.
Lagunas de Montebello: a unique place in pine forest with lagoons of turquoise colors that dot the landscape. To lose a few days between hiking and kayaking. There are different surprises, mostly rustic. To 50 km you have Comitán.
Archaeological site of Chinkultic: a Mayan vestige on the walls of the cedars that crown some of the Montebello lagoons. Leaving the area, it is worth stopping and touring this archaeological zone.
Chiflon waterfall: the Chiflon waterfall It is a spectacular waterfall of 120 meters of fall that will not leave you indifferent. Chiflón is located at 34 km Comitán. There are cabins where you can stay at the foot of the river.
How to travel the southern border road?
- tourist excursion: to travel the first stretch from Palenque to Frontera Corozal, the agencies Palenque offer day trips or two to visit Bonampak y Yaxchilan, spending the night in the Lacandon jungle. It is a popular choice among travelers. The excursion takes all day, returns to Palenque and leaves daily. Prices between 600 and 1000 pesos, according to option. You can stay at Frontera Corozal. In the second section, from Corozal to the south, there is no tourist transport.
- collective: road Southern border of Palenque to Comitán la dozens of buses, vans of 12 passengers that stop where you indicate. With this option you get to all the tourist spots in the area. Some of you will have to walk, take a taxi or wait for another group to your final destination. On the section from Frontera Corozal to Comitán, it is the only option for collective transportation in the area. There is not truck (bus)
- cab: You can share a taxi among several to reach different destinations.
- Own car or rental: the comfort of getting everywhere in your own car, is a candy for many, gives a lot of freedom. Drive with the patience and care that this road requires. Estimated time Palenque-Frontera Corozal section: 3 hours. Frontera Corozal-Comitán section: 4 hours.
Hazards of the southern Chiapas border road:
Chiapas It is an area with a special idiosyncrasy, and many times there are uprisings in the area. It is possible that you will find local retailers inviting you to collaborate with their cause. One of their most common practices is to cut roads and make you collaborate with their cause, whatever they tell you. It is one of the reasons why I do not recommend travel by rental car to Chiapas, but you have a vast baggage as a traveler. They are not usually violent situations, but they can scare those who are not accustomed.
Anyway, this section is quiet in that sense due to the large amount of checkpoints what's on the part of the Navy and the Army. Much security on the road denotes a moved area, let's not forget that we are in frontier land, and the borders have a strange swing. I remember once that we had to sleep in the not very recommendable Benemérito de las Américas, to the question of How was the thing going? to a local, his response was «Very calm, to dead by day». One is simply far from these realities, even if we pass through them.
Is a tortuous road y full of stops. With rains and wet asphalt extreme precautions. Do not drive at night, for road safety as the roads are not illuminated and for possible assaults.
This road from Palenque to Comitán is one of those routes that make the traveler fall in love. United to the one that travels from San Cristóbal de las Casas to Palenque you have a traveler circle full of nature, culture, traditions ... Chiapas is a very special area.
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