There are places that we visited with high emotions, that happened to me with Izapa, one of the mythical Mayan archaeological zones that I really wanted to know.

When we plan the getaway to the Pacific Coast of ChiapasWe were clear that the archaeological zone of Izapa would be a stop on our trip. If one is used to reading from the ancient Mayan world, Izapa is a reference in history maya, which experts continue to trace through the findings.

My skin and soul enchina when I travel the reference places I read. For us it is among the most prominent 5 archeological zones in Chiapas.

Discover the 5 archaeological sites of Chiapas most recommended

izapa chiapas archeological zone

How to get to Izapa

Izapa It is managed by the owners of the ejido where it is located. It has no cost, just give the will if you deem it so. The settlement of Izapa is divided into two large groups, due to the road that crosses it:

  • Leaving Tapachula towards Guatemala on highway 200 you will find a first entrance on your right, where you arrive by dirt roads. Here are the Groups A, B, C, D and E, being the A and B enabled for the visitor. the rest remains among the undergrowth of the place.
  • the so-called Group F It is located a few kilometers further south on the main road, on the left. From this group you can see the Tacaná volcano, a significant point when it comes to building the settlement, as we will see in the video below. Group F is where most visitors usually approach.

The archaeological zone of Izapa hardly receives visitors, as the statistics in Chiapas of Mayan areas show us. If you don't match the cruise tourists, you'll be alone. If you allow me some advice, visit all the groups, I am that sweet 🙂

izapa chiapas archeological zone
Registration of visitors of groups A and B
izapa ruins
Izapa, group A
Izapa group F, the main one for visitors. The Tacaná volcano in the background.

Archaeological importance of Izapa:

La archaeological importance of Izapa It is given for several reasons. Its main framework is that it is a settlement where they have been able to study transition between an earlier culture, of Olmec roots, at the origin of the settlement of the Mayan civilization according to its cosmogony.

This privilege is shared with the few ancient vestiges studied to date, such as La Venta or Chiapa de Corzo in Mexico and Kaminaljuyu, Abaj Takalik and El Baúl in Guatemala. These places are windows to the origins of the Mayan world.

Izapa Chiapas
izapa archeological zone
izapa archeological zone
Ball Game of Izapa, group F

The structures of the place are not large, nor do you expect a place that we consider colossal. Izapa we have to see it through knowledge to be able to appreciate it as it is due. The layout of the structures is made according to their cosmogony, which makes them face their buildings in a thoughtful and orderly manner. I leave a video that helps you understand the layout in Izapa of its structures.

Another of the great attractions in Izapa are the stelae found. I do not remember a Mayan place with such a carpet of steles and altars, it is a marvel to walk among this ancient library in the form of stones, it thrills.

izapa chiapas archeological zone
stele izapa

There are records of 271 sculptures: 21 stelae, 6 altars and 2 thrones, all with legible reliefs, at least partially (data from the Mesoweb website). The rest of the structures were illegible when they were found.

These sculptures are considered as earliest manifestations of Mayan writing. There are barely records of glyphs and numbers, there is some note of dates. In some steles and sculptures of Izapa are recognized passages and characters narrated in the Popol Vuh, the sacred Mayan book of the quiches of Guatemala.

izapa chiapas

 Estelas de Izapa:

A few examples of stelae so that we can peek. Some of these wonderful graphic legacies are worth learning about.

  • Estela number 1: describes a deity of water grabbing fish in a basket. The prominent jaw and long lips are characteristic of Chaak, the rain god in classical Maya art. Source
    Explore in Izapa the Mayan origins on the 1 coast
  • Estela number 2: it is believed to illustrate the scene from the Popol Vuh where the twin heroes beat a giant macaw out of a fruit tree with an air pistol. Source
    Explore in Izapa the Mayan origins on the 2 coast
  • Estela number 5: one of the most famous of Izapa where he describes the myth of the Mayan creation, of the most significant places of the Popol Vuh. If you want to delve into this stele I leave you the teacher's blog Claudio.
Explore in Izapa the Mayan origins on the 3 coast

Although we stop knowing too much in front of these images, we can get to understand that experts are able to draw lines of information that clear our historical past. When I visit these places my heart bristles with emotion.

Explore in Izapa the Mayan origins on the 4 coast

Izapa, archaeological site

LOCATION: Izapa It is located 11 kilometers south of Tapachula, the archaeological zone is well signposted. Izapa is divided in two by Highway 200, the mythical Panamericana that runs along the Pacific coast.
SCHEDULE AND SERVICES: open from 9 a.m. to 17 p.m. from Wednesday to Sunday, last entry at 16:30 p.m. They do not sell drinks or food inside. There are services at the entrance of the bathrooms. Contact: Chiapas INAH Center 01 (961) 6 12 83 60 and 6 12 28 24 XNUMX
PRICE ENTRY: You must register but it has no cost, the will ask you to take care of it.
HOW TO ARRIVE IN PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION? From Tapachula it is easy to arrive by bus to Izapa, also by taxi. Collective some 15 pesos, taxi calculates some 200 pesos.
WHAT TO BRING? Light and light clothes, hat, insect repellent, closed and comfortable shoes to climb structures and protect yourself from insect bites, some water always goes well.

Good way,

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Sandra Salvadó Training photographer, traveler by vocation and certified tourism guide by the Government of Mexico. We promote natural wonders and contemporary Mayan culture. Great fan of pre-Hispanic history. Author of the blog and co-founder of The Shortest Path Travel, agency that guides you through alternative paths in Mayan lands. Social and sustainable tourism in the Yucatan Peninsula and Chiapas.
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