Chiapas is the state with the greatest biodiversity in Mexico and one of the most beautiful. Here we can meet the Lacandons, one of the most reserved Mayan ethnic groups.

The Lacandones are one of the Mayan ethnic groups that, together with the Tzotziles, Tzeltales and Choles, inhabit this vast jungle. The Lacandon community barely exceeds the 500 inhabitants, the villages of Metzabok, Naha, Bethel and Lacanjá Chansayab they are the most established. In these villages, tourism has developed supported by the local Lacandons: you find basic lodgings, guides who offer walks through the jungle and restaurants serving local food. The town of Lacanja Chansayab He is the one who offers the greatest services.

Lacanja Chansayab. Lacandon Maya art. Chiapas, Mexico
Lacandon jungle, Lacanja Chansayab, Chiapas, Mexico.
Lacanja Chansayab. Lacandon jungle. Chiapas, Mexico

En Lacanjá Chansayab, very close to the archaeological zone of BonampakKnown for its paintings, many Lacandons are engaged in tourism today. On their own grounds they have built cabins to welcome the traveler who arrives here. Some men offer themselves as guides in the different and interesting proposals of Hiking what are you offering. Some women sell handicrafts in the village and dedicate themselves to cooking in the premises.

The Lacandon Maya

The lacandones they have been losing the values ​​of the group accelerated by the contact with the foreigner. It has happened to most people, more or less hastily and under more or less injustice. This is a big difference for the healthy development of the people, and the Mayan people are not those who have left very well unemployed. The Spanish conquest it was a strong blow to the cultural development of the Mayan peoples.

The Lacandon Maya is an ethnic group characterized by their white robes, long hair and for staying more out of the changes of the society that surrounds them. The Lacandons are reluctant to associate with members of other ethnic groups, living more isolated than the rest. Contrary to what usually happens, it is man who has preserved his traditional clothing. It is true that many no longer use it, or only do so as a tourist claim rather than as a symbol of identity.

Maya Lacandón. Ceiba sacred tree of the Maya. Chiapas, Mexico


Sadly is getting lost is the knowledge about the jungle, the life he has and the life he gives. It is very nice to discover how some Lacandons know their environment and how they use it to make medicine, food, ornaments or hair shampoo. I am sure these ancestral treasures are going well to preserve them, without any doubt. It must be that in all eras and diverse cultures we believe that our grandparents' is very old and does not work, then we run to preserve it. Law of life?

Maya Lacandón. Medicinal plants in the Lacandon jungle. Chiapas, Mexico
Ulises's grandfather was a master of the use and knowledge of the environment
Lacandon jungle. Chiapas, Mexico

It is likely that on your walk through the jungle you will be accompanied by the sounds of howler monkeys. After crossing the odd river, it is fascinating when you come across vestiges of Mayan cities devoured by this jungle. Without realizing it, you stop climbing small hills to climb pyramids engulfed by vegetation, incredible. They say that there is a tunnel that runs underground about 4 km, which leads to the archaeological zone of Bonampak.


There are not many travelers who arrive for free until here, it is not like Palenque. Yaxchilan and the Lacandon jungle preserve that tranquility that many of us look for.

  • WITH AGENCY: there are different Palenque agencies and some in San Cristobal de las Casas that offer trips to the Lacandon jungle
  • FOR FREE: to Lacanjá, collective transport arrives from Palenque (3 hours). You must get off at the San Javier crossing, the driver helps you. From here collective taxis pass to Lacanjá Chansayab (about 4 km).

From Palenque they make this two-day excursion: Bonampak, Yaxchilán and the Lacandon jungle

Lacandon jungle. Chiapas, Mexico
Sandra in Selva Lacandona. Chiapas, Mexico
Blue Mountains Lacandon jungle. Chiapas, Mexico

It's a good idea to stay to sleep in Lacanjá Chansayab and savor the peaceful life of a place where you will not be surrounded by the usual for you. Enjoy the difference and the opportunity to live different places than yours. Take advantage of trips as opportunities to get out of our routines.

The Lacandon jungle from Lacanjá Chansayab 1

Lacanjá Chansayab, nature

LOCATION: Lacanjá Chansayab It is located near Frontera Corozal (border point with Guatemala), in the Lacandon jungle. From Palenque there are 3 almost road hours.
HOW TO GET IN PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION? A collective transport from Palenque arrives at Lacanjá (3 hours). You must get off at the intersection of San Javier, the driver knows. From here collective taxis pass to Lacanjá Chansayab (about 4 km). Excursions from Palenque: sell tours to visit BonampakYaxchilan, with a night of lodging in Lacanjá (about 1500 mxn).
ACCOMMODATIONS: there are several basic cabins where you can stay to sleep in Lacanjá Chansayab
EXCURSIONS FROM LACANJÁ: the guides in the village offer different excursions through the jungle: 2 hours, 5 hours, overnight in the lagoon. You can choose the one that suits you best.
WHAT TO BRING? Light and light clothing, hat, insect repellent, sunscreen, closed shoes (you are in the jungle and there are many bugs, protect yourself). Do not forget the swimsuit. 

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.
I am at your disposal for whatever you need. Let's talk.

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