Mexico is about three times the size of Texas, WAY bigger than I had ever imagined. There are 31 states and the Capital Mexico City; that, makes 32 Federal entities. Chiapas State is the southernmost state. It is very beautiful, huge mountains and lots of farmland. There are some ginormous mango farms near the marina and also a mango factory.
Once settled in Marina Chiapas and finding a cat-sitter, we took off for land travel by buses. Driving in a foreign country can be stressful. While taking buses enjoying the view of mountains, it reminded me of many green mountainous places in the US. Somehow, both John and I have always thought Mexico as with a cactus populated western movie landscape.
Our first land-traveling was to visit San Cristobal in Chiapas. This old city is located on about 7,000 feet high and took about 9.5 hours by bus. We took an OCC (air-conditioned big first class kind bus).
What is in San Cristobal? The weather for us! You don’t need an A/C nor a heater here. The hottest month is July which average temperature is 65f (=18c) and the coldest month is January which average is 57f (=14c), information from (https://www.timeanddate.com/weather/mexico/san-cristobal-de-las-casas/climate). There were many tourists, many organized tours, mountains, lakes, Mayan ruins close by, and many more interesting things to see. During our visit, we met a lot of young tourists from Europe. They got COVID vaccines so they can travel without being quarantined. John tried to eat every different kind of pastry he could find. I visited the Korean Restaurant nearly every day.
We liked the weather but also want to visit the Palenque Mayan Ruins. The comfy bus took 9 hours. Following a GPS Map, I wondered why the bus was taking a long route. Apparently, there were/are roadblocks by a group of local people demanding something. Law enforcement doesn’t apply in small local towns. The big buses decided not to go that route. So, instead, they settle with a safe but longer route.
Coming back to San Cristobal from Palenque Ruins, as I didn’t want to be in a bus 9+ hours (safer but longer), I found a better option. Speaking to a couple of tour companies in Palenque, they told me a direct route by a van, stopping at well-known waterfalls (Misol-Ha and Agua Azul). I confirmed the safety issue of this route and was told “No longer an Issue”. Well, we had a good time at Misol-Ha and Agua Azul. However, at the halfway point, our two tour vans stopped and waited for two more vans so we had a front and back escort as they learned some locals have been intermittently blocking the road.
Our caravan took a roundabout country road rather than the direct path as shown on Google Map. Some parts with pot holes and unpaved. By this time, John hid some money and I did my passport and etc. I just hoped nothing happens. The tour companies insured when I booked our tickets, that everything was fine and no problems. I guess it is just routine to get a front and back escort van, travel 2 hours out of our way?
Later while John was in the pool at the marina he heard that the indigenous locals had blocked the main road for 3 miles by cutting down trees and letting the fall across the road. I guess they just want to be left alone.
Was it a right decision to taking a challenging shorter route? Would I do it again? What do you think?