28 February 2015
Today just about all of us have booked to go on a tour to the Sumidero Canyon – Hugo is coming as well. I am determined not to miss anything and hope that whatever it is that I have is now being held in check by antibiotics. I haven’t eaten for over 36 hours so hopefully I can last the trip without incident.
We have a 9.00am pick up from the hotel so there is plenty of time to head into the Plaza for breakfast (or just tea for me) – just as everything was coming to life. We sat at a table right on the edge and watched all the different local people in their distinctive dress go about their lives. Particularly interesting are those who have black hairy outfits: even the women have black hairy skirts with colourful tops. There is another white hairy style as well that looks very fetching on men: a white cowboy hat, ‘jeans’, a white hairy poncho with a brown leather belt, leather satchel slung across the chest and brown boots.
We are picked up from the hotel by our shuttle and drive back down the hill towards Tuxtla to the Sumidero Canyon near the town of Chiapa de Corza (1 hours drive). Here we transfer to a motor boat and head towards the National Park. The entrance is marked by a huge bridge that has diving platforms up to 25m high below it. We have a quick trip past the park headquarters so they can make sure we all have our tickets and our life jackets are on and fastened.
The Sumidero Canyon started its formation about the same time as the Grand Canyon in the US, with the Grijalva River passing through it. This is the same river that we crossed via the Chiapas bridge earlier in our travels. As we start to head down the river into the canyon the cliffs are already 200m above us on either side and the river is 100m deep. At the highest point the cliffs tower 1000m above us – 1 kilometre high!!!
On the way we see 2 crocodiles sunbathing, a whole bank of black vultures, and a tree full of baby spider monkeys frolicking around. There are amazing rock formations on the cliffs, including one called ‘the Christmas tree’ which is a waterfall during the rainy season. The ‘branches’ are made by deposits from the waterfall which are then covered in moss. There is another formation in a small cave that is called the Seahorse after its shape. There are many caves as well, the best known of which is called the Cave of Colours named for the different colours from mineral deposits on the walls. It also contains an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe inside, which is surrounded by fresh flowers and burning candles left by visitors.
At the end of our journey is one of the several hydroelectric power stations and dams along the river. 60% of its supply is to Mexico and 40% to Central America. We head back to the start at great speed.
We thought that we were heading straight home but we stopped for 45 minutes in the town of Chiapa de Corzo for lunch. I still wasn’t eating so wandered around the stalls and then sat under a tree listening to some live music. There was a shop selling the most amazing fruit juices and licuados (smoothies).
We got back to the hotel at 3.00 and Gill and I decided that we had better go into town to see the Textile Museum and the Museum of Mayan Medicine that we had heard good things about. We found another pedestrian mall (Andador Eclesiastico) leading to both museums with some quite upmarket shops and seemingly more locals, and then through the Artisan markets.
We headed along first to find the Medicine Museum that was furthest away, walking through what appeared to be a Collectivo (shuttlebus) hub and certainly a traffic jam, and then the shops started to peter out. We asked and were told that the museum was further along – but we gave up when we reached a shanty town. On the way back we passed a guy playing the bagpipes!
The Textile Museum was great – they have set it up to preserve the history and culture of the skills and designs that vary across the whole region. There is an excellent video that shows how they start from scratch and then there is a huge hall of different embroidered costumes labelled with where they are from and the period. Underneath each display are many more drawers you can pull out to see other examples.
On the way back we enjoy people watching and just seeing people doing their everyday thing. We also visit the bakery and buy some unknown treats as well as plain bread because neither of us can stomach any spicy or heavy food and need to stock up for a long travel day again tomorrow.
After our team meeting, most seem to retire to their rooms. Anne and Lily are still out exploring so Gill and I head back to our favourite Al Grano Café + Arte for crepes (I am starving and have my first meal in 48 hours). On our way up the mall we see fireworks and hope our position in the Plaza will give us a good viewing point – but nothing else seems to happen. We discover the next day that Lily had gone to a theatre performance that we had seen advertised and wished that we had gone too.
For this and other similar trips see:
Peregrine Adventures Travel Destinations (Comfort and independent tours)
Geckos Adventures Deals for South & Central America (for 18 to 30s)
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