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Chiapas and its capital
 Page updated on 03.10.2015
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Chiapas State is located at the very southern end of Mexico, on the Guatemala border. However, its capital Tuxtla Gutiérrez is located more north than Acapulco because Mexico is not oriented North-South but East-West. West to Chiapas State, the American continent narrows to the point of being only 300 km wide: It is the Téhuantepec Isthmus, the place where the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans are the closest. At the north-east of the Isthmus, there is the birthplace of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations : the region of Oaxaca.

The Indians represent about 40% of the population of Chiapas. The most important are the Tzotziles, the Tzeltales, the Choles, the Tojolabales and the Zoques. This state is the poorest and the most rural in Mexico even if it has richness such as production of coffee, cacao, corn, cotton and cattle. It has the most important oilfields and gas reserve in Mexico. The different Governors of the State always supported the cattle farmers, the wood sellers and the great landlords. They hold the economic and political power to the detriment of the Indigenous communities who were given the less productive lands. This was the reason of the uprising of 1994. This movement was fast hushed up but the international impact was not insignificant.

The natural pools in Agua Azul (south of Palenque)Chiapas State is surrounded by the States of Oaxaca, Veracruz, Tabasco and Guatemala at the east. Its surface is 73 887 km2, (eighth place on a national level), with more than 3,600,000 inhabitants (in 2007). This region, like Oaxaca State, has a tropical climate. However, only Téhuantepec Isthmus and the coasts have oppressive heat. Most of the cities were built in the mountains, with a pleasant climate all year long. "Tropical" means two seasons: a wet season and a dry season (November -April). On a geographical point of view, Chiapas State comprises low tropical lands at the north, lands shared with the states of Tabasco and Campeche. These low lands, covered by jungle at the east, are inhabited by the Lacandóns (they left their original region, the Yucatán, when the Spanish arrived at the seventeenth century), and oil complexes of the Reforma. These two regions are parted by high lands, mountains and plateaus oriented east-west until Guatemala. The fertile central valley of Chiapas lies south of this plateau. It is itself lined with the ranges of the Sierra Madré de Chiapas at the south. The landscapes remind us of both the Rocky Mountains and the Amazon jungle.
The Chiapas is one of the only states in the world to possess such big biological diversity. Its unique fauna and flora and its diverse vegetation, forests and jungle are part of the big appeals of the region.

     Right picture : The natural pools in Agua Azul (south of Palenque)

You access to the Chiapas either through Oaxaca State, via the city of Tehuantepec (road 190) on the Pacific Coast, either through Veracruz State or through the capital of Tabasco, Villahermosa (293 km). Oaxaca-Tuxtla : 542 km.


This state was part of Guatemala until a treaty was made at the late nineteenth century to incorporate it to Mexico.

Tuxtla Gutiérrez, capital

The archaeological sites


Practical and useful information

Discovering celebrations, traditions, craft and gastronomy

Zapatista movement

Nice 2 minutes video made by the Secretary of Tourism of Chiapas  

The history of the state of Chiapas :

Map of the state :

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