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Birthplace of the Mayan Calendar, the region of Chiapas is undoubtedly an intriguing one. The small town of Puerto Chiapas is a hub for the most iconic sights in the whole state, such as iconic Mayan temples, magnificent jungle expanses and even Guatemala.
The southernmost point in the whole of Mexico, Puerto Chiapas may be small, but it's blessed with a tropical climate and splendid beaches upon which you can fully enjoy it. The charm of the town is the freedom you have from the moment you step off your ship. With none of the kitsch atmosphere that can influence popular tourist ports present, Puerto Chiapas is a dream to simply stroll around, enchanting cruisers with its intimate sensibilities and tight-knit community of friendly locals.
Speculated to have been settled as early as 1500 BCE, the Izapa archaeological site is revered as one of the finest sets of Mayan ruins to be found in Mexico. Resting just north of the Izapa River, and overlooked by the ominous presence of the Tacana volcano, this is an historical marvel which has been wonderfully overrun by the chaotic spread of nature.
Expect pyramids with seemingly endless steps, incredibly detailed plazas and even ceremonial stone platforms which were once used by high priests for sacrifices. It's a morbid attraction, but an endlessly fascinating one.
An intoxicating blend of urban excitement and tropical relaxation, Tapachula City is the heart of the Mexican south. A colonial heritage means a stroll through its buildings reveal influences not only from the Mayans, but also from German, Chinese and French settlers who have all come to adopt this fast-paced city for their own. In this vein, expect a city unlike anywhere else in Mexico, where austere stone buildings are bordered by flowering cacti, and restaurants serving French cuisine bake in the scorching heat.
Set amongst the hills where thousands upon thousands of coffee beans are harvested every year, the Argovia Finca resort is a hidden gem of the Chiapas region. Eco-friendly and proud of it, this pioneering getaway spot features a full size organic coffee plantation, a huge outdoor pool, and even a Temascal sauna. The grounds of the resort are an ideal place to idle away an afternoon, as they are filled with vividly coloured flower beds and pristine lawns.
There are no commercial franchise stores in Puerto Chiapas, but that doesn't stop it from having a thriving market for crafts, artworks and jewellery, all created by the locals. The central market in Puerto Chiapas is a fantastic place to start, as each afternoon the native artisans array their work for display, haggling with the locals and the tourists.
Restaurante El Cafetal offers local specialities with an international flavour, and has fantastic views from its terrace seating. Make sure to order the spiced steak fillet and the crab pasta dishes, both are which are made using only the freshest local produce.
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