Traveler´s Tale by Jimm Budd
Boa cuddling in Chiapas
Tuxtla Gutierrez may not be the first place that comes to mind when you ponder somewhere different to relax for a few days. Not the first place that comes to mind, but once you come back, you will have cocktail party chatter for the next year or so. After all, who else do you know who was been to Tuxtla Gutierrez? There are several flights to Tuxtla every day, and, if you shop around, a plane ticket should cost less than a bus ticket. Only problem is taxi fare into town. The airport is nearly half-way to San Cristobal de las Casas, but that is no real problem. You probably will want to spend
recommend strolling along Avenida Central until you reach Los Pichanchas, perhaps not the best restaurant in town, but the only one – probably the only one anywhere – serving El Pumpo, which is vodka, pineapple, lemon and who knows what else served with a flourish that tells the world that you are in Chiapas. After an ample lunch, you probably will want to head back to your hotel for a siesta. Not sleepy? Then off you go to Zoomat, although you should save Zoomat for the morning. A big night lies ahead. Zoomat, as the name implies, is a zoo, arguably the best zoo in Mexico. It may be you think that zoos are for children, but not in Tuxtla Gutierrez. Watching a jaguar pounce on a chicken is not kiddy entertainment, nor is a snake devouring a mouse for the faint of heart. Chiapas has the greatest concentration of animal life this side of the Amazon, and at Zoomat you can meet nearly all, everything from jaguars and pumas to crocodiles and coral snakes. Out in the jungle itself, they all hide. Bars and fences are few as you stroll along nearly three kilometers of pathways to see it all. a night or two in San Cristobal before coming Special, too, is the Parque de la Marimba, which home. Consider buying a package that includes both air fare and a hotel room. Just about every chain you can think of offers rooms in Tuxtla. Although there are nicer places to stay, in Tuxtla I am partial to the Bonampak, one of the first inns to open in what was such a remote city that airplanes were the only alternative to ox carts when it came to transportation. That may be an exaggeration, but an airport arrived in Tuxtla before any paved highway to the outside world. What I like about the Hotel Bonampak is the lobby mural replicating the paintings in one of the most fascinating some might call the other zoo in town. In the kiosk archeological treasures in Chiapas. Bonampak is a marimba band plays each evening and everyone a long way from Tuxtla and contemplating a replica – well, almost everyone – decides to dance. The of the murals from a lobby bar is far more enjoyable crowd is quite different from what you might find than the real thing. At least it is to me. at a Zona Rosa disco, the danzón and mambo being So, what do you do once you have found a the favorite with the local terpsichoreans. About room and unpacked in Tuxtla? Old hands when you start to get hungry for dinner, the crowd thins out. Belisario Dominguez, which becomes Avenida Central (longest street in the city), is where you will find the widest choice of restaurants, bars and antros. If you left visiting the zoo for the next morning, that afternoon you might consider moving on to magical Chapa del Corzo on the shores of the Grijalva and gateway to Sumidero Canyon. Choice of hotels in Chapa is limited, and none is a St. Regis, but on a vacation the idea is seeking new
experiences. Sight to see (it cannot be missed) in Chapa is the brick fountain built in 1562, making it one of the oldest viceregal structures in the country. Old and big, 12 meters high with eight arches standing in a 52-meter circle. You will recognize it from photos you surely have seen. Guides stand nearby ready to tell you all about everything in Chapa and urge you to return in January for la Fiesta Grande
with its Dance of the Masked Parachico warriors. Once you hear about it, you may very well want to come back. The magic there seems to be real. Restaurants are few in Chapa, but, then, you only need one. Gastronomic specialties include pepita con tasajo, puerco con arroz, así como los dulces típicos como los suspiros, chimbos y muéganos. After that, it is early to bed and early to rise to cruise Sumidero. Sumidaro, where cliffs rise up nearly a kilometer high above the Grijalva, is Mexico’s Grand Canyon, but green and vibrant. For a hefty fee, you can board a boat to Amikuu, a privately-run ecological park where you can see cuddle a boa, rappel, ride a zip line and get a good meal, all of which cost extra. The installations are first rate, providing the only place where you can safely explore the magnificent jungle that can be seen only from a distance while boating along the river. Come afternoon, board a bus for San Cristobal and an entirely new adventure.
Dimensión Turística Noviembre