59 lakes of Montebello in Mexico
Chiapas has a lot to offer. It is not very known outside Mexico, but out of 31 Mexican states, it is the state with the most trees, lakes, rivers and green colour is everywhere around you even during the dry season. As it reminds me a little bit of my home country Slovakia, I had to visit it.
Apart from the capital Tuxtla Gutiérrez and San Cristóbal de Las Casas, which are the towns you cannot miss, the travel agencies offer you many tours to the countriside of Chiapas, lakes, waterfalls, jungle, indigenous villages and much more. One of the tours I took and you should too is a tour that leaves from San Cristóbal de Las Casas in the morning to get to the National Park Lakes of Montebello.
6.012 ha of the national park includes 59 lakes, some of them very small, some bigger, some very contaminated like the lake Encantada with weird green-yellow colour of the water where is prohibited to swim. Other lakes have an unbelievably blue, transparent green, turquoise or light blue colour, depends on the plants of the lake, the stones there, wood around but mostly on the Sun because when it illuminates the lakes, they get a nice light blue colour.
Anyway, there are three lakes next to each other, every one is different from the other two – Ensueño, Encantada and Esmeralda. You have to go down the steps to visit all three of them, Ensueño is at one side, the other two on the other side of the road.
Like I said, I don’t think you will stay ‘encantado/-a’ once you see the lake Encantada any more due to its contamination in 2009, the water changed the colour incredibly. Although in the end of 2010 the cleaning of the lake started, it is still untransparent green and needs a lot of work to get to the same colour of water like the other two lakes here have.
The biggest lake in the national park is the lake Tziscao, which is of clean green water. Standing at the viewpoint, behind the lake there is a forest with a village. Most of the village belongs to Mexico but there are some houses in the same village that belong already to Guatemala as the boundary between Mexico and Guatemala crosses the forest. You can actually see the white sticks that designate the boundary. At Tziscao you can spend your time hiking, camping or doing some sports such as mountain bike.
At the lake Pojoj (which in tha language of native Indians means palma sobre piedra – hand on a rock), you can take a kayak or a little boat made of wood and paddle to an island in the middle of the lake. Or get there swimming if you are a good swimmer.
The sign here says SWIMMING PROHIBITED but many people swam there and the policeman did not say a word. You know, Mexican laws. The island is the place where the advertisement for Corona beer with Antonio Banderas was filmed. If you paddle to the other side of Pojoj, there is a cave to visit.
The most visited lakes of Lakes of Montebello have toilets (some for a couple of pesos fee), shops with souvenirs, mostly hand-made by Chiapanec people and obviously little restaurants where you can stop for some traditional Mexican food.
I visited 5 lakes, the plan was to visit 6 but the last one with the same name like the National Park, Lake of Montebello (which has beaches to tan if you get some nice weather and camping is allowed here), was full and we did not have more time to wait until some cars leave and let us enter.
Yes, this was my mistake that I planned the visit of Chiapas during the Semana Santa – the Easter week when all the Mexicans go on holidays along Mexico. Everything in Chiapas during the Semana Santa was full of people, the hotels, restaurants, bars, tours, all the places of interest…
Basically a bad idea to come over at this time, but I could not change the plan. Plus with my good luck, every afternoon and night here rained like crazy even though it still should be the dry season with the beginning of the rain in May.
Oh yes, I brought bad weather with me again :/
Speaking about it, I am still in the van with more people taking the same tour when a child just shouted SNOOOW, we all looked out and the ground was all white, covered with the hailstones, I could not believe I saw this in Mexico. And on top of it, it is raining a lot.
Wow, in Europe everyone thinks Mexico is just hot weather and beach, but no, Chiapas will surprise you like never.
Rain and cold in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, now hail on the way from Montebello to el Chiflón waterfalls. Mexico never stops surprising me, not even for a day. That is why I LOVE IT so much.
My trip to Lakes of Montebello was a press trip. Check out their Viajes Zuambary website or follow them on facebook. However, all the opinions in this post are honest and just of my own.