Photo: Mardoz/Shutetrstock

See Huge Waterfalls and 1,000-Foot Cliffs at Mexico's Sumidero Canyon

National Parks
by Matador Creators Rulo Luna Ramos Jan 12, 2023

Sumidero Canyon is an incredible natural wonder in Chiapas, Mexico. It’s part of Parque Nacional Cañón del Sumidero and is one of the largest canyons in Mexico. While it’s a great place to hike, one of the most popular activities is taking a boat tour to the stunning waterfalls within the canyon.

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The majestic landscape was formed by erosion from the Grijalva River, and is a popular spot for nature lovers, adventurers, and photographers. Visiting Sumidero Canyon is a great way to get to know the region and explore the beauty of Chiapas.

What to Expect When Visiting Sumidero Canyon

The Christmas tree falls in Sumidero canyon mexico

The “Christmas Tree Falls” is one of the most famous in the canyon. Photo: Rafael Ramirez Lee/Shutterstock

The Canyon is 8.6 miles long and is more than 2,200 feet deep in some areas. As you may expect from the landscape, it’s a popular spot for rafting and kayaking, and visitors can rent boats or join a tour with a guide. There are plenty of great spots for visitors to take in the breathtaking view of the canyon, including several lookout points along the road and at the dam.

Also available are birdwatching and wildlife tours, since the park is rich with local species. It’s home to a variety of wildlife, including monkeys, crocodiles, and iguanas. There are also many species of birds, such as toucans, parrots, and hummingbirds. The area is also known for its lush vegetation, and traveling via boat tours is sometimes easier that moving on foot. Most boat tours leave from the nearby town of Chiapa de Corzo and can be booked when you arrive, though you can also book tours if you’re staying further away in towns like San Cristobal (one of Mexico’s “magic towns,“) which is about an hour from the park.

You can visit year-round, but the best time to go is from November to March when the weather is cooler and generally more comfortable for outdoor activities. It’s also the best time for wildlife viewing, so visitors may be able to catch a glimpse of some of the local species such as howler monkeys, toucans, and other migratory birds. It can be windy in the canyon year-round, so bring an extra layer, even if it’s warm outside.

Activities in the Canyon

boat on the water in Sumidero Canyon

Photo: vicgabriel9653/Shutterstock

Sumidero Canyon offers a number of activities for visitors, but you’ll need to be with a guide. You can rock climbing with companies like Vertigo Rock Climbing, or arrange kayak tours with local area guides or hiking and boat tours with Lokal Travel. The easiest way to book any tour in the canyon is probably just to ask your hotel for a recommendation as many are local companies that may not have much of a web presence.

How to Get to Sumidero Canyon

The easiest way to get to Sumidero Canyon is by car. It’s about a half-hour drive from Tuxtla Gutiérrez, and there are plenty of buses and taxis available to get you there. Alternatively, there are several boat tours available from Tuxtla Gutiérrez or San Cristóbal. You can also book guided tours with transportation that include lunch in a local town and visits to other sites in the national park. And for a more adventurous way to get to Sumidero Canyon, you can also take a bike tour from Project Expedition.

Once you get to the canyon, remember that there’s zero tolerance for littering, swimming in the river, or going into off-limits areas. And be mindful of your belongings as there are no lockers or safes available.

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