When thinking about canyons, if the first thing that comes to mind is the Grand Canyon in the Arizona desert, you’ll be surprised by the Sumidero Canyon, particularly because its surroundings are quite the opposite to a desert.
This Canyon in the State of Chiapas, Southeast Mexico, is an explosion of greenery, water and wildlife. It begins near the city of Chiapa de Corzo, stretches for about 35km, crossing a number of impressive cliffs, finally ending at the reservoir of the hydroelectric dam Chicoasen.
The Canyon del Sumidero can be visited by boat or driving along the miradores (viewing points) at the top of the cliffs that surround it. We opted for the aquatic option and joined a boat trip at the Cahuare embarcadero. Prior to departure, there is ordinarily a long wait required until enough people arrive to fill the boat. We were quite fortunate, however, in that a number of people turned up shortly after us, so we didn’t need to wait for long. After putting on our life vests we were ready to go!
The boatman took us to some of the interesting spots along the Canyon. The first one was the Cueva de Colores (Colours Cave), aÂ small cave which has some interesting pinkish colours on the ceiling and a small statue of Virgin of Guadalupe. This was just a hint of how religion and symbols have a central presence everywhere in Chiapas. Later, toward the middle of the boat trip, we arrived at the highest point of the Canyon, a cliff that reaches nearly 1000m, where the mountains from both sides of the river create an impressive gate full of life surrounded by nature.
My favourite spot was a curious formation called the Christmas Tree. During the rainy season it becomes a waterfall, but during the winter, when the rain is not so abundant, instead of the waterfall an interesting formation is created covered with moss that resembles a Christmas Tree. It was quite a coincidence to be there in Christmas season to contemplate this interesting sight.
After an hour on the boat trip, we arrived at the end of the Sumidero Canyon, where the river meets the Chicoasen dam, a massive generator of electricity for Mexico. On the way back to the embarcadero we spent some time trying to spot spider monkeys, birds and crocodiles. We were fortunate to see all of them. Luckily the crocodile that we saw was just a small one. Although it’s quite tempting to sink your hands into the warm water (which I did), it’s probably not the wisest thing to do just in case there are some bigger crocs around!
I would like to thankÂ Hotel Los Angeles for supporting this article by kindly offering a discount on their rates during my stay in Chiapa de Corzo.