A sweaty, bustling city, and Mexico’s main border town with Guatemala, Tapachula is far from charming, but it’s not without its shining stars. The restaurants are among the best and most varied in the state, and the archaeological museum makes a fascinating stop for adults and kids alike.
Add to that the many surrounding sights—windswept beaches, an untouched mangrove reserve, upscale coffee fincas, and the looming Tacaná Volcano—and together, they all make Tapachula well worth exploring.
Getting to Tapachula
By Air: The Tapachula International Airport (TAP, Carr. Tapachula–Puerto Chiapas Km. 18.8, tel. 962/626-4189) is located about 18 kilometers (11 miles) south of Tapachula on the road toward Puerto Chiapas. Airlines that service it include Aviacsa (Av. Central Sur at 1a Calle Pte., toll-free Mex. tel. 800/284-2272, toll-free U.S. tel. 800/967-5263, www.aviacsa.com) and Aeroméxico (Avenida Central Ote. near 1a Av. Nte., tel. 962/626-3921, toll-free Mex. tel. 800/021-4000, toll-free U.S. tel. 800/237-6639, www.aeromexico.com).
By Bus: First-class, deluxe, and international buses service the OCC bus station (17a Calle Ote. at 3a Av. Nte., tel. 962/626-2881), located 10 blocks from Parque Hidalgo. It’s far enough from most hotels to merit taking a cab (US$1.75). The station has two ATMs in the waiting area as well as a tourist information kiosk (1–5 p.m. Mon.–Sat.) in the baggage claim area.
By Combi: Unión y Progreso (5a Calle Pte. near 12a Av. Nte.) runs combis every 5–10 minutes 4 a.m.–10:30 p.m. from Tapachula to Izapa Archaeological Zone (30 mins, US$0.85).
To get to Santo Domingo and Unión Juárez, take a Unión y Progreso combi to Cacahoatán (US$1.50, 1 hr) and transfer to a combi headed to Unión Juárez (US$0.50, 40 mins) that stops at Santo Domingo (US$0.25, 30 mins).
Servicio 12 de Octubre (13a Calle Pte. near 4a Av. Nte.) provides combi service to Barra de Cahoacán (every 15 mins 7 a.m.–9 p.m., 1 hr, US$1.25); the last combi from Barra de Cahoacán leaves at 5:30 p.m. daily. Servicio 12 de Octubre also drops passengers off near the airport (TAP, Carr. Tapachula–Puerto Chiapas Km. 18.8, tel. 962/626-4189).
© Liza Prado and Gary Chandler from Moon Chiapas, 1st Edition