The quiet community of Frontera Corozal along the banks of the Río Usumacinta is the jumping-off point for visiting the Yaxchilán archaeological site, a terrific Maya ruin located about 25 kilometers downriver. It’s also a convenient border crossing into Guatemala—just across the river—and you may be asked to show your passport (and pay a small fee) at a checkpoint at the entrance of town, even if you intend to remain in Mexico.
Frontera Corozal itself is quite new, founded in 1976 by Ch’ol Maya émigrés from northern Chiapas, along with a small number of Lacandón and Tzeltal families. Relations are far from perfect, but locals take pride in their town’s multicultural origins.
Getting to Frontera Corozal
By Combi: From Palenque, Autotransporte Chamoan (Av. Miguel Hidalgo btwn. Calles 1a Pte. and Allende) provides combi service to Frontera Corozal (US$7, 3.5 hrs) every hour on the hour from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The bus stops a short distance from the river dock, where you can catch a boat to Yaxchilán. The same combis return to Palenque at 4, 4:30, 5, 5:30, 6, 7, and 8 a.m., and then hourly from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
By Car: From Palenque, follow the Carretera Fronteriza for 162 kilometers to crucero Corozal, a well-marked turnoff. From there, it’s another 22 kilometers to Frontera Corozal. Driving between Palenque and Frontera Corozal used to be unsafe due to armed robberies. The situation has improved immensely, however, and the entire 185-kilometer stretch is considered safe to drive. However, for the sake of caution, it is recommended to drive during daylight hours only.
By Boat: The boat cooperatives that go to Yaxchilán also provide one-way transportation to Betel, Guatemala (US$40 for 1–3 people, US$50 for four, US$60 for 5–7, and US$75 for 7–10; 40 mins), where buses to Flores, outside the archaeological site of Tikal, depart daily at around 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m., and 5 p.m. (US$11, 4 hrs). Remember to pass Mexican immigration in Frontera Corozal (8 a.m.–3 p.m. daily) before departing; Guatemalan immigration is in Betel.
© Liza Prado and Gary Chandler from Moon Chiapas, 1st Edition