One of the most scenic regions of Chiapas , the Ruta del Café (Coffee Route) includes some of the state’s largest coffee plantations, or fincas, many of which were started by German immigrants in the late 1800s and are still run by their descendants today. Visitors can tour the fields and processing facilities, and stay the night in comfortable guest rooms. (Worth doing for the morning coffee alone!)
This area is one of the rainiest regions in all of Mexico. Not surprisingly, the best time to visit is during the dry season (Oct.–Feb.), which also coincides with the harvesting and prepping of beans for export—a fascinating sight.
You’ll need your own transportation to explore the Ruta del Café. Hold on tight—after Finca Argovia the road is mostly unpaved, with huge sections containing large rocks, potholes, and loose dirt. During the rainy season (Apr.–Sept.), a four-wheel-drive vehicle is absolutely necessary; the rest of the year a front-wheel-drive car will make it, but only very slowly (and prepare to be stared at by unbelieving eyes). Regardless of the vehicle, be sure to fill your tank in Tapachula ; there are no gas stations on the Ruta del Café, and villages are few and far between.
If you don’t have a vehicle, fincas occasionally will provide transport to guests. At the time of research, only Finca Hamburgo offered round-trip transport from Tapachula (US$12.50 pp).
Combis (5a Calle Pte. near 12a Av. Nte., 5 a.m.–5 p.m. daily) headed to the town of Zaragoza from Tapachula drive past the turnoffs to Finca Argovia (US$1, 1.5 hrs) and Finca Hamburgo (US$1.25, 2.5 hrs). You’ll have to walk the final two kilometers to Argovia, and up a steep hill to Hamburgo, but it’s way cheaper than renting a car—just pack light.