Cascadas El Chiflon in Chiapas, Mexico, are some of the most beautiful waterfalls we’ve ever seen. You can visit these five beauties on a day trip, enjoy an easy hike, swim in the river, or even zip line in the park. And we’ll tell you how to do it without a tour!
How to visit waterfalls El Chiflon from San Cristobal de Las Casas
You can take a tour to El Chiflon from San Cristobal. That will include transport, a guide, and probably a visit to Montebello Lakes. You’ll spend much more money and, what’s more important, you’ll be in a massive group the whole time.
Fortunately, you have another option: visit El Chiflon on your own! Getting to the waterfalls from San Cristobal is super easy, and you can do it even if you don’t speak Spanish!
El Chiflon Waterfalls Without a Tour
From San Cristobal, you initially need to get to Comitán. You have two options – either take an ADO bus or a colectivo. We opted for the bus but you could also catch the colectivo near the bus station. Try to go as early as possible. That was 8:25 am for us.
The bus ride cost was 60 MXN/€3, and we got to Comitán in two hours. Once you’re in Comitán, get out of the station, turn left and walk three blocks northwest until you reach a colectivo station across the street.
Ask for El Chiflon, and someone will point you to the right vehicle. The cost of the Colectivo was 35 MXN/€1.80, and the driver dropped us at the entrance after 40 minutes. You can jump on a TukTuk here, but it’s absolutely not necessary.
To get in, you need to pay the entrance 50 MXN/€2.50, and if you wish, you can also grab lunch over there. There are a couple of restaurants, and a vegetarian option was not a problem.
When you finish the visit, you can just wave a colectivo back to Comitán at the same spot where you were dropped off and continue to San Cristobal from there. For this part, we opted for colectivo, and you can read about that further.
Tip: El Chiflon is about 100 km southeast of San Cristobal, close to the Mexican border. You can actually combine the visit with a visa run or crossing the border to Guatemala.
From El Chiflon back to San Cristobal
We wanted to find out if the colectivo is faster than the bus. Well, it wasn’t for us. Usually, the bus ride takes 2 hours, and the colectivo is about half an hour quicker. It’s also a bit cheaper at the cost of 40 MXN/€2.
When we got from El Chiflon to Comitán, we noticed the place was weirdly crowded, and people were somehow stressed. Soon enough, we found out why – there was a blockade on the road from Comitán to San Cristobal.
These blockades are nothing uncommon – there is even a Facebook group where locals inform each other about these. Anyhow, we took one of the last colectivos for 80 MXN/€4 heading towards the blockade and were waiting for what’d happen.
Once the colectivo reached the blockade, we had to get off and walk two or three kilometers. When we crossed the blockade on the other side, more colectivos were already waiting there. We paid another 20 MXN/€1 and got down to San Cristobal.
It was a bit more adventurous than we expected, but if it happens to you, at least you know there is nothing to be worried about. The locals are protesting against the government and they don’t really care about you.
El Chiflon: 5 Beautiful Waterfalls
The best part about El Chiflon is that it’s not just one, but five beautiful waterfalls. To see them all, you’ll enjoy a nice and easy hike along the river. Most of it is only slightly uphill on a solid path, only the last part is a steeper trail.
Cascada El Suspiro
Cascada El Suspiro / The Sigh Waterfall / is the first one you’ll reach. During the dry season, the color of the pool gains a beautiful turquoise color, similar to the Agua Azul waterfall near Palenque. Well, we saw neither in the right season, both were still beautiful though!
Cascada Ala de Angel
Not far from the first one, Cascala Ala de Angel / Angel Wing Waterfall / awaits you. Again, if you’re lucky, you’ll enjoy the beautiful turquoise color and again, it’s very pretty even without it.
Cascada Velo de Novia
Cascada Velo de Novia / Bridal Veil Waterfall / is the highlight. The main waterfall is 120 m tall and oh-so-strong! There is a platform near to it, from where you can admire the beauty and really feel the strength. And also get wet even if you’re not in the mood for swimming.
Cascada Arco Iris
So you’ve already seen the main show, you can turn around and go home… Or at least most people do that, so you should continue and finally enjoy the tranquility of the place!
You can go on with the hike from the main waterfall and see two more. Now the uphill hike finally came, but it’s absolutely doable – we’ve met people hiking it in flip-flops. The first one is called Rainbow.
And the last waterfall, Quinceñera, which means something like Fifteen Years Old, is really on top. No more uphills and beautiful views await you there!
Note: I’ve read that you need to pay an extra 20 MXN/€1 for the last two waterfalls. I’m not sure if it’s true, but better be ready for that.
El Chiflon Zip-lines
If you get bored of hiking or want to try something new, you can enjoy a zip-line ride on the way back. There are three zip lines for adults plus one smaller only for kids. The zip lines are 300, 400, and 600 meters long and you’ll pay from 150 to 250 MXN for each or 550 MXN/€28 for all.
We decided to skip it since we were not in a mood and we were spoiled with the price of the zip-line in Arcotete park. Although, to be honest, these looked slightly safer.
Tip: Check out our San Cristobal guide for more tips in and around the town!
Swimming at El Chiflon
I’ll disappoint you if you’re looking forward to swimming in the pools under the waterfalls. Swimming is only possible in a small section of the river before the first waterfall (near the cabañas) and only during the dry season.
Final Tips For Your El Chiflon Trip
- If you want to experience the iconic turquoise water, plan your visit for the dry season (January-April).
- It’s a full-day trip, but you can buy some snacks in the park or a full meal in some of the restaurants on the road towards the entrance (where you get off the colectivo) – vegetarian options are available.
- Don’t forget your passport and tourist card! El Chiflon is close to the border, which means there are many immigration checkpoints in the area.
- Wear proper shoes – hiking boots are far from necessary but flip-flops are not the most convenient option.
- Try to get to the waterfalls as early as possible, so you can enjoy the park less busy.
And that’s it! If you’re in Chiapas, really make sure to visit El Chiflon. It’s an easy day trip from San Cristobal and we enjoyed it so much even during the rainy season. Most of the people come mainly for the main waterfall, but all of them are really pretty!
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Enjoy your trip!