Just outside of Chiapa de Corzo on the old highway to San Cristobal de las Casas is a great destination for a fun day trip, Los Cascades y Cueva del Chorreadero. The waterfalls and cave of the Chorreadero. We stopped to do some exploring on our way back from spending a day in Chiapa de Corzo.
The cave, waterfalls and pools of the Chorreadero are run by a local cooperative. There is a welcome center that doubles as a refreshment stand and restaurant where you pay your 10 peso entry fee. There was no cooked food to be had on our visit, but they did have ice cold beer in a cooler for 15 pesos each and a large variety of snack food.
This is the type of place that safety and insurance regulations would make impossible to be open to the public in the USA. There are several shallow pools at the bottom of a staircase down from the visitors center. The waterway is lined with platforms and places to sit on plastic chairs in the shade. There are a few BBQ pits and lots of trees for shade.
The cave of the Chorreadero has some steps that are fairly steep leading into it. Once inside you can cross the stream above the waterfalls and climb onto a long rock ledge inside the cave. That ledge leads back deeper into the cave. We didn’t have a flashlight with us, if we did, we could have gone as far back into the cave as we liked. There are no improvements or safety measures inside of the cave, so anything that could happen to you when you climb back into the cave is your own fault. I love that! Kelly and I plan a return trip very soon. We will bring some lights and a tripod so I can try to photograph deeper inside the cave.
The cave of the Chorreadero actually goes under the mountain and comes out, or starts, 2.7 kilometers away, further up the mountains towards San Cristobal de las Casas. The Escopetezo river has burrowed a way through the limestone creating this cave system. You can hire a guide to explore the cave all the way to its source, but you must make arrangements in advance and be in tip top condition. The sign says that the full trip can take up to 13 hours, it sounds pretty intense. We were very happy just splashing around in the pools and exploring the cave entrance on this trip.
The temperature down by Chiapa de Corzo and Tuxtla Gutierrez can be quite a bit warmer than in San Cristobal de las Casas. The mouth of the cave is a great escape from the heat of the sun and has a nice cool breeze coming from deep inside the mountains.
After cooling off at the waterfalls and cave of the Chorreadero we headed back onto the old highway, or free road, to San Cristobal de las Casas. This road takes more time and winds much more than the new toll road, but it is far more scenic. The old highway is well maintained and goes through little Mayan villages with stunning views over steep cliffs of the highlands of Chiapas. The road had a few spots where the heavy rains of last year had caused some problems closer to San Cristobal, but they were well marked and under repair.
I think a great day trip would be to leave San Cristobal in the morning on the fast toll road, take the boat tour of the Sumidero Canyon, have lunch in Chiapa de Corzo, then stop at the Cascades del Chorreadero for a swim and some refreshments before heading back the winding scenic highway to San Cristobal.
One of the highlights of the road back into town is the Church of San Felipe, on the right side of the highway, after you pass the turn for Zinacantan and just before you get back into San Cristobal. It’s a beautiful 18th century Catholic church with interesting paintings and carvings adorning the interior. Be warned that though no one seems to mind if you take photos of the exterior, they do not want cameras inside of the church.
We plan to make the Cueva and Cascades del Chorreadero a regular day trip from San Cristobal. If you are visiting Chiapas, it’s definitely worth a visit.