Chiapas Mexico’s Mayan Highlands and Jungle Ruins

The heart of the Mayan world lies in Chiapas, Mexico’s southernmost state. With a dramatic landscape that varies from mountainous highlands to dense jungle, Chiapas is considered one of the most biologically diverse regions in the world. The colonial architecture and vibrant indigenous culture of Chiapas stand as testament to the fascinating and sometimes turbulent history of the region, one of the first parts of Central and South America to be settled by the Spanish. Hidden in the jungle on twisting mountain roads, one finds monumental stone pyramids and temples—the majestic ruins of ancient Mayan cities of Palenque, Yaxchilán, and Bonampak. The villages of the region are still populated by the descendants of the Maya who speak nearly extinct languages like Tzotzil and Tzeltal and are distinguished by their own unique dress, customs, handicrafts, and centuries-old cuisine.

The tour is based at three hotels in Villahermosa, Palenque, and San Cristóbal de las Casas.

The tour is custom-designed for and exclusive to SBMA Members and is the new and approved version of SBMA’s well-loved last Chiapas trip in 2008. It is planned and led by one of SBMA’s favorite guides—cultural anthropologist, historian, and spellbinding storyteller Florencio Moreno—whose ability to bring to life the history and legends of Mexico’s fascinating past has made him a favorite of museum travelers.

Condé Nast Traveler said about Chiapas: “Those in the know say to go now, while it has a similar draw to places like Oaxaca or San Miguel de Allende, but before the crowds arrived” in their list of 21 Places to Go in 2021. There are no 5-star hotels in Chiapas, but the pay-off is an experience that is etched forever in the minds of travelers who go there.


As an SBMA-customized, SBMA-exclusive special tour, SBMA Members at the $500 level and above and Curatorial Support Group members will get advanced notice and the first opportunity to sign up, followed by the Early Interest List, then full SBMA Membership if it has not already been filled.

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