Las Nubes: a piece of heaven in Chiapas
by Carlos Arturo Aguilar
Friday, August 26, 2016
The edges of the Lacandona Jungle in Chiapas hides a piece of heaven known as Las Nubes.
You will never get tired of or bored with Chiapas. It is one of the most impressive states in Mexico, which is flattering enough considering the vast beauty of this country. From magic towns to lost pyramids, Chiapas has everything when it comes to adventure and folklore. Today I will show you what I found when I visited the south of this beautiful piece of land.
In 2013 I kicked the road with my wife in order to visit the south border of the state. We departed from the capital city, Tuxtla Gutiérrez. Our first stop was a place that intrigues from its very name: Las Nubes (The Clouds).
How to get to Las Nubes?
To get to Las Nubes from Tuxtla we drove (it’s the only way) for about 350 km to the south. Almost like going to Guatemala. It is one morning distance. On your way to Las Nubes you are going to find villages and spots that will make you wish to stop. If you have the time do not hesitate to make a quick visit to places such as Comitán de Domínguez, one of many magic towns in Chiapas.
A couple of miles after Comitán, there is a beautiful spot you can visit for a glimpse of what is waiting for you at the end of the road: Las Lagunas de Montebello (Montebello Lagoons). These lagoons are a series of beautiful natural ponds. Some of them – like the one I photographed – can be seen from the road. At these lagoons you can eat, swim, do some canoeing, or get a kayak.
We actually stopped there. I have always felt an innate attraction to nature, specially to water bodies. We took a break, got some fresh air, and enjoyed the view for a while just before hitting the road again. From the lagoons we needed to drive another 120 km to reach Las Nubes.
The road to Las Nubes is a bit tricky. If you don’t pay attention to the signs you may end up in Guatemala without noticing. After a while we found the correct sign to our destination. From that sign we just needed to drive about 60 km. This section is not highway anymore. The road becomes narrower and the carpet is not as nice but you will be safe and sound.
Of course, if you don’t want to drive or struggle with directions there are travel agencies that will certainly give you a hand for a sound fee. However, there is nothing like do the things like a local.
After 3.5 hours we finally arrived to Las Nubes. To be honest I did not have any expectation. I have visited Chiapas before so, I knew about the magic of the region. Nevertheless, I was not ready to found this.
Las Nubes is a protected area located at the edge of the Lacandona Jungle. It is actually an “ejido”, which is some sort of common land. There is no owner, but owners. It is managed by a group of tzotziles y tzeltales, indigenous and first inhabitants of these lands. You can visit the place for the day. You just need to pay an entry fee. However, if you want to stay over there are some nice bungalows. A decade ago, the people of the ejido built these bungalows and adapted the area in order to make it a tourist attraction but always respecting the nature and beauty of the place. The price is not high considering what you are getting for.
Since the moment you get there there is a background sound telling you where you are. This is the edge of the Chiapas’s jungle. Tupid and exotic nature. Colours everywhere painted over a green canvas. The smell of the soil is different and the sound of hidden waterfall completes a stunning scene. To this point you have not even seen the main attractions and I can tell you that happiness has already started to flourish.
Once we payed and left the bags in the bungalow we got out in order to explore the area. Then we found why this place is called Las Nubes.
Las Nubes means “the clouds” and it gets its name due to its beautiful waterfalls. The waterfalls are part of the river Santo Domingo and they are not only beautiful, but also powerful. They are not very tall, but the intensity, the volume of water, and its width provoke that the breeze turns into clouds giving to the place an impressive visual effect.
You certainly could stay there just admiring the waterfalls for the rest of the day and go away satisfied. However, there is more. In Chiapas there is always a surprise after another.
After visiting Las Nubes main waterfalls we started to walk following the natural trails in order to reach Vista Hermosa, a natural viewpoint. If you enjoy hiking, this is a perfect opportunity. You need to walk all the way up for about an hour or so in order to get to the top: 150 meters altitude. After that short climbing period surrounded by nature, you are going to find this.
From the top, Las Nubes is simply a dream. Several waterfalls and turquoise river branches surrounded by the Chiapas jungle make a picture that any photograph can portray. I remember that I fell over a wooden handrail mesmerized by the spectacle. It is incredible how through the simple act of seeing – of being – one can get pleasure, peace, and emotion. Las Nubes creates a true experience.
We came back to the bungalow happy and tired enough to get some rest. I remember that night not only because I slept very well, but also because just before sleeping when everything is seriously dark outside, you can hear from your bed the sound of the waterfalls and the noises of the jungle. Perfect background sounds to sleep.
What do in Las Nubes?
The good thing here is that if you are in a budget you can just arrive very early in the morning, pay the entry fee and leave in the afternoon. However, getting a bungalow is not expensive. Spending the night there is quite nice. There is a restaurant with food from the area. There is internet at the restaurant but there is no TV or computers. Not at the restaurant, not at any bungalow.
There are spots where you can bath and swim safely. Also, the Cedro de los Intocables is great if you want to do some bouldering. Finally, Las Nubes has excellent natural trails and walks where you can do some hiking. For me, being there and walk around was just enough.
Las Nubes is a place you won’t regret to visit. However, as I told you, while Las Nubes is extremely beautiful is certainly not the only place to visit in Chiapas. I will tell you more in the next post.
by Carlos Arturo AguilarFriday, August 26, 2016
I am an avid Mexican traveller. I love to visit new places and to know new people. Currently I live in the United Kingdom with my wife, who luckily shares this passion for walking the world. Writing is the way I have to not forget who I am, where I come from, where I have been.Read more at 28hallamgate.com