Sumidero Canyon is a massive natural wonder located in Chiapas, Mexico, in the far south of the country, and is part of the National Park of the same name. The canyon is a deep natural incision into the earth, with towering canyon walls, and the north end has been partially flooded with the reservoir of the Chicoasém Dam. The best way to experience this beautiful destination is by boat, with tours departing from Chiapa de Corso.
The canyon was formed around the same time as the Grand Canyon in the US and is fed by the Grijalva River, which over millions of years carved its path into the landscape. The north end of the canyon was flooded and holds the reservoir for the Chicoasém Dam. Construction of the dam began during the 1970s and finished in 1980, and provides important hydroelectric energy and water management for the region. It is located in the Sumidero Canyon National Park, which is a massive protected area that borders Chiapas capital city of Tuxtla Gutierrez.
Booking a tour for a visit to the Canyon can be done in the major cities of Tuxtla Guiterrez or San Cristobal de las Casas, which is the ‘easiest’ way to visit. It’s easy to travel by bus to Chiapa de Corso on your own (local transport is less than 50 pesos), you can book a tour directly at the dock. Norma visited here in 2016 with her brother, and both of them were blown away by this incredible destination, easily one of the highlights from their trip to Chiapas.
You can access the lake via the colonial town of Chiapa de Corzo, a cute town with some beautiful architecture. Chiapa de Corso is a Pueblo Magico, the designation given by the government to signify towns of cultural importance in the country. If you have time to spend here, make sure to check out the public market and some of the beautiful churches in town. The town itself is very nice, but the main reason people travel through here is the Canyon. is because is one destination included in the tour to visit the canyon.
The boat tour takes you along the lake, where you get to see the massive canyon walls from below, as well as wildlife such as many different bird species and crocodiles. The views are unforgettable, as the canyon has walls that reach a height of over 1000 meters (3300 feet) at some points. The tour takes a few hours, and you learn about the history of the region from a local guide. After a trip past the Dam, the next stop is in Chiapa de Corso and continue on your journey from there.
Chiapas is a state full of traditions, culture, wild and beautiful landscapes, and the Sumidero Canyon should be high on your list of places to visit. If you have a car – or book a more extensive tour – it’s possible to visit several viewpoints above the canyon to get a different perspective.
We have plans to return to Chiapas for more exploration and look forward to sharing these adventures when the time comes. Until then, enjoy our pictures from this incredible destination.