When I first heard that this year’s Adventure Travel World Summit was to be held in Chiapas, Mexico in the small, colonial town of San Cristobal de las Casas, frankly I was a bit nervous. I, along with everyone else, had been inundated with graphic and violent images of tourists, seemingly innocent civilians and other not-so-innocent people being killed and wondered whether it was worth traveling to Mexico right now.
Well, my adventuresome spirit won the day and I’m so happy that it did! Chiapas, a state in Mexico that borders Guatemala offers quaintness, history and culture at every turn.
It is also home to one of the largest indigenous populations in the country with twelve federally recognized ethnicities.
San Cristobal de las Casas, located about 100 miles from the border, is the cultural capital of Chiapas with its beautiful cathedral, cobblestone streets, colorful clothing, amber museum, friendly people and seemingly energetic nightlife offering travelers a lovely, albeit basic vacation experience.
At times, the scene was isolated and lush while at other times, it was mountainous and barren. However, after 2 ½ hours and with my constitution quite weak, we arrived in the area of Tonina only to find out that the one and only bridge had been washed out due to the intense rains of the last weeks.
To our surprise, we found out that the local guides were waiting for us. In an instant, we were transferred to a flatbed 4X4 truck and transported across the river just in time to see Tonina at high noon.
This was a land worshipped by the Mayans, conquered by the Spanish and rife with struggle, yet it still provided beauty and spirituality for all.
Throughout our stay in Chiapas, we felt safe, we felt inspired and we felt grateful to share the experience with each other.