This tour gives you a taste of both Chiapas' ancient past and its present day. Traveling from the pier, you'll first make your way to Izapa, the most important Olmec and Mayan archaeological site found in Chiapas, as well as the largest.
These pre-classic ruins are located in southern Mexico near the Guatemalan border at the base of the Tacaná volcano. Situated here at the foot of the Sierra Madre mountain range and along the narrow pacific coastal zone, the fertile land of Izapa receives abundant rainfall and is the center of age-old cacao production. Chocolate is made from cacao, and in ancient times the Maya used cacao pods as money.
During your visit to this fascinating pre-Columbian archaeological site, you'll learn about the legacy of this mystical ancient city and how it is believed to be the place where the long-count calendar originated. Artifacts uncovered here point to a highly developed society of culturally advanced people. Researchers are of the opinion Izapa was first settled around 1500 BC and inhabited until sometime in 1200 AD. Some of the attractions to be found at the site are several large pyramids, thrones, altars and carvings.
Leaving this extraordinary place behind, you'll next visit the town of Tapachula. A walking tour of the downtown area includes visits to Saint Augustine Church, the art deco culture house (the former city hall) which features some marvelous large stained-glass windows, and the Soconusco Archaeological Museum which houses an impressive collection of ancient artifacts.
Before returning to the ship, you'll have free time to stroll around the town, perhaps stopping by Miguel Hidalgo Central Park, also referred to as La plaza de la Música, (the musical square) to enjoy some traditional mariachi and marimba music performed by local musicians who gather there daily to perform. A popular gathering spot, there are also shops adjacent to the park where you can browse for souvenirs while enjoying the nearby music.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 1 1/2 hours of moderate walking plus any additional walking at the guests' discretion during free time. The sites visited are not wheelchair accessible and therefore, it is not available for wheelchair guests. Those guests with mobility concerns are cautioned to evaluate their personal level of ability and stamina. Comfortable clothing, a hat, sunglasses, insect repellant and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. The order of sights visited may vary and the itinerary may be reversed.