Why Comitan Chiapas Should Be Your Next Travel Destination

Comitan Chiapas (Comitán de Domínguez) is another Magical Town in Mexico and is the second most important in Chiapas, after San Cristóbal de las Casas.

The town sits on a plateau at 1500 meters above sea level, making it one of the most pleasant climates in the southeast part of the country.

Comitan is full of architectural, archaeological, cultural, and scenic attractions.

Among its constructions, the historic center stands out, with its kiosk, the cozy streets with traditional houses, and the parish church.

In the archaeological zones of Chinkultic, Tenam Puente, and Junchavin there are important testimonies of pre-Hispanic Chiapas.

The Lagunas de Montebello National Park and other places have waterfalls and spectacular landscapes.

Where is Comitan Chiapas?

Comitan is in the southern sector of the Chiapas highlands and is known for its colonial architecture and historical significance.

To get to Comitan, you can fly into Tuxtla Gutiérrez, which has the closest airport to the city and is located approximately two hours away by car.

From there, you can take a taxi or rent a car and travel at your own pace.

There are also several buses that run directly from Tuxtla Gutiérrez to Comitan, in case you don’t wanna drive (expect a 3-hour journey).

Top things to do and see in Comitan Chiapas

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Nice sculptures are found in the main square – Source: Rigel Mayorga / flickr.com

Take a stroll through downtown Comitan

The historic center of Comitan has several buildings built during the sixteenth century, among which are:

  • The Main Square
  • The Kiosk
  • The temples of Santo Domingo de Guzman and San Caralampio
  • The historic Chapel of San Sebastian
  • The Church of San Jose
  • The Municipal Palace
  • The Juanchavin Theater
  • The Art Museum of Hermila Dominguez de Castellanos
  • The Cultural Center Rosario Castellanos
  • The House Museum Doctor Belisario Dominguez

Visit the Parish Church

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The Parish Church at night – Source: Rene A Basurto Quijada / flickr.com

The patron saint of Comitan is Santo Domingo de Guzmán, venerated in its church in the historic center, the only one of Mudejar style in Chiapas, evident in the tower of cubic bodies and the coffered ceiling.

The temple dates from the XVII century, although the interior chapels were added in the XIX century.

On August 28, 1821, a historical meeting was held in the temple, in which Fray Matías de Córdova proclaimed the Independence of Chiapas and Central America.

San Sebastian Chapel

san sebastian chapel
The San Sebastian Park and Chapel

You will find this chapel in the neighborhood of the same name.

This is where the Chiapas priest Fray Matías de Córdova summoned on August 28, 1821, the extraordinary meeting to proclaim the Independence, a meeting of notables that took place in the temple of Santo Domingo.

The facade of the chapel is of baroque lines, with roughly carved statues of saints, while the interior is of neoclassic style.

What is the San José Church in Comitan like?

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San Jose Church in Comitan

This church has a curious history. It was built on a lot donated by Don Casimiro Pérez, a neighbor of Comitan and devotee of San José.

Don Casimiro’s family commissioned the construction of the church to the master mason Trinidad Abarca.

Based on photographs, Abarca began to build 1910 a temple with a neo-Gothic facade and a Romanesque dome, being the only one in Chiapas that combines these architectural styles.

The image of San José was brought from Mexico City. This was also the first church in Comitan with a mosaic floor.

Who was San Caralampio?

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The San Caralampio Temple – Source: Fernando Almeida Rite / flickr.com

San Caralampio was an orthodox priest martyred in Ephesus in the year 211, and died at the age of 107, being the oldest Christian martyr.

He is highly venerated in Comitan Chiapas since he is credited with having saved from an outbreak of smallpox and cholera morbus the population of the ranch of Don Raymundo Solis, where one of his holy cards was kept.

The neoclassical temple of San Caralampio was built in the mid-nineteenth century in the same place where the Mayas founded Balún Canán, the pre-Columbian settlement of present-day Comitan.

Admire the Junchavin Theater

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This building of neoclassical design is on First Street south of the historic center of the city and is the scene of the most important events of Comitan.

It was built at the beginning of the 20th century during the Porfirian Era as a private residence and the NRA monogram of the original owner can still be seen on the balconies.

Until the 1980s, the Cine Montebello operated in the building. It is named after the archaeological site located on a hill near Comitan.

Visit Comitan’s Municipal Palace

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This typical palatial mansion of the 19th century has a large central courtyard. The rooms are now occupied by the offices of the municipality of Comitan.

The courtyard is presided over by a full-length statue of Belisario Domínguez Palencia, former municipal president of Comitan.

In the palace, there is a fresco entitled Genesis and History of the Men of Corn, by painter Manuel Suasnavar Pastrana.

The mural artistically depicts episodes of the history of Chiapas and Mexico.

What is in the Archaeological Museum of Comitan Chiapas?

This museum operates in an attractive Art Deco exterior building that was formerly a school and exhibits a part of the objects found in the archaeological sites near Comitan, as well as other archaeological sites in Chiapas and Mexico.

Among the most valuable pieces are the Silvanjab altar, in the form of a reclining individual, anthropomorphic heads, a circular pyrite mosaic, black plates from the archaeological site of El Lagartero, a disk from Tenam Rosario, and a stela from Chinkultic.

Archeological sites

Near Comitan there are three archaeological sites: Junchavin, Tenam Puente, and Chinkultic.

A few km from the Magical Town is Junchavin, a Mayan archaeological site built between 300 and 1200 AD.

11 km south of Comitan, in the municipality of La Trinitaria, is Tenam Puente, a site of transition between the Classic and Post-Classic Periods, which is one of the least studied stages of archaeology in Chiapas.

Chinkultic is 50 km from Comitan and was a settlement built by the Maya during the Classic Period.

1. Junchavin ruins

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Junchavin ruins

This archaeological site is on a hill near Comitan, visible from the town.

Its strategic location is believed to have been an important station on the route between the Chiapas Highlands and present-day Guatemala, mainly for the trade of seashells, alabaster, and metals.

The limestone structural core of the site is a magnificent example of how the Maya assembled their blocks without mortar or lime.

Juanchavin is a Tojolobal Mayan term meaning “First Guardian.”

2. Tenam Puente

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Tenam Puente – Source: Alexei Malutin / flickr.com

The name of this site combines a pre-Hispanic and a Castilian word.

Tenam comes from Nahuatl and means “fortress,” while Puente comes from an early 20th-century farm that was on the property.

It was one of the sites that survived most after the Mayan collapse of the IX century, being abandoned in the XIII century.

Tenam Puente was part of a trade route between Chiapas, Guatemala, and the Gulf of Mexico, as evidenced by the remains of objects found, such as vessels, jade, stingray spines, and seashells.

Most of its 60 structures are located in an area called Acropolis, including 3 ball game courts.

You may want to read: What is The Mayan Route? A Road Trip Adventure You Cannot Miss

3. Chinkultic

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Chinkultic – Source: CurlyEarley / flickr.com

This settlement has the particularity that the Maya used the profile of the hillsides to attach the buildings, using the intermediate flat areas to extend the buildings, parts of which were erected on top of cenotes.

Among its main constructions are the Great Plaza or Sunken Plaza, the Ball Court, the Great Platform, and the Platform of the Slabs.

The Chinkultic Disc, a valuable high relief carved in stone that was used as a ball game marker, is in the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City.

Discover the Lagunas de Montebello National Park

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The Montebello lagoons – Source: roba66 / flickr.com

This ecotourism space formed by several lakes is 60 kilometers from Comitan in the limits of the municipalities of La Trinitaria and Independencia, near Guatemala.

The gorgeous blue tone of the water makes a beautiful contrast with the green of the jungle and you can practice various activities such as camping, hiking, and kayaking.

A picturesque water ride is one you can take in an old-fashioned way, on log rafts.

Are there waterfalls in Comitan Chiapas?

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El Chiflon waterfall – Source: ZaurusMX / flickr.com

Yes! there are beautiful and unique waterfalls in Chiapas.

The Santo Domingo River forms a series of waterfalls and freshwater pools in the ecological park Las Nubes, near Comitan de Domínguez.

The site is also a wildlife sanctuary, so it will delight bird, reptile and plant enthusiasts.

El Chiflón is the most spectacular waterfall system in Chiapas, with a staggered drop of 120 meters.

The series of falls, including El Suspiro, Ala de Angel, and Velo de Novia, the latter 70 meters, are formed by the San Vicente River.

The waters are dammed in natural beautiful turquoise blue color pools, with an exuberant greenery background.

Savor Comitan’s gastronomy

One of the local specialties is the butifarra, a seasoned pork sausage.

If you want something exotic, you can ask for “tzisim,” winged ants that are fried and eaten with a touch of lemon juice.

The traditional alcoholic beverage of Comitan is comiteco, a spirit made from agave mead.

If you’re in the mood for something milder, tascalate is a ground and toasted corn-based drink with cinnamon, achiote, chocolate, and sugar.

A simpler refreshing drink is “tzilacayote” water, prepared with pumpkin, water, and sugar.

You may want to read: 12 Best Non-Alcoholic Mexican Drinks to Try in 2024

Get some handicrafts

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The artisans of Comitan, particularly the members of the Mayan tojolabal ethnic group, conserve their ancestral methods of making different textile pieces, such as shawls, huipiles, and blouses.

The Comitecos are also skilled potters and carvers of wooden objects. They also turn leather into beautiful pieces for everyday use.

The Plaza de las Artesanías de Comitan is a must-see in the Magical Town and you are sure to find an attractive souvenir.

Best Hotels in Comitan Chiapas

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Hotel Nak’An Secreto Maya

Comitan’s hotel offer has been consolidating since the city was granted the category of “Pueblo Mágico.”

These are some of the most popular hotels in Comitan:

I hope you have enough time to visit all the cultural, historical, and natural attractions of Comitan, wishing you a happy and safe trip through this Chiapas Magical Town.

Until next time. Vamonos!

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