While living in San Cristobal de las Casas, the group of missionaries that I worked with had an activity to explore places that we usually don’t get to see. We chartered a bus from San Cristobal because we had a huge group, but you can buy bus tickets at the bus station for much less. The drive will probably take 2 to 3 hours. We got to go to las Cascadas de Chiflón in Comitan about 40 minutes away. I went on this adventure August of 2015.
Las Cascadas de Chiflon (Chiflon waterfalls) is located in the highlands of Chiapas just outside the town of Comitan. There is parking right off the main road and you have the option to rent cabins. After about a 5 minute walk up from the road, you’ll get to the front entrance where it is 30 pesos for entry. You can either take a tour with a guide for a little extra or walk along the river yourself. You can walk along either side of the river, but I believe that there are more picnic tables and resting points on the right side where we went.
From the main gate, there are some shops with mementos and trinkets that can be picked up along with some refreshments. I believe that everything was fairly pricey, but they do have some pretty good food. Leaving the gift shops and heading towards the trail, be on the look out for the giant iguana exhibits. I got to see 5 or 6 iguanas about 2 feet long from their head to the beginning of their tails. There also is a small museum exhibit that explains some of the history and geological features that occur in the area.
From there, you start the trail along the side of the river with a steady incline as you get closer to the series of waterfalls. Parts of the trail are paved, but most of the trail is a well kept dirt trail that winds along the riverbank with water access in a lot of the spots. Walking along the trail through the tropical forest with lush vegetation is breathtaking, but the river perfects the scenery with its brilliant aqua blue water flowing down.
A couple of minutes after starting the trail, you come across your first set of falls. El Suspiro (the sigh) and La Ala de Ángel (angel’s wing) are the first two falls that you come across. El Suspiro are small falls with the Ala de Ángel behind them. La Ala de Ángel is an elegant curtain of water flowing into a huge aqua blue pool at the base of the falls fulfilling the name Angel’s wing.
After several minutes of walking up the trail, you arrive at base of the main falls, Velo de Novia (Bridalveil). Velo de Novia stands 85 meters tall with smaller waterfall that is just barely separated to put the entire waterfall at a strong 120 meters tall. There are several lookout points around the the waterfall to get it from several different points of view. You can climb a set of steep, slippery stairs up to a lookout in the “splash zone” almost at the base of the waterfalls. Looking up the Velo de Novia is almost dizzying standing at the base because of the enormous stature. El Velo de Novia is actually quite hard to capture in one picture.
From the trail, there is a slightly hidden off shoot the starts to climb rapidly up stairs and switchbacks up to the top of El Velo de Novia. Across a small turquoise pool at the top of the main falls is another tier named Arcoíris (rainbow). Arcoíris creates another elegant curtain of water that flows from the pool above. I believe Arcoíris stands at 20 meters tall, which is still a good size waterfall. From there you can continue climbing the steep trail up to the highest tier, Quinceañera. Quinceañera starts off almost as a waterslide but quickly spreads out into another curtain of water. I believe that these last 2 waterfalls don’t have water access.
From the top of the trail, you have the option of walking down the trail you came or ziplining down the mountain. There are different routes and lengths for the zipline with prices ranging from 150 pesos to 300.
Again, you won’t regret taking your time at each lookout because at each waterfall, there is always so much scenery and color to absorb. Hiking up and down the trail brings different views and sights as the lighting changes, so don’t rush down.