The El Chiflon waterfalls are stunning and well worth the day trip from San Cristobal if you are traveling in Chiapas, Mexico. We put together this ultimate guide to El Chiflon Chiapas with everything you need to know including exactly how to get there without a tour and how much it’ll cost.
El Chiflon is a stunning place in Chiapas, Mexico, and more than just a waterfall. Wander through forest paths past turquoise waters you can swim in. The smaller falls along the path are beautiful, but you’ll be blown away by the main cascade which drops an impressive 120 meters.
The falls are located in southeastern Chiapas, near the Guatemalan border. They make an excellent day trip from nearby San Cristobal de las Casas.
In this guide we’re going over everything you need to know before you visit El Chiflon, including how to get there without a tour, how much time to spend there, and the best time of year to visit.
El Chiflon Chiapas Guide
- Tours to El Chiflon Waterfall
- How to get there without a tour
- What to do at El Chiflon
- Best time to visit
Overview of El Chiflon Waterfalls
Nestled in the jungle, Cascadas El Chiflon (El Chiflon waterfalls) are surrounded by lush vegetation in the Mexican state of Chiapas, near the Guatemalan border. Formed by the San Vicente River, this series of cascading waterfalls has pools of water at the bottom popular for swimming.
The park actually encompasses 5 different waterfalls, each of varying heights, sizes and looks: Cascada Suspiro (Sigh Waterfall), Cascada Ala de Angel (Angel Wing Waterfall), Cascada Velo de Novia (Bridal Veil Waterfall), Cascada Arcoiris (Rainbow Waterfall) and Cascada Quinceañera (15th Birthday Waterfall).
The highest waterfall, Velo de Novia Waterfall, is particularly captivating. This impressive waterfall plunges from a height of approximately 120 meters (394 feet).
Visitors can explore the well-maintained eco-park that offers walking trails leading to various viewpoints of the waterfalls and even take a dip in the turquoise blue waters to cool off.
Tours to El Chiflon waterfalls
There are a number of different day trip tours offered to El Chiflon from both San Cristobal and Tuxtla Gutiérrez. Typically these tours also include a stop at Montebello Lakes National Park and take a full 10-12 hour day.
We heard from several people that the tours were not all that exciting and they wished they had more time at El Chiflon. For this reason, we opted to skip the tour and go to the waterfalls on our own for a day trip, and it was not all that difficult (more on that below).
But if you decide to forgo planning and logistics, you can search for and compare El Chiflon tours here:
How to get to El Chiflon without a tour
If you’d like to visit El Chiflon from San Cristobal on your own, you’re in luck. We’ve laid out all the steps (as well as the total cost) so all the work is done for you. And you should be excited because this little day trip made it on to our top things to do in Mexico that aren’t beaches list.
The first thing you’ll need to do is get yourself to San Cristobal de las Casas. If you are flying in from another country or elsewhere in Mexico, the nearest airport is going to be in Tuxtla Gutiérrez (TGZ airport), a major city about an hour to the west.
How to get from San Cristobal to El Chiflon by driving
One of the easiest ways to get around Mexico is by driving a rental car, and it would make your trip to El Chiflon so much easier. You get to explore on your own, it’s safe, and crazy cheap. Plus we found that driving in Mexico was surprisingly easy and laid back.
From San Cristobal, it’s about a 2.5 hour drive to reach the El Chiflon Ecotourism Center at the entrance to the park. If you are coming from Tuxtla Gutiérrez, it’ll be about 2 hours and 45 minutes, depending on traffic.
We use Discover Cars to search and compare prices from all the rental car options in the area, and have found it generally saves us money in the long run.
While searching for your rental, note that the prices will seem much cheaper than the actual price you will pay. The prices listed often don’t include the cost of insurance or additional fees, so it’s important to read the fine print while browsing.
Search & Compare Rental Car Prices
How to get from San Cristobal to El Chiflon with public transportation
If you are backpacking through Chiapas like we were, the cost of renting a car may not be in your budget, so we’re going to show you exactly how to get to El Chiflon from San Cristobal using public transportation.
Step #1: Bus from San Cristobal to Comitán de Domínguez
Head to the bus station in San Cristobal and purchase a ticket bound for Comitán. We bought ours ahead of time on ClickBus, but there really was no need to do this. (There were plenty of spaces available had we just shown up.)
Though it would be helpful to look up the bus times in advance so you know when they leave. On the day we went, there was one bus leaving at 7:45 a.m., but the next one didn’t leave until 9:45 a.m. We’d recommend getting there as early as possible!
You can also hire a colectivo (shared taxi) nearby, but unlike the bus, they might need to wait until there are enough people or make stops along the way (or you might arrive just at the right time!). The cost of the colectivo to Comitán is 60 pesos per person.
Our bus ticket for the ADO-GL (luxury one!) was 96 pesos per person. If a regular ADO or a OCC bus is leaving at a similar time, the cost is 78 pesos.
The bus ride is 2.5 hours and you will be dropped off in the town of Comitán.
Step #2: Colectivo from Comitán to El Chiflon
From the bus station, walk 3 blocks northwest on Highway 190 and you will see many 15-passenger vans with the word “colectivo” painted on top with men calling out the destination. Ask the driver “Vas a la Cascada El Chiflon?” (Do you go to El Chiflon Waterfall?).
The price for the colectivo to the waterfalls is 30 pesos per person. They will try to wait for more people, but we left the station less than half full, so we didn’t wait more than 15 minutes.
This ride should be around 40 minutes and you will be dropped off at the entrance to the park.
Step #3: Walk up to the entrance to El Chiflon
Walk about 1 kilometer (about 10 minutes) to the El Chiflon Ecotourism Center. Here, you will need to pay the entrance fee of 80 pesos per person and you will receive a wristband.
Note: There are small tuk tuks that can drive you to the Ecotourism Center if you don’t feel like walking or are pressed for time. The walk isn’t bad though, so we skipped this.
After purchasing your ticket, walk another 10 minutes or so and you’ll find the actual park entrance. If you keep your eyes to the left, you’ll see a spot where large iguanas hangout and sunbathe.
At the park entrance, you will show your wristband and as you enter you will see the stunning turquoise waters on your left-hand side.
Getting back to Comitán
Walk out of the park the way you entered and cross to the opposite side of the street where the colectivos heading back to Comitán stop.
We waited about 10 minutes for one to arrive. And from what we gathered, they are supposed to come every 30 minutes or so.
On the way back, expect the ride to be much more crowded (we had to sit on the floor and makeshift stools) and expect it to take longer with afternoon traffic. The ride back to Comitán took us approximately one hour and 15 minutes.
We had a bus already booked, and unfortunately missed it by a few minutes due to traffic. We paid a small fee and got tickets on the next bus, which left 45 minutes later.
Again, we wouldn’t necessarily recommend booking tickets in advance because they are quite frequent (and you might miss it like we did!). Just be sure to look up the departure times on ClickBus so you have an idea of what time to get there.
Note: If you’re driving yourself and are thinking about heading into Guatemala next, Lake Atitlan would be a good next stop along the Pan-American Highway. We have a great list of top things to do in Lake Atitlan if you’re thinking about exploring Guatemala after Mexico.
What to do at El Chiflon
Now it’s time to explore! The path is paved and has both steps and ramps, making it pretty accessible to everyone. (No hiking boots needed!)
From the bottom to top, expect to spend an hour walking if you want to explore the side trails and take some photos. When you reach the tallest waterfall, Cascada Velo de Novia, it seems like you’re at the end of the path, but don’t stop there! There are actually 2 more falls to see if you follow the dirt path at the top.
Note: You will get a bit wet on the top platform, so be sure your camera is okay before climbing up! (You won’t be drenched or anything, but it’s good to be prepared!)
If you have the time, take a dip in the stunning cool turquoise pools and mingle with the Mexican families spending the day here. You could also relax in the shade with a beer and just take in the beauty that surrounds you.
You can also take the zip line back down if you wish! Starting at just 250 pesos per person (up to 550 pesos, depending on which course you do), it’s pretty reasonably priced. Plus, you will save some time walking back to the entrance!
Best time to visit El Chiflon
The best time to visit El Chiflon Chiapas is during the dry season, which typically runs from November to April.
During these months, the weather is more predictable, with lower chances of rainfall, ensuring easier access to the walking trails and viewpoints, and providing ideal weather for hiking. Additionally, the water flow of the falls is often more pronounced during this period, offering a more impressive and photogenic display.
However, it’s essential to check the local weather conditions and park regulations before planning your trip, as seasons and weather patterns can vary, and unexpected changes in weather patterns can influence the accessibility of certain areas within the eco-park.
Psst! For an in-depth guide on the seasonal weather patterns and other factors, check out our complete guide on the best time to visit Mexico.
FAQs about El Chiflon
Being that El Chiflon is in a remote part of the Mexican jungle and somewhat hard to reach, there are a lot of questions about visiting. We’ve done our best to answer a lot in this article and we’ve also answered some of the most frequently asked questions below.
Is it safe to drive from San Cristobal to El Chiflon?
The drive from San Cristobal de las Casas to El Chiflon Waterfalls is generally considered safe. The route takes you through scenic areas of Chiapas, and the roads are usually well-maintained.
However, it’s wise to stay informed about road conditions, drive carefully, and consider the season and time of day for your travel.
If you’re not comfortable driving or navigating unfamiliar roads, alternative transportation options like guided tours or public transportation might be a better option for you.
How tall is El Chiflon?
El Chiflón is a series of cascading waterfalls located in the state of Chiapas, Mexico. The main waterfall, known as Velo de Novia (Bride’s Veil), has an approximate height of 120 meters (394 feet).
Is there somewhere to eat at El Chiflon?
There is a restaurant near the entrance of the park, El Pariso, that has decent food if you need lunch. We got an order of guacamole for 40 pesos and quesadillas for 40 pesos.
It was nothing spectacular, but not bad either. While you eat, you’ll also be able to see many iguanas in the surrounding forest.
If you’re short on time, you can also purchase small snacks or beer inside the park (though there aren’t many options). You can also bring your own food, as there are plenty of picnic places.
How long should you spend at El Chiflon?
We spent a total of 3 hours in the park, but we think 4 hours would have been perfect.
It took us about an hour to walk from the entrance to the top waterfall, exploring some of the side trails and taking photos along the way. We also spent some time relaxing near the water and eating lunch.
How much does it cost to visit El Chiflon waterfalls without a tour?
- Bus to Comitán – 78 pesos (for the ADO fancy bus, 76 pesos for regular OCC bus)
- Colectivo to El Chiflon – 30 pesos
- Entrance Fee – 80 pesos per person
- Colectivo back to Comitán – 30 pesos
- Bus back to San Cristobal – 78 pesos (for the ADO fancy bus, 76 pesos for regular OCC bus)
Total cost: 296 pesos (~$16.95 USD) per person
Note: You could spend a bit less if you take the non-luxury bus or a colectivo. But in the end, a couple dollars didn’t matter all that much to us.
Looking for more places to visit in Chiapas?
We have a feeling you’ll love these places too:
- San Cristóbal de las Casas
- Chamula and Zinacantán indigenous villages
- Montebello Lakes National Park
- Sumidero Canyon
Or simply check out our complete round up of all the best things to do in Chiapas, Mexico!
Before you go…
Be sure to download our complete packing list for Mexico! It’s packed with good suggestions and insider tips to help plan your Mexico vacation. And it’s completely FREE, so why not!?
Are you planning a trip to Mexico?
We have lots more resources on travel in Mexico and destinations throughout the country. Check out our Ultimate Mexico Travel Guide for all the important travel information, or read some of our favorite articles below.
- Fun Things to Do in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Mexico
- Adventurous Things to Do in Chiapas, Mexico
- Incredible Things to Do in Mexico (that aren’t beaches!)
- 3 Exciting Days in Mexico City: The Perfect Itinerary
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Have you visited El Chiflon waterfalls in Chiapas? Are you planning on a trip here from San Cristobal? Let us know your questions or suggestions in the comments below.