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Les Roches’ alumnus-traveler-at-large, Pablo Andres Calderon, continues on his voyages around Central America and reports to us this time from Chamula in Chiapas.
Why is Chiapas one of the most exciting, consistently popular places in Mexico? My particular answer is because of its ‘unknown’ places and towns. The rich culture and the nature that surrounds Chiapas is the main attraction to tourists to this state.
Here is my little but wonderful experience in Chiapas, in particular in a small town call Chamula. It’s so small that it only takes one or two days to discover its wonderful culture and atmosphere. There are many other places, but today we will focus on Chamula.
Chiapas is still one of the few states where the old Mexico still permeates; welcome to the visitor who is looking for relaxation and gastronomic traditions.
San Juan Chamula, is a magical town with picturesque streets which resemble the purest ethnic folklore, mysticism, nature, and above all, a total peace in a climate where the sun is kind to the skin.
To start off, we visited, at the heart of the town, the white church that boasts an influence of folk art, matching blue canopies that are strategically combined with the avid sky full of clouds. This site represents one of the most important ceremonial centers of the Tzotzil community which welcomes visitors with its tucked arches and decorated with carved flowers (cuadripétalas) and circles painted in bright colors. Although it is a beauty, this temple is not finished inside.
Not far from here, there is the municipal cemetery, a peculiar place where the graves do not have headstones, but have multi-colored crosses in honor of the Mayan culture representing “Chul Metic” (God Mother) and “Chul Totic “(God Father).
They continue to give life to the legends of the place, even though some of these crypts belonged to the first Spanish settlements in Chiapas.
Travelling 10 minutes away from Chamula, you find Zinacantán another Tzotzil wonder, which is reached via a highway colored by greenhouses full of tulips, orchids, lilies and gerberas road, which also lead to their handcrafted cobblestone streets and houses with traditional adobe.
Food, food, food, you can start smelling on the streets the tortillas that are prepared directly on the Nixtamal, beans and coffee are boiled in clay pots and molcajete – the guacamole and martajadas sauces. The ‘pepita morada’ is another delight when the pans are filled with melted cheese and cream. To accompany the food we order Chamulas traditional drinks. Like the famous ‘pox’ or posh’ drink, which is an ‘agua ardiente’ a drink fermented from corn. There is also the “pozol” a more relax drink made of yellow corn and banana leaves. For dessert we ate the chilacayote, which is similar to pumpkin.
It was a very small visit for a very small town, but the richness of the trip was about the culture and how awesome it is to travel just for fun and discover many places that don’t appear on the traditional touristic map.
It’s all about the adventure.
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