The Montebello Lakes are one of the best tourist attractions in Chiapas. One of the most beautiful natural sites and definitely one of the must-see places in the Mexican state.
Here is a guide to visit the Montebello Lagoons with everything you need to know such as: How to get there, prices, schedules, what to do, tips and more.
Let’s get started!
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How to get to Montebello Lakes
Where are the Montebello Lakes? This natural beauty is located in the state of Chiapas and on the border with Guatemala. It can be reached by car, public transportation and tour.
To arrive by car
- Open Google Maps on your cell phone (Download the application if you don’t have it).
- Search for “Lagunas de Montebello National Park”.
- Download the map to be able to use it offline (without internet). This is important because the signal is lost along the way.
- Once inside the park, everything is well signposted and it is easy to get to the lakes you want to visit.
From San Cristobal de las Casas it takes approximately 4 and a half hours to get to the Montebello Lakes.
To get there by public transportation
To arrive from Tuxtla, San Cristobal or any other part of Chiapas this is what you should do:
- The first thing to do is to get to Comitán. Comitán is the closest town to the lakes, at a distance of 46 kilometers from this community. From San Cristobal de las Casas you can use a colectivo or ADO bus to get to Comitán. (2 hours)
- In Comitán you must take a colectivo/combi to the town of Tziscao (approx. $55 pesos).
- In Tziscao you will have to take a motorcycle cab to take you to the lakes. You can use the mototaxi service all day for about $600 pesos and up to 4 people.
We do not recommend this option because it is too time consuming and the costs can be higher than taking an excursion.
Use a Tour
You can find tours and excursions from San Cristobal de las Casas or from Tuxtla Gutierrez. We recommend the excursion from San Cristobal.
Why do we recommend using this tour?
- Getting there on your own will take up a lot of your time and will probably end up costing you more than the tour costs.
- The tour is quite complete and includes a visit to El Chiflón Waterfalls.
- The drives are long and the road has many bumps and curves so driving them is tiring. This is avoided by taking the excursion
What to do in the Montebello Lagoons
The first thing you should know is that the Montebello Lakes are a group of 59 lakes. Of the 59 lakes that make up Lagunas de Montebello National Park, only 10 are accessible to the public, 5 of them are administered by ejidatarios and 5 are administered by the government.
Lake Montebello is one of the largest lakes and is responsible for giving the National Park its name.
It is probably one of the most beautiful lakes, you can swim in its waters and enjoy a hot chocolate or some fried plantains with cajeta (a traditional dessert of the region) while admiring the scenery.
This lake is a group of 5 interconnected lakes. It has a viewpoint that offers the best panoramic view of the Monebello Lakes. In short, it is the lake with the best view.
There is no swimming at Cinco Lagos but you can take raft rides and rent kayaks to explore the lakes.
In this lake there are several places where you can eat and here it is possible to stay in cabins on the shore of the lake.
Lake Pojoj is another beautiful lake within the Montebello Lakes, it has an island in the center (La Isla Orquídeas) that can be visited if you rent a raft or kayak on the shores of the lake.
It is possible to swim in this lake and, on the island, there is a platform from which you can jump, which adds to the swimming experience.
In this lake you will find more commercial activity such as shops selling products and food from Chiapas.
I have to admit that this lake was our favorite.
This is the largest and deepest lake of the Montebello Lakes in Chiapas and is located on the border with Guatemala.
This place has small restaurants, cabins where you can stay and a viewpoint that offers the best sunsets. Definitely the best option if you are looking to spend the night in Montebello Lakes.
The International Lake is the only lake that is shared with Guatemala, in fact here you can see a line of buoys that divides the lake in half. One half is part of Mexico and the other half is part of Guatemala.
In the international lake you can swim, rent kayaks and visit a market where you can buy handicrafts from the region.
It is not necessary to carry a passport to visit this lake.
Lagunas de Colores (Government administered)
The colored lagoons are the 5 interconnected lagoons that are managed by the government.
What makes them stand out is that each lagoon has a different color even though they are connected to each other. In this area you will find food stands and it is possible to hire boat rides.
When to visit Montebello Lakes
The Montebello Lakes are open from 7 am to 4 pm.
It is not recommended that you get lost in the park because of the dense darkness and the nocturnal animals that usually roam around.
The Montebello Lakes are one of those places that can be visited any day of the year.
The lakes maintain their color even during the rainy season, so any time is a good time to visit them.
If you don’t like crowds, avoid going during Holy Week.
The weather is usually pleasant. But, in some areas, it can be a bit warm-humid during midday. Therefore, I recommend that you wear a light sweater that you can take off afterwards.
You won’t have to worry about the temperature, as it averages around 18°C all year round. However, if you visit this place during the winter, you will need a jacket.
If you plan to visit this place by car, avoid visiting the park during the rainy season. During these months, the ground often softens and makes it difficult for vehicles to pass.
Costs Montebello Lakes
Visiting these lakes does not require large budgets. It is possible to visit them and enjoy a nice vacation on an affordable budget.
The entrance fee to the Montebello lakes depends on the format you choose to visit them. Here we share with you the price list:
- Entrance fee to the National Park (Las Lagunas de Colores administered by the government): $50 pesos
- Entrance fee to the ejido ( Lake Montebello,Cinco Lagos,International,Tziscao,Pojoj): $30 pesos.
- Rafting: Between $120 and $300 pesos per person (1 hour)
- Kayak rental: $250 pesos
- Cabin Rental: $300 – $900 pesos per night depending on the season.
- Food cost at local restaurants: $120-$300 per dish.
- Price of Montebello Lakes Tours: They range from $600 pesos to $1400 pesos per person. We recommend using this one: The excursion from San Cristobal
- Bicycle rental: $200 pesos
- Horseback rides: $200 to $600 per person
- Price of guides if hired in the Lakes: 900 pesos approximately.
Where to Sleep
There are several options for sleeping and lodging. We recommend that you stay in San Cristobal de las Casas and visit the lakes from there using an excursion. In any case, here we share with you all the lodging options:
Montebello Lakes Cabins
There are several options for lodging in cabins.
- You can rent cabins in Tziscao between $300 pesos and $700 pesos per night (depending on the season).
- At Cinco Lagos you can find small cabins with capacity for up to 5 people.
In Tziscao it is also possible to camp in the area designated as “Playa Escondida”. The cost is approximately $100 pesos per person and the area includes restrooms and showers.
As already mentioned, the closest town to the lakes is Comitán and here you can find lodging options starting at $300 pesos. From here it is 1 hour to the lakes by car.
San Cristobal de las Casas
Definitely the city with the best hotel offer and the place where we recommend staying. Here it is very easy to find excursions that take you to the lakes. We recommend using this one: Excursion to Montebello and Chiflón.
The hotels we recommend in San Cristobal are:
This hotel has an excellent location in the historic center of San Cristobal de las Casas.
It features a fitness center, business center and elegant Mexican cuisine restaurant.
Ideal for couples and travelers looking for a luxury option
Mansion del Valle
La Mansión del Valle is located in downtown San Cristóbal de Las Casas.
This hotel is home to La Mechita restaurant, which serves traditional Mexican cuisine and wines from the region.
The price-quality ratio is quite good.
We highly recommend it for couples, families and tourists in general.
Where to eat
Don’t worry too much about food. If you visit this place with the help of an excursion, it is possible that they will take you to a place to eat.
If you are visiting the Montebello Lakes on your own, it is important to know that there are a number of eateries and eateries at virtually all of the Montebello Lakes.
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