Tuxtla Gutiérrez; Cañón del Sumidero

Latitude 16.73710°N Longitude 92.63719°W

Friday, October 4, 2002

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Got up in the morning, had a quick coffee, and cleared our remaining stuff out the car. Then drove to Tuxtla Gutiérrez to visit the Cañón del Sumidero, and afterwards return the rental car. The Sumidero Canyon is an impressive gash in the earth 800m deep with the brown Río Grijalva flowing northward through it to a distant hydroelectric dam 25km away. It's quite a landmark.

Unfortunately things didn't go very smoothly at all. The road to Tuxtla was poorly signposted and we missed the canyon turnoff. Instead we tried to find the road that takes you to the lookouts on top of the canyon, but we couldn't find that road either. Finally we backtracked until we did find the canyon embarcadero at Cahuaré and sat down to wait for a group of 10 to form for a boat tour up the canyon. After 30 minutes someone got impatient and wanted to go to the other embarcadero at Chiapa de Corzo, several kilometers away. When we got there, the scene was pretty much exactly the same, only more expensive, so we decided to go back to Cahuaré. Of course, Murphey's Law dictated that by the time we got back to Cahuaré, a group of 10 had just formed and left, and we were back to square one again. Since it was getting late in the day we decided to abandon the boat ride idea and instead try again to find the scenic road that leads to the top of the canyon. This time we succeeded and found the Sumidero Canyon State Park, which had many vertigo-inducing lookouts from which to enjoy the canyon.

We finished around 4pm and headed back into Tuxtla to find the Alamo office and drop off the rental car. This went without incident. All up we had the car 19 days and drove a total of 3,122 kilometers, but as we learned much later when we saw the final amount on our credit card (almost $1,000!), renting a car had been a very expensive decision that pushed our travel budget for Mexico into extreme territory (almost as high as Alaska). The hidden killers were the insurance (almost as much as the car rental rate) and the exorbitant drop off fee we were charged to leave the car at a different city to where we picked it up. Oh well, it was a good lesson learned, and it was an experience to drive on the Mexican roads!

After we rid ourselves of the car we jumped on a collectivo mini-bus to get to the central bus terminal. We got on a 6:30pm bus back to San Cristóbal and arrived safely around 8:30pm, miraculously surviving yet another nighttime driving experience on Chiapas mountain roads.

Photos: (click on images to see full size)

Sumidero Canyon

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