Lakes of Montebello, Mexico

Lakes of Montebello, Mexico

Guide to the Lakes of Montebello in Chiapas, Mexico

About The Lakes of Montebello

Less than an hour’s drive from Comitan, on the border with Guatemala, are the Lagos de Montebello (Lakes of Montebello).

There are over 50 lakes here, one of which is half in Mexican territory and half in Guatemalan territory; around eight of the lakes are easily accessible via some roads and lots of vehicle tracks that run through the forest surrounding the lakes.

At the western edge of this lake district you’ll find the impressive and worth-while Mayan Ruins of Chinkultic: see the Mexperience Guide and Photo Gallery for details.

You can arrange a tour of the lakes from Comitan or (further away from here) San Cristobal de las Casas, although if you have a rental car, you can explore this area most effectively, take your time in the areas you want to see more of and travel at your preferred pace.

The lakes themselves are well worth experiencing; they all reflect turquoise blues and greens, and coupled with the scenic backdrop of the surrounding mountains and forests, the area is great for a whole day’s exploration.

You can bring your own food and drink, or eat locally at one of the many food stalls, cafes and restaurants dotted around the main lakes.

Small boats and makeshift rafts (made from tree trunks tied together) are available for hire at most of the larger lakes, in case you want to go out on the water and get a view from the lakes themselves. Ask locally for details and negotiate your price as fees are not fixed.

It’s an easy day-trip from Comitan, although if you’re not staying in Comitan, you may want to consider staying there or at nearby Museo Parador Santa Maria to really have enough time to enjoy the lakes fully during daylight hours and make your journey less tiring.

You are allowed to bathe in the lakes, so if you like swimming in natural waters, pack your swimming gear, although changing facilities are limited, so you’ll have to ‘rough it’ in that respect.

If you’re traveling in this area, the Lakes of Montebello are well worth a day trip. The lakes have a calm, serene and relaxing atmosphere; the air is sweet and pure, and even during busy times, because of the expanse of the area, you’ll always be able to find a quiet corner to just contemplate, surrounded by some of nature’s most wonderful creations.

Look through our picture gallery to get a taste of what is waiting for you… and then come here and experience this natural paradise for yourself!

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Key Attractions

The Principal Lakes

The first group of lakes as you enter the national park are known as the Lagunas de Colores (Lakes of Colors) owing to the different hues of green and blue they reflect.

The first lake is Laguna Agua Tinta (Tinted Water Lake); followed by Laguna Esmeralda (Emerald lake) and Laguna Encantada (Enchanted Lake)— they are separated by the road than runs past them. There is parking besides these so it’s easy to stop and look around if you’re traveling by car. The largest lake in this group is Lago Bosque Azul (Blue Forest Lake) where you can also find a couple of food stalls and souvenir stands.

Another group of lakes, Cinco Lagunas (Five Lakes) includes Lago de Montebello (one of the largest) La Cañada, Laguna Pojoj and Laguna Tziscao—the largest lake, the southern end of which is in Guatemala. Take the time to See our Photo Gallery of the Lakes of Montebello.


Getting There & Around

By Air – The closest main town to the lakes is Comitan, and the nearest airports to Comitan are Tuxtla Gutierrez and Tapachula. You can fly to Tuxtla Gutierrez and Tapachula from Mexico City. For detailed information about flights and flying, see the Mexperience guide to Air Travel in Mexico.

Airport Transfers: If you’re arriving in Mexico by airplane, you can book your airport transfer in advance. Airport Transfer services are available from all of Mexico’s key airports and offer the choice of either a Standard or VIP service level. Standard shuttles will transport up to ten people and their baggage in a modern and comfortable surburban van to/from local hotels; the VIP service provides transportation exclusively for your party, taking you and your belongings directly to/from your local hotel. Connect to the Mexperience Travel Center for details and to reserve your Airport Transfer.

By Bus – You can travel to Tuxtla Gutierrez on a luxury bus from Mexico City—the trip takes around 12-14 hours. From there take a local bus direct to Comitan or to San Cristobal de las Casas and connect from there. The bus you take from Tuxtla Gutierrez may stop at San Cristobal anyway—check locally. For detailed information about bus transportation read the Mexperience guide to Bus Travel in Mexico.

By Car – Driving to Comitan from Tuxtla Gutierrez is pretty efficient now, especially as half the journey (to San Cristobal de las Casas) can be done on a high speed toll road. See additional information about Driving in Mexico and Mexico’s Toll Roads. To get to Montebello from Comitan, follow highway 190 for about 9 miles (15 km), turning east at the signpost; this is before you get to the town of La Trinitaria. This road passes the Maya Ruins of Chinkultic and later enters the forest of the National Park of the Lakes of Montebello (Parque Nacional Lagunas de Montebello).

Car Rental – To explore this region properly, consider renting a car for your visit; you can rent a car from Tuxtla Gutierrez or Tapachula. Having your own car will give you more flexibility than using public transport options and, in some cases, offer you access to places which are otherwise difficult to visit without the use of a car. Read our guide to Car Rental in Mexico to learn what you need to know about car rental in Mexico and connect to the Mexperience Travel Center to reserve your Rental Car.

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Practical Information

Opening Days & Times: The national park is best experienced during daylight hours. Some places in the park rent rustic cabins for overnight stays there—although they are very basic and rudimentary. There are also some campsites here, if you want to camp in the park; ask locally for current details.

Ideal Clothing & Footwear: You’ll need a good, comfortable pair of walking shoes with a non-slip sole; if you have a good pair of walking boots, all the better. Insect repellent is also very useful as these areas are located in the jungle. See Local Climate, below.

Car Rental Recommended: To experience the lake district at your own pace with the freedom and independence to see precisely what you want, the best advice is to rent a car from Tuxtla Guterrez or Tapachula. Public transport is available but very scarce around here.

Telephone: Connect to the guide about Communications in Mexico on Mexperience for detailed information about keeping in touch and the latest table of national dialing codes.

Exchanging Currency: Banks with ATM machines can be found in the downtown area of Comitan, with several banks and ATMs right off the main plaza. ATMs are hard to find outside of the main towns, so carry enough cash for your journey. For detailed information about exchanging and managing your money, read the Mexperience guide to Money in Mexico.

Travel Insurance: We recommend that you are adequately covered with travel medical insurance and/or travel assistance insurance when you are visiting Mexico. Read the Mexperience guide to Travel Insurance in Mexico for full details and links to specialist insurance suppliers.

Swimming and Bathing: You are allowed to swim at all of these lakes, so bring your swim gear if you want to. There are no lifeguards on duty – so take care swimming and keep a watchful eye on your children when they are in the water also; some of these lakes are very deep – up to 150 meters (500 feet) in places.

Fishing: Fishing is NOT permitted at any of the lakes as they are all situated within the habitat of the protected National Park.

Boats: You can rent skiffs and row-boats locally; some row boats are accompanied by a hired oarsman (pay by the hour) for trips across the larger lakes. Motorized boats, jet skis, etc are NOT permitted on any of the lakes in the National Park.

Vantage Points: The roads through the national park weave around the lakes and forest and at times offer excellent vantage points – some are signposted and have car lay-bys; others are not and you just need to park somewhere sensible to get out and enjoy the views.

Driving Safety: If you are going to be driving independently in this area, read the practical information about Driving in Chiapas on the guide to Comitan.


Nearby Places & Attractions

Major Cities: Mexico City (Closest)

Colonial Cities: Comitan, Tuxtla Gutierrez, San Cristobal de las Casas, Villahermosa, Oaxaca

Nearest Beaches/ Resorts: Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Isla Mujeres

Nearest Archaeological Sites: Palenque, Tenam Puente, Yaxchilan, Bonampak, Chinkultic


Local Climate

The local climate is similar to nearby Comitan. The lake district enjoys a temperate climate and clean, fresh mountain air. Evenings can be cool, as can winter months, so pack some warm clothes for such times. Rain can also be a feature, so pack a waterproof jacket.

Weather & Climates in Mexico

Learn more about the weather and climates through the seasons and regions by connecting to the Mexperience guide about Weather and Climates in Mexico

Make your next travel experience in Mexico something special

To arrange tours of Chiapas in Mexico, contact Mexperience and we’ll help you make it happen: Plan Your Mexico Trip


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