Mexico (2002-2017): States of Oaxaca and Chiapas

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The states of Oaxaca and Chiapas are two of the most interesting states in Mexico, with major archeological sites, thriving folk art and culture, famous food, and gorgeous coastline. Both states are rugged and mountainous, somewhat isolated from central Mexico. Traveling through them takes time, even for short distances. Their people are perhaps more independent-minded than in other parts of Mexico, as illustrated by the numerous demonstrations occurring in Oaxaca city and the Zapatista movement in Chiapas.

 

(2013) Oaxaca and its valley (State of Oaxaca):

Oaxaca is the capital of the state of Oaxaca.

 

Church of Santo Domingo in Oaxaca.

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Natural colorful dyes.

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Monte Alban, a major archeological site above the town of Oaxaca.

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Mineral springs of Hierve El Agua in the Oaxaca valley.

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(2015) Pluma Hidalgo (State of Oaxaca):

 

Pluma Hidalgo is a small village at 1300m in the lush Sierra Madre del Sur north of Pochutla, best known for its coffee and chocolate production.

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Main plaza.

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One of the numerous shops selling coffee.

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(2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017) Zipolite (State of Oaxaca):

 

Zipolite is a laidback village on the Costa Oaxaquena. The whole coast is a gorgeous succession of beaches, coves, rocky capes, tiny islets, and tropical lagoons. The 1km-long beach of Zipolite is beautiful, but for good reasons (treacherous currents) Zipolite means Playa de Muertos in Zapotec language.

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Most of the time Zipolite is very easygoing and not too crowded.

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In the evening, as the daily heat abates, both local people and tourists like to swim, play, or troll along the beach.

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Because of the east-west orientation of the beach, the sun rises at one end of the beach...

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...and sets in at the other end.

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Bungalows colored red by sunset.

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(2017) Costa Oaxaquena around Puerto Angels (State of Oaxaca):

 

Rock formations.

 

Pretty and quiet sandy coves.

 

 

Pelican.

 

Sea turtle.

 

(2016) Mazunte (State of Oaxaca):

 

Coastline in Mazunte, another nice village on the Costa Oaxaquena, about 6km west of Zipolite.

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(2014) Playa Ventanilla (State of Oaxaca):

This beach located a few kilometers west of Mazunte is interesting for its lagoon inhabited by many birds and crocodiles.

 

The hole-in-the-rock formation for which the beach is named (″ventanilla″ means ″window″).

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Crocodile in the lagoon (estuary of the Tonameca river).

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(2015) Parque National Lagunas de Chacahua (State of Oaxaca):

This interesting park located about 100km west of Puerto Escondido gets relatively few visitors. However, its lagoon is much larger than the one in Playa Ventanilla. The small village of Chacahua is very quiet, except for a loud-speaker that every inhabitant may use to send messages to other people.

 

Annotated aerial view from Google Map.

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In Zapolalito village, the main entry point into the park.

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View of the mountains from Laguna Pastoria.

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Between Lagunas Pastoria and Chicahua during the lancha (small motorboat) trip.

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Mangrove.

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Birds.

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View over Laguna Chacahua from the lighthouse.

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In the crocodile sanctuary.

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Chacahua beach.

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(2014) San Cristobal de Las Casas (State of Chiapas):

San Cristobal de Las Casas is a rather large town (over 150,000 inhabitants) located in the highlands of the state of Chiapas at an elevation of 2200m. Most of the population, especially in the surrounding villages, is indigenous Maya.

 

View over the town from Cerro de Guadalupe (a small hill on the eastern side of the town).

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Real de Guadalupe (one of the main streets) with Cerro de Guadalupe in the background.

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Women with their children in from of the side entrance door of the cathedral on Plaza 31 de Marzo.

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In the market.

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Church of Santa Lucia.

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Mural illustrating La Rebelion de los Colgados.

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(2014) Tonina (State of Chiapas):

Tonina is a major Maya ceremonial center from the 6th to 9th centuries AD. It is located about 100km east of San Cristobal de Las Casas, near the small town of Ocosingo. Less famous than Palenque or Tikal (Guatemala), but nevertheless quite spectacular, it attracts relatively few visitors.

 

Views of the main step pyramid structure rising 71m above its base. It is believed that only a fraction of the site has been explored and that many structures still remain to be excavated.

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Views during the ascent of the pyramid.

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View from the top.

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Statues in the local museum.

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(2014) Sumidero Canyon (State of Chiapas):

This is a beautiful canyon, but it is impossible to ignore the disgusting trash that floats on some sections of the river.

 

View from a boat on the Grijalva river that runs through the canyon.

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Crocodile sunbathing on a small beach.

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Garbage on the Grijalva river. This is only the most visible part of the actual garbage. Most of the solid waste is hidden underneath the surface.

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(2014) Chiapa de Corzo (State of Chiapas):

 

Street vendor of raspados (shaved ice with fruit syrup).

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Parachicos (boys and men impersonating conquistadors by wearing blond wigs and masks with light skin and facial hair) during the Fiesta de Enero on January 4-21. For more information on this tradition see here.

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Young women in traditional chiapaneca dress during the Fiesta de Enero.

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