Cascadas El Chiflon are a series of five outstanding waterfalls in the state of Chiapas, Mexico. Truly, each and every one of El Chiflon’s waterfalls is world-class. So, prepare to be blown away, big time. Thundering white cascades pour into the most purest of turquoise pools below, with none more impressive of the five than Cascada Velo de Novia (Bridal Veil Waterfall).
If you’re looking for one of the best day trips you can have from San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, then look no further. In this guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about visiting the sublime Cascadas El Chiflon.
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What Are Cascadas El Chiflon?
Cascadas el Chiflon (AKA Cascadas del Chiflon) are a set of five outstanding waterfalls in Chiapas, Mexico. They include Cascada Suspiro, Cascada Ala de Angel, Cascada Velo de Novia, Cascada Arcoiris and Cascada Quinceañera. Truly, each of the waterfalls at El Chiflon will blow you away. The brilliant turquoise blue of the water is rich and intense in colour, flowing down majestically from one waterfall to the next. The size of Cascadas El Chiflon is so great, you can even see it from a distance as you drive from San Cristobal.
The Cascadas El Chiflon are easily viewed as you wander along a fairly steep, yet well-maintained trail to the top of the waterfalls. Certainly, it reminded us of a larger scale Pools of Millpu in Peru. Many visitors will end their hike at the third and main waterfall of Cascada Velo de Novia. But, we highly recommend continuing to the end of the trail. It’s more than worth it.
As well as marvelling at the stunning waterfalls along the El Chiflon hiking trail, there’s also the opportunity for a spot of swimming and ziplining.
Where Are Cascadas El Chiflon?
Cascadas El Chiflon are found in the south of Mexico in the state of Chiapas. In fact, El Chiflon waterfalls are not far from the Mexico–Guatemala border. The nearest town from which most tourists visit Casacadas El Chiflon is San Cristobal de las Casas. This popular location is just 100km away, taking 2–3 hours to reach. Alternatively, the town of Comitán is becoming a popular place to stay to visit Cascadas El Chiflon, being just 40km away.
Feel free to click on the interactive map below to see exactly where El Chiflon Waterfalls are found in Chiapas.
Visiting Cascadas El Chiflon
Below, we’ll touch on some of the highlights of visiting Cascadas El Chiflon, including the hiking trail to each of the five waterfalls as well as swimming and ziplining.
El Chiflon Waterfalls Hiking Trail
After entering into the Cascadas El Chiflon Ecotourism Park, you’ll follow a path to the righthand side of the waterfalls. This hiking trail has viewpoints across every one of the waterfalls at El Chiflon.
The El Chiflon path is well-laid and easy to follow. It’s stepped in sections and sloped in others. Make no mistake, there are some tiring and steep sections. But, when the waterfalls are THIS good, it’s worth every step.
The trail is a simple out and back. So, once you’ve made it all the way to the fifth and final waterfall – Cascada Quinceañera, simply retrace your steps to return. It’s entirely up to you how you choose to stop and admire the Cascadas El Chiflon. Some people will stop and enjoy them on the way up to the top, others will walk straight to the top and enjoy them on the way back down. It’s up to you.
Given how busy Cascada El Chiflon, Chipas can get, Dan and I decided to enjoy each of the waterfalls on the walk up. That way we stayed ahead of the growing crowd. Also, it’s a nice way to rest as you hike up.
All in all, the hike to the top and back down will take you around 1–1.5 hours, depending on how long you choose to stop at each of the El Chiflon waterfalls.
The first of the El Chiflon waterfalls you’ll arrive at is Cascada Suspiro – it’s beautiful. The cascade is small but wide and tumbles perfectly into the turquoise pool below. You can veer from the main path and scramble over the tree roots to get a better view. Take care as it can be a little muddy and slippery.
Cascada Ala de Angel
Continuing along the trail brings you to Cascada Ala de Angel, which is waterfall number two. We loved the dense jungle surrounds of this El Chiflon waterfall. The trees framed the cascade perfectly and the spray is uber refreshing. Again, it’s another waterfall you’ll need to veer from the main path to see properly, so take care of the twisting tree roots underfoot.
Cascada Velo de Novia
Cascada Velo de Novia is waterfall number three, and also the main waterfall visitors to Cascadas El Chiflon come to see. And it’s easy to see why. You’ll catch a glimpse of this huge cascade as you follow the path from Cascada Ala de Angel. It’s a steep climb up to Cascada Velo de Novia, where you’ll immediately feel the light mist of spray radiating from its powerful drop.
Cascada Velo de Novia (AKA Bridal Veil Waterfall) is over 70 metres tall and falls in two impressive drops. There’s a wide viewing platform at the base of the waterfall, which provides an incredible view of the entire El Chiflon waterfall, as well as the majestic turquoise pools running downstream. The colours are mindblowing.
Ahead are a steep and slippery set of steps to the main viewpoint. From here, prepare to get more than just a little drenched. The force of the water thundering over the cliff edge is incredible, and the waterfall looks outstanding.
Many visitors choose to end their hike at Cascada Velo de Novia. After all, it’s a fairly strenuous walk from the entrance to the third of the Cascadas El Chiflon. But, you have to continue. There are two more waterfalls to see at El Chiflon, Chiapas, and they are just as wonderful.
Up next is Cascada Arcoiris. Meaning Rainbow Waterfall, you’ll see its name all makes sense from the viewpoint. The angle at which you look down over this El Chiflon waterfall creates a rainbow in the spray mist.
The final of the Cascadas El Chiflon is Cascada Quinceañera. The waterfall resembles the dress a young girl wears on her 15th birthday (Quinceañera), hence the name. The vista over Cascada Quinceañera is hidden in the trees above and makes a pretty perfect place to crack out the packed lunch and soak in the views.
Certainly, Cascada Quinceañera is the icing on a very delicious waterfall-themed cake. And, for two waterfall lovers, Dan and I were extremely satisfied.
Swimming at Cascadas El Chiflon
Swimming in the turquoise waters of Cascadas El Chiflon is a wonderful experience. The pools for swimming are located at the bottom of the series of waterfalls, close to the entrance. Here, the waters are much safer to swim in, away from the crashing waterfalls of Cascadas El Chiflon. The setting is tranquil and under the jungle tree canopy, it’s pretty special, that’s for sure.
There are picnic tables dotted about and areas to leave your belongings. Though, do keep an eye on them.
Please note, if you visit during the rainy season, it’s not possible to swim at Cascadas El Chiflon. Read Best Time to Visit Cascadas El Chiflon for more information.
Ziplining at Cascadas El Chiflon
Depending on how much time you have at Cascadas El Chiflon, you might be keen to try your hand at a bit of ziplining. Indeed, nothing quite beats a bird’s eye view of this incredible sequence of five waterfalls.
There are four zip lines in total at El Chiflon, although one is specifically for children. Tickets can be bought from the ticket office close to the entrance of the park. But, we’ve heard it is possible to purchase tickets directly from the ziplines themselves, in case you decide on a little last-minute flyover.
The lengths of the El Chiflon ziplines vary in length from 300m, 400m and 600m. You can pay a combined fare to ride all three or pay per zipline if you only want to ride one or two. The prices are as follows.
- 300m // $150MXN ($9USD)
- 400m // $200MXN ($11.50USD)
- 600m // $250MXN ($14.50USD)
- All three // $550MXN ($32USD)
Useful Things to Know Before You Go
So, now you know a little about the highlights of Cascadas El Chiflon, Chiapas, let’s take a look at some useful things to know about visiting.
Cascadas El Chiflon Entrance Fee
The entrance fee to visit Cascadas El Chiflon, Chiapas is $50MXN ($3USD) per person. You’ll receive a wristband and have access to the hiking trail, waterfalls and natural swimming pools.
El Chiflon Waterfall Opening Hours
Cascada El Chiflon is open from 7:30am to 5pm, seven days a week.
Facilities at El Chiflon, Chiapas
The only toilets at Cascadas El Chiflon are located at the entrance. However, you’ll find plenty of food and drink stalls dotted throughout the walk if you get a little peckish or thirsty.
Best Time to Visit Cascadas El Chiflon
The best time to visit El Chiflon, Chiapas is from November to March. The weather is most pleasant during these months and they coincide with the dry season. This is important as the dry season is when you’ll see the brilliant turquoise blue of the water.
Although tempting to think visiting Cascadas El Chiflon in the rainy season is a good idea, it’s actually not. The rainy season, typically running from May to October, might bring more powerful waterfalls, but, it also causes the water to discolour. This means the gorgeous turquoise hues you’ll be looking forward to seeing, won’t be there. Instead, the water flowing down Cascadas El Chiflon is much duller and even brown. Also, because of the stronger currents and deeper, murkier water, it’s not possible to swim in the pools at El Chiflon during the rainy season.
Of course, because November to March are the better months in which to visit the waterfall, they’re also the busiest. So, don’t expect to have the Cascadas El Chiflon completely to yourself.
How to Get to Casacadas El Chiflon, Chiapas
So, now you know some practical information about visiting Cascadas El Chiflon in Chiapas, let’s look at how to get from San Cristobal de las Casas to El Chiflon. The easiest option is to simply take a tour, which usually includes visiting the beautiful Lagunas de Montebello as well. It’s a fantastic full-day trip and a great way to see more of this remote part of Chiapas. But, it’s certainly possible to get to Cascadas El Chiflon independently, too. Let’s take a look.
Public Transport (Bus + Colectivo)
From San Cristobal, you’ll need to take a bus from the central terminal, located here, to the town of Comitán. The journey is around two hours. You can purchase tickets directly on the ADO website, using Busbud or by booking directly at the ADO bus terminal.
Then, from Comitán, you’ll need to take a colectivo to El Chiflon Ecotourism Center, which is about 40 minutes away. As you exit the bus terminal in Comitán, head left and towards the waiting colectivos. Take the one displaying ‘El Chiflon’ in the front window.
Bear in mind, with the length of the journey to El Chiflon waterfalls from San Cristobal, you’ll likely not arrive until mid-morning. By then, it’ll be much busier. If this doesn’t bother you, then great. But, if you want to visit Cascadas El Chiflon without the crowds, then perhaps consider staying in Comitán the night before. That way, you can take a colectivo first thing in the morning. Read Where to Stay in Comitán for more information.
Of course, renting a car and driving yourself to Cascadas El Chiflon in Chiapas, Mexico is one of the easiest ways to visit. The drive takes around three hours (sometimes less) and by all accounts, is quite safe to drive independently. Renting a car also gives you the freedom to arrive nice and early, and stay as long as you like, enjoying all the swimming and ziplining you want.
If you do want to hire a car in Chiapas, Mexico, then we recommend using DiscoverCars.com. You’ll find a variety of cars on Discover Cars, which are very easy to book online, with a great cancellation fee if needed.
Cascadas El Chiflon Day Tours
By far, the easiest way to visit Cascadas El Chiflon, Chiapas is with a tour. You’ll find plenty of tour operators in downtown San Cristobal offering trips. Often, tours to Cascadas El Chiflon are combined with a visit to Lagunas de Montebello (Montebello Lakes), which makes for a fantastic full-day trip!
Dan and I actually chose to book our trip to Cascadas El Chiflon once we’d arrived in San Cristobal. We booked with Tours Villa Real and took the trip the very next day. We had a great day out and would be happy to recommend it. The tour is a very long day, with pick-up times between 6am and 7am, returning to San Cristobal around 9pm.
The combined Cascadas El Chiflon and Lagunas de Montebello tour visits El Chiflon waterfalls first, before continuing on to Montebello. Here, you can take a fun raft trip across one of the lakes, visit some beautiful viewpoints of the national park, and even take a few steps into neighbouring Guatemala.
It’s certainly possible to be super organised and book the same style of trips online beforehand. GetYourGuide offers some great tour options leaving from San Cristobal.
Alternatively, Viator also offers some awesome tour options to Cascadas El Chiflon and Lagunas de Montebello.
So, there you have it, the incredible Cascadas El Chiflon. Undoubtedly, they’re worth a day of your time if travelling through Chiapas. The waterfalls are easy to reach independently, whilst also worthwhile visiting as a tour to see Parque Nacional Lagunas de Montebello also. Cascadas El Chiflon will easily be one of the most outstanding natural attractions you’ll see in Mexico.
What to Pack For Cascadas El Chiflon, Chiapas
These are our travel essentials for visiting Cascadas El Chiflon, Chiapas.
- Merrell Moab Mid Gore-Tex Hiking Boots: you’ll benefit from a sturdy pair of hiking boots for the waterfall hiking trail.
- Osprey Skarab 30L Day Backpack: a great backpack for day tripping, which has plenty of space to store your gear.
- The North Face Venture Jacket: a waterproof jacket is handy to keep you dry from the waterfall spray. Unless you need the refreshing cool down of course.
- Swimmers: if you wanna take a dip, you’ll be needing these. A microfibre towel is also great to have on hand.
- Insect repellant: this is the Mexican jungle after all!
- Sunscreen: biodegradable sunscreen is a good option if your want to go for a swim.
You should also pack water (in a reusable water bottle), lunch and snacks. For a longer gear list, read our 66 Travel Items You Must Travel With. And, for a list of everything else you’d need for travelling, read our Packing Checklist.
Where to Stay in Comitán, Chiapas
If you want to stay in Comitán the night before visiting Cascadas El Chiflon, then below are a few accommodation options.
- Budget – Hotel Clasico Colonial: the centrally located Hotel Clasico Colonial provides a clean and comfortable stay.
- Mid-range – Hotel Jardín de Tereza: the very reasonably priced Hotel Jardín de Tereza is a beautiful five-star hotel featuring private gardens, free parking and pleasant rooms.
- Luxury – City Express by Marriott Comitán: the City Express by Marriott Comitán offers a modern and comfortable stay with an American breakfast and free parking.
Alternatively, it’s possible to stay at the El Chiflon Ecotourism Center. Cabaña Velo de Novia offers a rustic stay at the foot of the magnificent waterfalls. Expect to be the first to explore Cascadas El Chiflon if you stay here.
Where to Stay in San Cristobal de las Casas
It makes sense to stay in San Cristobal if you plan on visiting El Chiflon waterfalls. In fact, you’ll find an absolute wealth of accommodation options in San Cristobal. So, below we’ve hand-picked some of the best budget, mid-range and luxury options for you to consider.
- Budget – La Abuelita Hostal: San Cristobal has some wonderful hostel options, with La Abuelita Hostal one of the best. Guests love the location, the cleanliness of the facilities and the speedy wifi.
- Mid-range – El Hostalito 14: Dan and I stayed at El Hostalito 14 and can highly recommend it. The location is fantastic, the rooms and separate private bathrooms are comfortable and the price is very reasonable. Of course, if you’re happy to share a dorm room, then El Hostalito 14 becomes a very budget-friendly option too.
- Luxury – Hotel Bo: if you want to do San Cristobal in luxury, then look no further than Hotel Bo. This beautifully designed hotel in the historic centre of San Cristobal comes with its own restaurant, private parking and on-site gym.
Travel insurance is a real necessity, especially when travelling through Central America and getting a little off the beaten track.
SafetyWing is an excellent budget-friendly travel insurance provider. Personally, Dan and I have used SafetyWing’s Nomad Insurance many times to insure our trips. The Nomad Insurance is fantastic value for money with a smaller additional cost to add a partner. Unlike most other insurance companies, there’s an option to pay on a monthly basis, similar to having a prepaid phone plan. Better yet, there’s no lock-in contract. In addition, you can cancel at any time, which will take effect the month after.
For shorter trips, it’s also possible to use Nomad Insurance for trips lasting just days or just 2–3 weeks. Indeed, SafetyWing is cheaper than almost all other travel insurance policies and covers just as much and sometimes more.
SafetyWing is a modern travel insurance company that is certainly leading the way in terms of how travel insurance should work in the future.
- Carry cash: it’s always good to have some pesos handy when exploring Mexico.
- Avoid the crowds: the most practical way to avoid crowds is to get yourself to El Chiflon early in the day or late afternoon. This way you avoid the tours. Also, weekdays are generally quieter to visit than the weekend.
- Jungle humidity: unlike San Cristobal, which took us a little by surprise with its cool temps, El Chiflon is a hot and humid place, so don’t come dressed in your warm San Cristobal layers, you definitely won’t be needing them.
- Make the most of Chiapas: check out our guides on Palenque and San Cristobal for more incredible natural attractions in Chiapas. Alternatively, GetYourGuide offers some pretty cool tours around Chiapas which might be worth checking out too.
Tell us about your experience visiting Cascadas el Chiflon, Chiapas in the comments below.