Tourism and Tours

Lagunas de Montebello National Park | The Jewel of the Chiapas Highlands

Lagunas de Montebello National Park

The lakes which give the park its name are the main draw of this arrestingly beautiful national park. With 59 of them interspersed among a sprawling pine forest, the perfect blues of the lakes contrast stunningly with the endless greens around them and guests can swim and kayak in their waters.

There is also an interesting cave system to visit and among the most spectacular sites are the ancient Mayan ruins of Chinkultic where the highest pyramid offers up amazing views of the lakes.

Lagunas de Montebello National Park (Spanish: Parque Nacional Lagunas de Montebello) is locate in Chiapas, near the border with Guatemala, comprising 59 multi-colored lakes in a pine forest and two Maya archaeological sites. It was the first national park in Chiapas when created in 1959, and in 2009 the park was designated a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.

UNESCO: Montebello is located between the physiographic region of the High Plain of Chiapas and the Gulf Coastal Plain, which is part of the province of Sierras de Chiapas and Guatemala. This region corresponds to the floristic regions of Miranda, called central massif and plains and slopes of the north of the central massif. Its physiography includes from small drains to great trenches. There are also big caves and cavities of varied shapes and dimensions. The average height of the area is 1,500 masl (meters above sea level) (INEGI, 1982).

In Lagunas de Montebello are 10 % of the orchids registered for the State of Chiapas. It’s also the home of more than 42 species of lepidoptera, 70 species of coleoptera, 9 species of fish, 15 species of amphibians, 35 species of reptiles, 277 species of birds and 65 of mammals.

The area contains a representative sample of the central massif, besides, it is located in a transition area between the Lacandon jungle and forest that joins the central Massif with Guatemala.

The ecological goods and services produced by the ecosystems of the protected natural area Lagunas de Montebello, include the protection of the genetic heritage; the absorption of greenhouse gases; the climate regulation, the maintenance of water resources; soil conservation; the preservation of landscape value; the production of timber and non-timber forest resources, and the structuring of habitats for a wide variety of flora and fauna.

Things to Know Before Visiting Lagunas de Montebello National Park

  • The closest ATM is in the nearby town of Comitán, so take plenty of cash if you’re heading directly to the lakes.
  • There are some eateries close to the Laguna Bosque Azul.
  • Wear slip-resistant shoes, bug spray, and light layers when visiting the sometimes hot and humid Lagunas de Montebello National Park.
  • Pack a swimsuit if you want to take a dip in the lakes but be aware that there are no on-duty lifeguards.
  • You can rent kayaks and rowboats or ride horses through the park.
  • The Lagunas de Montebello National Park is not wheelchair or stroller accessible.

How to Get to Lagunas de Montebello National Park

Lagunas de Montebello National Park is situated 91 miles (147 kilometers) from San Cristóbal de las Casas, close to the Mexico-Guatemala border. Given the park’s relatively remote location, most visitors find it easiest to visit as part of a guided excursion from San Cristóbal or Tuxtla Gutiérrez. You can also rent a car from nearby Comitán and explore the park at your own pace.

When to Get to Lagunas de Montebello National Park

To make the most of your time at the vast Lagunas de Montebello National Park, arrive in the morning and stay for sunset, which is when the park typically closes. Even at peak times the park never feels overly busy, although you should skip the April to October rainy season when the waters are murkier, and downpours are frequent.

What to Do Nearby

While guided visits to the Lagunas de Montebello are typically combined with a stop at the El Chiflón Waterfall, independent travelers should make time to visit nearby Comitán. This Mexican “magic town” centers around a colorful colonial plaza and has local markets, well-curated museums, and elaborate churches galore to explore. Don’t miss the nightly marimba performances in the plaza at weekends.

Things to do in Lagunas de Montebello National Park


The park offers hikers a variety of trails to explore, ranging from easy walks around the lakes to more challenging treks up mountains. Visitors can also enjoy camping, fishing, and bird watching in the park.

Whether you’re looking for a short hike or a longer adventure, Lagunas de Montebello National Park is a great place to explore. With so many lakes and mountains to see, you’re sure to find a trail that’s perfect for you.


This beautiful national park is a beautiful place to go camping. The park is located in the state of Chiapas, Mexico and it is known for its stunning lakes.

There are over 50 lakes in the park, which makes it a great place to explore. There are also plenty of activities to keep you busy, such as hiking, biking, and swimming.

If you’re looking for a peaceful and scenic place to camp, Lagunas de Montebello National Park is the perfect spot.

You’ll be able to enjoy stunning views of the lakes and mountains, and you can even go for a dip in one of the many lakes.

There’s no better way to relax and enjoy nature than by camping in Lagunas de Montebello National Park.

Watching a Variety of Birds

Apart from having the beautiful spots to hike and camp, this national park is also a beautiful place to watch birds.

The park is home to many different species of birds, including waterfowl, songbirds, and raptors. Visitors can see birds up close by taking a boat tour or hiking through the park.

The tens of lakes attract a variety of different bird species. Waterfowl are common in the park, and visitors may also see herons, ibises, and ducks.

Songbirds such as warblers and thrushes can be heard singing in the trees. Raptors such as eagles and hawks sometimes soar overhead.

Visitors to Lagunas de Montebello National Park can take boat tours to see birds up close.

Swimming in the Lagoon

This national park is home to more than 50 idyllic lakes. The area’s natural beauty and diverse wildlife make it a popular destination for both Mexican and international travelers.

One of the best ways to experience the park is by swimming in one of its many lagunas (lakes/lagoons).

The clear, cool water is refreshing after a hike through the jungle, and there are plenty of spots to relax on the shore. Keep an eye out for turtles sunning themselves on rocks or iguanas basking in the trees!

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