Chiapas, along with Tabasco and the Yucatan peninsula, are part of the Central American isthmian belt. It is located in the southeast of the republic on the border with Guatemala, with which it borders to the east, along 654 kilometers, that is, 67.77% of the total 965 kilometers. Nineteen out of the twenty-one municipalities on the southern border of Mexico are Chiapas. The border is partly marked by the Suchiate and Usumacinta rivers. To the north, it borders with Tabasco and to the west, with Veracruz and Oaxaca. The Pacific Ocean is its southern limit. It has a territorial area of 74,415 km2, placing it in the eighth largest state of the Mexican Republic, which represents 3.8 of the total surface of the country.
As it is the case throughout the intertropical zone, the climates in Chiapas are determined by altitude. Climatic diversity corresponds to topographic diversity, so in general terms there are warm climates below 1000 in altitude, semi-warm climates between 1000 and 2000 m, and temperate climates above 2000. Only at the summit of Tacaná there is a truly cold climate. Due to the rainy season, there are areas with rains in summer, between May and October; with very abundant rain in summer and with rain all year round. In Chiapas there are the two poles of maximum rainfall in Mexico with more than 4000 mm of rain per year: in the Soconusco coffee-growing mountains and in the northern mountains. On the contrary, the central depression, the coastal zone closest to the ocean and the Motozintla valley receive less than 1000 mm per year.
The state of Chiapas has seven major physiographic regions: the Pacific Coastal Plain, the Sierra Madre de Chiapas, the Central Depression, the Highlands, the Eastern Mountains, the Northern Mountains and the Gulf Plain.
It runs parallel to the ocean and is crossed by short and very large rivers during the rainy season, the largest of these is the Suchiate, which drain into estuaries and coastal lagoons.
On a very old geological base, younger sediments and volcanic rocks settled. This mountainous alignment has a great diversity of landforms, climates (from warm to cold, from very humid to semi-dry), vegetation (low, high and medium forests, cloud forests, pine and oak forests) and fauna. The sierra is in the southeast, where it connects with the Central American volcanic chain where the Tacaná is located. On this mountain range you will find the cloud forest ecosystem that characterizes the El Triunfo Reserve, where species such as the quetzal and the peacock bass live.
It is a rift valley that is crossed by the upper Grijalva, with adjacent valleys that penetrate between the mountainous formations that border it to the north and south. Due to its low altitude, it is warm and semi-dry, with natural vegetation of low deciduous forests, savannas, palm groves and gallery vegetation along the rivers. Here is the largest urban concentration in the state, the metropolitan area of Tuxtla Gutiérrez.
They constitute the central and elevated mountainous part. In its landscape the wooded associations of temperate climate stand out. In general terms, two landscapes are distinguished: The central highlands, such as the Jovel valley where San Cristóbal de Las Casas is located, and a high area of plains to the southeast that begins at the foot of the place where Comitán de Domínguez is located, including the lake area of Montebello. In the west, you can see how the Altos are cut by the Sumidero Canyon.
The mountains known as Cañadas, are a succession of mountain ranges, which are oriented in a northwest-southeast direction and separated by the valleys that run through the mighty rivers that feed the Usumacinta and also by lakes of karst origin (Miramar, Ojos Azules, Nahá, El Suspiro, among others). Its warm and humid climate, very rainy, led to the development of the Lacandona Forest, which is preserved in part in the Montes Azules Reserve. It is an area with a great wealth of fauna, one of the last habitats of the jaguar and other mammals. It was also the scene of the development of great classic Mayan cities such as Yaxchilán and Bonampak.
On these mountains, there is an active volcanic zone represented by the Chichón. The geological origin of these mountains is observed in the presence of amber, the fossil resin, which is considered the jewel of Chiapas. The diversity of the relief and the great hydrological network create many waterfalls such as the famous ones of Agua Azul. On one of the steps of these mountains, the pre-Hispanic city of Palenque was developed.
Chiapas offers the visitor several destinations to know and explore its wonderful territory