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Water at the Agua Azul waterfall, along the road between San Cristobal de las Casas and Palenque, looks like it has been transplanted from the Caribbean. The high mineral content in the water accounts for its blue colour and is best visited out of rainy season (October to May), when the sediment has settled. There are several fresh water pools you can swim in and a walkway along the riverbank to get optimum viewing down the valley.

For a fun day trip from San Cristobal de las Casas, head to the Lagos de Montebello lakes for hiking and kayaking. Pine forests and mountains surround some 50 lakes while the crystal clear waters change from blue to green depending on the time of day and the mineral content of the lakebed. Organized tours can be arranged from San Cristobal but the lakes can just as easily be visited by car and kayaks hired on site.

Whichever stops you decide to make in Chiapas, it is hard to leave disappointed. Nowhere else in Mexico has the same blend of indigenous tradition, colonial grandeur, artisan crafts, humid jungle and towering ruins. But to top it all off, you might just stumble upon a jaguar ambling along the road in front of you.

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