9 Best Things to Do in Comitan, Chiapas

Comitan, Chiapas, Mexico

Comitan, Chiapas is one of Mexico’s hidden gems: colorful colonial buildings, a lively central park, mouth-watering regional food, museums galore, and some of Chiapas most amazing natural attractions just a few hours away.

The town’s official name is Comitán de Dominguez, but most people call it Comitan for short. It’s one of four Pueblos Mágicos (Magical Towns) in Chiapas. Pueblos Mágicos are communities that are recognized by the Mexico’s tourism board as having significant cultural, historical, architectural, and gastronomic value for visitors.

Surprisingly, it is often overlooked by visitors to Chiapas and highly underrated. Most travelers choose to stay in the main tourist hub of San Cristobal de las Casas, which is only two hours north of Comitan, and take day trips to the areas surrounding Comitan.

We highly recommend staying a few days in Comitan and using it as a base for exploring the top destinations in southern Chiapas, like Lagunas de Montebello and Cascadas El Chiflon.

It’s a small, but lively town that’s full of culture, unique architecture, history, great local food, and afternoon marimba concerts in the plaza.

Looking for more things to do in Chiapas? Check out these articles:

We link to products and services we think are useful for our readers. We may earn a commission for purchases made through some of these links. There’s no extra cost for you and it helps support our work. We really appreciate your support!

Comitan Chiapas Mexico
The mural at Rosario Castellanos Cultural Center

How to Get to Comitan, Chiapas

The closest airport to Comitan is Tuxtla Gutiérrez. Find a cheap flight to Tuxtla (Chiapas’ capital city) and book a rental car to drive about 3 hours south to Comitan.

Use Skyscanner to find cheap flights.

An alternative to driving is to get bus tickets online for the 3-hour bus ride from Tuxtla to Comitan. Check out our guide to Mexico’s ADO bus system.

If you’re coming from San Cristobal de las Casas, the bus ride to Comitan is only about 2 hours or hop on a colectivo (shared transport van) located on the road next to the bus station in San Cristobal. It’s a bit cheaper than the bus, but it takes longer because it stops to pickup and drop off people along the way.

Get your bus tickets online here.

The most popular way to visit Comitan is on a day tour that also takes you to see the nearby natural attractions. We recommend staying at least a few days in Comitan, but if you’re short on time, here are day tours that stop in Comitan:

Piñatas at the market in Comitan, Chiapas, Mexico

➡️ Visiting Chiapas? Check out the Ultimate Chiapas Travel Guide for everything you need to know!

Where to Stay in Comitan

Comitan, Chiapas is relatively small but it still has plenty of options for accommodations. The best place to stay is near the Parque Central (central park) at the heart of town. It’s walking distance from the market, restaurants, and museums.

Hotels in Comitan

Hotel Hacienda de los Angeles: classic-style hotel with a pool, restaurant serving local specialties, and 2 blocks from the park

Hotel Casa Delina: mid-range colonial-style hotel with a garden courtyard, on-site parking, and just half a block from the park

Hotel Nichim Ja: budget-friendly hotel with bright, clean rooms, and a block and a half from the park

See more Comitan hotels and check availability here.

Parque Central Comitan Chiapas Mexico

Best Things to Do in Comitan, Chiapas

You wouldn’t expect to have so much to do in such a small town, but that’s Comitan for you!

We visited during Christmas and there was even more going on than usual. The entire plaza was full of decorations, the government building was topped with a big“Happy New Year” sign and there was a giant Christmas tree in front of the cathedral. There were also free nightly concerts and lots of food and craft booths set up in the central park.

Read Next: 11 Amazing Things to Do in Chiapas

Stroll Around Central Park

The Parque Central Benito Juarez (Benito Juarez Central Park) is the heart of Comitan. This is where you’ll find the Palacio Municipal, the Santo Domingo church, the cultural center, food vendors, and plenty of restaurants. There are also free evening marimba concerts on the weekends and locals gather to dance carefree and cheer each other on.

Take a stroll around the plaza, peak inside the church, grab some street food, and take a seat on a bench to enjoy the evening marimba music.

Parque Central Comitan Chiapas Mexico

Shop at the Local Markets

Mercado 1 de Mayo may be small compared to the markets in Oaxaca, but it still has a little bit of everything: food stands selling regional specialties, beautiful handwoven baskets, rows of colorful piñatas, and fresh meats and produce.

Plaza de las Artesanías has local artisans selling handcrafted leather goods, traditional clothing, and wooden handicrafts.

Piñatas at the market in Comitan, Chiapas, Mexico

Visit Comitan’s Many Museums

There are a handful of museums to visit in Comitan and part of this town’s allure is its focus on art and culture.

Rosario Castellanos Cultural Center: A nice place to visit while walking around the central park. The center provides music, language, and art classes for the community and also houses a bookstore, theater, and a cafe.

Museo de Arqueologico de Comitan (Comitan Archeology Museum): Has a small, but interesting collection of artifacts from several nearby ruin sites, including Tenam Puente. Entry is free and it’s open Tuesday-Sunday.

Casa Museo Doctor Belisario Domínguez (Dr. Belisario Dominquez’s Home Museum): The most popular museum in Comitan. Belisario Dominguez was a doctor, political activist, and Comitan’s town hero. Hence the “Dominguez” part in the town’s name: Comitán de Dominguez. His home has been restored and turned into a museum featuring items from his political days and his medical clinic and pharmacy.

Museo de Arte Hermila Domínguez de Castellanos: An art museum which houses Dr. Dominguez’s art collection, along with works by famous Mexican artists, such as Francisco Toledo and Rufino Tamayo.

Museo de la Ciudad (City Museum): is a museum detailing the history of Comitan all the way back to its Mayan roots. Entry is by donation.

Dr. Belisario Dominguez Museum in Comitan Chiapas Mexico
The courtyard at Casa Museo Doctor Dominguez

See the Colorful Churches

Chiapas has many colorful churches, like the fascinating temple at San Juan Chamula, but Comitan’s churches each have drastically different architecture that are just begging to be photographed.

Templo de Santo Domingo: peach-colored church with a Moorish inspired facade in Comitan’s central park that’s over 400 years old

Templo de San José: a towering white church with an unusual gothic and baroque blend

Iglesia de San Caralampio: a bright orange church and features a neoclassical-style and checker-pattern stairs (the most photogenic!)

Iglesia San Caralampio Comitan Chiapas Mexico
Iglesia de San Caralampio

Eat the Regional Comiteco Food

Almost every city in Mexico has its own unique food (Oaxacan food is our favorite) and Comitan is no exception. 

The best restaurant for the local Comiteco cuisine is Ta Bonitío. It’s located next to the central park and serves delicious, authentic Comiteco foods and drinks. We had the pleasure of dining there on Christmas Eve and it was amazing!

The street food vendors at the central park and the food stalls at the mercado are other great places to try the local food.

Here are the top Comiteco foods to try:

  • Cascara Preparada – a giant rectangular wheat puff topped with corn, cucumbers, chili, cream, and tons of other stuff
  • Pan Compuesto – a tiny baguette sandwich with beans, chicken, pickled beets and carrots and a sprinkle of fresh cheese
  • Hueso Comiteco – pork cooked Comiteco style
  • Comiteco – local liquor made from agave and flavored with fruits
  • Pozol de cacao or cacahuate – a pre-hispanic corn drink flavored with cacao or peanuts
  • Chinculguajes – tortillas filled with beans, cilantro, and chile
Cascara Preparada Comitan Chiapas Mexico
Kristina about to bite into a cascara preparada

Read Next: A Mexican’s Guide to What to Drink in Mexico

Climb the Tenam Puente Ruins

Michael and Kristina from Off Path Travels standing in front of the main temple at Tenam Bridge ruins near Comitan, Mexico
Michael and Kristina exploring the main temple at Tenam Puente

The archeological ruins at Tenam Puente are seldom-visited and not yet on the tour bus circuit. Which means that, unlike the Palenque ruins, you pretty much get the whole site to yourself. You can explore every nook and cranny and climb to the top as many times as you wish.

The site is only about a 20 minute drive south from Comitan and 45 minutes away from Comitan by colectivo.

Other off the beaten path archeological sites in the area are Chinkultic (which also has a cenote), Tenam Rosario, and Hun Chavin.

Read Next: Yaxchilan and Bonampak: Incredible Ruins in the Lacandon Jungle

Relax by Teal Lakes and See the Melting Ruins

The beautiful teal-colored pools at Lagos de Colon are absolutely stunning! Lagos de Colon are a group of small lakes by the Guatemala border.

It’s the perfect place to spend a day relaxing in the water or exploring the El Lagarto ruins and then cooling off in a waterfall. There are rivers, archeological ruins, waterfalls, hiking trails, swimming, and lots of food stands by the water’s edge.

You can even rent a cabin to spend a few nights in this mini paradise that’s only about an hour and a half south of Comitan.

Read Next: Lagos de Colon and El Lagartero Ruins

Hike to the Towering El Chiflon Waterfalls

The chain of amazingly bright blue pools and towering waterfalls at El Chiflon is located about an hour and 15 minutes from Comitan by colectivo and only 45 minutes by car.

There is a fee to enter the park, which has zip-lining, swimming, hiking, and plenty of food for a picnic by the river.

You can also visit these waterfalls as a day trip from San Cristobal de las Casas.

Read Next: See One of Mexico’s Tallest Waterfalls: El Chiflon

Float on a Raft at Lagunas de Montebello

Lagunas de Montebello is a high-elevation, pine-forest paradise dotted by bright blue lakes.

One of the lakes has balsas you can ride to an island with an orchid garden. You can also go horse-back riding or hiking or kayaking. Oh, and did we mention you can just hop on over to the other side of a lake to visit Guatemala for a bit? Yeah, it’s definitely a must-see destination in Chiapas.

Read Next: Lagunas de Montebello

Final Thoughts on Comitan, Chiapas

Comitan is usually left off of the typical Chiapas tourist route, but we really think you should reconsider and at least spend a day or two exploring this magical town. It has tons of charm, good food, and welcoming people. It also makes the perfect base for taking trips to the surrounding must-see areas.

Have you been to Comitan? If so, what were your favorite things to do?

Save this for later on Pinterest!

7 Best Things to Do in Comitan, Chiapas, Mexico. What to eat, see, and do in this authentic Mexican town.

8 thoughts on “9 Best Things to Do in Comitan, Chiapas”

  1. Hello. I am a US Citizen who teaches English in Panajachel Guatemala. My 6 month mark is approaching in February 2023 and I need to go to Mexico for a couple of days before I can come back to Guatemala (I hear this is a requirement after staying in Guatemala for 6 months). Sooo, how close is this place to the border? I would like to stay as close to the border as possible so I can head back to Guatemala after a couple of days.

    1. Hi Shemeka, Comitan is about 1.5 hours away from the closest main border crossing into Guatemala at La Mesilla, but that is a small crossing that might be out of your way. It’s more popular to use the Tapachula crossing, which is a more robust city. That is around five to six hours from Comitan.

      If you want to stay as close to the border as possible, you might want to consider Tapachula instead of Comitan. We haven’t been to Tapachula, but it does have some attractions that might be worth checking out, such as Parque Hidalgo and Museo de Tapachula.

      We absolutely love Comitan though, so if you can take the time to head up there, it’s worth checking out. Even more so if you can make the relatively short trip to Cascada El Chiflón, one of our favorite places in all of Chiapas and Mexico.

  2. Thanks for the helpful info! We’ve lived in Comitán for a year and a half now and love it here, it really is a beautiful little town. We’re planning a trip to El Chiflon tomorrow, so this has been a great article to help us with all those little tips and tricks.

    1. Hi Christy! Wow! That’s wonderful! We love Comitan and the surrounding areas are just stunning. Hope you had fun at El Chiflon!

    1. I wouldn’t let it stop you! Locals are happy to see people try to speak their language, even if it’s very basic. I also suggest downloading the Google Translate app; it is quite helpful in a pinch.

      And at the end of the day, pantomime can be an effective form of communication! Especially with a smile and a good attitude.

  3. Great article.
    Usually spend 6 months in Melaque Jal. And have travelled a lot in Mex. for over 30 years. Thinking of returning to Chipas for Christmas if we can!

    1. Chiapas (and especially Comitan) is a great place to spend Christmas. We hope you’re able to make it happen and enjoy! Who knows, maybe we’ll see you down there later this year. It just might be on our travel plans.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.