Laguna Miramar in Chiapas Mexico, a stunning and pristine remote place. To get there, prepare yourself for quite a journey!
We went there in 2014 when there were still very few reviews of it on the internet. Laguna Miramar was described as a pristine natural area situated not far from Palenque and San Cristobal (everything is relative of course). To get there , well no less than a day from Palenque, knowing that we had to go first to Ocosingo a small village located 2 hours drive from San Cristobal.
One of the most terrific memories from Mexico is without a doubt the Laguna Miramar.
How to reach Laguna Miramar?
So you have the choice to leave from either San Cristobal or Palenque. The most important thing is to manage to get to Ocosingo or Comitan for a group departure towards San Quintin which is the closest village to the Miramar Laguna.
We chose San Cristobal as our departure point – this is where we took a local minibus (called colectivo) in order to go to Ocosingo. The journey between San Cristobal and Ocosingo takes about 2 hours and costs 45M$ (meaning 2.3 euros per person). Once arrived in Ocosingo station we still had to figure out the right colectivo going to San Quintin (we had to ask the locals where the departure point was at). It turned out that it wasn’t that easy since we had to change the colectivo twice before finding the right one, with the help of a local plus another driver. It seemed to us that we were the attraction of the day!
After a while (approximately 1 hour), we found ourselves on the colectivo in direction of San Quintin with our backpacks strapped onto its ceiling right next to the chickens. The minibus made at least a dozen stops in the village and its surroundings to pick up other people and it was so full that some people were sitting on the floor. A truly memorable, unforgettable experience! We were on the bus for about 7 hours nonstop, without a pee break…Obviously we could have asked to stop if there was a pressing need but given that nobody asked throughout the whole trip, we preferred to do as the locals.
The journey to Laguna Miramar was hectic as the road isn’t paved on approximately 150km
There are only small roads barely signaled in the jungle. It was glorious, nature was omnipresent (and so was waste, but that goes without saying for many places a bit more isolated in Mexico).
We went through typical Mayan rural villages, we had the opportunity to truly experience the Chiapas region, – poor but so green – and after all the hours spent in the colectivo we finally arrived at San Quintin.
Of course our little adventure was not over yet as we still had to find our bungalow situated in a small village close by called Emiliano Zapata. Luckily somebody showed us the way (it wasn’t all that complicated in the end given that there’s only one road…). You could also ask the colectivo driver to drop you off without additional cost (we didn’t know that at the time). We arrived in front of the place, situated a bit outside of the village and at about 15 min walking distance from the San Quintin bus stop. It was like a sizeable courtyard with several tables and some hammocks. There we asked a couple of people to talk to the president of Emiliano Zapata – he is the one who manages the bungalows just in front of this big yard.
A man came and he spoke a bit of Spanish which allowed us to ask for a bungalow for the night as well as for a trip the next day to the lagoon, a tent and sleeping bags. You have several options at this moment. You can choose to take tours that will be added to the bill, to stay for several days and do the trip the day after on foot, on horse or on a carrier. We didn’t choose the carrier nor the horse, we simply took the boat tour on the lake and the ride in the jungle. Overall, the lagoon trip set us back approximately 1500M$ for 2 people or 75 euros based on current exchange rate.
We felt the prices were quite high given the remoteness of the location, but we do not regret anything.
After paying the “president” in cash (only in cash) we went looking for a place to eat. Not so easy in such a small village but we found a house serving as restaurant for tourists. We only had a choice of pork or chicken. No alcohol in a Zapatist village but you can still find some places selling beer. The dish was excessively expensive (around 10 euros per person, we truly felt like we were being taken advantage of) but plentiful. After dinner we decided to go buy some provisions as there was no store at the lagoon, so be mindful about purchasing food and water otherwise you will be obliged to return to the village.
The next morning departure time was 5 am for a hike of about 1h 30 min more or less. The hike was rather simple and lovely, crossing fields and forest sections. The only challenge was my 20kg backpack (I have sworn to travel lighter since that day). Direction the Laguna Miramar itself.
After this morning walk, we arrived at the lagoon. Resplendent. We were so happy to finally be there! And we have absolutely not regretted our trip. Upon arrival we got our tent and sleeping bags and asked for 2 hammocks. After a couple of last efforts we were ready to fully enjoy this heavenly place, completely alone (well ok, there were 2 or 3 locals and one other tourist couple). Here you will find a sort of kitchen with a wooden oven without electricity (therefore no outlet to charge your phone) and 2-3 kitchen utensils casserole type.
The spot is relatively clean, but we must try to preserve it. Therefore take your garbage back with you upon return – this place will remain magnificent if tourists don’t destroy it. The locals do already enough damage to the adjacent nature, therefore let’s try not to contribute as well…
If you feel capable to take on a long and tedious journey, but a charming and adventurous one, go to Laguna Miramar. It’s a place that is still wild; you will wake up with howling monkeys and visit the crocodile inhabited lake, sleep on the edge of a lagoon beach with crystal clear water, discover the jungle nightlife through its incredible sounds and there you will have the sensation of truly connecting to nature. If we had had the time we would have easily stayed 2 nights.
It’s better to do the tour in the morning early because it becomes really hot after noon. We highly recommend the tour. On the boat you will enjoy the wonders of the laguna and you will even excercise a bit as the guide won’t be the only one paddling. The walk in the jungle will take you to the Crocodile laguna that you can also viit for an additional cost. During the walk you’ll see monkeys and other animals from the area.
To return we had to head back towards San Quintin on the same road and this time without guide (but don’t worry, the way is really easy). From San Quintin we asked for a private plane (the luxury of not having enough time). We flew to Comitan, a village where we took a bus to go to Palenque as flying directly to Palenque was too expensive. The plane departed from the track situated at the military zone in the San Quintin village. It was a really tiny aircraft and we paid around 4500M$ for the flight (or 226 euros). We didn’t have the time to take the bus and we had never flown before in such a small plane. It was an unforgettable experience. The pilot was amazing and we got to Comitan in just 1 hour.
Translation & Copy Editing by Liana Marinoiu