Cañón Del Sumidero is a narrow canyon and natural park covering 21,789 hectares located in the state of Chiapas in Mexico just a few kilometers north of Chiapa de Corzo and just 15 kilometers away from Tuxtla Gutierrez, the state’s capital. It became a National Park on December 8th, 1980. It is the second most visited site in Chiapas after Palenque.
The formation of the canyon began about 35 million years ago and it was created by the erotion of the river that to date flows through the canyon.
The wildlife around and inside the river and the canyon is very varied and includes four species of fish, fifteen amphibians, fifty mammals and over 150 species of birds. Some of the animals found here include the river crocodile, the great Curassow, white-tailed deer, bats and more. However, due to the amount of tourism, wildlife in and around the park has been greatly affected and for that reason you need to be mindful of your activities when you visit the park.
The vegetation around the canyon is rainforest and some of the species include orchids, oak, pine as well as cacti, palms and araceas.
If you decide to take the ferry along the river, you’ll spend two hours in between the walls of the canyon created by cliffs, the largest reaching a height of 1000 meters. The ferry ride will cost you $190 pesos excluding tips. Other activities include hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, rapelling into the canyons caves and if you get a special permit, fishing is also allowed. An annual swimming event known as Copa Mundo Fino is held here.
The canyon’s jaw-dropping sights have had such an impact on the state that it is part of its coat of arms and it was also nominated to become of the 7 New Natural Wonders of the World as Mexic0’s only representative.
Aside from its obvious beauty, the canyon has seen a lot of Mexic0’s tragic history. During the Spanish Conquer, an ethnic group in Chiapas, collectively killed themselves by jumping off the highest cliff of the canyon to escape the Spanish.
In 1534, the canyon witnessed the battle of Tepetchia, where many locals faced the same fate as their predecessors by jumping off the cliff after they were unable to beat the invaders.
The canyon was suspected of being a site where witchcraft was practiced due to the amount of deaths that happened here when explorers attempted to discover the canyon. The frenchmen were drowned in the river in 1895 during their expedition and their deaths were followed by an American’s in 1932. The canyon remained unexplored until 1960, when a group of Mexican soldiers were successful at crossing the canyon.
From Tuxtla Gutierrez, take a bus or combi at the main stations to Chiapa the Corzo. Once in the center of Chiapa the Corzo, walk a few minutes towards the river.