Culture

Mexico’s Cañón Del Sumidero Should Be On Any Adventure-Loving Traveler’s Itinerary And Here’s Why

Sumidero Canyon, situated just outside of San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas, Mexico, is a  breathtaking site to be seen if you ever find yourself in the southern region of the country. This inexplicable testament to the power of water will blow your mind with it’s flowing river and kilometer-high rock walls. 

A visit to Tuxtla Gutiérrez, the capital of the state of Chiapas, would never be complete  without a boat trip through el Cañon del Sumidero.

If you ever find yourself exploring the wonderful state of Chiapas in southern Mexico, no visit would be complete without a stop by Tuxtla Gutierrez’s nearby Cañon del Sumidero. The canyon’s vertical walls tower up to 1,000 meters above the rather narrow Grijalva river. And it’s a site to be seen!

Never heard of Chiapas?

Tuxtla Gutiérrez is the capital of the Mexican state of Chiapas. If you’re not quite sure where Chiapas is, it’s no wonder.  It is the southernmost state in Mexico. It borders the states of Oaxaca to the west, Veracruz to the northwest and Tabasco to the north, and by Guatemala to the east and southeast. Chiapas also has a coastline along the Pacific Ocean to the south.

Visiting Tuxtla Gutierrez

Tuxtla (as it is commonly called) has had one of the fastest growing rates in Mexico in the last 40 years. Unlike many other areas in Chiapas, it isn’t a big tourist attraction, but a transportation hub for tourists coming into the state, with a major airport and a bus terminal. Tuxtla is definitely a comfortable, worthwhile and welcoming place to spend a day or two, and it’s near the famous canyon.

This canyon was one of the favorite haunts of the founder of the Tuxtla zoo.

Dubbed, “The Best Zoo in Latin America,” back in 1979, Tuxtla Gutierrez‘s zoo was far ahead of its time in respect to treating animals decently. Biologist Miguel Álvarez del Toro, Mexico’s most famous conservationist, loved this place, and it’s not hard to see why. 

The canyon’s near vertical, kilometer–high rock walls and numerous wild animals are worth the trip.

Near-vertical walls rise more than 2,500 feet (800 meters) overhead. A wide river slowly snakes along the valley below. Monkeys, crocodiles, and birds of all sorts can be spotted in the numerous jungle patches along the shoreline. If you enjoy witnessing amazing natural wonders, you’ll love taking a Sumidero Canyon boat trip.

But first, a stop in Chiapa de Corzo.

Trips down the river are organized from several docks alongside the little town of Chiapa de Corzo which,  for a brief time had been the state capital. The word chiapa, by the way, appears to be a short form of the word tepechiapan, which means “water below the hill,” a fitting description of the Grijalva river flowing through kilometer-high walls of rock.

There is much more to this canyon than high walls.

The farther you go downriver, the more obvious it becomes that there is something wonderful and magical about this place. One moment you are overwhelmed by majesty and grandeur and the next you’re seduced by a spray of wildflowers and then your heart is touched by the cute and silly antics of child-like spider monkeys who are obviously fast friends with the boatmen who ferry tourists up and down the river. You‘ll be mesmerized by rocky crags high, high above you, but when you glance back down at the river you see an elegant white egret posing on a slender wand protruding from the water or suddenly discover a big brown pelican floating right next to you. Another glance and you spot a huge, lazy crocodile sprawled over a rocky outcrop, taking the sun.

The canyon is the second most popular attraction in the state, only to the Mayan ruins of Palenque.

Around 300,000 people take the boat ride down the Grijalvo river every year, making the Cañon del Sumidero the second most popular site in Chiapas, after Palenque.

The easiest, cheapest, and quickest way to do the Sumidero Canyon boat tour from San Cristobal de las Casas is to go with a tour group

For around $300 pesos (about $15 USD), you’ll get round-trip transportation, a boat tour, and an hour or so to explore the lovely town of Chiapa de Corzo – where the Sumidero Canyon boat trips launch from. Tack on another $150-200 pesos and they’ll also take you to the viewpoints (miradores) on the canyon’s edge, sometimes at the expense of spending time in the town. These tours can be purchased at any of the many tour agencies along the Andador Guadalupe in San Cristobal.

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This Teacher Received A Nissan Pickup Truck Decked Out As A Mobile Classroom

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This Teacher Received A Nissan Pickup Truck Decked Out As A Mobile Classroom

Like students around the world, kids in Mexico have been forced to take school online or tune into programming on public TV in order to learn. But that’s just the kids who are lucky enough to have access to Internet or a TV. Many students live in rural areas and lack the adequate resources to continue their studies amid the global pandemic.

But thankfully, there are many good samaritans out there (aka compassionate teachers) who have invented their own ways to bring the classroom to kids wherever they are.

A Mexican teacher was gifted a decked out pickup truck by Nissan.

Since schools were forced to close last year in April, Aguascalientes special education teacher Nallely Esparza Flores, has been driving four hours a day to educate students one-on-one at their homes from her truck bed, outfitted with a small table and chairs.

News of her project spread across social media, eventually reaching the corporate offices of Nissan México. This week, the company surprised Esparza with the gift of a new pickup truck specially outfitted with a small open-air mobile classroom built into the truck’s bed.

“Today I feel like my labors and the help that we give each day to children and their families is unstoppable,” she said on Twitter Wednesday, sharing photos of her new vehicle. “My students no longer have to take classes in the full heat of the sun,” she said.

Nissan representatives said they decided to give Esparza the adapted NP300 model, 4-cylinder truck after hearing her story because she was “an example of perseverance and empathy.”

“When we learned about the incredible work of this teacher, we got together to discuss in what way we could contribute to this noble work,” said Armando Ávila, a vice president of manufacturing.

The mobile classroom is pretty legit and will allow Esparza to continue her good deed.

Esparza inside her new classroom.

The decked out Nissan pickup truck has three walls (the other is a retractable sheeting) and a ceiling made with translucent panels to protect teacher and student from the elements while letting in natural light.

It also has retractable steps for easy access to the classroom, electrical connections, a whiteboard and an easily disinfected acrylic table and benches that are foldable into the wall to provide space. The table also has a built-in plexiglass barrier to allow social distancing.

Access to education in Mexico is highly inequitable.

Esparza, like many teachers across the country, found that not all distance learning was equal. Many of her students in Cavillo were from poor families without internet access. So she used social media networks to keep in touch with such students via cell phones, but even that was not necessarily an available option for all — and not ideal. Finally, she decided to solve the problem by hitting the road in her pickup truck.

According to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), only 58% of students in Mexico had a home computer – the lowest percentage among all OECD countries. And only about one third (32%) of the school computers in rural schools in Mexico were connected to
the Internet, compared to more than 90% for schools located in urban areas.

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Sen. Ted Cruz Makes Quick U-Turn From Mexico After Outrage He Abandoned His Frozen Texas

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Sen. Ted Cruz Makes Quick U-Turn From Mexico After Outrage He Abandoned His Frozen Texas

Sen. Ted Cruz has faced a series of outrages since being accused of helping to incite the insurrection on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. The latest problem plaguing Sen. Cruz is his trip to Mexico while his constituents in Texas freeze during an extreme weather event.

Sen. Ted Cruz was caught boarding a flight to Mexico as Texans are left freezing.

Texas is being slammed with a historic extreme winter weather storm. Hundreds of thousands of Texans are without power for the fifth day in a row while the senator from Texas was heading off to Cancun. Critics are angered that Sen. Cruz would leave the state while his constituents are forced to boil water to survive one of the worst winter storms on record.

Politicians are calling Sen. Cruz out for leaving his constituents during a natural disaster.

The Castro brothers are speaking up as well. Texans are dying from the extreme weather after the power grid was overloaded from sudden demand. The power outages have lasted for multiple days and the death toll continues to climb from the freezing temperatures. So far, 24 people have died from the winter storm.

Part of the problem is that Texas has their own power grid separated from the rest of the nation in an attempt to avoid federal regulations. The decision was made in the 1930s after President Franklin Delano Roosevelt passed the Federal Power Act. This allowed the federal government to oversee interstate electricity sales. However, Texas utilities did not cross state lines. This created an electricity island.

People are not letting the trip go unnoticed.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is responsible for overseeing the power grid and officials had a grim revelation about the power outages. On Tuesday, ERCOT CEO Bill Magness addressed the media about the power outages.

“We needed to step in and make sure that we were not going to end up with Texas in a blackout, which could keep folks without power — not just some people without power but everyone in our region without power — for much, much longer than we believe this event is going to last, as long and as difficult as this event is right now,” Magness said about the call to cut power to some customers as the icy conditions settled in on the area.

He further explained that some of the power outages could last for an undetermined amount of time.

This is not the first time Texas had weather-induced power outages because of winter weather. The state saw the same situation on a smaller scale play out in 2011. The winter storm in 2011 knocked out power across the state and yet Texas officials did not follow suggestions to prevent the current crisis.

A report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation called on Texas to “winterize” their energy infrastructure. The report highlights how the current infrastructure was not ready to take on the weather it experienced in 2011 and, according to The Texas Tribune, Texas didn’t heed the warning.

On Tuesday, 60 percent of Houston businesses and households remained without power because of the weather.

Sen. Cruz quickly booked a return flight to Houston after the outrage.

Facing mounting anger over his warm escape from Texas, Sen Cruz quickly U-turned back to Houston. He claims to have been accompanying his daughters to Mexico and not going on the vacation himself.

A flurry of tweets about the situation show a growing number of people who are skeptical of the senator’s statement. Ted Cruz was photographed with luggage both in Texas and coming back through the Cancun airport. The luggage has set off a debate about whether or not Sen. Cruz honestly went to Mexico to drop his daughters.

READ: Sen. Joe Manchin Calls On Senate To Expel Sen. Ted Cruz After Insurrection

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