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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Showtime’s ‘Bad Hombres’ Is A Documentary Highlighting The World’s Only Binational Baseball Team

Entertainment

Showtime’s ‘Bad Hombres’ Is A Documentary Highlighting The World’s Only Binational Baseball Team

tecolotes_2_laredos / Instagram

Sports have a way of bringing people together. The experience of rooting for your team is a unifying feeling that transcends borders and culture. Showtime is exploring the importance of sports through the lens of the Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos.

“Bad Hombres” is a documentary highlighting immigration under President Trump through baseball.

Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos are the only binational professional baseball team in the world. The team splits their home games between stadiums in Laredo, Texas and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. Director Andrew Glazer wanted to highlight the immigration issue through a sports lens to offer a different layer to the narrative.

“Most of the people trying to come into the U.S. are families and children trying to escape horrible violence in Central America,” Glazer told CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “That story has been told, so what I wanted to do was show people in a way that I thought would be relatable to what life is like on the border. What life is like on those two sides and how interconnected they are. The thing that struck me to be honest is that initially in Laredo, Texas was how pervasive Spanish is spoken.”

The documentary shows the struggles of the baseball team trying to make sense of the volatile U.S.-Mexico border relations.

The Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos split time playing their home games between two stadiums in the U.S. and Mexico. The Trump administration’s constant battle with Mexico and threats to close the border put the team’s season in jeopardy. A first look teaser shows team managers trying to coordinate the release of game tickets in time with the ever-changing immigration announcements from the Trump administration.

“Bad Hombres” speaks politics without directly addressing politics.

“Even though my film has an overarching political message, the players are not covertly or overtly political in any way,” Glazer told CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “They are baseball players and they are living their lives and a lot of them are trying to make it to the majors and some of them were in the majors and are now finishing their careers. There wasn’t a whole lot of political discussions.”

Glazer made sure to highlight the depths and complexities of the team members dealing with the political climate without politics.

“Inherently, what made the team fascinating is you had players from the U.S. who were Anglo-American players and Mexican American players who had a different perspective,” Glazer told DJ Sixsmith. “Then you had Mexican players and some Dominican players and Cuban and people from everywhere else. There were different languages and different perspectives. Seeing how that developed over time was pretty fascinating.”

“Bad Hombres” is streaming on Showtime.

READ: Veronica Alvarez Is The Coach For The Oakland A’s And Her Presence Is Giving Girls A Chance To Pursue Baseball

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Social Media Shows Up To Help Abuela Living In Dire Straights While Taking Care Of Disabled Great-Grandson

Things That Matter

Social Media Shows Up To Help Abuela Living In Dire Straights While Taking Care Of Disabled Great-Grandson

Isabel Zamudio / Getty Images

All too often we hear stories involving social media that don’t paint the best picture of the digital platforms. From trolls coming for people or fights and arguments going public to sexual harassment and doxxing, social media has so often been used as a tool to do harm.

Thankfully, though, that’s not always the case.

Now we get to tell the story of how one viral video has helped rescue a 90-year-old abuelita and her disabled 17-year-old great-grandson from dire straights.

A 90-year-old abuela and her great-grandson will soon have a new home thanks to support from social media.

Last week, a video was posted to social media about the dangerous and unsanitary conditions a 90-year-old woman and her great-grandson were living in. The woman, from Veracruz, Mexico, lived with her great-grandson, Pedro Miguel, in a shack with tarps for walls and rusted-out tin roof.

The shack was furnished with not much more than a bed, which got wet every time it rained. López’s children have died, her grandchildren have abandoned her, and Pedro is basically the only family she has.

Since the video went viral, DIF Family Services agency met with López and her grandson to assess their health and announced both would get the medications they need. Meanwhile, Leonor López, has been housed in a shelter for the elderly and Pedro was placed in a state-run home where each will remain until authorities can find a home for her and Pedro.

The great-grandmother and her great-grandson are all the other has.

Credit: Isabel Zamudio / Getty Images

Leonora has cared for Pedro ever since he was abandoned by his mother shortly after birth. The 17-year-old does not speak and suffers from epileptic seizures.

Before being placed in supportive housing, each day Leonor would leave her house with a rope tied to the arm of her great-grandson as they went out to collect whatever they could to earn money. Some days they’d collect aluminum cans or cardboard to sell and some days they’d visit verdulerías or even private homes to dig through the garbage to find something to eat.

Every two months Leonora would receive her disability pension of $2,500 pesos (or about $125 USD), which she had to use to buy medicines for Pedro. She also told Milenio that she owes money from the last time Pedro got severely ill.

“When he gets sick I take him to the hospital or to the Red Cross, but they charge me a lot, because he has seizures. This time he got sick I took him but they charged me $6,400 [pesos or ($320 USD)] for three days of care.”

However, since being taken into assisted care, Pedro has also been enrolled to receive his own disability pension, which will definitely help address his medical costs.

Sadly, there misfortunes haven’t ended there.

In what is truly a disappointing story, often times when Leonor and Pedro have gone out to try and earn what money they can, they’re home is robbed of what little they have. According to their neighbor Rogelio, the community hasn’t come to their support – instead they steal from the family.

“I don’t see someone coming to help her, on the contrary, what little she has there they steal from her, even though she is alone in her house they steal what little she can gather; people take advantage,” Rogelio told Milenio.

Thankfully, the viral video has helped spur change for the family and they’ll soon have a proper home and the government benefits they’re both entitled to.

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