Swim review: Las Nubes

Las Nubes is one of the furthest swim-and-chill destinations you can reasonably hit on a weekend from San Cristóbal: a cottage hotel next to the swift Santo Domingo river, just upstream from some spectacular rapids. In the dry season the water is a delicious chalky blue and the swimming “beach” lets you swim across the river to rocks and outcrops, with just enough current to make it feel exciting. But now in the rainy season it’s brown and turbid, the water level is too high and the current too swift for pleasant swimming, and the rocks and pools are submerged so all you see is a foaming brown cascade.

From the hotel, Causas Verdes, you can take a little walk by the riverside and into the forest. On the way to start the forest walk you can risk your life hopping from one smooth rock to another to try to stretch your neck see the “tunnel”, a rock arch in the hill where the river goes hurtling through. Now during the rainy season it’s all submerged. The walk along the river gives you ample thrills by imagining all the ways you could smash up your mortal body, should you have the misfortune of ending up in the water and its cliffs, sculpted into unpredictable but uniformly hard shapes.

There’s also a suspension bridge you can cross for photo-ops.

The forest walk is pleasant and not especially strenuous – there are some steep climbs and the path is narrow and rocky, but it’s not very long so you can always stop and rest. At the top there’s a viewpoint with a view over the river and valley below – according to a chance acquaintance that part also has some good touristing to be had.

At the restaurant the food is pretty miserable, but edible. The cottages are fine and have an instant supply of hot water, excellent after a swim in the cold river.

Here are the contact details:

L.T. Daniel Maldonado Morales, Gerente General

Centro Ecoturístico “Causas Verdes” Las Nubes S. de S. S.
Ejido Las Nubes, Municipio de Maravilla Tenejapa, Chiapas, México.
Tel. Oficina: 00502 4972 0204

E-mail: ecoturismo_nubes@hotmail.com

www.causasverdeslasnubes.com

www.facebook.com/ecoturismolasnubes

The main downside of Las Nubes is the distance – you get there in four and a half hours of driving from San Cristóbal, without stopping. And at the moment I hear the road is cut off – bad engineering, rains and an earthquake have sliced the road in two. Once you get there it’s pleasant enough, but if you want to swim you can do it closer to Sancris, and the rest of its charms don’t really make up for the distance. It’s OK if you’re on a big swim-and-ruins loop of Chiapas, towards Bonampak and Yaxchilan. In fact, that would be a good two-week trip: Tuxtla, Sumidero, Chiapa de Corzo, San Cristóbal and environs, El Chiflón and Chukumaltic, Tenam Puente, Comitán, Chinkultic, lagos de Montebello, Las Nubes, Miramar, Yaxchilan, Bonampak, Roberto Barrios,  Palenque, Agua Azul, Ocosingo, Toniná, back to Sancris and have a lasagna.

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Rainy season river!
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Rainy season swim… very cautiously.
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Still, swinging from the trees is fun.
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View from the suspension bridge in sunnier times.
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Sunny-season viewpoint view!
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