Izapa and Tuxtla Chico

Tags: Chiapas, Izapa, Maya ruins, Mexico, Puerto Chiapas, Tuxtla Chico, food, sailing

Date: May 20, 2023

While we were preparing to the boat for summer storage, we also took a little time to visit the area around Marina Chiapas. We went to the Maya archaeological site of Izapa. Izapa is from the early formative period of the Maya civilization, possible settled as early as 1500 BCE and reaching its zenith between 850 BCE and 100 BCE. It is the largest Maya site known in Chiapas and the number of sculptures outweighs that of any known site from the same period. Izapa is famous for its art style and throughout the Pacific foothills and inland highlands, "Izapan style" is used to describe similarly decorated stelae and altars.

Even though the Izapa site has been excavated many times, not a lot of reconstruction of large structure has been undertaken and almost all the interesting artifacts, carved stelae and other sculptures have been relocated to the Museo Nacional de Antropología in Mexico City . This means that there is not a lot to see at the site.

There were a few reconstructed low terraces:

One of the few things we saw was a toad- or frog shaped carved rock:

The frog rocks are believed to have been used as altars and were usually found paired with carved stelae, like this one:

This carved rock looks more like a snake head than a frog or toad:

After we left Izapa, we went to a nearby village called Tuxtla Chico. The day we were there was Ascension Day so it was a holiday and the town was decorated with the usual colorful paper cut-out banners (which are of course plastic nowadays):

The path leading up to the church was pretty with trees in bloom:

A fountain next to the church:

When we first arrived in Chiapas, the mango season was in full swing. There are mango trees everywhere, even at the marina there were two large trees. One of them had the very tasty small, kidney-shaped Ataulfo mangoes which are our favorites:

Along the road we would pass mango plantation after mango plantation:

In general there are a lot of huge, beautiful trees in the area — and not just mango trees. Here is one particularly impressive tree: