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Malecon in Catazajá

Catazajá is a small and sleepy village of 17,000 people (2015) in Chiapas, Mexico close to Palenque. There is a big lagoon with a lot of interesting wildlife, including a population of manatees and several kinds of colorful birds. The town is known for its sport fishing and hosts an annual bass competition. The lagoon is a designated Ramsar wetland.


Many travellers will come through this village because the ADO bus station is closed in Palenque so the only inexpensive way to Campeche or Mérida from Palenque is via the village.

Get in[edit]

The closest major airport is Villahermosa International Airport (VSA IATA).

By bus[edit]

Catazajá is served by twice-daily direct buses from Villahermosa operated by Transportadora Turística del Caribe. The trip takes 1 hour, 40 minutes. ADO buses will also stop in Catazaja. Alternatively, you could take an ADO bus from various other cities in Chiapas to Palenque city, then take a taxi to Catazaja.

ADO buses from Merida and Campeche en route to Villahermosa will also stop in Catazaja, but its a 6-hour ride from Campeche and almost 10 hours from Merida.

Crucero de Playas Bus Station in Catazajá
  • 1 Crucero de Playas (Town entrance), A Entronque y MEX 186 (Carr.Villahermosa-Chetumal). Major intersection where buses will drop off and pick up passengers. There are several food vendors here, a gas station, and a taxi sitio where you can get a ride into town.

By colectivo[edit]

Colectivos are available to and from Palenque city. The colectivos also stop at Crucero de Playas.

By taxi[edit]

Taxi from Palenque city will take about take about 20 minutes and cost about M$250.

Get around[edit]

The town itself is very small. You'll be able to walk or bicycle to the Malecon, or anywhere else you might want to go. Taxis are available: the main sitio is Crucero de Playas.


  • 1 Malecon, Av. Malecon, Centro. Wide, clean waterfront walkways with panoramic views of the lake. Excellent sunsets. There are restaurants and coffee shops nearby and you can hire a boat to take you on a narrated tour of the lagoon and it's natural attractions, including the manatee sanctuary.


Roseate Spoonbill in the Laguna de Catazaja

The Catazajá lagoon has a great variety of aquatic species, the most important being: manatees, otters, snook, carp, tenhuayacas, guabinas, prawns, turtles and a unique species called pejelagarto; a lot of iguanas can be seen in its surroundings. The lagoon and its surrounding wetlands are home to more than 170 bird species, including a number of aquatic birds that will be unfamiliar to travelers from Europe or Asia. Boats can be hired at the Malecon.


  • 1 Mercado Municipal, Av. Morelos 5415. 06:00 - 15:00. Town marketplace with organized areas for produce, meats, seafood, and prepared foods. Great place for cheap food that's authentic regional cuisine.


  • 1 La Toluqueña, Av. Morelos (Calle Principal) y Orillas de la Laguna, +52 916 366 0336. 08:00 - 18:00. Bright, spacious seafood restaurant in the center of town with views of the lake. Lots of shrimp dishes, including the Torta de Camarones a la Toluqueña---a house specialty. M$200.
  • 2 Palapa La Pesca, Carr.Villahermosa-Chetumal (MEX 186). 12:00 - 20:00 (closed M). Outdoor palapa restaurant on the side of a busy road. Serves seafood dishes with an emphasis on shrimp and fish filets. M$200.
  • 3 El Pelícano Catazajá, Malecon, +52 55 1246 5952. 08:00 - 21:00. Casual outdoor dining featuring shrimp and fish dishes. Excellent views of the lake and beaches. M$200.



  • 1 Hotel San Jose, Av. Juarez. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Very basic budget hotel.
  • 2 Hotel Villa Catazaja, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Nuevo Catazajá. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Clean, comfortable mid-range hotel.
  • 3 Hotel Clio, Av. Morelos y Querido Moreno, +529371217897. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Small hotel in the town center offering clean, comfortable rooms.

Go next[edit]

There is not much of a choice besides taking the local long distance buses which pass the bus station "Crusero de Playas" just outside the village along road 186. Around every four hours during the day there's a bus to Mérida and Campeche.

This city travel guide to Catazajá is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.