Tapachula de Córdova y Ordóñez or simply Tapachula is a city of 320,000 people (2010) in Chiapas. Tapachula is Mexico's main border city with Guatemala on the Pacific coast area although it is some kilometers away from the border.
It is one of the most important cities of Chiapas economically as the capital of the agriculturally rich Soconusco region, and a port for trade between Mexico and Central America.
The first human settlements of the peoples that later developed into the Mayan civilization have been found on the northern Pacific coast of what is now Guatemala. However, southern Chiapas state in Mexico and Guatemala were a unified region prior to colonization.
One archaeological site of note, Izapa, is 10 km from Tapachula. In addition, the Museo Archaeologico del Soconusco is located in the center of Tapachula in the same building that houses the tourist information center and the Casa de Cultura.
The climate of the city area is hot and humid most of the year. The area is one of the rainiest in the world with annual rainfall in the mountains of about 3,900 millimetres (150 inches).
1 Tapachula International Airport (TAP IATA) (along Fed Hwy 225 (La Carretera Puerto Madero-Chiapas) at the Ciudad Hidalgo exit, 19 km (12 mi) south of Tapachula.). The following airlines offer year-round service:
It is the nearest airport to Tapachula, Puerto Chiapas and the Guatemalan frontier towns of Cd Hidalgo/Cd Tecun Uman; and Talisman/El Carmen. It is also another transit point for onward travel to Guatemala from Mexico as it may be less expensive to fly to Tapachula from Mexico City (or elsewhere in Mexico) and continue by bus or shuttle to Guatemala then flying into Guatemala City from Mexico or the U.S.
There are plenty of buses arrivining from Huixtla, Tuxtla Gutierrez, San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico City, Oaxaca, among others. Also, Tapachula is a good connection point between Guatemala and Mexico with plenty of buses going to Guatemala City. Unlike other Mexican cities, bus companies in Chiapas have their own separate bus stations with the following:
- 2 Autobuses Expreso Azul (AEXA), 16a Ave Nte #13, Los Naranjos, Centro (SE corner of intersection of 16a Av Nte & 3a Calle Pte west of town.), ☏ .
- 3 FYPSA, 3a Ave Nte #88, Los Naranjos, Centro (along 3a Ave between 15a y 13a Calle Nte), ☏ .
- 4 Omnibus de Cristobal Colon (OCC) (Subsidiary of Grupo ADO, first & platinum class bus station), La Terminal 17a Calle Ote #45, (along Calle 17a Ote between 1a Ave Nte y 3a Ave Nte). Grupo ADO is the main bus company serving the Yucatan Peninsula and the southeastern part of the country on multiple routes. OCC, Rapidos del Sur (RS), AU and Cristobal Colon are their subsidiary brands operating bus services in Chiapas state. International buses from Guatemala are at the OCC bus station and cross through Talisman/El Carmen.
- 5 Autobus Unidos (AU), Cristobal Colon y Rapidos del Sur (RS) (Second class bus station), 9a Calle Pte #63. Second class brands of OCC/Grupo ADO with frequent departures to Arriga, Cintalapa, Esquintla, Huixtla, Tonala, San Cristobal Colon, Tuxtla Gutierrez, etc but with more stops en-route thus taking longer to get there than first class services.
- Ticabus, La Terminal OCC 17a Calle Ote #45 (along Calle 17a Ote between 1a Ave Nte y 3a Ave Nte), ☏ . (Ticket office) M-Sa 06:00-14:00. International bus company going across the Central American isthmus between Panama City and Managua. From Managua one route goes to Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula in Honduras while another continues along the Pan American Hwy to San Salvador, Guatemala City and Tapachula in Mexico. They also have another north-south route connecting El Salvador to Honduras. Passengers can transfer to Hedman Alas (another unaffiliated company) in Guatemala City if going to Honduras.
- Linea Dorada, ☏ . Goes east towards Guatemala City via Huehuetenango and/or Quetzaltenango. Passengers transfer in Guatemala City to go to Flores (nearest city to Tikal). Phone number is the Guatemala number.
- Trans Galgos Inter., ☏ . departs 13:00, check schedules. International services to Tapachula from Guatemala City via El Carmen, Retalhuleau and Coatepeque on one route and twice daily to San Salvador on another. They also operate a third domestic route to Quetzaltenango from Guatemala City. They also book onward travel all the way to the U.S. border through Mexico. US$17.
- Most of the city's monumental structures in the historic center were built in the first decades of the 20th century, although there are large homes near this same area built in the 1960s in Art Deco style, such as the La Portaviandas building. Outside the city downtown, the structures just about all date from the latter 20th century on due to recent growth.
- The historic center is marked by a large, tree-lined plaza called Parque Miguel Hidalgo. The center of this plaza contains an octagon kiosk with Baroque ironwork with some Moorish influence. Parque Miguel Hidalgo is the center of the city. It surrounded by the old and new municipal palaces, the Perez Porta and the Teatro al Aire Libre (Open Air Theater), which often has marimba concerts.
- The San Agustín parish church dates from the 18th century, established to honor the patron saint of the city, Augustine. It is a simple construction with a red Spanish tile roof, supported by wood beams. The facade is a simple Neoclassical with six Ionic order columns, three on each side of the entrance, joined by false arches. The top of the facade has two bell towers. This design is based on the Teopisca church. The church became a cathedral in 1958, shortly after the Tapachula diocese was established but that status has since been ceded to the San José Cathedral, consecrated in 2009.
- The Casa de Cultura was built in 1929 as the municipal palace when the city was prosperous because of the surrounding coffee plantations. Although the style is Art Deco, the facade is decorated with Oaxacan style fretwork, images of Aztec warriors and stylized serpents along with the Mexican and state coats of arms. Today, the building functions as a cultural center for the city.
- 1 Museo Arqueológico del Soconusco, 8a Av Nte #24, Zona Centro (housed in the old city hall (antiguo palacio municipal) building next to the Parque Central de Miguel Hidalgo in downtown.), ☏ . Tu-Su 09:00-18:00. A small museum that has a collection of Mayan & Olmec artifacts from the region. This building houses a number of pieces from the various archeological sites of the region, especially Izapa and several coastal sites. One special piece is a skull covered in gold and incrusted with turquoise. Another is a stele called Number 25, because of the quality of its engravings.
- 2 Zona Arqueologica de Izapa, Km 304 La Ruta de la Costa y Soconusco (Carretera 200) (10 km NE of town on Ruta de la Costa y Soconusco (Carretera 200).), ☏ . Tu-Su 09:00-17:00. The settlement at Izapa extended over 2 km, making it the largest site in Chiapas. The site reached its apogee between 850 BCE and 100 BCE; several archaeologists have theorized that Izapa may have been settled as early as 1500 BCE, making it as old as the Olmec sites of San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán and La Venta.
- The municipal cemetery is notable as a testament to the immigrant past of the area, with gravestones with German names and Chinese characters. The best examples of both date from the late 19th to early 20th century.
- Head out of town a little to Calle Miguel Hidalgo (the one out near Calle Semanarista) and check out the crocodile zoo. A quirky little backyard business that houses something like 50 crocodiles and alligators of various species and sizes. the family that runs it is friendly and as much as seeing the crocs themselves it's funny to watch small children chase an even smaller puppy around a backyard literally packed with ferocious reptiles in various cement and chainlink enclosures. Cost is M$25 per person, and a taxi should cost about M$25 each way.
- A tour of Mayan archaeological sites in western Guatemala and southwest Chiapas is available. These sites include: Izapa, Iximche, Zacalueu, Tenam Puente, and Chinkultic.
- The Cafetaleros de Tapachula represent the city in the Ascenso MX, the second division of Mexican football.
- 1 Sr Tango, Carr. a Puerto Madero, ☏ . Daily 13:00-19:00. Sr. Tango is an Argentinian steak house that also has bland tasting pizzas and carries a real old-school mafia air to the place. Salads are pretty good and the air conditioning is top notch if you need to escape the heat.
If you´re on a budget, Tapachula has very affordable lodgings. One example is Hotel Tacana (8a Norte at 13a Poniente). The rooms go for as little as M$100 per night and many have been newly renovated.
Located a block and a half from the main plaza in town (Miguel Hidalgo), on 5a calle pointe, one of the cheaper places to stay is Hotel Quinta instantly recognizable by its astonishingly large sign that says "hotel" in black and white vertical letters.
The lowest budget rooms go for M$200 with no television and no air conditioning. Rooms are a little dirty and toilets have no toilet seats but you can't beat the price in this part of town.