Blog Content & Website Design: Marney Wilde • Photographs by George Wilde

Puerto Chiapas, Mexico

Highlights for us here were the Izapa Ruins (probably Mayan primarily, although a cultural center about 1500 BCE) and a chance to see chocolate production on a small-scale, as practiced in local homes.

The townsquare where we stopped to see the chocolate production featured a beautiful church which is clearly a center of life in that area. The surrounding gardens are beautiful. Nearby, an arena has been set up that features local crafts and demonstrations (with tasting) of the chocolate-production process. We were surprised to see the large cacao fruits which contain the cocoa beans and to learn about the fermentation process which is essential to the production of a quality-tasting chocolate. There is even a tasty liquid that's a by-product of the process and tasting samples were available.

Afterward we were treated to a local dance exhibition.

Local crafts in the stalls surrounding the chocolate demonstration area focused on fabric arts (clothing with hand-painted flowers and such) and on leather goods (belts, wallets, etc.) Chocolate in many forms was available to purchase as well. Our tour guide was helpful in pointing out what items were authentic to the local area and on what a fair price for many of the items might be.

After a short bus ride we were at the site of the Izapa Ruins. They've not been excavated extensively and since we aren't very knowledgeable about this era, it was hard to grasp the significance of the structures that are visible. This area is memorable for its hungry chiggers and other biting bugs—and it wasn't even the rainy season! I needed stronger repellent! Take your most powerful with you and apply it, no matter what the guide tells you about the lack of any bug issues.

We completed the day with a drive-through of the modern downtown Tapachula; our tour guide lives there and delighted in showing us where she went to kindergarten and such!

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Puerto Chiapas
Cruise Ship Terminal

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Izapa Ruins

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Tapachula Chocolate

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