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How safe is independent travel in Chiapas these days?

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Vancouver, Canada
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How safe is independent travel in Chiapas these days?

Experienced travelers, we're off to Oaxaca in a few days--want to see how it has changed since I was there 50 years ago--and we're thinking of continuing on into Chiapas, including San Cristobal de las Casas, Palenque, etc.. We would travel either by bus or in a rental car. How safe is such travel these days?

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Adelaide, Australia
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1. Re: How safe is independent travel in Chiapas these days?

I know things change from day to day but I was there is November 2016 as a solo female traveller I caught buses and waked everywhere day and night and found San Cristobal de las casas and Palenque safe using normal universal precautions,. I have to say I think this is one of the most beautiful regions with wonderful country side and amazing people and food. I had limited Spanish and most didn't speak English (and why should they) and a number spoke Mayan dialects and I still travelled fine and found everyone really warm and friendly. Note if you drive - there a stretches of roads that are windy and currently being upgraded (to mind is the SC to Palenque road and a lot of roads have many topes (speed humps) so be prepared for longer travel then you may think by looking at a map. Read some other posts on here about the "strikes", these can occur at any time but I believe are more disruptive and not violent. I did lots of day trips from SC and Palenque and that to me took the hassle out of trying to rent a car and drive myself but it may be more economical if there are a few of you to not do this. Enjoy this lovely region

Vancouver, Canada
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2. Re: How safe is independent travel in Chiapas these days?

Thanks so much for your full and useful reply.

Cheers,

Cebu City...
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3. Re: How safe is independent travel in Chiapas these days?

Following SWPtravel we just came from touring Chiapas. We used street taxis, shuttle s, tour companies for day trips and ADO Bus to travel between cities. In the past month we visited, San Cristobal, Palenque, Villhermosa, Veracruz, Xalapa, Papantla,and CDMX. No problems except small ones caused by not kniowing the language. Great time and would go again, 3 months next time!

Edited: 7:38 am, February 28, 2017
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4. Re: How safe is independent travel in Chiapas these days?

Just my opinion, but I would probably avoid renting a car these days in the area. There are some safety issues, but there are also a lot of road construction issues as well.

Between the buses, collectivos, local transportation, and tour companies, there are good reasonably priced options for arranging transportation.

Also, the local tour companies are not just for "tours." They will arrange transportation to just about anywhere you need, and are good for getting to places that are not convenient. For instance, a couple months ago, I used an SC tour company to get from SC to Flores, Guatemala. It was a little more expensive and had a couple transfers, but in the end, I felt like it was much safer and more convenient to do than trying to arrange the trip myself on other forms of transportation, including the border crossing.

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5. Re: How safe is independent travel in Chiapas these days?

I was there in 10/2016. I felt pretty safe traveling by bus through Chiapas. Felt totally safe walking through DT Oaxaca at night. I could feel the sense of drug trade in Chiapas. Many covered trucks and police / military check points. I endorse traveling by bus, but wouldn't suggest driving a rental car, especially if you don't speak fluent Spanish.

I felt safe enough in Chiapas and walked the streets in central neighborhoods alone. You just have to be smart about it. I met a guy who got robbed because he was black out drunk late at night in San Cristobal. The ADO bus was rerouted between San Cristobal and Palenque due to civil unrest when I was there. This added 4 hours onto my bus ride, but didn't cause me to feel unsafe. I felt like the bus companies were very responsible and cautious about issues like this. Palenque has some of the greatest ruins in the world and Chiapas is gorgeous and relatively untouched by most tourists. That's the beauty of it.

Definitely recommend going if your reasonably seasoned/savvy traveler. Totally safe place assuming you don't act like a dummy.

Montreal, Canada
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6. Re: How safe is independent travel in Chiapas these days?

We are there right now and feel pretty safe.. we took a tour to go to palenque and on the return had a police escort... that's the only way i realised we werent that safe. Would have never known..

Jalisco, Mexico
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for Rincon de Guayabitos
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7. Re: How safe is independent travel in Chiapas these days?

I guess you are aware of the tropical storm that hit Chiapas and Oaxaca states this week with all the different road closures and flooding some travel may be affected.......here is an article about Oaxaca....good luck

mexiconewsdaily.com/news/…

Todos Santos, Mexico
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8. Re: How safe is independent travel in Chiapas these days?

Hi,

We have our trip planned for June 28-July3 in SCDLC, should we change it for one week later? Is the weather in the beginning - mid July a bit better? Thank you!

Atlanta, Georgia
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9. Re: How safe is independent travel in Chiapas these days?

I'm a female who is traveling alone in Chiapas now and have not had any trouble. I take combis just about everywhere (I took a bus back from palenque yesterday just because I wanted some more comfort after logging dozens of hours in combis over the previous few days; it took so much longer so I'm not sure if the comfort/time equation worked out). As long as you speak enough Spanish to ask directions you'll be fine (and people are so friendly here you may not even need that)

Todos Santos, Mexico
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10. Re: How safe is independent travel in Chiapas these days?

Thanks! I am actually traveling to San Cristobal, not Oaxaca and the only road travel we're planning is to Palenque.

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