When one thinks of Mexican beaches, white sand, endless sunny days, coconuts, one naturally thinks of the Riviera Maya or the famous surfing beaches of Oaxaca, even the formerly famed but now decaying, Acapulco. One typically doesn´t think of Chiapas.
But, lo and behold, about two hours by car from the capital city of Tuxtla Gutierrez, via a recently built well-maintained highway, you find yourself on the Pacific Coast of Mexico. The area is still highly undeveloped, with mostly local Chiapanecans visiting the beach on the weekends or during Holy week and summer vacations. It´s still primarily fishing villages. But if you like the low-key vibe, laying in a hammock, and dipping in the cool ocean when you overheat, warding off (or enjoying!) food vendors and their treats, then the coast of Chiapas might be for you. If you´re hoping for a big planned resort development community, please don´t go there. If you expect paved roads, it might not be the place for you either. If you like fresh seafood, cool beer or micheladas, then go into one of the various palapas you´ll find along the beach, take a seat and then relax and enjoy the fruits of the ocean.
Puerto Artista is the most populated and frequently visited beach spot on the coast. There are other even smaller towns, like Boca del Cielo, that are also frequently visited, but perhaps less so. There are various hotels of varying quality along the primary road in Puerto Arista. A recently opened boutique hotel has joined the more traditional style hotels.
If you go to Puerto Arista, we recommend going to either end of the main road and making yourself comfortable there. In the center, there´s sometimes a bit of raucousness and bigger groups. To really get the vibe, you´ll be happier off the already unbeaten path.
Bring flip flops as the sand is darker, volcanic sand, and warms up significantly with the tropical sun. Bring some coins to enjoy the mangos on the drive in – you´re in mango territory there and you´ll have to enjoy a fresh mango on a stick or cut up in a baggie. Delish!
Puerto Arista even has a turtle sanctuary where you can visit the little turtles and once a year, release them to sea.
Questions about visiting Puerto Arista? We´re not Lonely Planet, but we live here and visit Puerto Arista a few times per year, so maybe we can help. Feel free to leave a comment or contact us.