Located along the edges of the Lacandon jungle, to the whims of the Santo Domingo River against the rocks, the conservation of the natural surroundings and the characteristic of the local geology offer a multitude of spaces to visit and explore.
Causes Verdes Las Nubes, one of the most successful center of ecotourism in Chiapas in the past years, is a spectacular natural enclave in the Lacandon jungle in the municipal of Maravilla Tenejapa.
Located 120 kilometers (or two hours by road) from Comitán, Chiapas, Causas Verdes Las Nubes is a common farmland of 276 inhabitants of indigenous Tzotzil and Tzeltal. They offer a very interesting alternative to ecotourism which has made it one of the most successful in the state in the last few years.
Eight years ago, the people of this common farmland decided to create a center of ecotourism to take advantage of the natural resource around them and allow visitors to learn more about the environment through direct contact with nature.
This center of ecotourism is the main attraction of the mighty Santo Domingo River.
The common farmland occupies 48,000 square meters. The rugged terrain due to the large limestone rock formations, make it ideal for hiking as it takes you through the landscapes and along the Santo Domingo river. It is clean and turquoise blue, making it a great bathing spot in the middle of the Lacandon jungle.
As you arrive, you will be greeted by the impressive turquoise blue of its waters. Its striking colors are due to the erosion of the limestone into the river, rich in calcium carbonate because of the high content of algae and diverse microorganism. According to biologist Víctor Hugo Hernández Obregón, organic life in the river, coupled with the sunlight’s refraction and the vegetation contribute to the color. Moreover, these natural pools of varying depth and size are adorned with lilies, shrubs, orchids and a diverse range of flowers.
Downstream, leaving the common farmlands of Las Nubes, you will find a great number of waterfalls, varying in sizes. The relentless falls form a rainbow which you can try to catch, take a picture with or jump over like a colorful skipping rope.
The downstream rapids also offer white-water rafting, a great alternative for those who seek adventure.
Nevertheless, hiking takes you through some wonderful sights, including among others, some impressive falls such as “The Blender” which is capable of pulling thousands of cubic meters of water per second at great speeds.
Ahead, you will find another waterfall that likens a clear white curtain, known as “Swallow Waterfalls” as these birds live and play among the falls. Under the refuge of its falls and in the cave, some have even nested there.
The Canyon of the Rainbow, best appreciated in the mornings when the river is at its fullest, takes its name from the colorful arch that forms when strong currents crash against the rocks and through its fine droplets, disperses sunlight into a spectrum of colors.
On one good day, the Santo Domingo River came to an enormous boulder in its way, but its strong currents prevailed, breaking through it and giving birth to the High Boulder Canyon. Today it is a rock arch that gives way to the strong current along with its millions of bonefish, tilapia, and fish weighing up to 12 kilograms, catfish, pichinchas and nutrias among other aquatic species.
At the top of the canyon, on a hill, there are two lush cedar trees gripping to the crevices of the boulder. This part is only accessible through rappel; hence this viewpoint is known as the “Untouchable Cedars”.
However, to get to this viewpoint of the “Untouchable Cedars”, you will need to leave the banks of the river and head into the mountains, in the middle of the Lacandon jungle through rustic trails. Though passable, they must be accessed with necessary precaution.
You will embark on yet another unforgettable experience, hiking and getting up-close with diurnal animals such as toucans, parrots, chachalacas, wildfowl, bluebirds, hummingbirds, finches and quadrupeds such as badgers (which move in a cete or adults that move alone), wild boars and some examples of collared peccary, an animal now threatened by hunting, hence found deeper in the area.
Other animals you might find in this area include jaguars, pumas, ocelots, lowland pacas, and birds such as toucans, wild turkeys and cocolitas.
Through the chirping of birds, whispers of the winds, waterfalls and imposing rapids, you will reach the highest viewpoint, the “Vista Hermosa” from which you can discover and marvel at the mighty river which splits into two and winds into two islands of green. Along its banks, green iguanas lay their eggs in the sand, once again giving breath to the circle of life.
A part of the tour ends here, but you can also cross over a hanging bridge to the other side of the river and visit the banks as seen above from “Vista Hermosa”. Here you can jump from rock to rock, dive and swim, indulge in the rapids or go fishing for a variety of tilapia.
This common farmland was formed in 1977, and in 1980 it was registered with the Mam people who mostly come from the Sierra Madre of Chiapas, previously only accessible by foot, horse or chartered planes.
Waking up to the sounds of nature is part of visiting “Causas Verded Las Nubes”, as the motto of this organization suggest. It is here in this center of ecotourism can you awake from slumber to the songs of birds, and the murmur of the waterfall and its surroundings.
To maintain the delicate balance of this place, several guidelines have been established, including bedtime (lights out at 10PM, no wondering about after this time), disposal of trash on the trails and strict rules against the collection of plants and weapons. Violation of these guidelines could result in punitive actions.
The majority of visitors come to rest and relax, see night fall on this place and wake up then next day with a fresh mind, breathe clean air of approximately 1,800 hectares of virgin jungle.
The only way to get to Las Nubes, Maravilla Tenejapa is by land. Las Nubes is located 120 kilometers from Comitán de Domínguez.
Once you get to the Montebello Lakes National Park, take the south border highway till you see signs to Las Nubes, about 60km away.